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My first Quidditch cup

As most of you might know, I work from home.
And even though I love everything about it (like making my own schedule, editing in my pajamas, cuddling with my cats and pause to watch Netflix), it often turns into a very lonely life.

In Lisbon the best decision I ever made as a freelancer was to work at a coworking space. There I met loads of inspiring crazy ones like me. Made friends, learned from them and with them, and even launched two startups.
Life was never boring.
In London things are a bit different because coworking spaces are still too expensive for my budget, and even though I've searched for a few where I could apply to work as part of the managing team, something inside of me tells me that I shouldn't make my entire life in London around work.

I have felt really lost on my purpose while here, and I've wanted to talk about it for a while now.

Yesterday it came to me.

Finding my group of people is essential

I can function pretty well on my own, minding my own business, but London taught me that I really needed to have a tribe to feel at home.
I missed that feeling of belonging to something that makes me happy and more complete. I'd been lacking that, and I never had to think about it before because back home I belonged to at least 5 different creative collectives and had all sorts of groups of friends.

This is one of the hard parts of starting all over.
And even though it was never hard for me to make friends, this time facts are bit different. I didn't come to London for an exchange period like Erasmus, or to do a long term workshop. Under those circumstances there are normally "agents" that help things move faster, but not this time.
I came here to try to build a life, and what I have a really hard time to cope with (since I am an achiever), is that things simply take time.
Time! I don't have time! haha!

On being an immigrant

I talk about London lessons a lot, I know, but it really is like that.
London is teaching me about life, and sacrifice, and nostalgia, and seeing my spot in Lisbon being replaced, and sometimes I just feel like I am in this distant island (which I am, ahahah) seeing the ships pass by.

I am not going to lie. I miss home in a way.
I miss my house and everyday I wake up here I shake away the idea and the feelings that haunt me that other people are currently renting the home I've built for myself on Air Bnb. I really love that we get to have a house that is making some profit but at the same time, that's the place where all my stories happened.

I miss seeing my friends who now all have kids and some of them I haven't met yet and that kills me.

I miss the sun, and of how I never thought about the privilege I used to have, to just put my face outside and feel its warmth instantly.

And I miss other little things, but the list would be huge.

I guess I finally understand what it is to be an immigrant.
I miss home, but I don't want to go home just yet. Not yet. I am not done.

The purpose of this blog post

I've been playing Quidditch since last November, and last weekend I had my first tournament, as we were representing London at Dev Cup.
I have always been really welcomed in the team, but it was only after last weekend that I felt like I can finally say I belong. Maybe it's this kind of initiation ritual that needs to happen.

You can come to practice at Clapham Common every Saturday, have a good time and all, but only after the nerve wrecking feeling and euphoric state of mind that you get from a competition, and the fact that it is shared by a group of people you like and who have the same purpose as you, you then really feel like you are a part of something greater than just standing there next to each other.

I was lucky enough to feel that this past weekend in York.

Photos by Quid

My first game

I didn't sleep at all the night before. I had just driven with 4 more people in the car, we had just arrived at the hostel and I was worried about the competition. I was worried of being shit, aaaand, of embarassing myself, which always tends to happen A LOT.

I was worried about letting people down. I was worried to find out that Quidditch wasn't for me after all.
So all night long I kept waking up every time the person on the top bunk moved, I had the weirdest vivid dreams of my life, and when the time came and our coach entered the room to wake us up I was feeling sick to my stomach.
I forced breakfast down my throat and drove to where games were going to take place.

Photo by Claire Brand

The first time we all made the circle to talk about the day, tactics and team spirit in general made my heart melt.
I am a crier. I just am, I have no shame whatsoever about it. Rob said really lovely things about us, and about trusting ourselves and each other, and no one saw that little tear, even though it was mentioned that I get emotional at these things. I am not going to lie, I felt a bit of warmth in me.

I looked around at everyone and I remember thinking I really liked that group of people.
I had had the chance to really talk to most of them during the past 5 months, and we all come from different backgrounds and situations. We are all fighting different battles within ourselves and life in general, but on that moment, none of it mattered. We were there to play, and be good at it.

We sang a very clumsy Unbreakables chant and then, we put our hands together to scream 'LONDON'.
That is where it hit me.
And I couldn't hold it in. I just didn't let anyone see.
Rob said 'London on 3!'.
He screamed '1, 2, 3' and we all shouted 'LONDON!!'.

London. I was shouting the name of the city that taught me some of the biggest lessons of my life. The city that broke me to pieces and showed me what depression meant. The city that makes me think and re-think my life constantly.
Only now, for the first time, it had a really good meaning.
I mean that feeling of having a purpose together. With that group of friends who don't care that you are a weirdo because, in fact, they are weirdos too and that is brilliant.
I was going to to the best I could for them.
The first time I got into the pitch felt like I was floating. Adrenaline kicked in and I was a mess. For about 5 seconds or so I was so lost and confused and euphoric. Then the game just flowed, and we did win it.

Capes on tour

Cape is a term in Quidditch slang used for people who LOVE Harry Potter.

The Quidditch that we play goes way beyond the books. Yes, it all began with Harry Potter, but it really is a full complete sport, and most people who play it actually do it for the sport and not because of 'the boy who lived'.
Yes, the terms are the same, so we have keepers and chasers, beaters and seekers, and quaffles and bludgers and a snitch. We mount on "a broom" and score by throwing the quaffle through hoops, but looking closely, it is a mix of handball, dodgeball and rugby with the handicap of having to run with a stick between our legs.

Still, I am the perfect example of a Cape. I love the HP world, I have two Harry Potter tattoos, will definitely get more and have no shame whatsoever about it.
Truth is, I believe our team has never ever had such a huge number or Capes as it does right now, and the funniest thing is that this was a name used to "make fun" of other Capes in other teams, and now all the Capes seem to be right on ours. Haha!

Just between us, we came up with a silly chant that was VERY capey and suggested it to our coaches. Their first reaction was 'NO WAY, NOT EVER!', and by the end of day one, we were surprised with it being accepted and turned into our main chant. (This made my day! And yes, we are screaming 'CAPES CAPES CAPES CAPES' in the end!)

By day 2, we had a new one, an even more capey one, and our coach was super proud to sing it all the time.

This post is huge, AGAIN

We won 4 matches and lost two last weekend.
We lost the run for medals, but I learned a great deal of things about myself:

  • This was the longest time I ever drove my car in the UK, and I now feel absolutely confident about it (remember I drive a european car with steering wheel on the left, and I have to drive British style, on the wrong side of the road, which to them is the right side, haha)
  • It's ok to be nervous. Means I care
  • I don't feel bad anymore for being one of the oldest members on the team. It just is what it is
  • Sometimes I won't understand everything people say in their British slang ways and I might seem a little 'duh' (which I DID), but oh well.
  • I really love competition, and being in a team
  • London will always be a love-hate thing for me, and that's fine
But the most important thing of all is that all these things above are topics that are way way way out of my comfort zone. And I am doing something about them. And that makes me SO PROUD OF MYSELF.

I started this blog post saying I work from home in my pajamas, and I ended it saying I drove to York, put on a team kit and represented London with other people.
I know I spend a lot of time by myself, but truth is, I am happier when surrounded by people like me. 

Suddenly, because of Quidditch, London isn't as bad. It is ok. It is smoother.

I knew there was a reason for reading Harry Potter books so many years ago. 
The Universe was sending me tips to have an easier introduction to London when I grew up. hahaha! 
If that isn't the capeyest things I've ever written, I don't know what is!

Have an awesome day!
Love, Lu*


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