redrover: (Default)
I've been wavering for some time about writing this entry, mostly because there have been a good deal of distractions to excuse it away. I try to write off my problems by saying 'it's not so bad' or 'others have it worse'.

The problem with ignoring the need to put voice to my own issues is they don't go away. Yes, other people do have things worse - but that doesn't invalidate the fact that I have a problem. It's like allowing a cut to go untreated because someone else has a terminal illness. Eventually, the cut is going to become infected. And in this case, ignoring my need to talk about my problems has caused other complications to arise because I've let it fester rather than addressing it.

So this has been going on since my mother visited me in Italy, though I wasn't strictly conscious of it until October.

To begin, I haven't had my period in three months. I have taken numerous home pregnancy tests (all negative), and am attempting to get in to see my family practitioner and have myself tested at the hospital. As concerned as I am about my physical health, it's my mental well-being that is suffering more; the idea that I may be a parent, not in some indeterminate future, but soon, has made me begin to consider just what sort of person I am, and what issues have shaped me to be who I am.

Trigger warning for abuse, racism, and alcoholism. It's also quite long, so I apologize for that. )

So. I don't want hugs or backpats or sympathy really. I definitely don't know that I want to hear anyone else tell me what a horrible person my mother was, because...she was human, and I'm not saying any of this to slander her. I needed to type this all out for me. This is me, pouring my heart out into the internet ether because I need it. I need to talk to someone who doesn't know me, who isn't motivated by family loyalty to defend her or by friendship to agree with me. I need to know that it isn't necessary to internalize this.

But if you're reading this and have gotten this far, I suppose I should include a closing thought. Some message for people to come away with.

I don't have one, but I hope you come away with something. Maybe seeing how I am today, knowing what helped shaped the person I am - functional but still a righteous mess - will make you think twice about justifying bullying or prejudices, or taking a drink, or raising a hand (or weapon) against a child.
redrover: (10 Lessons)
Morning

Arrived to archery this morning and decided to take advantage of the coaching session.

They corrected a few of my issues, including how I held my bow and my stance. So, all well and good.

Though I kept missing the boss (target). My arrows kept flying to the top right. My coach took me to where they'd landed (all in a line, in the same spot) and said, “Well, you're missing. But you're CONSISTENTLY missing!”

So I reached down to grab them and without thinking, I wiped them off with my palm.

Apparently, I'd missed the boss, but got a delightful bullseye right in some rabbit shit.


Afternoon

Went for a bike-ride to town. Had a couple of young boys ask me to sell them my bike, which is interesting for two reasons:

1. It's a rather expensive bike – and new. Unless they had 200 quid on them, I don't know what they expected.
2. It's a rather expensive ladies' bike. And obviously so, what with the flowers all over it.


We've been riding down to the end of High Street every Saturday and standing at the new and as-yet-unopened comic shop with our noses pressed to the glass. The depth of our nerdy behavior is astonishing.
redrover: (Default)
Looking for the bookshop on the base. Approached two soldiers and had the following conversation:

"Can you guys tell me if there's a bookshop on this base, or if I need to go to the one on Mildenhall?"

"A what?"

"A bookshop."

"...Do you mean a library? Because there's a library. You can borrow books and return them a few days later."


This conversation astounded me for a few reasons:

Firstly, I clearly don't come from a country (OR PLANET?) that has no libraries if such a place even exists. Which it doesn't. Even Kiribati - the country with the lowest GDP - has a library. There is no fathomable reason for them to feel the need to tell me what libraries are. Given that I am an adult American who has at some point had an education in the United States, it is safe to assume that I (a) have been within fifty miles of a library and (b) know how to use it.

Failing that, you can assume that I have at least seen a library on television.

Secondly, how the fuck do you not know what a bookshop is? You are grown men. You must have seen a Barnes and Noble somewhere, even if you never set foot in one.

I don't...even know, guys. Help me out with this one. Am I getting so old that bookshops are as outdated and obscure as gramophones and I just didn't notice?



[Disclaimer: No, I don't think they were screwing with me. They were actually very helpful, if...baffling.]
redrover: (Space Pin-Up)
Sultanas

I loathe raisins. I think they are a vile blight on the face of the planet, caused by the breath of some foul hell-spawn with a twisted sense of humor which involves mummification of perfectly good fruit. My pathological hatred of raisins is rivaled only by my fear of bats.

I moved to the United Kingdom and discovered (a) Indian takeaway and (b) something delicious called Peshwari Naan.

My refusal to eat raisins made me completely unaware that they have varieties. Specifically, sultanas. When I tried peshwari naan, I thought to myself, My god, this is the pinnacle of culinary evolution!

And then a sultana fell out onto my plate and stared up at me. I stared back. I poked at it with a fork. I separated the naan to see if there were more. I had a conversation with myself:

"Oh. Oh, no. No. Is that...is that a raisin? That looks like a raisin. Oh my god, that's a fucking raisin. Oh god. Maybe it's just a clump of coconut? NO! OH GOD. IT'S A RAISIN. I'VE BEEN EATING RAISINS."

