Sunday, February 24

If you want to improve be content to be thought foolish and stupid ~ Epictetus

Due to the completion of my second Masters essay (only one module and three essays to go, woohoo!) I gave myself the 'weekend off' and so I've spent this weekend doing, well, not much really.

Meeting new people involves certain types of conversations.  On the first time there's the name, what you do, why you're in [Pescara], what you think of [Pescara].  Then in the meetings that follow there are more specific questions about what you do for work, in your spare time, your family etc.  And then the question that I'm stuck on at the moment...How long are you going to be in Pescara?

Argh.

I don't know.  I am leaning towards saying a year and a half and I suppose, as someone who has always trusted her instincts - I always wanted my first teaching post to be of two years and change school...I did one year and three-quarters which is close enough! - that's what it will be.  But then.  Oh my, what to do in that year and a half.  It means that in September 2014 I will be somewhere else.  And yes, that is a long way off yet, but when you need/want something you have to prepare for it.  In order for me to make the best out of my time here and now, I need to work with who I know I am now and and try and work out who I want to be in the future so I can prepare to be that future person and get good at it. 

I suppose one could say "Life is like a piece of computer software", rather than Forrest Gump's "box of chocolates".  I have to update, so lets say that I'm Laura v. 26.  The most recent update brought a focus on preparation and personal development in the form of the Masters, the Piano lessons, the Italian lessons, the Kick Boxing, and therefore the lack of "spare" time, whatever that means anyway.  And so now, I'm working as Laura v. 26, but I am developing Laura v. 27 which will probably iron out any glitches in v. 26 (and hopefully be a bit more exciting!).  And by Laura v. 28, to be installed in September 2014, there will be a physical change, like when Apple changes the layout of iTunes and everything's in the wrong place for a while and I get angry and frustrated at not knowing where things are but the update always turns out to be better than the previous version.

Sometimes "updates" are forced on us, and sometimes they are a choice.   My iPod and iTunes have been telling me that there's a new update, to v 6.0.03i92340984 or something.  I've only just got used to the changes of the last version so I'm putting it off, not doing it.  But eventually it'll do it automatically, the dreaded "automatic update".   That's because the developers at Apple understand that if you don't move things forward, where are you going to go?

I'll have a new colleague at work soon, that's an automatic update I can't control.  But I can control how that update affects the next chapter of my job.  I can ignore the update, work against it, pretend it hasn't happened, or I can work with it, see what new things my new colleague will bring and go from there.  Of course it's hard to "update", automatically or by choice.  You move out your 'comfort zone', and away from things that are known.  Crikey, Laura v. 25 had a lot more freedom, evenings out, dinners with friends, skiing trips whereas Laura v. 26 flits from one place to the other with the trusty bicycle spending the evenings studying and sleeping.

So, I return to my second dreaded question when I've just met a new person:

What are you going to do when you leave Pescara?  Return to London?

I normally shrug my shoulders and say the infamous "bhooo!".  In reality,  it's appealing.  BUT right now it makes me feel physically sick even thinking about it.  I'm not for that World right now, I don't have the skills to survive the London life without killing myself (as losing a lot of weight due to stress and crying practically everyday proved to me).  But who knows, maybe the updates between Laura v. 26 and v. 28 will provide me with just the right skills I need to survive so that I will be able to do it, get the Penthouse overlooking the Thames with a grand-piano in a room that has floor-to-ceiling windows...ahhh....one can dream :-)

Sunday, February 10

What is it with onions?

A while back I had a problem buying onions (see here: A hat or an onion, that is the question.) and the other day onions caused another language classic!

My piano teacher is in the process of moving house so as a result I am having my piano lessons at her Mum's.  Here's the scenario.  It's 12:45 on Tuesday, I've just finished my lesson and I am about to go to work where I'll eat my lunch.  My piano-teacher knows I make all my lunches in one go and take it to reheat at work so she asks me what I have for lunch today.

"Ho preparato un risotto." I say proudly (I've prepared a risotto.)

"Con sugo?"  (with sauce) the Mum asks.

"No, no, con brodo, pollo and agnello ma non ricordo che tipo di agnello" 

Now it is at this point that I think I have said: "No, no, with stock, chicken and onion but I don't remember what type of onion."  So my piano-teacher and her Mum start to help me out, giving me ideas of what type of onion:

"arrosto?" (Roast)

I think "Why would I put roast onions in my risotto?" so start racking my brains for the word for spring onions (I only saw it at the supermarket the day before) as they obviously hadn't understood my amazing Italian skills.  

"In inglese la parola e' come primavera, agnello primavera."  (In English the word is like spring, spring onion.)

Blank expressions.  I try describing it instead.

"E' bianco con foglie verdi..." (It's white with green leaves.) Of course I use hand actions to illustrate the white is rounded and at the base with long and thin leaves....

This only adds to the blank expressions and one of them says "...agnello?!" with an intonation of disbelief.

It's at this point that the realisation sets in...

I burst out laughing: "Ho detto agnello?!....Nooo...cipolla!" (I said lamb?!....Nooo...onion!) Thankfully once this was sorted out we all understood the ingredients to the risotto.

So, there we go.  Cipolla.  It's a tricky word.  And apparently not only do I mix it up with cappello (hat) but also agnello (lamb).  Marvellous!

And it's back to the essay about the strength's and weaknesses within a rather irritating article about the concepts of learning and the related research methodologies...joyous!

Saturday, February 2

It's 02:29...

...on the 2nd of February 2013 and it's 14 degrees outside. That's like...spring!

YESTERDAY I had one of those days, you know where everything's a bit higgledy piggledy and up and down. Bad news at work, good news at work; mental studying crisis and crazy studying breakthroughs; Skype for the brother's birthday sprinkled with a dribble of homesickness; that sort of thing.

TODAY I took a mock of a mock A2 Italian exam (upper beginner). It's surprising just how much I've learnt in a year and a half. Really it is. I hope my brain has room for more though :-/

TOMORROW I go to see Les Misérables at the cinema with a new friend (after studying of course). Very excited to be finally seeing a film my Mum has already seen three times!

No other news, well that directly affects this blog anyway.

The End!