Posted by: roamingolivia | February 20, 2010

My first Saturday

I blame the rain for the grumpiness in yesterday’s post, and the total frustration with the IT situation. I bought an “internet key”, as they’re called here, and a SIM card, and now I am contactable and emailable at home, and that is nice.  Then I hung out with my coworker from Kazakhstan and two of his friends (a Bulgarian and his Kazakh girlfriend), which was fun. I forgot to get his number, however, so I couldn’t meet up with him and other post-Soviet types to go on a walking tour of the centre. So I have had a quiet day – starting with a wander around Chinatown looking for an iron, a teapot and a tea kettle.

I figured Chinatown was a good place to buy some of these things, and it was for the middle item, but not so good for the first or third. But really there was just a branch of the Expert chain, which is where I bought the iron. An electric kettle there cost 50 Euros (!) so I didn’t buy that; the iron cost 16. How that price differential is possible is beyond me.

Chinatown is a great place to buy a teapot (as if I needed yet another one – the only piece of kitchen gear I own not only 1 of but probably 5 across various continents). It is also a good place to buy tea (which isn’t an entire aisle in a supermarket, like it is in the UK and US); the organic shop near my flat is another good place for this, but I only learned that later.

Otherwise, I wandered around the Duomo area and made a couple trips to shops around my house, spending money on things you need for a flat, like salt and an iron and dishwashing detergent and balsamic vinegar. I have bought small pockets of groceries since I got here, and spent really overall a lot of money.

My flat is amazing and lovely, and I am glad I brought an uncharacteristic set of “nesting” things – my going-away cards and a tablecloth and a silk scarf that can be a small tablecloth, and some pictures my aunt sent me the day I left London.

I feel like I am a new self right now, and I am trying to figure out who I am. For example, I left the US eight years ago for the first time, and I am really different now (and the same). But the trick is that I don’t really know what I am like anymore; since the first and second times setting out on my own (Poland/Russia and then Central Asia), I have tended to go places with other people. When I left then I didn’t know what I was looking for or what it would be like or really why I was leaving. And it’s quite similar now, but now I am aware of all these things I will lose: Why would I leave the UK, where all my friends are, and my boyfriend is, and where I was already starting to feel a bit homesick for the US?

Now I am homesick for 2 places, and also feel really relieved to be unencumbered (as much as you can be when you have lugged a 30-kg suitcase and books across the ocean). It is nice because I have just me, and I can think about what I want and do what I want and sit around all day staring at grass and reading books, since that is really what I do when I go places alone. I like the first weekend somewhere, where I don’t need anything outside my new flat. Or maybe I feel that way because I’m a bit scared.

Of course, amidst this awareness of loss, I also am aware – but less acutely – aware of what I will gain, eventually: stories, language, friends, adventures, thoughts, some new complicated relationship to yet another place and city and continent. And I look forward to that.

Anyway, I wandered around and took pictures, which I should post soon – maybe tomorrow – but not right now. It was sunny and warm and everything is lovely here, in a funny way – in a way nowhere I have ever been in my entire life is. So that is funny; I kept thinking to myself, “My life is ridiculous” and thinking how many people should come visit.

The good thing is I had the foresight to buy DVDs from American TV, so now I have something to watch besides MTV Italy obviously. They played My Heart Will Go On today, though, I think, so that’s not a good sign. When TV is not on (which is most of the time), I fill my apartment with classical music or jazz, or music on my computer. And I like it. For now.


  1. ha, that celine dion song follows you everywhere! i’m glad you’re settling in, and i’m glad italy is nice and sunny. new flat! it’s fun to do cozy-ing in things.

  2. Yeah, Italian MTV was my staple for most of the time that I lived there. It’s not really good. In fact, it is properly classified as bad. I’d also watch a show now called Amici (I think) about a school/competition that combines So You Think You Can Dance? with American Idol, plus acting and angst-filled teenagers. You may also get obsessed with bad Italian game shows and watch the culturally-insensitive travel shows that come on on Sunday.

  3. “I feel like I am a new self right now, and I am trying to figure out who I am.”

    I like how you said that; it really resonated with me. My life in the last few weeks has involved marriage, a new apartment, an adopted doggie, and application to grad school to undergo a complete career change… I wander around with the question “What do I want??” reverberating in my mind.

    Thanks for sharing all the fotos… your flat reminds me of some I’ve seen in Prague. I miss Europe sometimes! I wish it were possible to just road trip it over the ocean.

  4. olivia, are you not keep your blog up?

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