Sunday, 8 November 2015

Ode to my Nana

When a soul leaves this earth, how do we keep their memory alive and make sure they aren't devoured by the forgetfulness of time? 

We tell their story, of course. And this one was my nanas..

The year 1931 in a small Bosnian village my nana Marica was born. She was one of 12 brothers and sisters growing up in the countryside. Sadly her childhood didn't last very long nor was it a happy one for that matter. As World War 2 broke out she had just turned 8 years old. Fleeing for safety most of her family was captured, split up and sent to the Jasenovac concentration camp in Bosnia. She witnessed her father Ilija and two older brothers, Vlado and Boro, brutally executed as a warning to everyone. 'Do as we say, or else..' was the message their charred bodies portrayed as they were burned alive. 

A few years ago, before she got a stroke, I sat her down and purposefully made her take this painful trip down memory lane. 
I wanted to know about her life so that one day I could tell her story. It is a life worth remembering. She told me about my grand grandmother Petra, a good hearted and strong woman who lost 4 
children either in child birth or at a very early stage in their lives. She raised the remaining 6 alone after her husband and two sons lost their lives in the war. Radojka, Nevenka and Ratko emigrated to America in the 50's while the youngest; Vida moved to Australia in the 60's. The only ones left in former Yugoslavia were Nada and my nana Marica. 

Once she turned 15 my nana started working in an Iron Foundry as a metal worker. Tough job for a young girl but in those days beggars couldn't be choosers. 

At the age of 24 she met my grandfather Ljubodrag Vrbaski, an officer in the Yugoslavian army and an Auscwitz survivor. They moved to Novi Sad and got married a year later and a year after that their only child was born; my mother Katarina. Sadly their marriage didn't last very long due to my granddads constant infidelity and they divorced when my mother was 6 years old. 

Nana claims that she never loved another man after that. She gave up on men all-together and instead focused her life on raising her daughter and working 14 hour days at the factory. 

And then, she said, came her first and for many years only grandchild; me. 
Once retired from the iron foundry she helped raise me while my mom was at work. I remember our small one bedroom apartment in Zlatna Greda street in Novi Sad. It was a measly 25 square meters with a communal outhouse and no shower. A woodburning stove and a bucket for your needs during cold winter nights. But she made the most of it on her tiny pension and there was nothing I loved more than a nice home cooked meal at my nanas place. 

A few years later my mother and I moved to Sweden. I remember I was 6 at the time and nana was crying as I waved goodbye. 
It took another few more years until our paperworks were finished and my mother could bring nana over to live with us until she got a place of her own.

It was a hard decision for someone in their 60's to just pack up and leave the life you know behind. And it was hard for her once she joined us too. She struggled with the language and never mastered more than a few words, her favorite one being 'Bra, bra!' meaning 'Good, good!' 
It was her answer to anything and everything. She soon found her greatest hobby and favorite pastime; collecting cans and bottles and recycling them for a cash profit at the local supermarket. Every day she would walk for hours and in a week she could easily make about a 500 SEK profit. 

I remember being ashamed of her behavior when I was in my early teens. She cramped my style as I tried to get in with the cool kids in school and at times I would walk past her pretending I didn't know her. She didn't mind back then. But I do mind now. 

Growing up I too fled the life I knew for greener pastures in Great Britain. I lived my life to the fullest visiting maybe once a year, if that. Each time culminating in a home cooked meal at my nanas house and each time she would give me a parting gift of some of her hard earned recycling cash and I would gladly take it and treat myself to a couple of nights out in London upon my return. 

I was ashamed of her back then, but today I am ashamed of my behavior. I hope she knows that now.

Her final five years she spent at the Kviberg Retirement home as her health prevented her from looking after herself. And she refused to move in with my mom and her ex-husband because she couldn't witness the abuse he put her through. Instead she asked to spend her final days with people her own age.

My mother visited and took care of my nana several days a week. I visited her as often as I could, but towards the end I found it hard to muster up the strength to go and see her. I couldn't cope with the fact that my beloved nana was wasting away in front of my eyes.. 
Somehow I was hoping to preserve her in my memory the way she once was; feisty, colorful and full of life. Not the empty shell of the wonderful woman I once knew.

Nana, however, didn't give up. Her heart was strong and kept her alive through 4 pneumonias during the last three years of her life. An accomplishment rarely reached by someone in their 80's. In the end she was the only one left of all her brothers and sisters with great aunty Vida and great uncle Ratko passing on within a couple of months from eachother earlier this year. 

Today we lay her beautiful soul to rest. 
It is a gloomy, dark and rainy day. My heart is heavy and it aches at the thought that I'll never see my nana again. But I have to be strong today. I have to muster up the courage not to break down and be there for my mom through this hard time. And somehow find solace in the fact that mom and I were with nana through her last days. I just hope she could feel our presence. 

Rest in peace nana! May the black earth be gentle on your soul and give her the peace she deserves. Finally she is reunited with her brothers and sisters, and one day, we will be reunited with her.. 

