Wednesday, January 29

Blood

Blood and I have a long history...let me explain.

I have a lot of memories of being a rather pathetic, but stubborn, child.  I was a fussy eater.  Scared of many things.  Hated sleepovers even at my grandparents but the blood...random.

I think it started when my finger was shut in a door during an argument with my delightful little brother.  It was a time when he was still shorter than me with dashing blond locks...and it was the day of my Dad's 40th birthday party.  As Dad's turning sixty this year that makes it nineteen and a half years ago: I was nearly 8.  Anyway, something had happened, I was angry, chased my bro (who's now around 6'2" and holds a private pilots licence) up the stairs.  He slams "our" bedroom door and then BAM.  My little finger, of my left hand, is shut tight into the hinge side of the door.

This is where one of my favourite memories of my Uncle joins us.  My Uncle was a policeman and - oh boy - could he shout!  It was more like a bark but he, very clearly, commanded my brother to "OPEN THE DOOR".  My wailing hadn't been enough for my bro to realise there was a problem so it took my Uncle's command to get that door open.

Fast forward a few hours, after my Auntie had tried to persuade me that because she was a leader of Brownies, or Girl Guides, or something, she could cut the flap of skin off, I'm at the hospital in casualty with my Mum and Auntie whilst the preparations for my Dad's 40th were well underway back at home.  I can imagine my Mum would have taken this all...in her stride?!

Anyway.  I can remember that during the following week, the first week of the Summer Holidays, I went to the children's holiday club at my church and every time we had to say or write a prayer, which was a lot as it was a church club, the theme was my finger.  Sod World starvation, children without water, homelessness...nope.  My finger.  Now wrapped up nicely and strapped to my wrist in a sock type thing.  Miraculously it wasn't broken, just a bit bloody and bruised.  Since then the scar has gone and the only problems I get is when I'm playing the guitar and need to change chords swiftly, it can get stuck temporarily, not really a major problem.  But mentally...oh my...

At some point I had to go to the nurse to have a blister popped on my hand as, although knowing my hands were incredibly soft and prone to blisters, I had been playing on the monkey bars in a playground and had managed to get a blister and fall into dirt afterwards...genius.  I remember sitting on a chair in the nurse's room with my head between my legs with my Mum next to me who was probably wondering how her daughter had become such a wimp!  It was so bad that at a Girl Guides First Aid event, so between the ages of 10 and 16, I nearly fainted at the sight of, yep, faint blood.

In the second year of University I managed to give blood once.  The nurse had had to 'dig' in my arm for a vein and it had hurt a lot.  He then attempted the other arm with more success but it wasn't the nicest experience.  I was told it shouldn't have hurt... Then...the next time I went to give blood I fainted, and I mean really fainted, flat-out.  I remember feeling soooo queasy as a man tried to squeeze blood out of my finger and then the next moment I was lying flat on a bed with the same nurse from before, that had 'dug' in my arm, asking me what my name was.  I was not happy as he had disturbed a 'dream' where I was dancing through summery meadows with One Big Gentleman and my other high school friends.  Funny thing is that this had been just from the prick test...i.e. they take a DROP of blood from your index finger to check my iron level.  Erm...really?!  I was swiftly told not to give blood for at least 3 years as I was 'out' for a while.  I didn't tell them I hadn't eaten or drank anything that day except a pint of Strongbow (cider)...that may have had something to do with it.
taken from here

Some years later I'm at the Globe, the Shakespearian theatre in London, and I'm watching 'Bedlam' and at the exact point that is shown in the photo I'm trying to convince myself not to faint, that it's "only pretend" and that I'll be alright.  The nurse on the right has slit the woman's wrist/hand and fake blood has squirted out onto the stage.  Roughly 5 minutes later I'm kneeling on the floor (we were in the pit so standing room only) and my colleague had to convince me that it was perhaps better if I sat outside for a while.

Then. Then. There's today.  I have had to have a blood test, mainly for a check-up really, no actual problems.  I was a bit preoccupied but feeling positive and bumbled along this morning to the hospital on my own.  It's all going well.  I've negotiated the ticket system and I'm sitting in the chair with all the vials and tubes on the table.  The nurse looks at me and asks me if I'm scared, "yes" is obviously my response.  I manage to chat away about the sunshine and the awesome breakfast I'm going to have after this, I've felt a small prick, the tubes obviously in but then:

"...ma perché il sangue va indietro oggi?..."  says my nurse to her colleague.

