Zaragoza (my hometown in Spain, December 2007)
"You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future"
This is the first picture of this blog. But not quite the point how my internet story started. As I teenager, like everyone else in the early 2000s, I had my own fotolog site - which was the popularity contest when Facebook hadn't even started. But at some point, I felt I wanted to do something different, that fulfilled my expression needs in a much wider way than a picture a day.
So right after moving to Stockholm(Sweden) as an ERASMUS student, to finish my MsC on Telecommunications Engineering, I created the blog. As a way of keeping my parents updated, logging my everyday life and sharing my concerns about adult life and the future, which in the time was really mean to be the answer to the question: What's gonna happen after getting the degree done?
Many things happened. I received a grant to continue my PhD studies and redirect my career into IT Product Development Strategy from the Princess of Spain. I went through a short life crisis and felt I was meant to be an architect, a web designer or something on that line. But after a while, I realized I needed a job to get by and luckily got the opportunity that changed my life, at the best company to work for.
There, I learnt a lot on the state-of-the-art products that “innovate to empower people, business and society”. In short, how technology can actually make this world better. But also realized that working for a corporation is much more about human communication, words and mutual understanding than one could initially expect. Living in Sweden, gave me the time (and bucks) to travel around, with and without work all over the world: Asia, Europe, US & quickly Africa.
Throughout my contributions to standardization, I have met guys from pretty much anywhere in the world. Working, discussing, enjoying the cities we visit with them made me realize that, more than anything, I'm interested in people and how understanding cultural differences is an effective tool to understand why we think the way we do, grow into ourselves, see life through a different angle and learn to appreciate experiences in a much deeper way.
Along this way, I did some amateur modeling - for a friend, run two half-marathons and made my life dream true in May 2011, with a trip to Japan with my significant other. This trip changed our reality, as it opened up the door to becoming expat employees in Tokyo. We got married differently, at the Spanish Ground in Stockholm. A week later, just after my 27th B'Day, we packed our life in boxes & kicked off a new reality in Shibuya, the beating teen heart of Tokyo. After climbing Mt Fuji, I felt philosophical.
Here's my bottom line.
There is a big economic crisis going on right now. Things change suddenly but like when an Earthquake (地震) or Typhoon (台風) hits we can do nothing except trying to be prepared. Always remember, that nobody can steal your knowledge, your experiences or network of contacts. What you know, who your friends are, will always be there to help you and grow naturally as long as you keep nurturing it. If there's no opportunity in your home country, don't be afraid and leave! Expat life can be quite interesting and really, jobs are somewhere out there, waiting for you. Draw your own way, find a reason to smile everyday.
I always say that I believe in karma because, in an abstract sense, what you give is what you get. Help people, be curious, don't fear, reach out, open up. The World will bring back more than you expected, people you find along the way will be awesome and the experiences will teach you more than any book or class. As Enrique always tells me, life is too short to be sad.
Enrique & me, Surfers' Paradise (Australian Gold Coast, January 2012)
*If you are wondering about he weird name of the blog "dontplayahate" (it used to be dontplayahate-congratulate) here's the story. In Stockholm, I used to buy V magazine. That came always with WINKing girls on cover and funny titles like "don't playa hate, congratulate" or "are you the rabbit or the headlight?".
The thing is, I liked this one. It is an old hip-hop motto from Ice T "don't hate the playa, hate the game" that somehow diverged into "don't playa (meaning player) hate, congratulate". It's actually the same as Ghandi stated, "Hate the sin and love the sinner." which in turn means, what I always believed...
People are good by nature. They want to do good, be liked and kind to others. However, shit happens sometimes turning people into assholes. So you should not dislike someone for their actions, consider instead the situation that causes it.