I then ran to my laptop and googled sultanas just to be sure. Sultanas are, indeed, raisins.

And yet I still eat peshwari naan. If I don't think about it, it doesn't exist.

True hypocrisy.

The Swan

I joined an archery club. While waiting for shooting to begin, I got myself into a conversation with one of the other archers. He was telling me how he used to be on his Uni's rowing team. Well, I had very recently read an article about Princeton canceling their rowing sessions if swans got on the lake - specifically because swans are territorial and rather aggressive and dangerous, so I asked him about it.

They never cancel sessions because of swans. However, it is apparently illegal to do harm to swans in the UK. Or touch them at all. And one day, a swan landed on the back of his friend's boat. It began walking toward him, so he jumped in the water and swam to shore.

And watched his boat sail off with the swan aboard.

Swan piracy. It could happen to you.

Errata

Think of this as a public advisory:

I understand how exciting it is to meet someone from another country. I get it - because I practically die of joy when I meet a Brit and I live here. I think it's wonderful that your cousin's boss's husband lives in the States. I'm happy to talk to you about it, but be advised that I probably don't know them. Do you know everyone in Cambridgeshire? No, of course you don't.

And you're asking if I know some resident alien up in the frozen north. I'm from Florida, and while I have gotten around a good deal, it's to places like Disney World.

You see, the US is large. Huge, in fact. It is the hubcap to your 1p coin. And while I'm sure Oregon is very nice*, I have never been there, nor do I know your uncle. Hell, without a map in front of me, I have literally no idea where Oregon is. I think Portland might be the capital, but I was tempted to say Cleveland for a moment there.


*Is Oregon nice? I was previously aware that there was a trail and people die of dysentery on it. And now I know a Brit lives there.
redrover: (Dive)
Let me tell you a story.

Back in high school, I was a nerd. A lazy one. I spent the majority of my time either doodling or writing stories or sleeping. (Mostly sleeping.)

Well, one of my close friends, who I'd known since I was a kid, spent a fair amount of her time doing the same (minus the sleeping). Now, I wasn't very good, but she was a fantastic writer and artist. So when I say "we exchanged", I mean I waited eagerly every day for the next chapter in her stories, or for the next redesign of her characters. I even had favorites that I would ask to read over again - one in particular, spawning from a lesson about feigned fainting in the Victorian period. I won't elaborate, just in case it becomes a Snape-kills-Dumbledore sort of spoiler.

Now, she wasn't the lazy type like myself, and eventually went on to the University of Tampa for her B.A. and subsequently attended the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has shown amazing dedication and drive, and it has been a pleasure and an honor to see how far she's come.

Fast-forward ten years. Time and distance have come between us, but I've still followed her career path attentively and with admiration. Dana Corrigan is now heading up a project to animate those same characters she drew back then. I can't tell you guys how amazing it is to see what is essentially my childhood, coming to life like this. I always knew she would be successful, and now I'm proud to see what she's managed to achieve.

Her project needs backing, so I'm appealing to my friends and family to pledge what they can to help her. The pledge fund and pilot can be found here, as well as Dana's biography:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1603395204/fate-saga-the-animated-series-pilot

Please, please, please help her get this project off the ground. Even as little as a single dollar helps.
redrover: (One does not simply walk into Hogwarts)
For those of you still following my very sporadic journal entries, here's the update I've been meaning to make for some time now:

I am finally - finally - leaving Italy. My husband has been relocated to the United Kingdom as of Saturday. So, I will either be there or in the US. Do you sense a story coming on?

And here we go: )

Now, allow me to abridge that teal deer for everyone:

- My residency permit and my tourist visa expired.

- I went to the UK as a tourist so I could return to Italy and renew my tourist visa so I could successfully apply for a resident visa to the UK.

- The UK wanted no part in my loophole-raping shenanigans and turned me around at Customs.

- They also called the Polizia di Stato on me.

- Who took me to Customs and gave me the tourist visa.

...I don't know whether to feel proud or dismayed that I managed to accidentally succeed at this.

Also, I feel my icon is so ridiculously appropriate.
redrover: (Default)
My friends, Kim and Steph, have been visiting me for the past week or so. Backstory: Kim has, apparently, the worst luck on earth. Constantly getting hurt, constantly surrounded by accidents and mayhem. I didn't believe it at first.

Yesterday, we went to Naples. And she got hit by a car.

I should have believed. How dare I.

Last night, Kim won a t-shirt in a contest. Since her role in life is apparently to cause as much destruction and danger as possible, clearly this meant the universe had to right itself somehow.

Today:

We went to the market and IKEA. I nearly got in a car accident, Kim stepped in gum. Kim got sunburned. We came home, I went to make dinner. I burned my fingers so badly I now can't feel anything. Kim, coming to help me, dropped the pasta in the sink, then on the floor. Kim's brand new camera has melted Reese's Pieces stuck to it.

Do you notice how Steph is conspicuously unaffected by the chaos? She has learned. And so have I.

Kim is clearly one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
redrover: (Default)
I have my first tattoo.
redrover: (OMG Frankie)
This new community has very strict rules about recycling. Organics, Plastics, Cardboard, Glass, Metal, and "Indifferent", which is "other crap".