Marica Međed

Wedding Speech for Edward and Monica

The first time I met Monica there was an instant connection and I knew that very moment that I had found the woman of my dreams. I knew that i had found my soulmate. But being an out and proud gay man this was somewhat confusing for me. (pause for laugh)

According to a dictionary a Soulmate is 
a person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet - a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before. With them you are all that much more aware of the beauty in life, because you have been given a great gift and will always be thankful.

It was clear to me that I had found someone i could share my deepest and darkest secrets with and she would never judge me for them, if anything she would love me even more. 

I could take her shopping and steer her clear of the hideous outfits that seem good in theory but not in practice. A sort of fashion police if you will. Although even I have been guilty of some fashion faux pas over the years. (pause for laugh)

Our relationship consists of unconditional love and respect for one another and I can only remember one major fight we ever had; it was when she decided to move out of our home that we had shared for many years in favor of moving in with her then husband to be. It resulted in a screaming match so loud that the neighbors called the police and reported domestic violence. Imagine the officers surprise when they found a hysterical screaming queen and a bleached blonde in a cat fight over who gets to keep the dining room table.. (pause for laugh)

In many ways we were just like any old 'married couple'. We enjoyed the little things in life, laughed, bickered, bitched and cried together. We were always there for one another and we worked together to realise our dreams; from fantasizing of the Galápagos Islands as teenagers to making it there in person as adults. Monica is the most wonderful woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She is my best friend, my sister, my soulmate and the wife I'll never and always have. But as much as i saw us together for the rest of our lives there were certain "husbandly" obligations i just could not accomplish. (laugh)

Enter Edward Jenkins.

Meeting Ed, same cataclysmic effect took place for Monica but this time it was with a man who could fulfill all her dreams and needs. A man who could challenge her, push her limits and boundaries and open her mind even further. He would come to love her in the same unconditional way and slowly they would start building their dreams and making them a reality. 

It has been a great pleasure getting to know Ed. He is an incredible man with a big heart. He's aloof, spontaneous and quirky and totally 'out there' - a perfect compliment to Monicas list making, planning and CCD (compulsive cleaning disorder) - a Ying to her Yang if you will. 

A perfect example was our roadtrip to Vegas when he proposed to her in the Nevada desert while the sun was setting over the pyramid, Eiffel Tower and Caesars Palace. The whole world in one place. Only he forgot one thing - Mons uncontrollable fear of snakes. Although the proposal was a roaring  success it was marked by the 'Warning of Rattle Snakes' sign forever etched in her mind. Monicas perfect moment with an unexpected twist. 

See how they balance each other out? (laugh) 

The culmination of their love has resulted in yet another perfection in the form of baby Dash. The best of both worlds, completing their lovely family together with Jimmy pup and Tilly cat. For now. 

Together they make the perfect family and I couldn't have wished for a better man to hand my best friend over to. Most of all I am grateful that he doesn't mind sharing his wife with me from time to time. A happy ending for all of us! (laugh)

Thank you Ed for making her the happiest woman in the world. I couldn't have done it better myself. (laugh)

So as an ending to this very long speach, here is a poem that could hopefully teach,
a thing or two for a happy long life, 
forever together as husband and wife.


Let's raise a glass and toast to the perfect couple. May they live happily ever after and continue to brighten up all our lives with their presence. To Monica and Edward Jenkins. Now and forever! 


Monday, 24 September 2012

Wandering Star

I cannot remember the last time I felt this lost and confused in my entire adult life. I have spent the last couple of weeks in turmoil, trying to get my head around what actually went down and how we ever ended up here in the first place. It’s the strangest situation and no matter how hard I try I can’t stop the tears from rolling down my face. There are some good days, of course. And then there are days like today. Days when I wish I never woke up. Days when the pain in my chest refuses to subside and a breath of air is hard to come by. When everything I see brings a beautiful memory to mind but instead of conveying a smile it only reminds me of what I no longer have..
There is a saying that goes ‘You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’.
It has been haunting me for weeks now and compels me to put pen to paper and get my thoughts out in the open.  Never has that phrase felt more true to me than this very moment.

After a year and a bit of fantastic experiences with the man I love the relationship came to an abrupt halt. We came to the realisation that we are just too different and that the timing was way off for us to be building any kind of future together. Off course, the long distance took its toll as well as the insecurities that come with it. At times I felt like I was compromising my integrity by subduing my own emotions as my love was less eloquent with his.  Perhaps I was expecting too much.

But in retrospect I would trade all of my ‘tomorrows’ for just a single ’yesterday’.  
Because I know that he loves me. I know that deep down in his heart all of the things that he put up with during the time we spent together he did out of the love he feels for me. Just as I did with him.
And therein lies my dilemma. Never before have I experienced a breakup where both parties still love each other. And I just don’t know how to deal with it.
I know that time heals all wounds and that eventually this horrible feeling that’s festering inside my chest will subside. I just can’t help but think about all those ‘What if’s’..
What if we had met under different circumstances, would our chances had been greater ? What if I had listened to his advice from the beginning, would that have made things easier for us? What if he had given me all that I wanted, would I still have wanted him? What if I hadn’t allowed my insecurities to get the better of me, would we still be together?

