The Mixture of Old & New

In 2011, I was going through a tough time of my life. It was only the first year of my university, but I was not happy. The “party phase” everyone goes through in the beginning of studies passed, and even though I was doing an internship at an amazing organization, I had the feeling this was not enough. I was also still heartbroken from an abusive relationship – which took me barely two years to get over.
The year before, I had tried to join AIESEC in my university, but I was never called for an interview. I completely forgot about this and decided to move on.
Sometime later, right after a Statistics class, the opportunity of going abroad with AIESEC re-appeared. A colleague (who joined AIESEC at the same time I tried to) asked me whether I was interested in traveling for a social project. To be honest, I didn’t even think it through – I just said yes and all I remember is that the day after I was at AIESEC’s Local Office in my university for an interview. Four Months later, I was in China, where I spent almost three months learning one of the biggest lessons life has ever taught me.
I had a very comfortable life, but my mom always tried to give back to society. I can still remember the countless days I spent at orphanages playing with the kids who didn’t have a family, or the weekends in the hospital together with my mom when she was vaccinating kids who didn’t have money to pay for it. I was so excited for those weekends, as I had the opportunity to know more about people and where they came from.
As dumb as it sounds, even though I spent most of my childhood in this kind of environment, I have never realized how privileged I was until December 2011, when I landed in China. That was the biggest eye-opener for me: How is it possible that I saw so many people in a similar situation in my country but never really noticed it was my role to do something about it? Apart from inequality of opportunities, in China, I could actually understand the meaning of the word freedom. Summing up, those months were more than enough to help me put the pieces of my life together and remind me not only of who I was raised to become but also what I was raised to fight for.
And then I came back, and it was tough. What do you do when everything around you is the same except for yourself? How do you react to that feeling of being an Outlander in somewhere that is supposedly your home? How could I just move on with my life after seeing everything I had seen? I didn’t have answers for any of those questions…
These three months in China were just the beginning of a (so far) 6 years journey. I remained in AIESEC, and in these 6 years, I moved into 6 different homes. I lived in five different cities and two different countries. And what did that teach me? Below you can find some of the learning I had throughout this time:
1.Don’t forget why you’re here in the first place
As I have shared before, I fight for Equal Opportunities for everyone. This is how I try to contribute to a better world, and that’s why facilitating opportunities abroad for young people has always been so purposeful for me. However, there have been moments when I got so tired, frustrated or hopeless that after a while I realized I was completely out of my purpose. In these moments, I needed to take a step back and reconnect to what brought me where I was in the first place.  A sense of grounding is the best way to take you back on track.
2.You’re never too big for the small things 
Especially after I got to AIESEC International, I noticed that a lot of times the easy way out of things you don’t wanna do is to say “This is not my job” or “I don’t have time for this”. I have worked with so many people and have seen so many different behaviours: from Business Analysts that acted like they were the most important people in the universe and wouldn’t even remember who you are – even if you have met more than twice – to Global VPs who would share a taxi with you to the airport and even though they had a first class ticket, would join you in economy class line and spend time with you. These experiences were extremely humbling and taught me that we are one out of billions in the universe and that our position or how much money we earn at the end of the day is not relevant.
3.In a world of so much mess, consistency in discipline are assets
If you want to accomplish anything in life, you need to have discipline and always push a degree further. Yes, it’s exhausting, but an unfinished idea or project is worth nothing. I have learned this lesson not only in regards to standard procedures I needed to follow in my role but especially when it comes to my health. I was traveling so much and for so long that not taking care of myself could be an easy way out. However, that would not serve me well in the mid or long run. For this reason, I decided to keep a healthy routine as much as possible, even though that sometimes meant working 14 hours a day and still waking up at 6 am to go for a run or meditate. That has allowed me to do my job better and it meant that I am consistent in what I stand for.
4.If you can see a problem where people don’t, it’s your responsibility to fix it
That was definitely the hard lesson I have learned in the past years. I am a very critical person, and I know that it can be seen as too much criticism sometimes. There were countless moments where I raised a topic and people didn’t necessarily see a problem. I would get frustrated and continue complaining after that, not doing anything about it. Then, after months, if this problem I had raised before indeed became reality, I would become even more frustrated and tell everyone “I told you so”. But what’s the use?
What I realized over time is that I wanted to be rewarded for bringing a problem to the table, but that’s not how things should work. Sometimes you just need to act upon whatever the problem is before people even notice it. You are not the super hero who needs everyone to see what you have done; if you are here for recognition, you are here for the wrong reasons.
5.If it gets easy, it’s time for you to change it
If you are doing something and you have the feeling that it is too comfortable or easy, raise the bar, push harder. If it’s still easy, it’s time for a change. We need to be aware not to fall into the comfort trap, as the biggest growth we experience in life happens when we are challenged by our circumstances.
This is still not the end of my journey, but this new year definitely marks a new beginning. I am moving to a completely new role, where I have no previous experience, and I am absolutely sure this will re-define and challenge a lot of my own concepts. However, these lessons will remain with me and probably increase over time. I feel extremely grateful for everything that AIESEC and the people I have met throughout these years have taught me, I wouldn’t have changed anything.
(To be Continued)

Conceive, Create, Experience – The truth about yourself

“The hardest task in life is not to create yourself; It’s to remember who you are. Deep down, you know it”.

