I came to Cardiff through one last ditched attempt at following a dream.
Everyone around me knew what they wanted to do with their life and I thought I did as well. This is a normal reaction to being told you are good at something, along with being asked what you want to be when you’re older. I had my heart set on being a dancer. I began training and travelled around England and then the world chasing this dream until I landed in Cardiff on the UWIC Dance BA (Hons) Degree.
I can’t admit to knowing what hitting rock bottom feels like, although my first few weeks in Cardiff definitely came close. I didn’t know anyone, I’d left my job, I was living with people I couldn’t connect with and a romance had ended. This was not the best start to university life and what should have been the beginnings of much happier time.
It became apparent I had to stop wallowing and deal with the situation the best I could. I made an effort to meet people and formed new friendships, and a new romance was sparked. Things started to fall into place and I was excited it was going to be played out in Cardiff.
Skip forward two years through a fire, starting a new job, a broken foot, and many fancy dress parties. I was offered the opportunity to programme a dance evening as part of the Made in Roath arts festival. I suddenly realised that my passion for dance didn’t necessarily mean it had to be in a performance capacity. I now know that even if performance is not for me I can support others in their dreams to perform. Arts management and programming is my new answer to what I want to do with my life.
I love the city and not just because it is where I found my feet. There are so many quirky cafes, pub and restaurants to waste a free afternoon or evening in. Tea and Cake, The Pen and Wig and Daiquiris are among some of my favourite. I could list a number of places in Cardiff worth a mention or visit.
You know you have found your place when there is a sigh of relief on your return back there. You forget how you used to get lost in its streets, as navigating one side of the city to the other becomes second nature. Both of these apply to me and I have learnt that you can dream but be prepared for it to change direction! For now I am happy in Cardiff and think I will be staying for the foreseeable future. Providing my new dream doesn’t change direction!
Helen Di Duca lives in Cyncoed, previously to that Roath and Heath. She harbours an unhealthy addiction to watching YouTube videos and consuming large amounts of Thai green curry. As well as being in her final year of university she works at the CIA and love contributing to arts projects in her spare time.
Helen was photographed in Royal Arcade by Amy Davies
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