Huilo Huilo, May 2022

[I found this in the drafts – written in Valdivia, Chile]

It’s just a Tuesday afternoon and I’m sitting here in front of a blank page knowing that I’m going to write something but not quite knowing what. Carving out time for writing like this is something that really matters to me. I don’t understand why I have the compulsion to write, but I know that writing brings to me a peace. I feel settled when I have written, calm. It’s like by putting words into sentences I construct an order in my mind which diminishes any undercurrents of nervous anticipation. And as I’m always changing locations, changing living environments, there is always some nervous anticipation lying around to be swept up onto the page.

Soon I’m going to head out to the supermarket to pick up some eggs and some cheese. There’s a simplicity to this that I quite enjoy. Overcomplicate life and you lose track of what’s important. You miss out on the afternoons dedicated to doing the thing you love.

When I switched from working for someone else’s goals to working for my own, I promised myself that I would spend more time with my family. It sounds odd perhaps that my way of spending more time with my family involves living the other side of the world. I travel slowly and try not to live in a rush, although sometimes my instincts run contrary to this. Paulatinamente, step-by-step. There’s no need for constant haste. What happens though is that when I go home, I put my family first. Having a drink with my parents or grandparents becomes the purpose of the day, or the week, or the month. It’s okay to just stop and be with them.

The kitchen fills with smoky spices and shouts and music and the fire alarm sounds and someone swings the door shut and the father makes a joke about my cooking skills and the mother is throwing things in the sink.

From this Latin American world I live in, there is nothing so strange about spending periods of time living in your parents’ house. And having travelled so much, I’ve discovered that my parents are actually quite easy to live with. They’re accommodating and the fridge is always full of food. We never run out of toilet paper or AA batteries or sticky plasters. The father might get enthusiastic about saving the universe and the mother has a distinctly different pace of action to me, but they have grown used to their itinerant daughter appearing and disappearing.

Writing settles me. It helps me understand what matters to me, what I care about and unsurprisingly I credit it with a lot of my current contentment. If I didn’t write, I don’t know how I would know myself.