Man, it was all going so well.

Cue the dizziness, the lightheaded issue, the tunnel vision/soft focus effect as the nurse is now pricking my other arm...honestly, when you're not one for this sort of thing, to hear the nurse say "Why is the blood going backwards today?" is not comforting.  No, no, no, not at all.

Thankfully I didn't go flat-out this time.  I managed to stay upright and furiously suck the sweet they gave me.  After a 5 minute rest on the spare chair whilst watching the blood rush out of the next person I felt much better and left to reward myself with a cornetto at Caffè V with my "plus-1".

Blood...should not go backwards...

Saturday, January 25

I need to...

...check my fruit bowl regularly.

The downside if living alone is that there isn't a second pair of eyes to check for things that are about to get up and walk on their own.  You known, things that aren't supposed to walk...like mandarins...

Friday, January 24

Flights, Flights, Everywhere.

Rock on 2014!

It's official.  I will be in America for my birthday, and quite a few of the other days in August to be precise.  The flights are paid for.  Awesome.  On top of that, my Mum and Godmum are stopping over for 3 nights in February, they've booked their flights AND a friend booked her flights to come and visit in April for 6 nights.   Plus my brother, the one who is younger than me but oh-so-much-taller and wiser (pah!), passed his final flying exam thingy he had to do to get his pilot licence so he's now able to fly...other people...in an ickle aeroplane...slightly scared by this prospect but ruddy proud of him too!  Well done blud :-)

So...what flights have you booked recently?  Hmm, hmm....where are you going?!

Tuesday, January 21

And so it goes...

...mental.

The last few days have been crazy to say the least BUT I have just completed the second assignment for this years Master module.  2 down, 3 to go.  It's the third night that I will be going to sleep a little bit later than I would like but it does mean that I can finally clean my house properly tomorrow.  Happy days!

Right.  Now, where's my bed again?

Thursday, January 16

And so the stories...

...begin again.

Yes people, I moved, I am renting a flat for just little old me and right on cue weird stuff started happening, just to keep you entertained.  Let's start with the possessed piano...

Maybe it was angry, maybe it had been dropped, maybe it couldn't cope with the altitude of being on the 4th floor...eitherway my piano did something well weird.  And there are witnesses to prove it!  My friends and I (well my friends actually) had managed to carry all my stuff up the stairs.  I'd finished being given the tour of how to turn on heating appliances, and electric meters etc when I decided that I needed to set up my piano before heading out for a celebratory drink or two.

I turn the piano on, I hit a key, and I'm not kidding, it was like someone else had put their fist on the piano as a response.  This continued for quite a while.  Hit a key, attempt a little ditty and BAM chaos, sustained notes all over the place, crackling speakers, crazyness!  I was getting a bit frustrated, and a little bit freaked out at the thought of having acquired a "haunted" apartment when I went to the toilet, when a girls gotta go...

On my return to the piano and friends I was met with some smiles and a "I fixed it!".  And it was true.  Somehow one of my friends had magically fixed it!  Hooray, more brownie points to my two awesome, and probably still very tired, friends!!!

Moving on swiftly, a need to remember that the door to the bike shed/outhouse/cupboard thing has a very unstable door handle.  It came off in my hand the other day...with the other part only just about inside the door.  On trying to push the door handle in my hand back onto the square bar I managed to push the other door handle to nearly falling point.  Thankfully I resolved the problem by using my keys as some make shift tweezers to pull the square bar far enough out to get it with my fingers.  Phew.

Saturday, January 11

Before I continue packing...

...I'll tell you why I'm packing.

Last Sunday I told my housemate I wanted to move out by the end of January.  Then Friday morning, I saw an apartment, confirmed I had to have it and by the evening I'd arranged to pick up the keys and move in on Sunday...tomorrow...exactly a week after returning to Pescara.  Mental.

We are turning a new page, a new chapter, me-myself-and I.  We're going it alone.  Totally.  I need my own space, complete space that is, and I found it :-)

This leads on to my belief that if something is "right" (the "right" person for something, the "right" choice when buying something etc), a once difficult decision becomes the easiest thing in the world.  It's all about seeking and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9).  I'm sure that makes complete sense...right?

