In my last year of university, I took a Beginner Spanish course. Although I mostly took it to fulfil my program requirements, I was always fascinated with the Spanish language. I particularly enjoyed how a story that would more likely come off as mundane or as a space filler in English could sound so riveting and passionate in Spanish. Its advantage of having an incomparable flavour of vocabulary led me to one of my favourite words of all existence: Ojalá. (Pronounced O-hal-a)
Ojalá is a Spanish word that derives from Arabic’s Inshallah and it means “hopefully” or “Let’s hope so”, depending on the context. The best way to explain why I’m so captured by this word is to compare it to the Lion King’s “Hakuna Matata”. Its meaning is so simple, not at all groundbreaking but it resonates with you to a much greater extent then if someone said to you “Hey, don’t worry.” Similarly, Ojalá did that for me. I imagine that it would replace someone saying, “Let’s hope for the best.”
The reason I share this bit is because Ojalá soon became my catch phrase when approaching life. It is essentially what I told myself after I graduated from school and was preparing to make my move. I was no longer confined to that institutional bubble; I was unleashed into the “real world” and had the privilege of being able to decide how I wanted to live in it. The world was my vegetarian equivalent of an oyster – cue the London Years!
So, why did I move to London?
The Short Answer: Because I wanted to and I could. Ojalá!
The Less Short Answer: The issue on hand was that I felt suffocated in my own comfort of living in Toronto. It was the same feeling I had when I was in my final year of high school and my final year of university; I was ready to leave and move on to a new experience because I was starting to stagnate. The answer was not necessarily to move countries but I had already been infected with the travel bug and logistically speaking, London made the most sense for me. It was a city that I had already been enamoured with for being a hub of possibilities.
The hard part is obviously not about wanting to go, it’s committing to actually doing it. I am by no means a person without worries or fears. In fact, I can almost guarantee I have a lot more of them in an over-the-top dramatic fashion than most people but at the end of the day, my philosophy parallels to a quote from a TGIT favourite, Grey’s Anatomy:
“A couple hundred years ago Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. Never leave that ’til tomorrow, which you can do today. This is the man who discovered electricity; you’d think we’d pay more attention to what he had to say. I don’t know why we put things off, but if I had to guess it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear if just of making a decision. Because… What if you’re wrong? What if you make a mistake you can’t undo? …Still, sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin meant. That knowing is better than wondering. That waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake, beats the hell out of never trying.“