Two weeks ago, I decided to take a solo trip. It was the first time I did such a thing, and to be honest I was very scared to be with me and myself for 48hours. At first, I did not know what to expect, but it certainly paid off.

This blog post is a result of one of the reflection moments I had during this weekend in Prague.

What are you so afraid of?

You know your reasons, you know your purpose. Stay true to it. So let’s open up. Not everyone of you knows the truth about myself.

I am a driver. This is one of my top contributions to whichever environment I am in. I will always drive things leading by example – and I feel even better when I see people getting inspired to become better for the world.

I am a very future-oriented person. This means that I am extremely anxious by nature, and it’s something I have been trying to work on improving; When there’s too much noise around, you can’t really drive the right things. And well, I need to learn how to think things through before I execute them.

I know a bit about everything: I am curious, sometimes too much: I wanna know everything about everything, so you can imagine that I buy thousand of books, listen to thousands of podcasts, and get overexcited about a certain topic where I expect to become an expert after 1 hour of deep diving into it. Of course it doesn’t work like that.

I am very intense. I live life at high-speed – but I also like to contemplate after the ride is finished, and take my time to recover.

My brain works like a rollercoaster; I’m very intuitive and I’ve got good perception on people and things happening around. In the last years, I have become a bit of a control freak – I wanna predict people, outcomes, everything. That’s because I’m also not a huge fan o failure.  I like to win and to show to myself and to other that I won. Yes, I know it’s terrible but who am I to lie about my flaws? I’m pretty sure you got them,too.

I care a lot about people. That makes me very worried about having them feel good and making them see me as a good person. Of course, that’s not always how it goes, and if it doesn’t work out that way I suffer – like, really suffer.

If you want to simplify something, come to me: I like to act fast, so it will not be hard to make things less complicates and run them on the ground as soon as possible.

Ah, I also really care about aesthetics. I think better when I’m in a nice place, when this place is clean. I feel good, it just calls me down.

My dream in life is to be a massive change maker in something that will drive a better world. I want to be known for that, but still humble and approachable. Keeping real connections is one of the most important things in life for me. I don’t like shallow people or conversations, as genuine interest is one of my personal values.

I haven’t found this contribution yet, but I will. What about you? 

6 funny facts that nobody mentions about the life of everywhere citizens

Traveling is beautiful, right?

We can say that nowadays the life of travelers is one of the most desired ones, specially for younger generations. However, have you ever thought about the perks of being on the road all the time? Here you have 6 of thousands of funny facts about the life of everywhere citizens!

  1. No matter what you say, when your friends see you packing, they will think you are lucky. Even if you travel for work and barely have time to see around, some people will be envy and some will even criticize you. letsdoit
  2. You sleep in so many different places that sometimes you wake up without knowing where you really are.how did I get here
  3. Long layovers? Why pay so much for a hotel when you can nap on the floor? Yes, you might need to become a professional in sleeping in airports! sleepingairport
  4. You go out, you meet people, and in the end you promise to get together again. Truth is, after some weeks you kind of forget of some of them when they come to talk to you…whoare you.gif
  5. When traveling around, you face a lot of weird situations and might get lost all the time. Relax, just enjoy the ride 🙂whereamI
  6. When you go back home after long trips, you get so confused: you want to lie in the couch like a potato, but at the same time you want to catch up with friends and go to the places you never go… Or even going back to the gym?OH MY GOD, but you are traveling again in two days!  toomuch

More than everything, even with the perks, in the end being an everywhere citizen pays off due to the awesome memories you will carry with you!

 

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On Anne Frank house and Global Citizenship

“How wonderful is it that nobody needs to wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world” – Anne Frank.

Some days ago,I had the honour to visit for the second time a very historic place: The house where Anne Frank was hidden during the second world war and the holocaust.  For those who never heard about her, Anne Frank was a german-born jewish girl, which is very famous for journaling about her journey during the holocaust. Anne was hidden in a attic for years, together with her family. More than that, Anne is a very important figure of this period for her hope and her thoughts, even after being caught by germans and moving to Auschwitz, where she died a bit before the war ended.

