164. Generalife

Possibly my last post of the Alhambra series and I’m not quite sure how to feel about this. It came to be so stretched out (no thanks to my procrastination and all other matters factored in), lasting longer than I’d expected, and overlapped with so many other things happening in my life.

Throughout my time writing it, I went on to discover other places around Europe, I ‘graduated’ from my exchange semester in Manchester, I flew back home and started a whole new life here in Singapore. It became somewhat a cornerstone in my quest to realign my priorities and worldview, being the constant reminder of the attitude I held then. As I reflected upon my time in the complex, I remembered who I wanted to be and who I am constantly working to be. It played a significant role in diverting me away from falling back into self-destructive habits as I reentered my comfort zone with familiar faces around. It was my anchor during a turbulent time of renegotiating my position in an old territory.

But whatever it is, I shall attempt to do this as graciously as possible. It deserves a good closure, which I think, was made a whole lot easier by the fact that the last place I ventured to in the complex was the Generalife.

The Generalife is, essentially, a huge garden.

It was the go-to place for the kings and court when they sought leisure away from the stresses of the official affairs of the palace.

In the Generalife, the architecture is quite starkly different from the Alhambra. It strays away from the ornate and heavily decorative nature of the main palace and instead takes on a somewhat simpler vibe. I guess one could deduce that this is a result of its purpose: the need for an intimate and peaceful atmosphere when the kings retired to these gardens to rest.

I’ve got to say, I did feel an overwhelming sense of peace and oneness with nature whilst I was walking through the Generalife. It felt like I was returning to a place where things made sense, like a piece of paradise on earth.

I was lucky too, since I was there during spring! The flowers in bloom were definitely a treat for weary eyes!

Most of the travel guides I read recommended making the Generalife the first stop of the visit but I’m glad I decided to make it my last.

The air was light, there wasn’t much cognitive input to handle and my eyes weren’t constantly distracted to little details (oh the woes of being a visual learner).

I was able to be still; I needed the quiet time and the immersion in nature to clear my thoughts and digest all that had happened throughout the day.

It didn’t hurt that there wasn’t many people at the time I was there and that I also managed to catch a spectacular sunset.

As I sat in a corner and watched the sun setting gloriously, I sent out a silent prayer to all who have brought me to where I was. All who had hurt me, all who had supported me, all who had guided me to the place I was in.

I knew then that my healing journey was just starting out. The first tears brought out in the Court of the Myrtles, the hope I felt in the Court of the Lion, the peace I felt in the Generalife – all of these were an indication of what was to come. My journey in Andalucia was just about to get exciting and I couldn’t be more ready for it.

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As the curtains fall upon this episode, and as I remember and reflect on the intensity of the hope and belief I had at the end of my time in the Alhambra, I cannot help but feel a sense of disparity with where I am in life now.

I think we all go through a cycle of ups and downs in life and I cannot say that I am anywhere at the opposite ends of the cycle. I’m in a kind of limbo, of trying to find my ground amongst people whom don’t necessarily share the same values as I do. I need to constantly be reminded that there is beauty around me – all I have to do is seek it with different eyes. I’ve to learn that we all need to stand up for what we belief in, yet not step on the feet of others who don’t.

Living alone in a far away land is, beyond a doubt, different to staying at home with family and friends close at hand. I’ve yet to find an appreciation of the balance between the two. I think it will prove to be a continuous struggle to face: a need to live a free life and the need to adhere to social constraints of living in a village (metaphorically). The process of reentry is an ongoing process that has yet to settle, despite it being more than a month of being back.

Whatever it is, I’m keeping myself upbeat & positive. It isn’t easy but oh well, I’ll be alright. I’ll keep you updated on this one. 🙂

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