Bloganuary Prompt 2

What is a road trip I would love to take? Honestly, I had to Google the definition of a road trip, apparently it is any trip done in a car. So. That said, my family takes a road trip every year to go on summer holiday as per the definition, but that doesn’t really seem like a proper road trip to me, the car is just the means to arrive at our destination, not the purpose of the trip.

A road trip, to me, would be like driving to visit every national park in the south west US, or going to the most important antique markets in Italy or anything where the travelling is the trip and not the destination.

That said, my idea for a great road trip would be a Thelma and Louise-ish drive (minus the guns, violence and flying off a cliff at the end) for a week or two with unlimited funds, exploring valleys and mountains, towns and cities, historical sites and flea markets. I could do this in the US or any other country I think. It would be fun to do this almost in any country. I would like to explore France or Germany and see all the castles, or Switzerland! I saw a tiktoc shot in Switzerland with a village nestled up against a huge mountain with a waterfall and snow in the background. How cool would it be to visit places like that for a few weeks?

I would LOVE to go on a world of Harry Potter road trip! Would it still be a road trip if I went by train?

And yes, I do realise that today is January 31st, but I didn’t know about Bloganuary until late last week, so I’m working my way through the prompts if I can.

Bloganuary Prompt 31

Whenever I look at the stars, which is generally when I’m on summer holiday in Croatia, I feel connected to the millennia of humans who looked at those same stars. The diamond-studded night time summer sky, arching over the dark sea, the only place that I can actually see the stars, brings me back to my childhood in New Mexico. There, at the time, the stars were so bright that they actually illuminated the landscape. They seemed close enough to touch. I would send my thoughts and dreams out into the universe while looking at those stars. I would trace the constellations that I knew, the Big and Little Dipper, Orion’s Belt, the blue star, the red star.

When I was very young, whenever my family would go to the drive-in cinema, sometimes I would look up at the star-filled sky from my seat in the car. The night time in that area of New Mexico has its own scent, the chill that sets in to replace the roasting heat of the day.

The stars pick out the outlines of the rocks, fences, the mesquite and sagebrush. It glides over the mountains and turns everything into an enchanted place. Their light silvered my skin and made me feel both part of the universe and a grain of sand in it.

The stars where I now live are covered by all the surrounding electric lights, they are pale shades of those fat, shining diamonds of my childhood. I cannot pick out the constellations, the star patterns are confused and faded. I long to see those friendly stars again, to marvel, to dream and to lose myself in them.

Bloganuary Prompt #1

I think that my first piece of advice to my teenage self would be to live in the moment and not always reach for a far-off future, to not be in such a hurry to get there that I don’t appreciate the moment.

I would advise myself to take the typing class, to do my homework, to ask for help instead of just waiting for school to be over with, like something that is happening to me and is to be endured instead of trying to improve.

I would advise myself to change my attitude earlier, that other people don’t owe me anything and that I should look for ways that I can offer instead of silently expecting others to share what they have with me.

I would advise myself to get a small job, even bagging groceries, that way I would have more pride in myself. I was like a freaking ameba. I should have recognised that I was, and still am to a good degree, lazy about doing things I wasn’t interested in. I could have developed stronger friendships, had more drive to use the time I had to really do something.

I would advise myself to work with my teachers, to reach out and ask questions, even if they seem stupid. I would strive to be more curious about their experience and what they could pass on to me.

All or any of these things would have made my life easier at this age. My life would have likely been very different, I would have made other choices or at least not have drifted into things, I would have had direction, a compass, instead of being like a rudderless motorboat, going in circles.

I might have done something with my life.

Bloganuary prompt 29

How am I changing the world? Hmm, gosh, this is a tough one.

I am changing my own personal world by trying new things, such as blogging and posting as a blogger on social media. I am working on making videos, though I’m not very good at it so far. I am working cultivating inner peace, though I am not very good at that either so far.

I am trying to reach out to friends and colleagues more lately, since for various reasons we don’t see each other much these days. These aren’t earth-shaking actions, but perhaps they will have the ripple effect so in a small way I will have changed something.

