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February 01, 2015 - 699 words - 4 mins Found a typo? Edit me

By the Author

This book is a compilation of brief and personal reflections that I started compiling at the beginning of my new life in a different country, Germany, without any knowledge of German and with a poor level of English. Fortunately, things have changed a lot since then.

This book was born by itself. It is not a diary nor a manual. It is a compilation where we will experience the mind of someone who would not settle but fight to improve himself.

The order of the reflections is by the written date; therefore, we can see their evolution, as of their prose and the different expressions. Addressing different and broad subjects is a book with unique ideas that others who don’t know the author (who writes through these sentences) have no reason to identify.

All this journey has not been made for the reader to like it but for the author. Therefore, I feel invited to get to know myself better.

By Jesús Valera Reales

The book you have in your hands is the work of more than two years of one of the most skilled persons that I have ever met: my brother, José María. The real reason to write this prologue is to put the reader in a situation where, while reading the book, they can understand the context of specific chapters.

In the year 2004, at the age of 37, our mother passed away. She had a stroke and left my father responsible for raising eight children by himself – the oldest was 13, José María was 11, and the youngest was just 19 days old. We all had to change schools and redo our lives.

Three years later, he married another woman, who made our lives a living hell. After many discussions with our older sister, who had taken up the responsibility of being “the woman of the house,” she sent her to finish her university-level studies in another city, which she perfectly could have done in ours. By order of age, her next “target” was José María.

Our father was overwhelmed by what was happening. The encounters between him and us got bigger and bigger until we relegated – all seven of us – to the garage in the duplex where we “lived,” as the backyard of a castle. Additionally, we were utterly forbidden to go upstairs where the main rooms were (kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms) unless it was time to eat or go to sleep, with all the “human necessities” that implies.

The disagreements with her continued as time passed until my father was forced to decide that we all would return to the flat where we grew up with our mother, our home.

The repercussions were so severe on José María that he tried to end his life unsuccessfully at a mountain not too long after returning home. That was an inflection point at which he moved on to be our older brother even more. We couldn’t learn much from our mother, but as siblings, we always used to stick with each other, and with him leading by example, to support one another and overcome difficulties together, I owe him a lot.

By Francisco Javier

At the beginning of 2016, I heard of the idea of publishing this book, and when I felt that I “have to” make my contribution so this idea could become a reality. Throughout this time, I have tried to contribute everything I can by offering suggestions and corrections at every possible level.

There have been many hours of searching, reflecting, and talking (with laughter now and then), trying to help the author to express his ideas in a better way. And all of this under the selflessness behind these 16 years of friendship.

I want to add to the previous prologue a question that José María asked me one morning at the high school, a few days after they returned to the place where the eight siblings had grown up, “Do you know how it feels like to wake up on a weekend morning, to see it’s raining and to just stay in bed?” It was shocking because, usually, he had to go out anyway.