The plastics can't be everything made of plastic; it has to be things like bottles. Hard plastics. All other plastics go in the "Other" bin. The cardboard pick-up is called "Carta", which means paper, but it can only be cardboard boxes. The organics have to be food stuffs, and you can't put them in a bag unless it's biodegradable. Metal, Glass, and Plastic gets picked up together every other Thursday.

You can't use trash bags. It all has to be set out in a bin, with the exception of the organic biodegradable bags. The plastics can't go in a plastic bag.

See how complicated this is getting?

So anyway, I set out my very first trash bucket for the organic refuse on the first pick-up this week...and dogs got to it. I was disheartened.

Last night, I tried again. This morning, I ran outside like a little kid looking to see if Santa came, and the organics had, indeed, been picked up! I have never felt so ridiculously proud of my ability to function in an Italian society. I RECYCLED. I PUT IT OUT BY THE CURB. THEY TOOK IT AWAY. VICTORY.

Now, to figure out if cat litter is organic or "other".
redrover: (Please Knock or Fuck Off)
I am completely moved in to my new house.

As for the old house, I spent two weeks trying to pack and clean it, and even had help from the Translator's wife, who, in six hours, cleaned the entire second floor until it looked like new. I got video of this, and now know why Italian homes have tile.

Water. Everywhere.

She was particularly distrustful of Windex.

So anyway, we get to the 15th, all moved out, and our old landlord claims we only paid 2/3 of what we actually paid on the deposit...and said they were keeping half of that for repairs. Yes, we have the lease to show what we paid, but it's in Italian and no one can make out what the old landlords wrote in the "paid" bit. FUNNY.

By this point, I'd had enough of that house. We just threw up our hands and said "fuck it". The Translator, however, is looking into legal action. I'll be very amused if he succeeds.

So we move in here and we're all settled in for a week, when from next door comes REPETITIVE BOOMING ITALIAN FOOTBALL MUSIC. Shit was rattling in the cupboards. My couch was bouncing.

Now, I can deal with babies crying, men snoring, sex noises, televisions, or all of the above. I can not deal with having my internal organs vibrated. I was a bit worried that this new development from the neighboring house was something that would go on indefinitely. Well, it turns out, it was a saint's holiday of some sort, and things went like this for three days:

- REPETITIVE BOOMING ITALIAN FOOTBALL MUSIC for three hours.
- Fireworks.
- Shouting. Cheering.
- Fireworks.
- Everyone hikes up the mountain and people start cutting down trees.
- Fireworks.
- Everyone attaches chains to the trees and pulls them down to the main street at the bottom of the mountain.
- Fireworks.
- Everyone goes door-to-door and asks for bottles of wine. Like trick-or-treating. FOR WINE.
- Fireworks.
- REPETITIVE BOOMING ITALIAN FOOTBALL MUSIC for three hours.
- Fireworks.
- Shouting. Cheering.
- Fireworks.
- Drunkenness.
- Fireworks.
- Everyone TAKES OFF THEIR SHOES and pulls the trees back up the mountain. Barefoot.
- Fireworks.

And with that, the festival is over.

This is definitely one of the singers playing, but I can't find the song. Enjoy.

Let me pause for a moment to address the fireworks thing. You can purchase M-80s here on the side of the road before any holiday. They have the sort of fireworks that Disney World sets off every night at 8:00, and Italians buy them just for shits and giggles. They set them off for everything, and it doesn't matter if it's 1 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon. There are fireworks going off somewhere in my neighborhood.

Right. Fucking. Now.

Anyway.

Since then, it's been rather quiet. Even more so since Mike and I decided that, if they're going to be noisy, we're going to be noisier.

With sex.

On another topic, I had my hair done purple again and the guy I go to has taken to calling me "Allsorts". I suppose it's easier than trying to pronounce my name.

I have found my name (Kristina) is damn near impossible for Italians to pronounce. They either give up and assign me a diminutive (Kri) or try every other fucking variation they can possibly come up with (Kristian, Kristiana, Kirsti, and Kristia as of yesterday).

I'm still making out better than Mike, who is "Michelle" to the general populace.

There's a ton more going on, but most of it's annoying stuff to do with the house fixtures and the telephone company. Also, vacation coming up on the fourth!
redrover: (Baron Samedi)
I'm alive. Cleaning the old house and preparing for my trip in February.

That's about it.
redrover: (Zombie hand)
The baby next door has colic or something. I feel bad for it, obviously, but someone needs to tell the parents that shouting at it for crying is not the way to handle the situation. I can sleep through crying baby (which probably means I should never have one), but shouting adult is another issue entirely.

My cat is being unusually friendly and sitting on my arms so I can't really type all that well. I suspect it's because I'm warm and she's not, but this whole loving pet thing is not working for me.

Another example of why I should never, ever have children.

I'm supposed to be at the old house, packing and cleaning, but right now it's 2:00 and I'm still in my pajamas. That's what I'm going to do for the day, I think. Pajamas, internet, and cheddar popcorn.

Possibly zombie movies.
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