Grazie, Prego

I have a language exchange partner.

He’s Italian.

He’s asked me to marry him.

Neither of us is looking to date (or anything of the sort with) the other – we genuinely just want friendship through language sharing, as we each improve our own abilities in the other’s native tongue.

In a way, we hardly know one another.

Yet, we chat (via messages that are mostly text and sometimes voice) and send one another photos and videos and updates basically every day… yeah, every day, I think…, so it feels like we are closer than we are.

We are honest and open with one another… in a way, it is an extremely low-risk situation for us both, you could say… I wouldn’t say yet that we are friends, but I no longer describe him as ‘my conversation exchange partner’, but as ‘my buddy’…, because he really is a buddy to me, and I hope I am to him.

We know about highs and lows in love and heartbreak for one another; we talk about finances and healthcare systems and death – so much death right now in his part of the world, but we never seem to dwell longer than is respectful; we get nerdy about grammar and explanations of turns of phrase; we share about work (we have very different jobs yet similar setups); I sent him my song before I shared it with almost anyone else (Since he isn’t great with English, he said, he could be a good testing ground for sharing it…, which he said after encouraging me through my nerves of wanting to make the instrument side of things go well, but being worried at my skill level…)…, and he knew what and whom it was about, without a doubt (It was not about him, of course, but someone in my life here.).

(“Comunque si. Sei cotta!😂,” he said after reading the lyrics. Anyway, yes. You are cooked. (A phrase which here means, “Out of your wits in a crush on this guy”) 😛

And, what’s extra fun is that our time difference and lifestyles actually line up perfectly that when I’m getting up and going to bed happen to be perfect times for him to be messing around, messaging me… so we have two good chunks of time every day to be in communication with one another.

And it really is fun… honest and fun.

I think meeting this buddy of mine has been one of the most valuable parts of this year so far.

And I am extremely grateful.

Post-a-day 2020

Okay, I think I need to go to Italy.

At this point, the only thing left would be for someone to meet me and offer me a place to stay in Italy, in order for my trip to be made certain.

(That, or someone offering me passage to Italy…, though I had kind of planned on managing that one myself, I don’t mind letting someone else handle it… again…[I just remembered that I actually did have a free trip to Italy that one time I went for a long weekend…yes… anyway…])

Italy just keeps popping up around me: in conversations unbidden, in my calendar (it is a page-a-day with Italian phrases and culture, and it genuinely was the only one on Amazon that seemed even remotely interesting… I mean seriously, Amazon?), in a whole handful of conversation partners reaching out, in comments from others, and even in the book I spontaneously started reading today (It’s the first in a series and it has “gelato” in the title, but the second book has nothing Italian about the title, and that‘s the one that got me interested in reading the series!), where the girl up and moves to Italy from the US… I mean…. wow… the world really wants Italia to be on my mind right now.

And so, I am letting it.

I am embracing all the Italia I can, and am beginning to look for more around me.

I have a friend to whom I plan to reach out (not in the middle of the night) about finding a conversation partner/tutor here in town, I have begun a challenge on Duolingo, I am reaching out to the online conversation partner offers, and I have a whole plan for how to practice my Italian.

What’s funny is that, whenever I ask the whole “Why now?” to the world, though I get no distinct answer, I suddenly start thinking of what it might be like there, and I think of all the Italian men, and I suddenly have an almost overwhelming thought of, “Well, I can probably handle the Italian men now,” and I suddenly have my answer.

I just wasn’t ready for Italian men before.

Now, I actually am ready to take them on and run my own way.

If you don’t know anything about Italian men, I don’t have the words to teach you much about them, nor can I fully speak on them, for I have not truly spent time with them in Italy.

However, everything I have been told about them from others has proven exactly true with the Italian men I’ve come to know here… even just the Italian heritage ones… oof… anyway.

So, now, I think I’m about ready to take them on, and, by the time I actually get there, I’ll have had enough mental prep (and physical prep from the gym) to take them with a grain of salt, and to smile about it. 😉

This is going to be fun and absolutely amazing – I can feel it in the humidity around me… yes…

Italia awaits… me. 😀

P.S. And I don’t mean just for a short visit – we’re talking a month plus here…. just FYI.

Post-a-day 2020

Crazy lady travels free

I was just thinking about when my coworker and I took a group of kids to England and France a few summers ago, and things associated with that.  At the end of the trip, I stayed in France to go visit my old stomping grounds down south, and so I left the group to go home on a flight with my coworker (per our own full agreement and arrangement ahead of time).  I waited too long to decide to do that, so I had to pay $350 for the flight change (Ugh).  We also each had to pay $937.50 for the trip in the first place (Meh).  Therefore, I had to pay a total of $1287.50 for a 10-day trip that included all accommodations, food, tours, and transport, and another ten days on location at my own expense, which is really not bad at all.  At all.