I have set up an inspiration board to see if I will be able to accomplish any goals for this year, I will be adding things to it as the year develops.

My own little world has to change and improve, this last year has just been too hard and cost me too much.

What I’m Listening To – Prompt 28

I have loads of different artists on my playlist, Pink, Michael Bublé, Santana, musicals, ’70’s, ’80’s and ’90’s, Elton John, Spice Girls, Barbara Steisand, Bee Gees, U2, Steely Dan.

When I listen to music, it is of all generes; rock, pop, blues, orchestral, so so many. The problem is that I don’t often listen to any music as such. For example, I have a huge Spottify list, split into different categories, but the advertising and the “suggested” songs irk me, and I don’t want to pay for it, so I don’t often listen.

I listen to some music with YouTube, mostly bits of concerts or singing instruction, but I don’t really dedicate much time to music as such.

Solitude – prompt Jan 27th

Where do I go when I want solitude? Well, here’s the thing, I THRIVE off of solitude. Too many people, too much noise and too much chaos really irritates me. I can take people, noise and chaos in limited amounts, when I can prepare myself for them. I work in a very chaotic and crowded environment, though it thankfully has some quiet moments for me to be able to regroup. As soon as I leave work, I walk and go to the open-air flea market stalls to be able to dig around in piles of stuff, occasionally finding a gem or two, and not have to talk to anyone. This is my retreat if I need some solitude, thrift shopping or going to a trade fair (pre-pandemic). My husband cannot understand how I can spend hours in a market all alone without getting bored. I don’t, I have freedom to go where I want, to linger or to pick up and leave, because I don’t have to think of someone else.

Solitude is freedom.

My Favorite Part About Myself – Bloguary prompt 26/01

There are a few things that I like about myself, on the physical side I like my hair, even though it is starting to go white, one strand at a time. The spiral curls that hadn’t been seen since I was a baby over five decades ago have reappeared. I like my eyes, that, even though I have poor eyesight, they are blue, green and have a gold circle around the iris.

One of the parts that I like about my actual self are my strong sense of justice, which can make me rather severe. I will apply the same rules to a client, myself, a colleague or an employer. Your rights end where they infringe on mine. This has made me an unpopular choice as an enforcer by my higher-ups, I will not suck up to a client and let one get away with what isn’t allowed by the rest of the community.

I also like that I am able to be calm in an emergency, though I fall apart once the emergency has passed. This allows me to help people when needed, such as in a medical emergency (I have first aid training for my job), keep myself focused and to deal with the situation to the best of my abilities.

I have to admit that there are many aspects of my person and personality that I would like to change, but these two characteristics help me to have pride and confidence in myself.

It took this writing prompt for me to realise this, this will help me to continue to vanquish those negative thoughts about myself and to improve other aspects that I don’t like.

Escape

Growing up the only girl and second born of four children I would use books or stories in my own head to escape. Our family reality wasn’t the best economically or socially, myself and my brothers were stuck out in the countryside with miles and miles of mesquite, sand spurs and dirt between us and the closest civilisation, a small soutwestern town in the middle of the desert.

As I said, my escape from the reality of being stuck with no place to go and no means to get there was reading and daydreaming. I have used books and my own head to escape from reality for most of my life, I’m not sure just how healthy this is, but so be it.

When I was about ten years old my mom gave me a copy of The Secret Garden, at this time we had moved to New Mexico only a few months before, and were living in my grandmother’s mobile home while she was working as a PN in another city. My grandmother had planted a few bulbs and plants in front of this home, and after reading about Mary Lennox digging around the sprouting bulbs in the long-lost secret garden, I immediately did the same, though there was really very little grass to be found. I also started planning my future home, which would be a huge mansion, with a different theme for each room, Asian, Louis XV, baroque and so on. I was convinced that I would, as an adult, have tons of money and would be able to have everything my child heart wished for; peace, quiet and a fancy curly-ended phone.

My other escape was my inner fantasy world, where I told myself all sorts of tales and stories, where instead of being a chubby distracted child I was a wise, talented and admired princess, where I met all sorts of people, where I time travelled to visit Walnut Grove, a royal court, the giant’s castle or became a figure skater that would bring the audience to tears with emotion.

