my first tattoo

Don’t worry, I’m as shocked at the title of this post as you probably are. But, let me explain how I got here:

In most cases, and maybe for lack of better words… I tend to throw myself in the deep end. I thrive working under pressure, figuring it out as I go, and not always go according to plan. However, I also really like a schedule. Confusing, I know. Flashback to when I was in Europe, I liked having a general idea of where I was going and what I wanted to see, but I also liked to see where the day and the people would take me.

My best example of this was my time in Spain. I was supposed to travel with one of my friends, but she had to leave suddenly to spend time with family. I quite enjoy travelling myself, but I also missed having a buddy alongside me. I was thrown off track a bit, but it also encouraged me to meet new people and make friends with people in my hostel and on tours. I can 100% tell you that my trip to Valencia was one of my most favourite trips. It did not go according to plan, but that’s what made it so amazing. It was a great learning experience and it taught me a lot about myself, and gave me a refreshing slap in the face- something I definitely needed (and may need again soon!) This means, I was no longer worrying about pleasing the people around me, and I was free to do what made me happy and content. And living day to day when in this type of environment was exactly what I needed.

A quick refresher of this trip:

  1. I was sick as a dog (possibly party rockin too hard in Madrid), but forced myself to do a walking tour because I was only in Valencia for 2.5 days
  2. Got a good night’s sleep and woke up to do another walking tour with my hostel. Our tour guide was unreal! He took us to his personal favourite spots and took us to the best local bars and clubs.
  3. I found a flyer in my hostel kitchen for the Running of the Bulls festival…! The last day of the festival was MY last day in Valencia so naturally, I HAD to go.
  4. I convinced my new friend to come with me and we met so many cool people. It was a crazy day. A huge adrenaline rush that lasted maybe 8 hours. It was exciting to take part in this Spanish tradition, while meeting people from all over the world.
  5. After connecting with my new bull running friends on social media, I barely made it to my night train going to Barcelona.

TATTOO INSPO: Okay, so back to the main purpose of this blog post-  my tattoo! Second to my Master’s program, this was one of the most well thought out decisions of my life thus far. I can exactly remember where I was and when I decided I wanted to get this tattoo. I was out in Salzburg, Austria on a weekend trip with friends from my exchange program and I was explaining I wanted a tattoo representing my time abroad and something to signify this huge period of growth in my life- but to always remember where my heart lies, and that is home. I decided to get a drawing of my Baba and Dedo’s house between my shoulder blades. My Baba passed away when I was 16 and my Dedo when I was 18, and I miss them both dearly everyday. A few months after that conversation, I was able to go back and visit my family’s village which is now in northern Greece, and it was life changing for me. I had such a positive, happy, and loving relationship with my grandparents. I truly learned the value of family from them, that has forever been instilled in my mind and my heart, so to be able to see where they lived, went to school, worked, and started my family was an experience that I am forever grateful for. I actually wrote down on August 4, 2016 in my iPhone notes: “To me, my Baba and Dedo’s house will always be the strongest representation of love, commitment, and family. Anywhere in the world: Family brings me home.” That was that.

RESEARCHING TATTOO ARTISTS/SHOPS: I researched so many Toronto based tattoo artists, and by November 2016, I had decided on a shop and the artist. He was just opening up a shop in the west end and said I could make an appointment for the new year. I decided to wait until the end of summer so I was 100% confident in my choice and had worked and saved enough money for it. Taking a deep breath, I walked into the tattoo shop, Ink and Water and had a consultation and booked my appointment for August 3, 2017.

THE DAY OF: I was so nervous, I don’t think I’ve actually sweat so much in such a short period of time. I asked my cousin Vallerie to accompany me to ensure I didn’t run out of the shop. I’m not fearful of needles; I’m fearful of how indecisive I can be. The tattoo artist, Prarie Koo had me send a few pictures of the house, and he drew it out and stuck the stencil on my back. It took a bit of time, but I was in such shock to see how accurate the drawing that was soon to be TATTOOED ON MY BODY was. It took a full hour to do. To be completely honest, the first 40 minutes was relaxing and oddly enough relaxing. However, the last 20 minutes were absolutely horrendous and I was contemplating leaving my tattoo unfinished just to be relieved of this pain. In the end, I stood up, shaking, and saw my tattoo- my Baba and Dedo’s house. Something that I will always carry with me no matter how many changes and renovations the physical home undergoes. Even though I can’t see it everyday, it is a daily reminder that is now not only in my heart.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM THIS: Be confident in your decisions. Try not to let other’s persuade you to think differently because it is not according to the status quo. Or maybe, because they are envious of your ability to be making brave changes in your life. Any idea, meaning, research that you have done and are content with, go forward and pursue. As long as you are not harming yourself or others, and it is a positive attribution to your life, run with it. Don’t be fearful of other’s judgement.

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