the short story project


Iana Malaga

10 years in my own way

I was thinking that the #10YearChallenge was just a superficial game that shows how bad the time can be when you’ve lived rough and that no surgery can disguise the inevitable passage of years.

However, now I think it is an interesting exercise if I start to remember everything that happened to me and how I changed in a decade. In 2009 I barely had a grey hair that only showed up when I had a lot of stress. Today I have 5 grey hairs which I know how to hide pretty well. They will say that I’m lucky because I’m still skinny and I weight the same since I was 17 years old. But today I try to eat better because the doctor has already told me that it is not normal that I tend to lose weight every time I am stressed. I am sorry, I suffer from anxiety, but instead of denying it, I am trying to aceppt “her” and see if we understand each other better.

In 2009 I was still a twentysomething girl living with her mother in a home of two strong women. That’s why I decided leaving his place in San Isidro -the most luxurious district of Lima- and I went to live in Surquillo. Then I had a wandering road that depended on the ‘roomates’ and the money that I had in my pocket. Afterwards I went to live in Miraflores, then to a pension with old women (where I was the conceited one and they told me about their bohemian past), then to Madrid, another few months with my mother (again we discovered that we are better living separated), to the Malecon de la Reserva, Lince and finally to the house of who is now my husband.

In 2009 I did not mind getting involved with every available fool men (or I was unable to distinguish them) and I was a little at their mercy waiting for them to pay me attention. And so there were several ones of them.

Ten years ago I was also a ‘groupie’ and I hanged out with writers because it was fascinating for me to hear them talking about their latest or future novels. But I do not think that in any of these relationships, real commitment (from both sides) prevailed.

In 2009 I did not know more than small pieces of my country. Today I know a lot of Peru because I took advantage of my years as a journalist from El Comercio to write about what I saw, instead of writing about something that “others” told me. As a journalist I also traveled to Miami, New York, Madrid, Barcelona, Bogotá and south of Ecuador. Not satisfied with that, I got a scholarship, I asked for a loan (of 30 thousand dollars) and I went to live in Madrid. At the same time that I studied there, I took the opportunity to travel to Paris, Amsterdam, Belgium, Seville, Toledo, Salamanca, Granada and again Barcelona. Later I also visited London, Santiago and Buenos Aires.

I lived in Madrid and “I had a lot of fun”, although always taking good care of myself. You know what I mean. After all, there I was a complete stranger.

I returned to Lima and although it took me a lot of effort, I worked hard in many different things to pay my debt with my own ‘money’ (I did not got nor asked for anyone’s help).

In 2009 I thought that to “succeed” in my professional career, I had to pay attention to my bosses and all the orders whom were “from above”. But now I know that they are also humans and when they ask you to do something that goes against your principles, it is better to say NO and move on to something else. I prefer a thousand times that, than going against what I think or what I am. And that’s something that I value from the things I learned from my parents. I do not know if he remembers, but my dad always repeated “never follow the flock” when I was very small.

Maybe it was a bit late, but recently I discovered that it is not worth wasting so much anxiety for someone who does not try hard to look for you and to see you happy. It is true, love is passion, admiration, affection, but at the same time a lot of effort and willpower.

I got married. I went from being a miss to being a madam. I got friends, I lost others and I realized that I even had enemies simply for the simple fact of existing. I think that it makes sense letting go: you can not be in good terms with everyone.

In ten years my life has not been bad. Now I am in the United States with my husband because I wanted to leave my comfort zone again and meet another culture different from mine. In two months I’ve been in Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York again. Maybe in a few days I’ll go to Canada.

I know. There are people looking at what you do not have to feel a little better with themselves. But if I am honest with myself, in a span of ten years I achieved almost everything I wanted. In 2009 I decided to be a globetrotter and I got it. Today (2019) perhaps my priorities are others, but that does not mean that I have not enjoyed this last decade.

I am grateful to life and to my angels. Those friends who left early and from somewhere are watching over me and telling me about what it’s all about: To dream and appreciate every single moment. 



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