Sunday, 27 May 2018

This week. #5







This week... 

I had an exam and I am proud of how I did. I had studied hard for it, I felt actually prepared and for once I felt like I was on the same level as the professor. I got a high mark but I decided to retake it in two weeks to hopefully get a higher mark (you can do that here in Italy) and I really hope I don’t regret this decision.

I had a super lazy day the day after the exam. I sat on the couch for the whole morning watching QVC -my guilty pleasure- and knit a little cotton headband from start to finish, which I had been meaning to do for ages. I had lunch with my Dad, which never happens usually because he always comes back home late, and then went for a walk with Mum. It felt like the first day of Summer.

I went for an evening walk with my brother and Mum yesterday, which was unusual (in a pleasant way of course). We had ice cream and walked into one of my childhood friends' parents and had a little chat.

I visited my Grandma, who I hadn't seen in ten days. The weather was gorgeous and put me in a very lazy mood. I pruned a rosebush and planted some nasturtium.

I worked on my woolen sweater some more - the body is completely done, now I'm halfway through the first sleeve. I can't wait to finish it, but at the same time I have been working on it for a month and it's getting a bit boring now, especially because it's all the same colour. So yesterday I gave up and started a new sweater - I couldn't wait any longer! I also started knitting a hot pad but ran out of cotton yarn about three fourths in, haha.

I went grocery shopping with my Mum and brother in a new health food shop and it was so fun! We spent an hour walking around, calling each other when we saw something interesting and filling our cart with fancy food. I love going grocery shopping, I always find it so relaxing.

I feel weirdly relaxed - I say weirdly because I should be anything but relaxed, considering I still have two exams to do over the next month and a half. I need to start studying more intensely tomorrow. I also want to write at least one page of my dissertation.


Monday, 21 May 2018

This week. #4



This week... 

I’m feeling stressed about this exam and worried about not knowing what will happen if I decide to retake it.

I’m enjoying looking at all the little birds that come and sit on the tree outside my window, especially the blackbird. He always sits on the same branch every day!

I had lunch with my mother while we watched the royal wedding. It was sunny and our only care was this frivolous, happy event. Blissful.

I discovered the name of the two flowers in the photo above, which are making my room smell wonderful - honeysuckle and ‘Félicité et Perpetue’ rose.

I had a really fun Facetime with my best friend in Australia. I can’t wait for her to come back in July.

I was sick one day and felt completely fine the day after - I had a bit of a stomach bug and fever that made me feel totally wiped out. I’m thankful it wasn’t anything serious.

I love looking forward all day to watching a couple of episode of The Office with my brother. It’s a nice way to unwind and end the day on a positive note.

I haven’t been reading at all during the month of May and it makes me sad, but it’s always the case when I’m studying for exams.

I have been reminded that life is wonderful always, and a privilege.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

This week. #3





Last week... 

I couldn’t post because I had a bout of tendinitis in my right arm and I didn’t want to aggravate it any further. I still have to be careful now not to use my right arm too much, but it’s going better.

This week... 

I had one very good, productive day of study. I was the most focused I’ve been in a long time and it was very rewarding. I found that studying outside (only on the balcony, but still) makes me concentrate more than when I’m sitting at my desk.

I made progress on my sweater! I divided for the sleeves and now I’m working on the body. It’s all stockinette from now on so it’s super relaxing. I’m surprised at how easy to make this sweater is turning out, considering it’s my first knitted garment (well I’ve made a shawl earlier this year, but that was almost too easy).

I thought about how if I could go back in time I would do university completely differently, both on the curricular aspect and the social aspect. Completely differently. 

I went for a walk in my hometown with my parents and I can’t remember the last time that that has happened. It was lovely. Then after dinner we watched a documentary together in the living room, and I can’t remember the last time we did that either.

I started working again on my Wild Violet cross stitch project and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a really small design so I should be done with it soon! I got myself a lap frame a couple of months ago so I can stitch two-handed and don’t put as much stress on my right arm, and it’s working!

I doubted my abilities, as always.

Monday, 30 April 2018

This week. #2

This week...











visited a Roman palazzo.

I received some yarn I ordered for granny squares and socks, and a yard of floral fabric that is brighter than I thought it would be. Still looking for a top pattern to use it.

I am tired already of dealing with my university library. They are so inefficient it's unbelievable, especially for how high the tuition fees are. All the books I need are in a separate warehouse and they can go and pick them up only once a week!!!!!!!! And I can only order five at a time!!!! And I need about a thousand books for my dissertation!!!!!!!!!!!! It's going to be so frustrating, I know already.

