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.

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Responses

  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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