However – and this is a BIG however – as part of our arranging and hosting this trip in the first place, the tour company gave us each a training trip.

Mine, as I selected it, was a long weekend trip, with food, housing, tours, and transportation included, to downtown Rome, Italy.  Therefore, my just-under 1300 dollars actually got me two separate trips to Europe, with almost all expenses paid for most of the time on the trips.

I really do come up with the craziest stuff to have happen in my life.  And – what is possibly the best part of this all – I don’t even seem to notice how absurd it all is, until I find myself ruminating on this and thats one afternoon, years later, and it suddenly hits me that, say, taking a free trip to Europe is not a normal thing in life.  I take this moment to nod my head to my cousin for the question she exasperatedly declared one evening at my apartment a few years ago: “Hannah, do you even know what real life is like?”

Indeed, fair cousin, it seems I do not know that most of the time – reality bites, so I live somewhere else, and I love it.  🙂

Post-a-day 2018

St. Lucia’s Day

In third grade, my friend and classmate Kristin and I did a project together around Christmastime.  We were to learn a bit about how other countries celebrated Christmas, and do a sort of write-up, and then a little presentation for the class.  I imagine that everyone had different countries, and that we weren’t the only ones presenting something, but I really don’t remember.

Our specific project, as my mother and I recall, was over St. Lucia’s Day, a holiday seen as signaling the arrival of Christmastide.  It is a Catholic and Lutheran holiday, mostly celebrated in Italy and Scandinavia.  All I remember from what we researched was that the girls in a family traditionally wore white dresses, made rolls of bread early in the morning, and sang songs at home, while wearing this sort of crown-wreath on their heads, with candles on it.  We dressed up one of my little wooden dolls to look the part.  She had a green pipe cleaner head-wreath, with rolled up tissue candles, and a tissue dress.

Since we had talked about how the girls in a family would sing traditional Christmas songs, we were asked if we could sing one of the songs.  We confessed, however, that we didn’t actually know any of the particular ones sung for the holiday.  Someone asked us just to sing an English Christmas carol, instead, and we somehow ended up with “Silent Night”.  So, Kristin and I sang “Silent Night” to the class together.  The irony of singing a German song for a mostly-Scandinavian holiday struck me only in recent years.  😛

Post-a-day 2017

Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarves…?

I like to knit.  Crocheting is nice, too, but I tend to knit much more often.  I think I prefer the patterning of knitting to that of crocheting.  Crocheting to me is like hipster headbands, baby blankets, and huge afghans.  Whereas knitting is more anything clothing, and even various accessories, too (think bags and such).  So, while I do both, I tend to knit more than crochet.

That being said, the thing I knit the most is scarves.  Why?  Because they are simple and rather quick, and it is utterly satisfying to have something materialize before my eyes so quickly, and with what feels like such little (and typically meditative) effort.  It’s always a sort of medicine for me, I think, making scarves.  I often just make them, simply because I’ve come across a yarn that I particularly like and can see being a fabulous scarf.  I find someone to whom I can give it eventually, usually… sometimes, anyway.

I do tend to make a lot of scarves as gifts in this manner, though.  Sometimes I actually go to the store when there’s a sale, and I bring a list of people for whom I want to make scarves this year, and I pick out yarns for each of their scarves.  I almost always get a few extras for unexpected add-ons to the list later on.

I had done just this recently, and was doing some volunteering for the International Weightlifting Federation’s World Championship, when several of the weightlifters and coaches saw my scarf-making.  They would pass by me on their way to a meal, and comment on the fact that I was knitting at my station.  (My response to the inquiries were that I was simply working on Christmas presents.  Which I was.)  When they were later leaving from their meal, they would be shocked and would comment on the great progress I had made in the scarf – it typically took me a single shift to make a full scarf (if that long).  And, eventually, some of these people either asked or hinted (and I, of course, offered) for me to make a scarf for them.

So, that week sent my scarves around the world to France, either Guatemala or Ecuador (I honestly don’t remember which – I just remember that they team had lots of yellow on their warm-ups, I always spoke to the girl in Spanish, and they were from somewhere down south of Texas), and Italy.  Now, I have scarves currently residing in Japan from this year’s Christmas presents, and future Canadian, Jamaican, and Australian residents.

For whatever reason, this incredibly excites me.  Not only do I travel the world in little bits, but so does my art!  😀

Who knew scarves could travel so far and wide?

 

Post-a-day 2017