Sunday, July 28

I'm tired, but isn't everybody...

I'm really tired.  Tired in the sense that I've not been sleeping because I'm that tired.  Tired of this place, tired of the heat, tired of people, tired of things taking twice as long as they should.  Tired of working, tired of studying, and tired with tiredness making everything seem, well, tired.  In fact, apart from the moon, there are not many things that I am not tired of.  Maybe the piano...I never tire of the piano.  Oh and God, but that's a-given.

Perhaps it's because I set high expectations of myself and then, as a result, I have to break myself a little bit to meet that expectation.  My "holiday" that's coming up, the 25 days I have in England, consists of 10 days of "holiday", the first and last 5 days, (which, as a bonus, are both centered around cricket).  The rest, 15 days, I will be studying my arse off and then socialising with those I love so dearly on the island, as a reward for all the studying I've done.  The carrot-on-a-stick method.  The only way I function.

Recently, knowing that I'm going back for a bit has been what's kept me going.  Returning to a place where my history is, where I can say things like, "Remember that time when..." and not be talking about last week - my heritage, as it were.  I'm excited to be seeing the faces of the people that are in my scrapbook.  The one I started when I was 16.  To hear what they want to tell me, the selection of information that's accrued over the last 4-8 months, depending on when I last saw them.  Oh and to see the new babies, who now aren't so new, and the new houses that have now been lived in for a year.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my life in Pescara but right now it's time to recharge my Englishness.

I forgot.  Ice-cream.  I'm not tired of ice-cream.

Sunday, July 14

"It's been a good day...

...because I burnt my bum cheeks" is quite possibly the best summary of a day I've heard of in a while.

It's been a day of: floating in the sea; sitting and sort of studying on the beach; discovering an amazing ice cream parlour with dark chocolate gelato to die for; napping; honing my Italian fashion know-how; being told twice that I speak Italian well; following strangers to toilets without a queue; and the introduction of Japanese iced tea.  But best of all it was the day we sorted out where we are to explore tomorrow in a hire car thanks to the very detailed instructions from an Uncle and his nephew whilst devouring crepes at 3:30am.  

Isaiah 40:31


Wednesday, July 10

Ralph McTell

I'm not really sure where to start...there's a lot I'd like to write today.

So.  I was reading back some of my blog posts the other day.  I found myself laughing at myself as I relived some of the ridiculous things that I've done since living in Pescara.  From the confusion between hat and onions in the first few months here to skiing, with the crashing and the rolling and the split trousers.  Plus after all the ice cream I've eaten (which is a lot more than I've blogged!) it really is amazing I have lost weight.  Then there was my Christmas in Naples: my first Christmas away from home and my family and my biggest, in terms of attendees, to date.  Hmm...family, that's where I'll start.

I don't have a big family, not in the Italian way of "big" anyway.  My blood relatives are pretty sparse, which actually contradicts the jokes my good school friends (OBG) used to have about how many cousins I have.  I have no "blood" first cousins.  I do have step-cousins from my Uncle's last marriage and some very awesome second cousins.  That's probably where the idea I have so many cousins came from, because families get broken and families get fixed.  Families get bigger and families get smaller...

This morning I received an email.  It was from my Mum.  She's bought tickets for a concert, to see Ralph McTell.  This singer is one of my Mum's favourites, he did Streets of London and this really awesome album of animals that I love called "Alphabet Zoo".  He's a folk singer, with a knack for story songs.  His songs, along with Simon and Garfunkel were the "car soundtrack" as Mum drove my brother and I around the island as kids, probably trying to make us shut-up.  Anyway.  My Mum's email made me cry.  I know it wasn't meant to but it did.  She wrote about how McTell was one of my Uncle's favourite singers too,  I use "was" because my Uncle died in September 2009.  My family has been getting smaller over the years: death outweighs birth.  I was going to illustrate this with a diagram, but then I realised that would have been depressing.

Without dwelling on such morbidity my Mum linked a particular song to the email "Jesus Wept" and this morning it struck me as strange that, in this moment, where I am now, my Mum sends me that song.  As far as I know I am the only member of my family who is a "practicing" Christian.  My definition of "practicing" is quite simple: I read and meditate on the bible and try and put what I read into practice.  I cannot say whether or not I am the only Christian in my family as I don't know my other family members beliefs, it's not something we talk about, but I'd say the majority are agnostic with a sprinkling of atheism.

Argh, I need to get to the point.  Basically, all my bible readings, the church sermons, conversations with my Christian friends and friends alike have been pointing towards doing one thing: cutting away my limits.  This can be represented by an image of a hot air balloon, with sand bags weighing it down, and then cutting off the sand bags so that the balloon soars through the air.  My limits have been deadlines mainly, imposed on myself: leave Pescara September 2014, no dating til 22nd December 2013, do this by that time, complete this...so I've cut them all away, and now I'm soaring :-)

...but what does that have to do with the song my Mum sent?

The song, building upon the shortest verse in the bible, John 11:35 NKJV, takes the idea that Jesus knew about everything that was going to happen after his death (and consequent resurrection).  As a practicing Christian I believe that God, in all three manifestations, knows everything about me and my life, everything: the mundane, the excitement, the unknown and everything in-between, what has happened, what I am now, and what is to come and if I focus on that then everything will just......happen.  But not just happen, happen in a way that is more than I could ever expect.  By believing that, so far, has made my journey both rocky but rewarding.  I've never wanted just a nice life and have always lived by silly sayings, writing "I'll find out when I get there" and "A nuclear war can ruin your day" on my high school back pack, and scrawling bible verses on my hand, just to make sure that every decision I make is the best decision for that moment, no matter how big or small.  Of course I get it wrong but heck, that's life!

Tonight I go to see Jovanotti, an Italian singer, both loved and hated over here.  If you'd told me one year ago I would be so excited about going to see him I'd have laughed in your face and told you swiftly that I had no intention of spending €50 on a ticket but that his video for La notte dei desideri was quite good.  If he doesn't do the 'spinning-around-and-hand' move tonight, I'm asking for my money back.