The truth about my Behind The Scenes
It’s been a while since I haven’t been posting in the blog and for few months I even disappeared from social media too… So I thought the best way to come back would be by sharing the truth with you, specially the truth about my Behind the Scenes.
Many of you already know that a year ago I felt in love with Mohamed and since then I’ve been passing more time here in Morocco than anywhere else. What most of you don’t know is the real truth about my Behind the Scenes. And the reason why you don’t know it, is because I was hiding it from you 🙁 Sorry…
The fact is that Mohamed is Amazigh (also known as berber) and he lives in a very small house with all his family. They are located in a super small town near the Sahara desert in Morocco. Living here for a year has been tough for me. That’s the truth. But I don’t want to focus this post in the lifestyle, I just want to explain you how it has been affecting my job.
The first thing you need to know is that I don’t have a studio here. I don’t have a room to work because there’s only one room in all the house, and we share it with the whole family. We are currently 10 people living in the house, and some days we are almost 15.
Also, the money is limited so we just keep it for food and some new clothes when needed. That’s why we never bought a table and a chair for me to work. I would feel horrible to buy this kind of stuff… First, because there’s no physical place to put it, so I would be taking away space from them. Second, because I know they would not understand how I can buy furniture instead of important living needs such as food or clothes.
So… here it comes the truth: for the past year, I’ve been working with my laptop over my legs or – when is too hot – in a small coffee table, sitting with a pillow in the floor.
No natural light
Another fact is that their traditional houses tend to be built with small windows, I guess to protect them from the burning sun of the desert. This, for me, is a huge handicap.
As you know, all my pictures (specially in my Instagram feed) tend to have white backgrounds and be very bright. That is impossible to achieve inside this house, so I need to take the pictures always outside.
When it comes to painting, I use the small coffee table as base for my papers. But they don’t have many tables in the house, so I share it with the eating table. When we finish breakfast we take out the tea and food from the table and set up my painting tools. Since I like to have natural light when painting, I need to paint outside. This is hard especially during summer season, because temperature here rounds 50ºC so I need to paint before 11:30AM aprox.
It’s kind of discouraging sometimes to not be able to paint if inspiration comes later than noon…
Taking pictures has been such an adventure here. I asked Mohamed to help me, to take some shots from me painting or even do some videos. It’s funny because at the beginning all his pictures were moved or out of focus. Now he is becoming an expert and he will even sell his picture online soon 😉
But the hardest thing was the “Instagram look”. We all are used to perfectly clean pictures with nice backgrounds and cool attrezzo, but the reality here is that I don’t have any of that. The walls of the house are still showing the concrete and sand used for its construction, and same for the floor.
Few months ago we bought a white fabric which we put every time I paint to use as background for my pictures, but it easily gets dirty and still isn’t my favorite background…
That’s why lately you can only see close ups of my paintings, because I tend to cut off everything around it to not show the reality.
Living in such a small town means being years away from the new technology that we are used to in our hometowns. Here, young people has smart phones and only need internet there. They watch movies in Youtube and chat with WhatsApp. But nobody has internet at home.
This was impossible for me. I need internet for my job as graphic and web designer, and although the first month I was connecting always from my phone, I needed a better solution. So we went to the only company offering ADSL in Zagora and we got a contract with them.
Connection is VERY BAD. Almost every day shuts down at some point. When it rains or is windy outside we loose it, plus it’s even slower than 3G…
It has helped me a lot to work on my patience (which is not one of my best qualities), but some days (and nights) I just end up crying.
The worst problem comes when I need to send files to my clients or when I want to upload new designs to my online shops, like mock-ups and watercolor clip arts in Creative Market or textile prints in Patternbank. Files that weight around 300MG take like 10 minutes to upload from Barcelona, but here usually take all day or all night (around 10 hours). No kidding!!
One of the hardest things I’ve lived during these months is about concentration. Being so much people in such a small house, plus counting that many of them are kids, makes silence a precious gift.
I usually can work with music, TV or any distracting noise around me. But some days here are hard…
Plus, few months ago I decided to take a big step and start recording videos. I was afraid of recording myself and that meant a lot to me. Now I’m starting to see some success in my youtube video about how to design patterns with Photoshop and I’m motivated to continue making more tutorials. But honestly I can’t find the right moment and place to do it.
For the past weeks I’ve been recording videos right after waking up, while Mohamed is still sleeping. But because we don’t sleep in the same house as the others (again, that’s part of another story…) I need to carry every night my laptop, charge my phone card with Internet and calculate the Megas I have to record the videos connecting my computer to my phone. Plus, I do it before taking breakfast (which for me means being a zombie).
I’ve always been much better supporting hot weather than cold. But temperatures here in the desert are extreme. Air conditioner is a luxury we are far away from having (before that we still need to figure out how to have hot water, a normal shower, etc…). So picture myself sweating like a crazy right now while I write this post. That’s reality for me hahaha
But I don’t care that much about it. What worries me, and what I want to talk to you about is how hot (and dry) weather affects electronic devices. Last year when I came here in July, my computer was just 6 months old. And you can’t imagine my face when I saw how slow it was running or the noise he did just for editing a big file… I freaked out. I thought it was broken. But then I understood it. It’s just the weather. It heats the machine so much that the poor computer can’t work properly… All of it burns, I feel I’m cooking my hands while working sometimes hahaha
And same happens with the phone… Luckily, during winter everything goes back to normal!
Although you may be surprised with many of the things I shared today here, I don’t want you to miss concept me.
I’m not writing this as a negative post. I don’t want you to feel pity for me.
I’m super happy here. I found love, and that’s one of the most important things for me. I found someone who cares a lot for me, who lets me take care of him too, someone with whom I connect and I can share all my creativity. Someone who wants to spend the rest of his life with me and with who we can do plans together and live adventures such as this one with a positive mind.
I’m happy, and that’s all what matters.
But is also true that for all those reasons I tend to avoid telling the truth of where I am. I was afraid of loosing potential customers if they think I can’t do my best in this situation, which is not true. It may be harder for me but I haven’t missed a deadline and if I have to be awake all night waiting for an email to be sent, I do. And Mohamed does with me.
I was also afraid of loosing IG followers if my pictures weren’t pretty enough. But the truth has ended being that I lost engagement because I disappeared for the past months from social media… so, then it came to my mind this idea:
Let’s be honest, let’s be real and share my reality with anyone who feels like reading 🙂
Here you have the whole truth, now you can understand better what’s going on in my personal and especially in my professional life.
Wish it wasn’t too boring for you…
For me, it’s a huge adventure. And since I always wished to live in many places around the world, I feel I’m already living my dream. Now I know how is it to live in a poor area without luxuries that until now I thought were common things (such as shower, supermarkets or beds).
And that, for me, means happiness…
To wrap up, I would love to open this post for comments. Here you have some questions:
– What can’t you live without? You know my answer (Internet & love).
– Are you currently facing some handicaps in your daily life that affect your work?
– How are you facing them?
Can’t wait to hear your experiences too. I’m sure it will help us a lot to share & support each other 🙂
Categorised in: Entrepreneur and Freelance Tips
This post was written by Claudia Orengo