Our biggest issue was communication. We just couldn’t communicate face to face. We had grown so accustomed to interacting online and via text message during the months we were apart that each time we saw each other we avoided to talk about the important and relevant issues. Mostly because the time we did have was so precious we never wanted to ruin it with seriousness. And as such the break up followed in those very footsteps. And that pains me more than I can put down in words.
If I had known what was coming I would have taken advantage of each minute we had left, made it count. Made it special.. But I am not a magician and I can’t undo what has been done. Nor am I a time traveller and I can’t go back and change what has happened.
I am just a simple man in love, with an aching heart and one last wish. Although the chances are slim and all the bridges have been burned I wish for the chance to see my baby one more time. For a single moment just forget all that went wrong and celebrate the things that were right. To make up for those last couple of days that should have ended in a better way and somehow re-mould the ending into something less regrettable.

Starlight, star bright, the star I wish upon tonight.
I wish may, I wish I might have this wish I wish tonight!

Monday, 2 July 2012

8 letters. 3 words.

Relationships are never easy. No one ever said that they were. But then again we as mankind don’t seem to like anything to be too easy. It seems we always strive for and want something that takes some fighting for. I guess that in the end the effort makes the reward so much greater.

Experience has solely taught me to fight for what I believe in and for what I really want. And I try with all my might to abide by that philosophy. But when you meet someone who’s beliefs are completely opposite from yours it gets really complicated. You start questioning if what you believe really is the right thing and you start to re-evaluate your thinking.

They say that all good relationships are based on equality. But equality can be hard to achieve. There are many factors that play vital parts in obtaining some sort of balance. Different circumstances all add to the equation. Age, experiences, background, education, financial status, upbringing, culture and environment are amongst the most vital ones. 

Overcoming these obstacles can be difficult but not impossible when it’s a question of love. The important thing is to recognise each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work together to balance them out as a couple. I for instance don’t have a higher education to fall back on. Flunking after high school I have always relied on luck to get by in life. It has worked out pretty good so far but as a result I often find myself in situations where I feel incredibly stupid in intellectual conversations. I wouldn’t call myself unintelligent but I sure am no intellectual. Having grown up trilingual I feel as if I’ve mastered the languages to a ‘get by adequately’ level. It’s only when I get to Serbia, my country of birth, that I feel like a tourist who’s just learned the language from a guidebook. I know it’s not intentional but sometimes people I speak with can make me feel really dumb. Good thing that the man I’m with has studied philology all his adult life and can help me correct some of the mistakes I make on a daily basis.

At times I use generosity to make up for feeling stupid. I have been brought up with a sharing mentality and one of my beliefs is that happiness is always at its best when it’s shared with your near and dear ones. I am not a materialistic person. Anyone who knows me can vouch for that. But when I am able to I will make sure that everyone around me is fed and dined and is having a good time. But sadly, this can sometimes be perceived in a wrong way and people feel overpowered.
It is not my intention to make anyone feel bad or feel that they are worth less by any means. On the contrary, when I come to Serbia I have enough money to treat myself to a lifestyle I can’t quite afford back home in Sweden. I splurge on cab fares, clothes, restaurants and travel. I do this because I can and I always try to include my partner or my friends. When all's said and done how much fun is it to do anything alone?

I am also a very emotional person. I make all my decisions on a completely emotional level whilst my partner is more sensible when it comes to decision making. It took some time to get my head around his way of thinking and I still haven’t grasped it completely but I feel like I am finally getting there. It is no secret that our differences have caused trouble in our relationship. Sometimes to a breaking point. We have argued and we have fought and said some terrible things to each other.

Whoever said that words can cut deeper than the sharpest knife was right. Some of my oldest insecurities stem from unintentional things people have said in the past. But I am not much different as I too have made the same mistake. All I can do is ask for forgiveness and hope that the wound I caused doesn’t leave a scar.

It’s been a year now and living 1547 kilometres apart has not been easy most of the time. It’s taken some hard work, plenty of effort and a lot of soul searching and it seems we’ve reached a milestone.

All things considered, when you truly love someone you should do everything in your power to work through your differences. If you are lucky enough to find someone good in this world then do whatever it takes to keep them in your life because many people are not that lucky.
At the end of the day it all comes down to forgiving and forgetting and moving forward. Learning from your mistakes and growing with them. And to be able to let one another know how much you mean to each other. Eight letters. Three words. Very rarely heard. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Hopeless Romantic

Being a hopeless romantic is not easy. I never thought it would be.As our world keeps evolving and getting more modern by the click of a mouse we seem to be losing touch with what romance really is.

Growing up as a kid I loved getting lost in fairytales. I used to fantasize about one day meeting that special someone, getting swiped off my feet, riding with my lover into the sunset and living happily ever after. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a complete moron. I do have some sense left in me to know that fairytales aren’t real and that love rarely happens like it does in the movies. But then again, I also think, that if I still believe in romance like that surely there has to be more people that do out there in this world. Or is there?

I’ve come across a few individuals that claim to be as hopelessly romanticized as I am, but when push comes to shove it turns out that only in theory are they prepared to live out those emotions. In practice it’s a completely different matter. I don’t understand what people are so afraid of?If I had given up or lost hope that one day I will find someone who’ll fulfill me in the way that I would like them to then I would have packed my bags a long time ago and settled on a desert island away from the perils of reality. But I haven’t. I’m still here.