It was my second in the museum; however, I must admit that the situations in fist and second time were completely different, my thoughts were different, the impact was also much bigger now. This visit made me think that Anne Frank was a global citizen, even with all the happenings of the second world war.

But what is the definition of a global citizen?

Well, A global citizen is a person who has the following characteristics:

  • Believes in their ability to make a difference for the world
  • Is interested in the world issues
  • Enjoys taking responsibility for improving the world

Of course, the question might be: “Why is global citizenship important?”

My answer for that is very simple: Have you seen what is happening in the world we live? The amount of attacks related to conflict between cultures has been growing each day, and we have been facing new waves of xenophobia and racism. It might seem like things are better, but sometimes we prefer to close our eyes and move on with our lives.

On that, I watched a super interesting video today. It talks about how Hitler rose to power – it’s simple and direct.

Do you see anything in this video that might be related to what is going on now? Well, I do, and this makes me extremely worried.

For this reason, I would like to reinforce that Global citizenship has no boundaries, and is extremely needed in the world we live.

What is your opinion about it?

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How to pack your life in two suitcases?

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This question has been asked by me for the last 5 years of my life.

5 years, 3 countries, 5 cities, 7 different houses. Now it’s the time to move to the fourth country and 8th house, knowing that most probably, once again it will not be for good.

How do I feel about that? Yes, I feel tired. I feel annoyed that I don’t have the room I wanted, or my dream wall made with the collection of postcards that I own (and is also all spread over). I feel annoyed that I always need to leave my stuff behind and that I can never buy new things because this will keep on happening. I’m also annoyed because when I start getting used to living somewhere, I need to move again.

There’s also the things you miss: new children in the family, friends’ birthdays, parties, or just the smallest things such as your favorite dish.

So, why do we do that to ourselves? Why do people decide to be everywhere citizens?
In the end,it’s about understanding the beauty of different cultures and realities, expanding your mind, getting rid of your prejudices.

I personally love Bonsai, and I believe us, human beings, are like Bonsai trees. If you keep them in a small box, they will limit their growth to the box. If you put them in an opened environment, they will grow without limits. The tricky part, though, is if you try to take them back to the box after experiencing an open environment : they will not fit anymore. It’s the same with us: we are not the same after expanding our horizons, and we will never be the same again. Basically, we cannot accept being small.

There’s nothing wrong to live in the same place for the rest of your life. I find beautiful how some people can create they roots and contribute to one single community.
I also know that’s not the way I am, at least for now. I still don’t know where (and if) I want to establish my safe harbour, but I am sure that wherever that is, it will be due to the fact that I will be able to contribute to a community.

So for now let’s start this next experience in Rotterdam ,working with another multicultural team and contributing (in my own way) to peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential.

Thank you Belgium for the last 11 amazing months : it was crazy, it was hard, it was worth it. Thank you MC Nexus and AIESEC in Belgium for making me grow and challenge myself each day; I wish you all the happiness in this world and I’m pretty we will meet each other soon enough.

À bientôt !
Tot ziens!
See you soon!

Leaving Brazil..

Magritte+EyeTen days in Brazil. A lot of people to see, a lot of places to go. In the end, my “days off” became a bit tiresome,but it was extremely rewarding to be with friends and family again. I will definitely take these memories with me and will miss you all in my routine.
For the ones who I wasn’t able to see, I hope there’s a next time soon so that we can catch up 😊.
Now, back to Brussels with only 10 days left to a whole new adventure in the Netherlands. I need to say I’m super excited,overwhelmed, happy, anxious, scared .. Such a big mix of feelings come because of the big responsibility of this next role, but in the end, it makes me so happy to know that I’ll be having fun with my work for one more ! So, let’s start packing again and get ready to rock this boat on the way to 2020 😊

Dez dias no Brasil. Um monte de gente para ver, um monte de lugares para ir. No final, os meus ” dias de folga ” tornaram-se um pouco cansativo. De qualquer forma, foi extremamente gratificante estar com amigos e família novamente. Definitivamente irei levar essas memórias comigo , e sentirei falta de todos vocês na minha rotina . Para aqueles que eu não fui capaz de ver , eu espero que haja uma próxima vez em breve 😊 .
Agora, de volta para Bruxelas, com apenas 10 dias para o início de uma nova aventura na Holanda. Eu preciso dizer que estou super animada, empolgada, feliz, ansiosa, com medo .. Tal mistura de sentimentos vem por causa da grande responsabilidade deste próximo papel, mas, no final, só uma coisa importa: a felicidade de saber que eu vou estar me divertindo com o meu trabalho mais um ano!
Então, vamos começar a preparar a mudança novamente e concentrar energias para arrasar no caminho de 2020 😊