I am trying to organize my room a bit. There are crafty projects and books everywhere and although I love every single one of them, my room is only so big and I prefer clear surfaces. 

realized once again how my problems are truly minuscule and how much suffering my mother is carrying on her shoulders, all by herself.

I finished a linen tank top I started working on two months ago. I embroidered Yeats' Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven on the front, with a thread so similar to the colour of the fabric that it's almost impossible to see. Originally I thought I was going to have to assemble it by hand and that kind of put me off working it for about a month. Now I'm feeling more confident in my sewing machine skills and so it only took me a couple of hours to sew it together and hem everything! I'm so happy with how it turned out. 

started working on my first knitted sweater! I'm only a few rows in and I already know I'm going to make a mess of it. But that's ok - the important thing is to learn.

I am watching The Office again with my brother, every night after dinner. We love it so much.

I saw Infinity War at the cinema and found it incredibly boring. I only went because I love Benedict Cumberbatch so much and I will watch everything he's in until the end of time, but maaaan this was challenging. Really not my kind of thing.

Monday, 23 April 2018

This week. #1


I have been thinking of bringing this blog back to life for a couple of weeks now, and so yesterday I re-read all the post I have written here and oh. I was transported in another world completely. So many happy moments from last year came back to mind so vividly. I am planning to post at least once a week, to try and record the all the little things I want to remember.

This week...

I'm reading Italo Calvino's American Diary.

I watched Barefoot in the Park for the first time last night and loved it. I'm in the mood for old movies lately.

I'm crocheting squares for a blanket and I only just realized I need about 360. Oh well.

I visited my tailoring instructor's studio, which she shares with a goldsmith. I don't think I have ever been in a place like that - a place where creativity is lived and breathed daily. The goldsmith shared her immense knowledge with us and gave us a little demonstration of what she does for a living. I asked her if she's always been a goldsmith and she said yes, she went to art school and has been working with metals all her life. I have always known I am a bit of a coward but when I heard her talk about her "career" (such an awful word) I fully realized that I really am a coward. When I finished high school the recession was still very much a reality and I was scared to death that if I chose a more creative path I would have starved for the rest of my life, so I went to Law school. How many things I would change if I could turn back time! I love what I am studying and I can see myself working in the Law field, but still there's a bit of remorse. Anyway, the afternoon we spent in the studio was incredible and it reminded me how important it is to create.

I'm listening to Fiona Apple's Why Try to Change Me Now.

I'm enjoying the warm weather (finally).

I'm itching to try and knit a sweater, even though Summer is approaching. I bought all the yarn for it and started crocheting it a few months ago, but now that I am a bit more experienced in knitting I want to try and knit one.

I'm loving catching the scent of wisteria flowers when I walk down the street.

I'm hating wasting time chasing my tutor about my dissertation. He won't reply to my emails, which is maddening to say the least, so I basically have to stalk him. On Wednesday I had about an hour to kill before I could talk to him, so I walked around the neighbourhood while eating a slice of pizza, and then sat in the park for a while, with a book and a ice-cream cone in my hand. It was lovely.

I received some fabric that I ordered online and started making a little two-colour bandana with it. I hand stitched it but when I go back home next week I will sew it with my sewing machine. I also received another bandana I ordered (I've been obsessed with bandanas lately) but was too embarrassed to wear it out because it's bright yellow. Silly me.

I need to remember to take more photos next week.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Now.








Trying to live in the now and not the past. I have actually never had any problems of this sort up until now, maybe the opposite - always planning for the next thing, projecting myself in the future, waiting for this week to be over and then the next and then the next. Trying not to live like the best, most exciting period of my life is over, trying not to compare the now with the past. Yesterday someone I follow on Instagram did a marathon around the town I lived in in the Netherlands and posted their track and I almost cried. I thought, I know what that street looks like! and that one! I have been there! That's not just a map -a bunch of funny tangled lines- those are actual existing places and I have seen them and lived in them. 

I absolutely know that significant, major things are waiting for me. Maybe even tomorrow, maybe even in an hour. But everything seems kind of dull in comparison to earlier this year. I'm trying my best to enjoying this quiet life of mine, to make a ritual out of every little thing, to make the ordinary extraordinary. It just irks me that I get to spend my days in the capital city of a country and I live the same life I would in a small provincial town. This city is stagnant and so are the people who live in it. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine invited me to a dinner with a group of international students that she coordinates, and it was wonderful; no dull small chat, no gossiping about other people, only genuine excitement and curiosity and meaningful conversation. It was so refreshing and it made me realize how much I truly needed it. 