For example.  My housemate rocks up this morning having bought a car, completely unexpectedly, as she's been looking for a car for a while.  Once I came home to have her explain that she had agreed to buy a car but that the owner asked for more money as there was a problem that needed to be fixed so the owner and buyer would "share" the cost.  This sounded my alarm bells: why would the seller need the buyer to contribute to repairs on a car that's not yet theirs?  So I told her my "easy" v "right" experience and she declined the offer to continue looking.

Anyway, fast-forwarding to today, apparently whilst on the forecourt of another car dealer looking to buy a brand new, expensive car, she looked on her phone at one of those advert websites...which in itself is odd because her phone is ridiculously temperamental with the internet.  There was a car, newly listed, that was everything she had been looking for.  On ringing the number she was told she could see it less than a hour.  So my housemate rang her mechanic friend who just happened to be free to accompany her to check it out and, voila, my housemate bought a car, for a good price, in good condition with all the features she wanted.  Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Whilst house hunting I followed every lead I was given: from friends, the internet, agencies and sending emails left, right and centre.  I even spent three hours one morning ringing all the appropriate ads in the paper, a real test for my Italian.  I knocked and seeked everywhere possible (if anyone needs a list of house websites to help with their search I'm pretty "in-the-know").  I only saw three properties physically but that was because I knew what I wanted, and I believed it existed.  As soon as a property was "difficult", as in it had features that I couldn't negotiate on...i.e. price, space for my piano and a desk...it was discarded and I carried on.  Then, as if by magic, my colleague mentioned that she had seen an apartment that had been too small for her but really nice.  On checking it out I knew it was to be my new home as soon as the door was opened, it's better than I ever expected.

So there we go, I get to move just in time to enter my "I'm writing an essay so only talk to me if you don't mind being faced with a lot of incomprehensible gibberish in return" zone.  Oh how I love that zone...

Tuesday, January 7

In other words...I'm done.

Sometimes I'm baffled by what kids say.

Today a child correctly used the word "otherwise" in a sentence.  My colleague and I were so baffled we looked at each other in amazement...and then mouthed the word to each other just to check we'd heard correctly...'cos, you know, it's weird to hear an Italian 5-year-old use the word "otherwise" in a sentence.  Especially when I've taught 8- and 9-year-old children that are English who didn't know the word, let alone use it correctly.  It's particularly baffling as this child, like the rest of us, hadn't been to the school for the past thirteen days.  Mental.

In other news, I'm house searching again.  I'm intent on finding somewhere on my own a bit nearer my schools new location as my "world" has changed zone and priorities.  I've had to brush off my dusty technical, house vocabulary that I became an expert in almost two years ago and wade through hundreds of photos of houses big and small.  I've got my first viewing tomorrow.  I've arranged two other viewings but I ended up cancelling one as I discovered it was in the wrong zone, and someone else nabbed the other house before I got to see it.  However tomorrow's house is a "mystery house": I've not seen any photos; it's been described as a monolocale (studio flat) and a bilocale (apartment with two rooms); and has a garden.  More to the point, the agent rang me back almost immediately after I'd sent an email of interest which, as my Mum suggested, would indicate a keenness to "get-rid of it".  Dubious.

Changing topic completely, in a Christmas card a friend of mine noted that 2013 had been a tough year for me.  I suppose she was right, it was a year of journeys: I spent 357 days purposefully "single" in a bid to sort out my rather clichéd and naive views of love, sex and dating; I had to return to England for a best friends funeral; I somehow completed the first year of my Masters; my school moved premises; and I thought a lot about everything...I think 'over-thinking' ended up being my buzzword for 2013! To add to that 2014's initial circumstances aren't easy: with my next essay for my Masters hanging over my head (due in the 21st), and the inevitable house move, I'm "feeling it a bit".  I'm not sleeping well, my jaw is a bit temper-mental, and of course...I'm skint, hooray!  BUT I'm feeling up-beat.  I'm taking the phrase "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." as a focus for decision making and a guide to doing the things that make me shiny and happy.  My other resolutions are Resolutions Roll-overs: complete Masters, go to America, learn Italian and play the piano.

However, I'm hoping a few of the friendly faces I saw over the festive season have added "visit Laura" onto some sort of realistic to-do list come Resolution thing.  You can't beat knowing a friendly face is just around the corner as a pick-me-up knowing it's months until you return to England.