It Love at first sight’ said Kylie. ‘Love is a losing game’ replied Amy Winehouse. ‘Love tried to welcome me’ exclaimed Madonna. ‘Nothing’s real but Love’ announced Rebecca Ferguson.

I didn’t choose to be a romantic. It just happened. In all honesty I don’t know how. The prospects of me ever becoming one were slim to nothing seeing as my own mother never had any luck in that department. I kept witnessing one failed marriage after another. My nan only ever had one man. Once that was over she swore off men (and sex for that matter) forever. Never once did I see her or hear her speak of a man, ever. My granddad on the other hand was what Britney would call a Womanizer. He couldn’t get enough. He was chivalrous but never romantic.

So where did this stem from within me? Was it the lack of love and romance in my childhood that created this hunger? Or was it childhood defiance that made me go in the opposite direction to the people around me?

All I know is that I had no choice. And I still don’t.

Try as I may I find it hard to live without romance in my life. I yearn for it. I long for it. I need it!

But instead of waiting for someone to do something romantic for me I started doing things for the people in my life. I’m one of those guys that will fly across the globe to be with the one I love. I won’t see obstacles. I’ll see challenges that I can overcome. I will wake up in the middle of the night just to give my lover a kiss. I will leave little notes in pockets for them to find, sometime, one day. I will share everything I have. I will find out what makes them happy and try to multiply that by a hundred. I will write messages that later I’ll regret because I then realize how cheezy they sound – but feel right at the time. I will leave a flower at their doorstep for them to find when they come home. I will write crazy love letters that make no sense at all. I will shout my love from the highest mountain top. I will try and help make their dreams come true, even if there’s no logical way for me to do that. I will try. I will run through fire to comfort them when they’re sad. If I can’t, then I will cry with them. I will always be on their side, even if they’re wrong. I will try and make them laugh as much as I can. I will show them the world, if only so I can see it through their eyes. I will do anything I can to ensure their happiness. Or at least try to help them achieve it.

There’s no limit to what I am prepared to do, for someone I love. In the hope that maybe one day, someone would be prepared to do the same for me. Maybe these seem like small and insignificant things. But these things can make a world of difference.

That, to me, is romance. That to me is love. Maybe my view on love doesn’t coincide with yours. But it doesn’t mean that it’s not right.It’s a broad term that has many definitions. There’s no right or wrong in love.

The one thing I definitely do know about love is that it’s scary. Plunging in there’s not much else you can do but hope that someone’s there to catch you as you fall.Trust that they won’t break your heart once you let them roam free inside it and believe in an Ever After.

Hopeless. Romantic.

That’s me.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Burning Man

It is with a heavy heart that I start this entry. I am saddened and appaled by how parts of our world are run today.

Last night I reluctantly clicked on a link that was sent to me. The heading read; 'African Man Burned Alive for being Gay'.

As I watched the images that emerged on my screen I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing. With my hand covering my mouth I stared at a poor man beaten to a bloody pulp by an angry mob. People laughing at him as he sat there in the middle of the street covered in blood. Some one was filming the whole thing as they continued to hit him with various objects. Then, suddenly, another man approaches and at first it looked as if he was throwing water at him. Only, seconds later, I realised that what looked like water was in fact gasoline.

Laughing and shouting the poeple threw burning matches towards the already incapacitated man and he burst into flames. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was hoping that this was some scene from a bad horror movie or some sort of sick joke - but the punchline never came.

I sat in horror as it dawned on me that I had just witnessed a real life excecution. Something that was clearly filmed by some sick bastard for amusement.

I feel sick to my stomach that things like this are allowed to happen in the world we live in today.

But what saddens me the most is the fact that this video has been online for at least a month and still there has been no reports about it in the major media. I have been looking for some coverage online. Any coverage. But the only thing I can find is personal blog entries from people as shocked as I am.

Today I took it upo myself to send this link to ALL major News Agencies World Wide.

I have sent it to BBC, CNN, SKY News, Evening Standard, Reuters, B92, Press Association, TT - you name it. All this in hope that some justice will be brought to the Burning Man.

This unknown man that lost his life for loving someone his own gender!

I hope that by bringing this story to the public it will open up the eyes of the world. That by telling this mans story his death wont have been in vain. And if by any chance it makes at least one person realise just how wrong this is - then I will have succeede in my task.

This is the video. I warn you. The images you are about to see are EXTREMELY DISTURBING!!!!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

If U say U ♥ Me..

I don't want to hear you talking anymore,
because I know it's hard. I can see you're all alone..
So come into my home, baby..
I don't need to believe every word you say, with all the games you play.
It doesn't matter that you're late. You're always late.

Just say that you love me, cos I want you to.
Just say that you love me. Help me get to you.
Just say that you need me, baby, like I need you.
While the world is spinning round, I'm on solid ground.

If you say you love me cos I want you to.
If you say you love me, help me get to you.
If you say you need me, baby, like I need you.
While the world is spinning round, I'm on solid ground if you say you love me.

