Reality Bites

Yesterday, my entire world shifted as the ground fell from beneath my feet. Suddenly the reality of my decision to move overseas was all too real. Pride would not let me admit that I was petrified. Tears filled my eyes as I sudden saw my friends as irreplaceable. Even more shocking is what can only be described as a moment of insanity; I collapsed into a blubbering mess at the thought of leaving my biologically family behind.  In the moment they seemed for a lack of a better word “perfect”. The fact that for that brief moment I actually consider my overly dramatic family; who can be a source of annoyance to the point that I have questioned my belief in a  higher power, as the most perfect family in the world was trippy. This feeling of familial love was enough for me to realize that my life is changing for real.

Sure growing up I idolized Hemingway. I longed to sit al fresco at a cafe in some foreign country observing life will sipping wine. Naturally, this Brooklyn girl figured that if I could survive a ride on the NYC subway at night how dangerous can any country be? Now on the heel of my next big adventure a nocturnal subway ride seems like a cake walk compared to walking the streets of Europe. At least I know the language of Brooklyn a simple F-word followed by a “one figure salute” is the equivalent of saying, “I love you too buddy!”

How do you curse in Italian? I’m serious. What’s the equivalent of the F-word in Italian? Like most Americans I think everything sounds slightly sexy when said in a foreign language.

I know exactly one person in Italy and well he’s a pain in the ass. So, my current status at the moment is that once I reach Italy I will be homeless, lonely and scared but I am a New Yorker to the heart and that has to count for something.

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To Wonderland and Back Again

I have been living in Italy for a year and half. Things have been interesting in ways that I could never have foreseen. Surprise is a daily experience as are mistakes, wonderment and frustration. To sum it all up in one turn of phrase, “This is living”.

My daily rollercoaster is exactly the reason why I moved from the US. I am learning in ways that I simple was no longer inspired to do when I was living in the US. My learning keeps me humble as I am often prone to making mistakes as any new comer would. Vigilance is necessary as anyone will tell you here that dealing with the bureaucracy is a nightmare. Staying on the right side of the law is a precarious as going left instead of right in a pitch black room after spinning in circle for 60 seconds.

Culturally speaking people are generally great but they are at the end just human. Everyone has their stereotypes and beliefs about Americans. The number of people whom base their understanding of an entire culture on movies, music videos and the worst tourist is amazing. Americans are all fat. They (Americans) cannot cook because all they eat are hamburgers and French fries. Americans are too loud etc.
In the beginning I felt the need to defend my fellow country men even if somethings ring true (I.e., I love a good cheeseburger and French fries are my good to food of choice). Never the less I generally smile and say, “I’m American and don’t fit those stereotypes.

My schedule is always packed with the normal activities like work, prep for work, exercise et al so much so that I often forget to venture out and enjoy the Tuscan terrain. As I started saying I am too busy living to behave like a tourist. Instead I write my journey as I move from day to day and moment to moment traveling to wonderland and back again.

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I’ll drink your milkshake!

Still of Daniel Day-Lewis and Dillon Freasier in"There Will Be Blood"  (2007)

Plainview: I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!

I am always amazed by the audacity of people.  You try to stay within the lines.  Make as few waves as possible.  Never the less the less waves you try to make the more people mistake kindness for weakness or patience for lack of purpose.  I take no joy in having to make waves.

I could blame cultural misunderstanding or youthful indiscretion instead I would like to think neither resulted in this nonsense.  People run away from resposibility so people then look to the only one who cannot run.  When you make an escape window for yourself only then do realize how truly jacked up the situation is.

Anger would be futile as it would be wasted energy.  To this I say, “I don’t want to talk about those things”.  I have kept the details regarding this situation quiet because the minute details are irrelevant.  The truth is  that this silliness repeats itself in every situation be it work, school, marriage etc.

My purpose is to get better at managing myself and not others,  How I face challenge has become my mantra.  Slow to anger has been extremely helpful.  Step by step I trying to create a blue print for how to manage this moment that are truly frustrating as they are unneccessary.  Every spoken language has cures words. Words  that are meant to convey the deepest of insults. Universally speaking “responsibility” remains the dirtiest of dirty words unttered by man.

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It’s all fun and games till someone pokes out an eye or makes a baby

I have been avoiding speaking with my mother for months.  When I did final speak with her I had to admit she sounded quiet happy.  At the tender age of 60 something, my mother has run off and married a gentleman twenty years her junior.  Upon hearing the news of my mother’s upcoming nuptials during the engagement phase I had three questions: Are you pregnant? Can you just live in sin for a few years and then get married? You know I am not calling him daddy?

