“I stopped trying to be perfect when I realized it’s enough to be present.” – Curtis Tyrone Jones
GlobeKick’s fifth week abroad started with a bang and ended in a blur. This month, we have traveled to bountiful and boisterous Valencia, Spain.
The Spanish culture ignites all who come to Valencia. A handful of us got more than we bargained for when we passed through a line of protestors to watch a real Spanish bull fight. The experience was entirely cultural, though it’s safe to say that most of us won’t be watching another. At night, the center of the city comes alive and boasts hundreds of modern restaurants, taverns and nightclubs. The food of choice here is paella, a Valencian rice dish that is as versatile and delicious as it is simple. The Spanish enjoy washing down their paella with chilled wine while bells of thousand-year-old cathedrals ring in the distance.
Valencia is a coastal mini-metropolis belted by one of the largest urban parks in Spain, the Jardines del Turia (Turia Gardens). The Jardines pierce the city with nearly six miles of trees, bike paths, sports areas and glittering fountains. Just past the skate park is Gulliver, a huge playground inspired by Gulliver’s Travels, where children can climb and slide down the fingers, hair and legs of the massive humanoid figure. At the southeast end of the park is the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences), a spacy and modern architectural masterpiece that leaves a few GlobeKickers feeling as though we’ve stumbled into the Star Wars universe.
While GlobeKick’s previous two weeks were geared towards professional development and advancement, this week found us transitioning back to personal growth. We were asked to focus on the present, to force ourselves to abandon all stress related to past and future misgivings and instead to live and enjoy living. Too often, we let our minds gravitate towards disheartening failures (even prideful victories) in our past that we forget to live and enjoy the beauty of what’s going on right now. Too often, we try to become the perfect, successful future version of ourselves that we don’t appreciate all that we’ve already accomplished.
But with all the beauty that Valencia has to offer, it’s quite simple living in the present. Take a little time to acknowledge and respect the present you.
– Nick, GlobeKicker