I can feel you. I can feel your every move,
every single grove.
You look so pretty when you're down,
but you don't make a sound oh ooh..
When I'm holding you I'm hoping that you'll stay.
When I touching you, you seem so far away from me,
and I never seem to be who I want to be when you talk to me..

Just say that you love me, cos I want you to.
Just say that you love me. Help me get to you.
Just say that you need me, baby, like I need you.
While the world is spinning round, I'm on solid ground.

If you say you love me cos I want you to.
If you say you love me, help me get to you.
If you say you need me, baby, like I need you.
While the world is spinning round, I'm on solid ground if you say you love me.

Kris Di Angelis feat. Melanie Blatt

CLIP : KRIS DI ANGELIS & MEL BLATT - Just Say That You Love Me DEMO by Krisdiangelis

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Satan I Gatan

I och med att jag har flyttat hem till Sverige så känns det inte mer än rätt att inviga mitt först svenska blogg inlägg.

Jag flyttade ju, som de flesta redan vet, tillbaka till Gbg för CK’s skull. Det funkade inte riktigt som det skulle med tanke på hur promiskuös den där killen var. Men vad hade jag att vänta mig av någon som funderade på en porr-karriär innan vi träffades?

De säger att kärleken är blind, men jag vet inte riktigt om det var fallet när det kom till mig och Christofer. I all ärlighet så var det ju trots allt jag som i början avfärdade hans intensiva uppvaktningar för att jag inte trodde att det var något att ha. Att han sen lyckades övertala mig att flytta hem igen hade absolut ingenting att göra med att jag var så in i helskota trött på London. Nej, nej. Absolut inte. Eller?

De säger ju att alla händelser har en anledning och kanske ver anledningen till vårat möte just detta att jag skulle befinna mig där jag är just nu; hemma i Sverige bland gamla goda vänner och familj. Eller går anledningarna ännu djupare än så? Kanske finns det andra grunder till att jag befinner mig just här just nu. Vem vet?

Som så många gånger förr så väljer jag bara att följa strömmen och se vart den leder mig. Jag har aldrig tyckt särskilt mycket om att planera för mycket eller sätta etikett på saker och ting.
Som min underbara kusin Dado brukar säga; It iz wot it iz!

Och så är det. Min vistelse här har resulterat i mången fina grejor. Jag har träffat några fantastiska nya vänner som har kommit att betyda mycket. Jag har ett grymt jobb som assistent till en Hot Shot på Volvo. Jag har återupptagit kontakten med min familj efter år av tystnad. Sommaren nalkas. Solen skiner. Fåglarna kvittrar. Lycka!

Jag ler och jag är glad. Luften är full av endorfiner. Kanske till och med lite kärlek. Jag drar ett djupt andetag och njuter. Jag passar på nu, för det kanske inte varar för evigt.

Men vem vet? Inte du. Vem vet? Inte jag. Vi vet ingenting nu. Vi vet inget idag…

Men satan i gatan vad det känns bra! (",)

Dan x

The Beautiful Things..

Every once in a while we come across something so beautiful it makes us stop and gasp for air. We can’t help but stop in our tracks and stare for a little while. It can be that gorgeous pair of shoes in the shop window that catches our eye. Or that delicious looking strawberry tart staring at us from the Patisserie stand across the street. Sometimes it’s a stunning flower in someones garden that just takes our breath away. And then there’s those exceptional moments when something truly extraordinary catches your eye. Like a beautiful boy that smilingly stares back at you.

Yes, there are many things that can take our breath away but few that leave a longer lasting impression. Sometimes, on very rare occasion that moment can turn into a dream come true.

When such moments occur there’s very little we can do to control our own emotions. Most times they simply get the better of us and we end up doing silly and sometimes embarrassing things; like write elaborate love letters whilst pretending they aren’t really love letters at all. Instead they are just a figment from our own imagination. Disguised in humour and frolics. Other times we act like teenagers, laughing and giggling at anything and everything, uncontrollably.

It’s strange when you are determined to close of your emotions, thinking that it’s better that way – and suddenly you find yourself feeling something completely different. But like with everything else in life, things happen for a reason. All you can do is simply enjoy the ride, for how ever long it takes. Sometimes until sunrise and sometimes for a lifetime. And in the process, if we’re lucky, enjoy the beautiful things that pass us by.. :)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Like a Moth to a Flame..

Things aren't always as they seem.. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way. The boy, who's invitation I accepted and gave up everything to be with, turned out not to be the person he gave himself out to be.. I followed my heart. I refused to listen to my friends when they told me they had a bad feeling about him and I hope that I have learned from these mistakes.. I am not sad that I moved back to Sweden, nor that I gave up my life in London. I am just a little disappointed in myself that I didn't quite figure it out until it was too late. This is not the proper story. This is just an inbetweener, while I figure out what I want to say, so bare with me.. Dan

Monday, 1 November 2010

Time To Say Goodbye..

As the saying goes; all good things must come to an end. And just like that, it dawns on me that my time in London Town is nearing its very own finishing line.

