Colombiana // by Johanna Ortiz


Dress // H&M by Johanna Ortiz (sold out)
Shoes // Supadance (very very old)
Fan // Women's Secret (old)
Minaudière // ASOS
Earrings // Accessorize (very old)

I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, on a dedicated post, but I lived for a whole year (September 2000-August 2001) in Guildford (Surrey), England, UK. I was a MSc full-time student in Human Resource Management @ the University of Surrey. Truth is that I never "cashed out" that degree career-wise, since I never got the chance to work in the field of HR, which is something I will discuss in another post. However, the learnings from that "once in a lifetime" experience, along with all the new knowledge that I acquired through this very intense and compact master's degree, had a huge impact in my personality, my body, my soul and my life in general. 

From the carefree student life in Patras and my cute studio apartment (I honestly had the cutest apartment!), in just one month from my graduation ceremony, I was thousands of miles away from home, my family and my loved ones, studying a very demanding Master's degree in another language and sharing a house with 6 other girls, also post-grads, who were total strangers to me. 

No one forced me to go there, it was my idea entirely and I was the one who chose that program. I had applied to four Universities, which all of them sent me acceptance letters, but I chose Surrey (Surrey European Management School), which was the most challenging, since it was the only Master of Science. The other three were Master of Arts, therefore more theoretical and relatively easier for my academic background. And you might wonder, "But, why??"; I really don't know for sure, to be honest... Ignorance, I guess, my young age (I had just turned 22), the enchantment of new experiences and the seduction of new knowledge. 

So, there I was, in deep waters, since day one. Swimming against the tide, without realizing at first, got tired quickly, then a wave took me under water, I came back up in the surface, went back under again, found a life vest, came back up, until I reached the "shore", the longed-for Master's degree, out of breath and somewhat sad. It was then that Hashimoto's Auto-immune Disease knocked on my door. I am not quite sure if this was luck or fate, but this experience entirely changed me, made me an adult, made me wiser (academic knowledge, better English, how to survive on your own abroad etc.) but also more fragile (frail thyroid and immune system).

Have you experienced something similar that changed your life? An incident or a decision that changed you, made you wiser/stronger/more mature/better humans. Or more vulnerable/scared/introverted. 

|barefoot duchess|

Photos by The Duke