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An Interview With A Woman Who Inspires Me

When I was assigned this article, I knew who to ask straight away – my friend Karla from Ecuador with whom I lived for the first three months of my year abroad in Berlin.  When I first met her I couldn’t believe that she was 28 – she looks so much younger and has a youthful energy that even some people at 20 are already lacking.  Learning about her travels and stories was truly inspiring for me.  She’s an independent woman exploring the world, gaining knowledge about other cultures and still learning about herself.  As well as showing me how to party hard like a true Latino, she taught me that the best experiences in life come about when you are spontaneous and live for the moment.  I’d love to share with you this insightful interview with mi amor de Ecuador <3

Which languages do you speak?

Spanish, English and Italian. I am forever learning German.

How many countries have you visited?

15

Europe: Spain, Italy, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia, Ukraine, Holland, Czech Republic

Outside Europe: USA, Australia, Korea, Russia

Which is your favorite country and why?

So far, I couldn’t single out one of the many places I’ve had the chance to visit. All the countries I’ve visited have contributed to my development as a person.

From everything I’ve seen I’ll never forget the majesty of Rome…the warmth and the “sangre caliente”* of the people in the Balkans; the wild nights in Berlin and Madrid (having political and philosophical conversations over drinks); the cold winter in Russia warmed up by vodka(!) and, of course, the delightful and overwhelming natural beauty and gastronomy of my own country Ecuador.

Without a doubt, I’ll always remember each and every one of the people that I’ve got to know during my adventures, whether it be through a simple “hola” or a profound conversation (who isn’t an expert in politics and philosophy with a drink in their hand?).

*“sangre caliente” is a very Spanish term which literally means “warm blood”.  In this context it could be translated as “warm-heartedness”.

Give us an inspirational quote

“If you can dive deeper into the ocean why do you remain floating in the surface? Challenge yourself!  Go deeper in love, go deeper in knowledge, go deeper in life!” (Karla herself).

Do you like reading? Why?

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking” (Murakami*).   

I love challenging myself and going beyond the everyday.  I like to understand human behaviour and get to know our passions, customs and stories.  Reading takes me to situations which are different to that of my own, or perhaps the same but dealt with in a different way.  Reading makes me question everything I think or believe.  But most of all it encourages me to carry on travelling and dreaming.  After all I am a dreamer!

*Quote from “Norwegian Wood”, a 1987 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami which focuses on the theme of relationships.

What’s is your favorite book and why?

As with music, I find it difficult to choose a single favourite book of mine.  However I’d like to mention two books which I particularly keep in mind.

  1.  “Beyond Good and Evil” (Nietzsche of course!).  I really enjoy the provocation in all senses of the word.  In this book Nietzsche breaks with the status quo. It’s a critique of fabricated morals and truths.  His definition of solitude is interesting: “the privilege of the strong”.  It is a complicated work but, like everything complex, it is worth a read.
  2. “A Hundred Years of Solitude” (Gabriel García Márquez).  A fundamental work of Hispanic American literature.  I love the ease with which the author tells such a complex story whilst leaving the reader hooked throughout.

Would you describe yourself as a feminist?

If this means believing a woman to be an independent being with an intellectual capacity equal, and not inferior to, that of a man, whose entity and body are subject to her own decisions and not those imposed by social conventions, then yes I am a feminist.  And I think every rationally thinking woman should be.

Give us a motivational quote for women

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” (Simone de Beauvoir)

French philosopher, writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir in her work “The Second Sex” in which she addresses the treatment of women throughout history.

Are you happy being single?

I’m happy knowing that this isn’t an idea which torments me.  I’m young and always will be, it’s a mental state.  The best experiences (love, friends etc) come about when you stop looking.  Being content with myself and enjoying my own company are fundamental aspects of my life.  Without this, the rest of life doesn’t have meaning.

What are your plans for the future?

That’s easy: to be happy and to make other people happy.  My priority is to dedicate my life to something significant which has a positive impact on people and contributes in some way to bringing light to where there is darkness.

 

Northern lass studying French and German (minor in Spanish) at Durham University, recently returned from a year abroad
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