I remember when I first arrived in the big city. It was in late -97. I recall the excitement as at the age of 17 I stepped off the train at Liverpool Street Station, fresh off the boat from Sweden. I was happy and scared, excited and nervous all rolled into one. I was tingling with butterflies all over. I had left home to come to this metropolitan city and I didn’t know a single soul here. It was a brand new start and one I was looking forward to.

Over the years I had fallen in love with London. I thrived on the fast paced lifestyle, the buzz of the crowded streets, variety of smells in different neighbourhoods and the diversity of people living here. I remember how I’d leave my house to go out on a Thursday night and not come home until late Monday afternoon. There is always something to do in this city. No matter what time of day, be it summer or winter or fall. I think back and smile at how easy it was to make friends.
You could just sit at a cafe and someone would start a conversation with you.
Ah, you’re sending a postcard to Sweden I see? Is that where you’re from?’ was a typical starting line seeing as most weeks I’d found myself sipping a latte in Old Compton Street Cafe, cautiously contemplating what to write home about. It was a line that worked effectively on a naive young boy who’d come to the big city to chase a dream.

In the back of my mind I had Madonna’s success story playing on repeat. How she came to New York with $35, how she asked to be dropped off in the middle of everything, how she worked real hard and how hear dream came true. I was looking to relive that story but in my own words.
Sadly, my fairytale didn’t have the same conclusion. Don’t get me wrong. This is a story with a happy ending only not one that left me rich to my teeth and famous all over the world.

After a couple of years some of my closest friends had come to live in London too. It was an incredibly happy time for me. Finally I could show them all the things I’d been writing home about and I could share the experience with someone I knew and loved. They were surprised to see how I’d grown. Actually, evolved would be a better word to use.

London was a city with lots great opportunity for anyone willing enough to go for it.
I had worked so many different jobs that I am embarrassed to say I can’t even remember some of them. When I first arrived I worked as a barman in the oldest gay pub in the city. It even had the atrocious nickname ‘The Elephants Graveyard’ – because some of the clientele were so ancient they’d been there since day one. Some of them never left, if you catch my drift. During another period I worked as an usher at a cinema in Leicester Square. When I got bored of that I somehow ended up managing a boutique Dry Cleaner in Chelsea. I was a waiter, a store salesman, a receptionist followed by a salon manager at a celebrity hairdressers, to mention just a few.

Each of these roles came with its own unique lifestyle. One I had to adapt to in order to fit in.
Like I said, there are a lot of opportunities here. If you are confident and hungry and not afraid to blag your way to what you want – you’re in. And trust me, there was nothing I was afraid of doing. I wanted it all. And I got most of what I wanted in the process.

But sadly, once I had it, it wasn’t interesting anymore. During one period of time I’d change jobs every three months. I’d get bored. I’d realise that I don’t actually want to do this. I wanted to try something different. So I did.

It wasn’t until I’d reached the age of 26 that I’d actually stuck with a job for a longer period of time. Three years to be exact. I managed a busy reception at a prestigious PR agency in West End. It was a dream job. One that allowed me to lead a pretty fabulous lifestyle. The hours were great, the colleagues were amazing and the salary was more than I could have ever hoped for.
At this point I felt like I was on top of the world. I went on extravagant holidays, partied at the best clubs and brushed shoulders with celebrities on a daily basis. I lived with my best friend Monica in a beautiful apartment overlooking Tower Bridge and I had even met a boy I’d fallen for. Life couldn’t get any better.

Then one day a dark cloud came and placed itself right over my head. That’s how it felt at least. But then again I’m sure that more than half the population of the world felt the same once the credit crunch reared its ugly face. Suddenly, I had lost my job. The company was downsizing. I couldn’t afford the apartment anymore. The lover I’d taken on decided to move on too. I found out the hard way why he was in the relationship to begin with. I had thought I was invincible only to find out just how wrong I’d really been. Everything changed.

I was about to turn 30 and suddenly, whilst struggling to find work in an extremely competitive environment I started to realise just what had changed so much. It wasn’t the city. It was me.

The job market was turning into a battlefield. I watched as bankers fought over bar jobs just to make ends meet and I refused to take such a huge step backwards. I hadn’t worked this hard just to drop all that way down again. But beggars can’t be choosers and I was forced to take a massive pay cut and start all over again. I realise that a lot of people had to do the same and with that I understood that I was slowly but surely getting over London.

I started to plan my next strategic move. Like a game of chess I contemplated where to go next.
The most logical idea that sprung to mind was to move to Serbia. I speak the language fluently, I have loads of friends and family there and I’d be arriving packed with ‘international experience’ that could secure me a job even in the worst job market.

I will always have a place for London in my heart. It has been a home for half my life and it has acted like a step mother in a way. It has taught me some very important lessons in life and it has enriched me with incredible experiences. Some extraordinarily good, some gruesomely bad and some outright unmentionable. But all of which I have learned something valuable from.
I leave this city with a smile on my face and some sadness in my heart. I will miss many great aspects of it but mainly the amazing friends I’ve made along the way.

Once again I find myself on square one. Only this time it feels different.
I am taking a deep breath, closing my eyes and I am taking a giant leap in to the (relatively) unknown. I don’t know what the future holds in store for me. But it’s exciting. And once again I have butterflies in my belly.