The reason for the avoidance is that I did not want to hear stories about her copulation with her new husband.  The idea of my mother copulating creeps me out.  My sisters like myself were shocked and suspicion at the news that my mother was getting married to a man she had only known for three weeks while vacationing in the Caribbean. My youngest sister had a bit of a meltdown to which I was amused by her tantrum.  She made the entire situation about herself and her subsequent embarrassment.  It was a complete waste of time reminding her that our mother’s impending marriage is not about her since we are all over the age of 21. I found the whole situation funny. It’s not my mother’s first marriage or even her second. Nope.  She is on marriage number three.  My sister asked if I would fly back for my mother’s wedding. My response was “no, she been down this road a couple of times”.

Actually I am happy if my mother is happy. It’s really none of my business whom she marries.  My mother is an adult entitled to do as she pleases.  The age difference while making for serious chuckles is irrelevant.  If she were a man this wouldn’t even be an issue.  The fact that she hardly knows the man is more of a concern to me but again what is done is done.  My mother is slightly embarrassed by her much younger husband in that she feels people are judging her.   My answer to this conundrum is “so what” it is no one’s business but yours and your husband as to what is your relationship.  Of course people are going to have an opinion even if he was of proper age people would still have something to say.  All I want to know is are you pregnant?

The biological imperative says that pregnancy at the age of 6o plus is near impossible but given that my mother is meaner than an angry rattle snake I would think marriage for her at any age would be impossible.  My mother’s secret to such a quick engagement and marriage is that she told him and I quote her directly, “no cookie until you put a ring on it”.  Perhaps if I were a better daughter I would take a page from my sister’s book and have a meltdown. Instead I have only one caveat that is as inflexible as titanium which is that I will never call her husband “daddy”.  I refuse to even entertain such a notion as a mere novelty or joke.  On all else I will live it to the blushing bride and young groom to decide what is best for them.  As title of this missive states it is all fun and games till someone pokes out an eye or makes a baby.

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Step One

As I writing Kayne West’s , “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is playing in the background.  He raps “…this is my day”.   Its day three of a 2014 while I know what it is that I have to do I am slow to do anything. Sometimes too much time is a bad thing in that it can lead to procrastination.  Each time I make a move to start I tell myself that there is always tomorrow.  In a few days all the tomorrow will be gone and it is back to my normal routine.  The holidays will be officially over. While dining with a friend she said, “New year will see major changes for you”.  I must admit until till that utterance I had not give much thought to the fact that my decision most certainly mean that I am making changes that will have both long term and short term effects.

“Excuse me, is you saying something” ~ Kayne West’s , Can’t Tell Me Nothing

I am not a gambler.  In fact I what one may call risk adverse.  Seriously I am the person who goes to a casino and placed zero bets.  I have no desire to watch people throwing their money away.  I like a sure thing.  I jump to the end of books because I want to know how the story ends.  I like to avoid risk at all cost.  So why am I making this big change?

Good question.

”Cause if life is an uphill battle…We all tryna climb with same ‘ol ladder…” ~ B.o.B., Both of Us

To sum it up in a word? BECAUSE. Cause I can because I want to. Because this is the only life I have so ball to the wall and go for it.  Because life is meant to be lived, it’s 2014.  Is this a contradiction from my no risk taking policy, in another word “Yes”.  Maybe this is the theme for 2014, because I can dammit.    Where things will end up a year from now I truly have no idea.  For now I am content to take things one step at a time no matter how slow or uncertain.

“More alive than I ever been in my whole entire life…”~Eminem, Recovery

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Let the bodies hit the floor

Olive harvesting in Umbria

Olive harvesting in Umbria

It’s 2014 a New Year a fresh start.  I lost some people who weren’t really ever my friends.  In the past I would have viewed these losses an indictment of my personal lacking if you will. Today it is just a matter of reality.  These people as far as people go were fine but not people meant to be in my life long term.  They were perhaps meant to be there just for the moment.  In some cases they were more a burden than a friend.

Friendship should not be viewed as a chore, a thing to be crossed of a list. Friendship should be something organic. It should develop and hopefully grow over time.  Friendship is not about perfection but understanding it is something that allows you to be your most imperfect self.  The people who bowed out did not fit this description. They were nice people but ultimately not friendship material for me.

