Saturday, September 28

...mettendo tutto a posto

Putting everything in it's place

It's been one of those days.  I've actually stopped.  My housemate has been in and out of the house and I've not moved.  I even decided only to eat lunch.  No breakfast, no dinner, just lunch.  And why?

Well honestly, I've been doing ok, but things have just been chugging along like a steam engine.  I've been shovelling everything into the fire (eating, sleeping, exercising, a bit of studying, socialising etc) so I have been moving along the tracks but I've been pulling a few carriages of bad habits.  I've been ignoring the Masters carriage for example which is missing a few windows, and the money's covered in 8 months of grime and soot with some squeaky pivots thrown in for good measure.

And that's why today I stopped.  I've done some "me time".  A Spring clean, in Autumn, I suppose.  I've managed to read everything I can for the first week of my latest Masters course.  I've researched various things for work and established that my Twitter account is a good tool for keeping up-to-date with the...da da daaaa...News...and the developments in the Education world (mainly relating to the ridiculously massive gap that still exists between Policy and Practice).   That puts the windows back in the Masters carriage.

The Money carriage is not so easy to clean.  I've become really set on the American Adventure, determined is the right word, and I know that the only way I can afford to go is if I just STOP SPENDING.  It's a very simple concept, the best one that there is, and really the only one.  However it is not one that can be solved without a bit of 'mind over matter', a bit of elbow grease.  Thanks to keeping track of every penny that I have earned and spent since December last year, I know that my social life is the biggest "unnessecary" expense that I have: eating out 5 times a week is a bit excessive after all.  I'm now restricting myself to once in the week and once at the weekend.   Done.

Then there's the "misc" purchases I tend to pick up here, there and everywhere.  I can no longer rationalise the need for a new pair of shoes unless others break (which is why I can get these, or these, or maybe these...), nor can I buy chocolate because I've had a tough day, rather I need to wait til I get home and eat the chocolate I ration in the fridge.  You see, what really gets me is that I have all these things to help me with my finances set-up: a budget for everything, a tracker on my iPod for said budget and, most importantly, a box of chocolate in the fridge for emergencies, oh, wait no, I mean a decent enough, regular income.  It's just I don't use these things to help me.

Now it's time to put theory into practice.

Tuesday, September 24

A confession

Two of my closest friends in Italy...are American.

There.  I said it.  And it feels good to off-load such a weighted statement.  For me anyway.

Before moving to Pescara I was not an America fan.  All the movies, all the loud shouty hip-hop music or the Diva culture, and then there's Jersey Shore, and Southpark, and other things that, in my eyes, tinged my view of "America".  Sure.  I love loads of the American series that make it out of America, you know, Friends, New Girl, The Big Bang Theory, oh and my all time fave, Monk.  But I moved to Pescara with the stereotype that Americans are crass, white teethed, loudly spoken, normally correct and therefore stubborn, either completely dumb or ridiculously nerdy, weight-obsessed on either end of the paradigm, who go on holiday with cameras round there necks and baseball caps glued to their head with massive sunglasses asking silly questions to tourists guides which annoys everyone else.  Yeaaaaah.  My actual personal experience of "America" is pretty limited and therefore...stereotypical.

Anyway.  I'm not saying that my American friends here don't have amazing teeth...they do...and as a result I now floss regularly(ish).  But everything else sort of doesn't match.  This proves, yet again, that stereotyping is always something can close doors and not open them.  I say this because by befriending some, once dreaded, "Americans" I will not go to England next August, but go on a three week American adventure.  If the parents can do it, I can.

My plan is to city hop (well, state hop) to visit the friends I've made as they'll all be in America in August too.  That way I'll experience "their" Americas that they talk about on nights out here.  It means I'll pop into Colorado, bumble around Chicago and hopefully celebrate my "golden" birthday (my 28th birthday on the 28th) in New York.  Plus, with all the influence from my American friends here, by then I'll be calling jumpers-sweaters, trousers-pants and may have even finally acknowledged what top a tank top is...

Just got to complete the Masters and save money...

Sunday, September 15

I did it!

And it only took me three and a half months!

Oh yeh.  I passed my level A2 Italian exam...woop, go me!

Thursday, September 12

Borrace di poesia, again!

I'm a translating poet, and I definitely know it!

I am still proud to be helping a friend with his project.  As I've explained before, Borracce di poesia combines two of my favourite things: poems and cycling.  Since living in Pescara my bicycle and I have conquered the World (well the World of Pescara).  I now have a commute of 20 minutes to work everyday rather than just for the Summer School in July and I cycle 40 minutes to church on Sundays.  I'm definitely getting my daily forty minutes of "cardio" as kindly pointed out by one of my friends.  I'm pretty certain I won't be so happy about this when it's pissing down with rain, snow, sleet and hail that always seems to commence coincidentally at 18:30 when I finish work.  Sundays I cycle to church which is 40 minutes away, although I have been known to do it in 25 minutes thanks to Azzurra's incredible time warping skillz.  Anyway...let me get to the point...

Borracce is off to Vienna again for the cycling festival Radkult.  As a result I've been busy translating some additional poems for this new adventure.  Even though it's "work" it is something I really enjoy doing as there's the challenge of ensuring the imagery and sense is not lost but is repeated in a stand alone English version of the quatrain.  It's one of those things that I get really engrossed in as quite often, because it seems Italian words often have more syllables than English words, I get caught up with whether or not a "the" is needed, or if there is a two syllable word to describe the wind.  I do look a bit ridiculous when I'm counting the syllables by dropping my jaw onto my fingers..."tyre" (or "tire" if you're American) was particularly confusing.  I decided it's only one syllable after reading a ridculously long forum argument about it.

So if you happen to be in Vienna this weekend, head on down to listen to the readings of the latest poems and grab yourself a water-bottle.  Personally, I'm waiting for the t-shirt of this poem to be printed  :-)

Saturday, September 7

Being back...

I will eventually put up all the things I did in my 'English Summer', but until then...

So.  It's been almost two weeks since I've been back and I can't help thinking about how I felt when I left Pescara for England.  It really doesn't feel like over a month ago.  If I'm perfectly honest it doesn't feel like I was in England at all but I was and in that time away from Pescara things definitely changed.  It's not the same being back, the things I left have all been a bit shook a caffè shakerato.

I don't mean things changed you know, in that I returned to a completely different place.  The sun is still shining, people still walk ridiculously slowly around the centre staring into shop windows.  It's just that there are subtleties that have...well...moved on I guess.  And that's what I've been struggling with lately, the slow undercurrents of movement.  Especially as, at this time of year, things naturally end and begin.

My career, my Masters, my friends, my own personal perspective on those things.  What I want to do, what I want to be, where I want to be, why I want to do it, why I want to be it...things that all seemed so clear and certain and hot out of the coffee machine before I went to England has been been put in a mixer with some rock hard ice cubes and shaken.  Violently. 

In a way it is exciting that I'm living in a place that allows this sort of natural transition but it's tough to come to terms with those subtleties that once felt so, grounded.  Thankfully, I've brought back from England a new bible study so this morning I turned my focus back round to the one and only thing that really is secure, the one thing that really is not going anywhere :-)

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139: 23-24 NKJV