I am going home to recharge my batteries. I am going home to spend some time with my family. And I am going home to be with my beautiful man. And life is good!

Bye Bye London. You will be missed - but not forgotten.

Until we meet again.

Dan x

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Path of Fate

Is there such a thing as coincidence? It is a question I have been asking myself quite a lot lately.

A long time ago, on a friends recommendation, I went to see a clairvoyant. Somewhat sceptical, I entered the small and dark room making sure not to reveal too much of myself in my behaviour or conversation. I have heard that sometimes, the not-so-good ones, make guesses based on what the person unknowingly gave away during introduction or even by the clothes or jewellery they wore. I didn’t want to make the same mistake.

‘I will start by telling you about your past’ said the elderly woman as she separated the tarot cards in front of her. I looked at her, quiet but with anticipation. ‘This will be interesting’ I thought to myself.The cards were laid out in a circular shape in front of her as she told me, in great detail, about my troubled childhood, the uprooting at a young age and the ongoing issues with my family. She told me how I was on the run but she couldn’t pin point exactly what it is I am running from. Her accuracy shocked me but I tried hard not to let it show. I wasn’t prepared on giving her the satisfaction of seeing just how right she was. But she wasn’t looking for affirmation. Once my past was out of the way, she cleared her throat and asked if I was ready for my future. ‘As ready as I’ll ever be’ I thought and nodded.

She blended the cards and spread them out on the table and asked me to pick out nine of them. I listened attentively to her as she told me of a long overseas journey that was going to take place. It wasn’t a trip, she clarified, but a journey. As exciting as it sounded to me I wasn’t planning on going anywhere and my concentration started to weaken a bit. She then told me of an extension in my family. A baby was on its way. A child that would change everything. I listened as she went on to interpret my future as she saw it laid on the table, recording the session on a tape.
More events were mentioned but none that grabbed my attention as much as the last thing she said; ‘You will eventually meet someone, a man, and you will fall in love. This meeting is inevitable. It is meant to happen and it will be the love of your life. The only thing I can tell you about this man is that his name begins with the letter M.’

My thought at that moment was; ‘What a load of horse shit!’ I didn’t say it out loud but I nodded towards the lady, acknowledging her statement whilst wondering how many readings she finished with that line. It was a perfect ending to the foretelling of someone’s life; tell them what they really want to hear and make sure they walk out happy about paying an X amount for information that gives them hope for the future. A sigh of disappointment left my body. We were saying goodbye when she took my hand. ‘May I?’ she asked turning my palm towards her. Once again I nodded. ‘Just as I thought’ she said looking into my palm, ‘Your life is pre destined. See this line? It is your path. The path that will lead you to your destiny. It is the journey of fulfilment. You will stray from this path but don’t worry. It doesn’t matter, because you will find your way back in due time. Everything in your life is happening exactly the way that it should. You have a guardian angel watching over you, every step of the way, making sure that you are safe and carry on your journey. Fare well.’

I had just turned 20 when I had that reading done. It stayed in my mind for a short while but soon evaporated from my memory. It wasn’t until a few years later that I found the tape in an old shoebox filled with distant memories. Dusting it off I discovered the tape inside. I played it and suddenly the realisation of the clairvoyants accuracy hit me. Hard!

Over the course of the years her ‘predictions’ had come true. I had left London and returned to Sweden when my mother announced she was expecting a baby. My little brother was born and suddenly he was the new focus in my dysfunctional family. It took a lot of the heat of me and I felt liberated. No longer was I burdened to carry on the family name. It was a relief. As time went on I realised for the second time that Sweden wasn’t the place for me and I started looking for other excuses to leave. I found my salvation on a cruise ship, or more accurately; it found me. My godmother, who’d been working on the ship for years, told me that they were hiring and asked if I’d be interested in joining Crystal Cruises. Without batting an eyelid I agreed and I was off on a long journey over several seas. My travels were filled with excitement and even danger, suddenly reminding me of the notion of a guardian angel watching over me. I felt my heart racing in my chest. Everything the woman told me has happened. Pretty much down to the very last point – but there was one I was still waiting for. The letter M.

I have met a few men since then, and in all honesty, each time I met someone who’s name began with the letter M, I started to analyse them and my feelings for them. But never once did it ‘feel right’. After a while I dismissed that particular prediction as nonsense. Until one day..

In 2008 I returned to Serbia after 15 years absence. It was a journey of self discovery and it was also an eye opener. I realised what I had been missing all these years and the need to return there started to grow. I made some great friends and re connected with family members I thought I was never going to see again. I started to plan my return but with hesitation. I had become so westernised that it seemed farfetched having to adapt to a ‘new’ culture again. But still, the feeling at the pit of my stomach kept growing.

Then one day I saw Him.

Unexplainable in every way, I reacted to a picture of him. Mesmerised by his smile I started to fantasize about him. I had lusted over many men’s pictures during my time but there was something different about this guy. He woke up more than just desire inside me. There was something familiar about him that I just couldn’t put my finger on.
We started to chat. It turned out he was seeing someone. I felt like a balloon that had just been popped. ‘BANG!

