My name is Clara, and I wanted to share my story with you. I am the daughter of generations of immigrants. My great grandparents from both of the sides of the family tree were European and emigrated to Argentina at different points in history. My great grandparents from my fathers side even met in the boat going to Argentina. My great grandmother was English and she was hired by a wealthy Argentine family to be a governess in Buenos Aires. My great grandfather was one of the only young men left in his small town in Vicenza after the First World War and the whole town chipped in and payed for his one way ticket to exile in South America (yeah, just like Titanic). I know this might not be directly relevant to my story, but- isn’t history an eternal revolving door?
I’m Argentinian by birth, I have an Italian passport, Latin American passion and the Brit love for dogs and horses. I love social gatherings, enticing conversation but (just like yourself), I am an introvert by heart. I guess having the sun in Cancer and moon in Leo explains my personality quite well (hope you like astrology too). I was a travel aficionado all my life but sometimes routine, relationships and crazy work schedules keep you still for a while- even though your heart and your body are moving at a crazy speed and asking you to stop.
My past ten years in Buenos Aires have been as passionate and colourful as the city itself. But Argentina is still a young country and has a lot to learn. We live in a perpetual state of alert. Insecurity, inflation , trying to make ends meet- the picture is not easy for a recently graduated professional. I worked very hard but every day had crisis after crisis. Last year, (when I had recently turned 29) I was working 14 hours a day And getting between 2 and 4 hours of sleep. A recipe for disaster. Between my corporate HR job and my volunteer work in an NGO, I didn’t have for 6 months a night out with my friends. I wanted to keep on going and going, like a horse wearing blinkers I just wanted to look ahead. There was no time for stopping. The stakes were too high. In the NGO, I was working with an extremely sensitive case of a 9 year old girl who lived in one of the slums in BA who was constantly abused (both violent and sexual) by her step father. Despite that, she was a kind hearted kid with a very wise look. You could tell she had lived a lot for her tender age. After months of work with social services, we had everything in place to rescue Ana (I can’t disclose her real name but this was her name by choice) from that hell on earth she was living. Unfortunately, the nigh before we were going to get her, she was suffocated to death by her stepfather. Yes- straight out from a horror story. I will never forget the moment I heard the news. I was in a bus going from one end of Buenos Aires to get an important document for the whole case. My world collapsed. I felt a pinching in my neck, my legs turned to jelly and my vision disappeared. I tried to get off the bus, but that made things worst because I fell directly to the street. After a while unconscious, when I woke up I couldn’t see. Stress, pressure and that awful situation turned me temporary blind. After one day in the hospital, I was myself again. But the doctor told me as clear and direct as he could, that if I kept going like this I could have a stroke. STROKE?? I am only 29. S-T-R-O-K-E. He actually spelled it. That was it, that was the moment I knew I was actually human. I wasn’t super girl, I couldn’t do it all. I could accomplish a lot, but not all. My life was at stake. Being a catholic girl, I decided to go to a silence retreat for 3 days. I prayed, cry, wrote, even laughed by myself. I knew what I had to do. I started over. Like my great grandparents before, I packed my bags and sailed into the unknown (ok I actually flew on a plane and did a lot of google research before),or something like it.
I have been living in Sydney for the past 6 months, and I couldn’t be happier. My working hours are normal, I go out a lot, I go to the gym and I am even right now in a bench in the park taking all the time in the world to share this story with you. For me the best thing was to take some distance and start fresh. I guess its the blood of immigrants and adventurers that flows through my veins. I had to fly halfway across the world to find the balance I needed, but I just came to the realisation that the balance was in me all along. We have the power to live healthy, passionate and balanced lives. We just have to go for it.
I hope you enjoyed my story like I enjoyed turning it into words for you. I am going to write more often.
Wishing you joy, love and happiness.