Friday, 29 July 2011


One word. One little word. Granted it's the sum of of two words in actual fact but in spanish it amounts to one little word. 

My roomate and sidekick M uses this word. When he thinks I've overslept and will be late for my class. Or when I've asked him to wake me after a 40 minute nap. Despiertate. Despiertate. Es la hora de despertarse. 

Yesterday I had a gap between classes and I had already completed my class planning for the day so I came home for a nap. The throb of an incipient migraine was lurking behind my ears so I asked M to wake me in about an hour. I slept for four.

"Despiertate" He said, knocking at my door. "Es la hora de despertarse". I grumble some form of a spanish curse in his direction and turn over. He doesn't insist.

An hour later, I wake. I crawl into the shower, after gulping down the giant sized paracetemol they sell here, I attempt to retrieve the brilliant master-class-plan I had designed for my 1800 class that had retreated to some dark recess of my brain. The bathroom is steaming up, I hear M talking loudly on the phone in his room and I reach for the shampoo.

And it hits me. "Despiertate". Wake up. The time has come to wake up.

In spanish this word goes one better, as it is reflexive- literally, wake yourself up. Suddenly the word is a message echoing in every corner of my brain, my being. Wake up. Shake yourself awake. You have been sleeping too long. 

I have been in this country for months, and on this earth for years. I have seen many things, experienced many more and still not lived even a quarter of what I believe life has in store for me. I am surrounded by inspiration, confrontation, confusion and conflict, and yet I ask myself whether I am equally changed. How long have I been asleep?

I need to wake myself up. Shake the drowsiness out of my body and take up whatever energy I have been graced with this day. I need to pull back the curtains and face this, the new day that I was conceived to face 22 years ago or probably even before. As a friend recently said to me now is no longer the time to live in limbo, but to launch oneself into whatever is ahead. And there is always something ahead. 

This one word has haunted me these past few days. The fear of recognising that I have been asleep, and the fear of being awake can no longer have such a hold on this one, preciously-preserved life that has a purpose (however hazy) to fulfill and a calling (however uncertain) to answer. Location, occupation or orientation are irrelevant. Where you find life, there is a cause for living and the means to live.

 It is indeed time to Wake up.

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