What devastated me even more was the person he was with. Somebody I vaguely knew. Someone I was supposed to have met when I visited Belgrade last time. Someone who’d randomly found me on Facebook and added me as a friend. And through him I found the man of my dreams. Who wasn’t available.

It didn’t stop a friendship developing. Over time we got to know each other. We shared some of our darkest moments and spontaneously laughed them off as important lessons in life. We connected in a way I never thought possible with someone who’d I never actually met face to face. The correspondence increased to a daily one, although very platonic. We’d actually become friends.
Eight months down the line his relationship ended. Suddenly, these feelings I’d been nurturing inside started to boil. I didn’t want to mention them. I didn’t want to ruin this great friendship we’d built up. But I couldn’t restrain it. The words came out like galloping wild horses. They marched right across the chat box one day and then there was silence as the dust settled. What have I done? Why did I have to say all that? What possessed me to mention anything and risk losing everything?
I think that somewhere deep down I knew what the answer would be but I was too scared too even hope for it. Maybe I had built up all of this in my mind. Imagined it like a fairy tale that can only live in my imagination, but what followed simply took my breath away.

He admitted to feeling the same way. He told me he was fighting the feelings because of the situation he was in and because of the impossibilities that seemed too dominant in our bond.I read on as he kept writing. My heart beating faster for every word that entered the screen. Is this really happening? Or is this yet another fantasy. A figment of my imagination?

In an instant my feelings multiplied, filling my entire being with love. Every molecule in my body was bursting with emotion and like a magnet seeking out it’s opposite, I was drawn to him.
What happened next were an incredible series of events leading me to this very day. A friend of a friend showed up in London and asked to meet for a coffee. We talked about life and everything in it before he asked me about my views on love. It was a random question but one I was happy to answer. I told him I was an incurable romantic and that I believed in True Love. I mentioned liking someone. I explained that we’d never met but that one day, we will. Suddenly he looked at me with a piercing, almost troubled look and told me the name of the man I was thinking of.

I froze.

How did he know? How could he possibly have known? I never mentioned his name! I never even described him or mentioned anything that could possibly have revealed his identity.‘Intuition’ said my new friend. ‘Just a feeling that turned up in my gut.’ I just sat there, staring at him. He went on to tell me that he knew this boy very well because he too had fallen for him some time ago. His feelings were unanswered and he felt that he had to abandon that friendship because it hurt too much. I felt bad. Here I was lusting for his unrequited love and he knew about it.We spent a day together and getting to know each other he told me how I reminded him of the boy we both care for. He was mesmerised by how alike we were, how we share same views, same stories and even same outlook on life. I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about the boy I had fallen in love with but he didn’t want to say too much. He told me that everyone deserves a chance to be portrayed as the person they want to portray themselves as when they meet someone and that his view on the boy wouldn’t necessarily be mine. Then he said something that shook me to my very foundation; ‘The two of you made for each other.’ This came from a man who was so in love with this person. I saw the hurt in his eyes but I also heard the sincerity in his voice. He meant what he said even though it pained him to say it.

We discussed this awkward coincidence. How come, out of all people in the world, he was the one who stepped into my life at this very moment?

I was meant to leave in a few weeks to go on holiday. It was a holiday I had been looking forward to but one I was a little apprehensive about. My ex had invited me down to Portugal for my birthday as he knew how much I loved travelling and I had never been. I was excited but in the back of my mind I was picturing our uncomfortable meeting. My new friend asked me if I loved him. I said I did but not in that way. Suddenly he told me not to go. I looked at him, surprised. ‘What do you mean?’ I asked.‘If you go, it will be a mistake. And I know you feel it too. You told me you believe that everything in life happens for a reason. Well, as hard as it is for me to admit to this, I think I know the reason why we are meeting now. I am here to tell you that you need to go to Belgrade. You have a date with destiny!’

I have been banging my head against a wall, pondering over this strange circumstance, when my thoughts took me to The Celestine Prophecy. Random coincidences that unbeknownst to you secretly show you the path you need to follow. Shivers rushed down my spine. Could this really be true? Was this my path making itself known to me?

Here I was, in love with a man I had never met. Wondering when we’d ever get the opportunity to meet when suddenly the opportunity presented itself like a pearly gate. I made my decision. I had to follow the signs. They were just too many and too real to be ignored and I couldn’t let this opportunity slip me by.

So here I am. The day before I am about to leave. I’m shaking and I’m scared. What if this incredible chemistry doesn’t translate in real life? What if he doesn’t like me? What if.. I don’t know. I don’t have those answers. All I have is my intuition that’s telling me what needs to be done. In the back of my mind the words of the clairvoyant ringing strong. Maybe she was right? She was right about everything else. Maybe this is the person I am meant to be with. The big L with a name beginning with the letter M.

I am embarking on a journey down my path of fate. I am following the signs. I am hoping they will lead me to my destiny. I am frightened but I am happy. And I am hopeful. Maybe my efforts will pay off and the path I follow will lead me to eternal happiness and unconditional love. Maybe I can make this fairy tale come true. And maybe, just maybe we will have our Happy Ever After...