Shallow reunions

Shallow reunions

A couple of weeks ago I made another snap visit to Hungary, for my ten year high school reunion thing. It was kind of weird.

We met at our old school, went upstairs to our old classroom, and started up on the old jokes as soon as our aged behinds touched our faded old seats.

Then we went on to have a meal followed by a piss-up and some rather questionable clubbing action by the Old Lake in Tata. ’twas alright.

It was mostly worth for this sunset.

Overall, it was an interesting safari experience. Before this reunion, I thought that we all changed so much in the ten years that passed! That we have so much more in common now.

Afterwards though, I realised that we really didn’t, and don’t. Some new people now consider me more worthy of their attention than back then, but beyond that, I still have the best chats with the same old few.

Teide National Park, Tenerife

Teide National Park, Tenerife

I had a couple more snaps to share from our bus trip into the Paruqe Nacional del Teide. At 3,718m it’s the tallest peak in all of Spain, and as it’s closer to 7,500m when measured from the ocean floor, it makes Tenerife the third tallest volcanic island in the world… a pretty impressive peak overall.

The bus climbed up neck-breaking windy mountain roads through pine forests, landing us on a high desert plateau where little more than bushes grew. The sun beat down so hot you wanted to go sleeveless, but the air you breathed had a sharpness to it.

If the fresh Icelandic lava fields were black, everything was hues of red and yellow here. The eruptions few and long between, the sun stronger in these parts, plenty of time for the rock to fade.

At 2000m, above the clouds, watching the sun dip into the Atlantic.

Getting tangled

Getting tangled

Hop skip and a month disappeared. Much and little happened at the same time. Perhaps I should start at the beginning, and then go from there.

Mid-September I spent a crazy week in Tenerife with my new colleagues, mostly partying, on a boat, on a bus, on a moonlit beach, on the foothills of a volcano… you name it. It was an exhilarating time, I felt so alive. All the photos below are from one of the first evenings there, a fizz-fuelled sunset at 2000m, overlooking the Teide.

But even during the long slog that was the return trip to Bristol, I began having all these thoughts about how deceptive single experiences like this can be. It gave me this artificial feeling that I settled in, and that I’m seen as an integral part of the team, but in fact I’m a very far way from forging real human connections. Which is normal – it’s only been three months since I joined. It takes a lot longer than that to truly belong.

Either way, I’m starting to discover that I have some serious confidence issues that I was never really consciously aware of before. And these things are seriously affecting my ability to connect with people, and even my performance at work. Today, in a rather low mood, I’m feeling seriously debilitated by it, and don’t even know how to turn up at the office come Monday morning.

I’m getting tangled up in this new job in an unhealthy way. It’s such a mind-blowingly unique place, working there is amazing in so many ways; and yet there are so many aspects of it that make me frown and have second thoughts.

Well, all that sounded kinda depressing, huh… I guess I was due an update on how I’m doing anyway — the answer is: so-so. Some days I’m so full of energy, and others I’m kind of flattened like this.

I think it’s the aftermath of everything that went down in May — that kind of low doesn’t just disappear without a trace. I’m still fighting my own demons, and it will be a while yet before I come out on top. But I have a lot of hope that I can push through, because this time I’m in a supportive and positive environment, and not in the horrible hostile place I was before.