Felipe, 21 year old film student from Guayaquil
Chapter 1. Barcelona
“Please make sure to listen to “The low spark of high-heeled boys”, 1971 album by Traffic at least once before you die”.
I met Felipe at “Revolver”, a record store at Calle Tallers, in El Raval, Barcelona. There he was, among the spectacular vinyl collection of alternative, rock, punk, jazz and a long etcetera of music. He caught my attention because he was wearing sunglasses, despite being indoors. The moment he picked up a record by one of my favourite artists, Devendra Banhart, I knew I wanted him to be part of my series.
We agreed it would be nicer to talk while drinking a beer. We sat on a bench nearby MACBA museum after buying two gluten-free beers (yes, I have celiac disease and Felipe was nice enough to sympathize with me by trying out my special drink). As we chatted to get to know each other a little, I realized Felipe is your typical Virgo: honest, dedicated and ambitious. He also has a wanderlust spirit that drives him to discover new things and experiences, just like sitting down with a random stranger and opening up about deep aspects of his life.
How are you, really? I’m happy with my current reality. Eager to see how the projects I’m working on unravel. I’m excited about what the future holds. Currently delighted to be drinking a gluten-free beer for the first time.
What does being strong mean to you? Being strong means staying true to your principles, always, despite what others say or think. Being strong means being able to adapt to change. To have your heart broken and know that you are more important.
What are you most thankful for? I am grateful for the family I was born into. They have given me the opportunity to come to study in Barcelona. I did it, not as an escape, but as a way of opening myself up to new experiences. Now all my current reality comes thanks to living in Barcelona. My friends are here, my job opportunities, my stuff… I am a person who lives for the “now”, for the present moment. I am no longer thinking about my life in Guayaquil. As I have told you, when I buy new records, I do it to listen to them here, to create my Barcelona collection. I have actually started to take the ones I have in Ecuador home, here in Barcelona.
What are the 3 things you value most about a person? Honesty, in all aspects of life. Authenticity. Someone who’s driven and has a passion for something in life, I don’t care what it is, as long as it motivates you.
Where do you find meaning in your life? In good relationships with others. Friends, beer and great music. Sounds simple, but that’s what makes me feel jubilant. Those things make me think to myself: “¡Qué lindo es esto!”. I also find meaning in music. I’ve played the drums since I was 8 and I self-taught myself to play the guitar. All it took was to have good hearing. My house has always been filled with music since I was a kid. I already knew I was a musician before I played any instrument. There are people who are artists without even knowing what chords are.
Fill in the blank: I feel loved when ______. I feel loved when people truly listen to me. When they show honest interest in my well-being.
Has a stranger ever changed your life? When I was 13 years old, I started skating in Ecuador. But I felt pretty lonely because no one in my neighbourhood practised this sport. But one day I met a random guy who was 26, double my age. He was from Guayaquil, like I was, but had lived in California for 8 years. He added me on Facebook. His name was Chiva. From the ages of 13 to 18 he became my “skating father”. Meeting him taught me several things that have shaped who I am today, like the fact that smoking weed doesn’t necessarily make you a failure in life or that having a passion for skating does not mean you’re a slob. He taught me that you can have a future by doing more creative stuff that you’re driven towards, like in my case music. It’s not a negative thing and you’re no worse than a kid who gets A stars in math if you have a devotion for music. You have to be true to your goals and ideals. And that’s what I did.
Where do you go when everything is falling apart? Skating with my friends clears my mind and gives me stability. But I tend to have a very positive mindset towards life and its challenges, so I never really experience things falling apart abruptly.
What is your biggest fear? I actually try not to think about the negative aspects of life. I believe if you’re not thinking about failing, you won’t. Everything is a learning process. What does failure really mean, really? Failure for who? Life is about having a positive mindset. It’s important to take perspective on things and minimize the time you worry and overthink. Since I was young, I have seen that if you work hard, anything is possible. That’s why I’m not afraid, I don’t lose time worrying. I do not torment myself.
Proceed to the next character in Chapter 1