I would escape from my brothers “teasing” me, from being the worst in class at maths, from the heat, from not living the apparently normal life that other children had on tv, not having money for clothes or fun trips or much of anything. I escaped from being lonely, from being different, from where and when I lived, from being forgotten by my father. I would escape from what my life really was and lived another reality.

Now that I’m middle aged I still tend to escape into my head, writing stories, envisioning success. Some things, like this blog, have become partially concrete, others are just fantasy and dreams.

For in dreams we enter a world that is entirely our own. Let them swim in the deepest ocean or glide over the highest cloud.” Albus Dumbledore

Introducing myself

What can I tell you about myself? Well, first thing, I was born in northern Illinois, lived there until the age of ten, then moved to southern New Mexico, lived there until the age of almost 20, then through a series of circumstances and a lot of youthful lack of fear, arrived in Bologna, Italy and eventually made it my permanent home.

I was only supposed to stay for the summer, way back in 1987, but I just felt so at home and in love with this little corner of Italy that I sent back my return ticket and stayed on.

When I arrived I had been studying French for two years, not that I was very good at it, but that was enough to give me some basis for learning Italian. My first Italian boyfriend gave me an Italian grammar and language book that was used by the US students who were studying at the Bologna branch of John’s Hopkins University, and so I took that, a little notebook, an English-Italian dictionary and a book in Italian; La Strega Innamorata, and began to learn this wonderful language. I have to admit that I am self-taught, so my spoken Italian is liberally peppered with local dialect and my pronunciation is definitely Anglo-Bolognese. I think that my saving grace is that I am a perfectionist, so I really worked hard on learning the basic grammar until speaking in the “regular” tenses became almost second nature, I worked on my pronunciation as well. My Anglo accent becomes more pronounced when I am tired or upset, and sometimes I will automatically respond to people in the wrong language, but altogether I think that I have done pretty well. Mind you, I wasn’t able to follow and participate in a conversation of more than two people for about a year, that first summer, between the incredible sticky, humid heat and only hearing Italian and trying to understand everything, at the end of the day I would feel as if my head had expanded several feet and I was exhausted from the combination.

My first jobs, which were under the table, had to do with cleaning, first I cleaned a small business, then I was hired to clean a well to do accountant’s home in the hills on the outskirts of Bologna. She was a widow, with a cat, two dogs, a 16 year old son and an older daughter who was living on her own and working as an accountant in her mother’s office. I later worked for the daughter for awhile, while she was pregnant, cleaning her house as well. Then I was able to get my work permission and moved on to a large cleaning company that had personnel in hospitals and local government offices and areas. I worked for about two years with this company, off and on, in the meantime taking typing and computer classes, as well as an accounting class that I understood very little of (maths is not my jam). A friend of my then boyfriend told me that a person he knew was looking for a secretary, so I got my first secretary job and stayed with that company for I think seven years.

I then moved on to secretarial front desk work for a Architectural/Civil Engineering studio for nine years and finally school secretary for a private school in 2007.

I have also had a few translation gigs and worked as a nanny here and there.

I am married to an Italian and we have an Italian teenage son, who will soon be a legal adult. We have our own home and a cat.

I’m 53 years old, have long hair, but I want it to grow so long I can sit on it. Lately I am finding white hairs here and there on my head more and more often and went into menopause without really noticing it. Lucky me, I guess?

I’m a voracious reader, especially of novels. I like eating Asian dishes much more than Italian food (real Italian, not Italo-Americano) and real bbq. Growing up in New Mexico also gave me the gusto for spicy food, I’ve floored Calabresi by my enjoyment of what they called “really hot” sardella sauce and by asking if they had anything spicier for me.

I also knit, sew, crochet and embroider, though not that often, and I have about 400 bottles of nail polish and an inordinate amount of colored pens and bujos. Lots of glitter pens.

I’m not crazy about cleaning the house, especially since everyone else messes it up straight away. I am messy and tend to pile things, especially clothes, all over the place.

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