Sunday, April 28

Saturday night at the "Charlton's"...

...who cares what pictures we see...

This Saturday included baking yummy cheesecake and a lawn assessment. 

And so...e I am sitting "in" the Starbucks at Stansted's departures area I am skint and unsure of my "big plan" but I am happy.  I have spent the weekend with my closest friends, a "retreat" as it were.   Nothing quite beats a good chin wag, putting the world to rights and sharing opinions with those who you feel truly "at home" with and loved (the cooking, baking and shopping at Tesco were welcome bonuses).  I wish everyone finds friends like I've found with the Charlton's.

I feel I have climbed another step, albeit a rather small one, in this years quest to become as my perspective on life, the universe and all that is contained there-in, is being pushed, pulled, stretched and moulded.  Oh yeh, that and the fact I was baptised spontaneously at the church my friends go to.  Just a little reminder that:

  ...with God nothing will be impossible.   Luke 1:37

Saturday, April 20

Be Strong. Be Brave. Be True. Endure.

There's a little book I remember that I have buried in all my possessions that remain on the Island.  It's a book that I kidnapped from my Mum's childhood bedroom and within it I remember this verse:
I love my friend and the reason why is he is he and I am I.
I don't know where it comes from but this verse "pops" into my head on various occasions.  All my friends are awesome but they are all very different.  They have their own successes and struggles and I am always very grateful when I witness a struggle turn into a success.  One such event was last night when I attended my friend's celebration for completing a PhD.  As all others battling through a thesis, they literally spent hours upon continuous hours thinking and doing stuff for that one goal.  It was awesome to see them enjoying the company of those that had been supportive through the struggles and many, many sleepless nights.

Another friend keeps a blog, with the same title as this blog post, and in it they are so honest and frank about their experiences.  At times I've been mentioned and I've found their comments about me the most open and descriptive I have ever read.  I've since copied and pasted the comments into a document so I can re-read them when I am in the midst of my own struggles.  However I find it strange because they have written mainly about something I tend not to blog: my journey as a Christian.

With some of my friends I've not talked about my faith, ever.  It's not because it's not something I don't enjoy talking about, quite the contrary, but I don't like provoking conversations that could make others feel uncomfortable.  I'm certain all of my friends know that I am a "Christian" however with that there is the image linked to that label.  This image depends on the individual and their cultural, historical and social experiences of a word, so, for example, the stereotypes and generalisations of "being a Christian" I meet here in Italy are of a different nature to those I meet in England, even between fellow followers of Christ.

The word of my year, of 2013, is becoming.  Of course I know there is no realistic "end product", I'm not going to wake up on the 1st of January 2014 having "become" but I'm taking this year to learn to be satisfied with being myself in the present.   Some areas of my life have more structure to help me with this, like studying for a Masters and my "no dating until the 22nd December 2013" promise, whereas other areas are more about my ability to: "Be Strong.  Be Brave.  Be True.  Endure."

*This promise was made on the 22nd December 2012 due to a series of videos, by the Christian preacher Andy Stanley, on 'The new rules of Love, Sex and Dating'.

Tuesday, April 16

When in Rome... tiramisu sitting on the Spanish Steps.

I spent the weekend in Rome and it was definitely a calm before the storm: there's nothing like a good chatter with friends and meeting lovely people to remind one why one is doing what one is doing.  Now I have to get my "eyes down" and get stuck in to design frames, research paradigms and research questions which are congruently connected in a transparent fashion...or not.

To summarise the goings-on in one phrase I have to say it was a weekend from "the sublime to the ridiculous": there was eating tiramisu on the Spanish Steps with a good friend; there was a picnic in the park; there was a scantily clad girl climbing a tree: there were flowers everywhere; there was sunshine; there were good friends and new friends; there was a silent grand piano and a music shop; there was an art hotel and a garden hotel; there was hot chocolate and chocolate cake; there were old buildings; there was aperitivo; there were strawberries and well...I could carry on but I'm losing myself in a day-dream.

One could almost say I loved Rome...but that would be going to far.  I'll have to go back and see what I think fourth time round!