The other caveat about friendship is that it is deeply personal.  Friendship is not a one size fits all.  Some friends are the ones you can share your deepest secrets with while other are the ones to make you laugh till you cry.  Friendship is like all the really good things in life it is a constantly changing kaleidoscope.    Today it appears one way and tomorrow it morphs into something else.

It has been said that the older you get the harder making friends becomes. I cannot present a valid argument to contradict this statement.  However, I can present this nugget of realization.  As we grow and learn our needs, desires and tolerance levels change.  It would therefore be reasonable to surmise that our friendships must do the same.  Sometimes when these shifts occur we fall out of sync with friends.  When this happens sometimes it a sign that it is time to let old things go and explore the new.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate having known some friends since childhood.  What I am suggesting is that the length of time knowing someone does not make you close friends or even good friends. It is the strength of the bonds that you form with friends that determine the quality of the friendship.  So to those friendship lost in 2014 I say that you for the memories but it is time to move on and explore the new.

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Gone Girl

gone girl blogI woke up two days after Christmas and had an epiphany that I am in the midst of something.  I am reluctant to give this moment of transition a title. At this point a title seems limiting.  Whatever it is that is happening to me is the antithesis of limiting.

I guess I should start at the beginning.   A few days ago on Christmas morning the day started as it had ended in a state of joy and happiness.  Nothing special had happened no gifts were exchanged I merely did the things that I enjoy most which is cooking and sharing the results.  By the next day it dawned on me that something about how the experience was unfolding was different from anything that I had experienced in the past.  I couldn’t put my finger in the exact element that was and is making things different only the internal sense of peace.  My most present feeling is one of tranquility.

I have been doing a lazy internal search for all the known triggers that bring about doubt, fear or anxiety only to find that they are diminished or not present.  Even writing this entry for my blog is both a struggle and a further exploration of what is happening to me on an internal level.  Laughter is always readily available if for no other reason than I can so why not.

If you have ever read anything I have written before then you know that I like to question all things especially myself.  Truthfully speaking I have questions but they seem less important than just exploring the moment and seeing what turns up.  As a person who loves to move at the speed of light I have been moving at a turtles pace.  Lately I have been deliberately taking my time to do everything which has had some interesting results.  To naively believe that my inner New Yorker has dissipated entirely is ridiculous.   I prefer to think that I am hopefully evolving. This evolution is a mind blowing experience in that if I had been told that I would personally experience such a thing I would  smile politely at the person while internally place them in the “nuts” box to be avoided in the future. Yet, here I am in a state of evolution?

In hindsight all is 20/20.  Who knows how long it will take my hindsight to develop. I shall pour myself a glass of wine with dinner and make a toast to my current journey.  Capo Danno!

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Word Jumble – RIP

Today I awoke to the news that Paul Walker died in a car crash.  The news was shocking that a person who has been apart my growing up entertainment life was now dead.  Paul Walker was not a brilliant actor.  Nor were his movies a tour de force but he was a working actor whose movies entertained me none the less.  From ‘Fast and Furious’ to ‘Running Scared’ and a dozen other mindless dribble I watched his movies and enjoyed myself most of the time.

What I find most interesting is that in death he has been elevated from a working actor to  Cary Grant. In death he is being paid the type of homage he never received in life.  While I understand that it is bad form to speak ill of the dead.  How much better is it to pay false praise?  Paul Walker was a not a very good actor he made a string of forgettable movies.  As a man he seemed to be a genuinely nice guy.  Why can’t the fact that he was a working actor, father and nice guy be enough?  Why must we elevate the man with false praise in death? In life he was the punch line to endless jokes about his less than stellar career.

This type of false elevation happens frequently when people die.  All of a sudden the SOB of yesterday becomes the patron saint of today.  Whether this change of heart is due to a guilty conscious or a need to appear pious is a question that has always perplexed me, while I am no fan of bashing the dead heaping false praises isn’t my style either.  A bastard is a bastard be he dead or alive.

Would it not be better to wish someone peace in the afterlife than to force false praises upon those who are genuinely grieving the loss of a loved one?  Can we not have a moment of honesty?  Why must anything be said at all? Is there a rule that says in death lie in life be brutally honest as well as cruel.  A man is dead he was neither brilliant at his craft nor had a body of work that will be studied by future generations of thespians.  He was a man who did his job to the best of his abilities and there is nothing shameful about that.  My he rest in peace.

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