I'm trying to counteract the flatness of this place by creating as much as I can. I usually wake up before everyone else in the house, and spend the first hour of my day stitching or crocheting, and I have been absolutely loving it. It's just the best way to start my day, and it puts me in a good mood. Trying to become the person that I want to be little by little, day in day out, trying to let the things that I do define who I am. 

Right now I'm sitting on a coach heading home for un unplanned weekend. I struggled to breathe because of the pollution while I was walking to the station. I can't wait to breathe some fresh countryside air.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Notes from the Hornbeam: September.


It's the last day of September, but Fall hasn't quite reached this bit of the world yet. In truly Roman style, it's been warm enough to wear short sleeved-tops lately, and there are late blooms on the trees in my neighbourhood. It's a strange in-between season and of it's making me feel... uneasy, if that's the right word. Not in the right place. I think it's probably due to the fact that I'm used to cooler Septembers, and I'm having trouble adjusting to this Summer that is stretching out so much. 

Life in Rome is going better than I thought. More smoothly. The days are light, passing one after the other, quietly. I'm trying to cut out little bits of time out of my busy days to do the things I love.

Waking up before everyone else; sleeping in for no reason. Spontaneous breakfasts in posh cafés, listening to awful music while washing the dishes, my legs warmed up by the sun. Talking about the grocery shopping with my best friend. Sitting on a bench after Sunday lunch, the three of us eating ice-cream. Waiting for a friend near the tube station at dusk. These are the things that are fueling me, that I am treasuring.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Rome.










How do you get excited again to be somewhere? Some people would do anything to live here in Rome. I cannot wait to be done with it and go live somewhere else. Unfortunately I have never liked living here, from the very start. This place is too big for me, too chaotic; it never changes, it is always the same and will always be the same - they don't call it 'the eternal city' for nothing. I feel always out of place here, no matter where I am - at university, when I go out with friends, even at home sometimes. There's always a knot in my stomach when I am here. 

Right now I am torn between going home for the weekend as frequently as possible or trying to stay here as long as I can. On one side I feel like going home often would be like giving up, on the other side I think I've given this city a fair chance... oh I don't know. I only hope time will go fast.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A late Summer wishlist.


Like every August, we have come to stay at my grandmother's house in the countryside for a few days. Well, when my brother and I were little we used to spend the whole Summer here - but we're all so busy now that a few days is all we can manage. There's a village fair from August 14-16th, and missing it would basically mean that the end of the world is near. So here we are. I'm happy to spend some time in nature, and I only wish I didn't have to study for most of the day.

Despite the fact that we have had around 40C every day for the past 10 days or so, I really feel like Summer is coming to a close. We're so in the middle of it, yet I feel like Fall will be here in a blink of an eye. The days are getting shorter and shorter, and suddenly working with wool yarn doesn't seem so such a terrible idea anymore. 

Just a couple of years ago I would have hated just the thought of Fall approaching, now I find myself almost yearning for it. I say almost because I know that these are the last few weeks of relative freedom I have before a very busy academic year - it will be my last ever as a student... I don't even want to think about it. But apart from that, after the hottest Summer in living memory I can't say I'm not looking forward chilly days and even cloudy skies.

However, there still are a few things I would like to do before the warm season comes to an end...

Go blackberry picking. I have so many memories of going up in the mountains to find less-picked bushes, coming back to my grandma's house with bags full of berries and making jam straight after. The sugary scent filling the house, stirring the jam with a wooden spoon and filling jars... oh, how I love that. I really want to try and make this blackberry and fig galette!

Go stargazing. The nights after St. Lawrence's day (August 10th) are the best for that. We usually go up in the mountains because there are less artificial lights and you can see the sky more clearly. We open up the car roof window, recline the seats and wait for falling stars. I think we might be going tonight!

Eat outside as often as possible. Be it on the terrace or on the front porch, I want to have at least one meal a day outside. And lots of cups of tea, of course.

Do yoga every day. I was very consistent with my yoga practice earlier in the year and I miss it. When came back home from the Netherlands my schedule got a bit crazy and I just didn't make time to do some yoga every day. I didn't feel the need to practice, and that's ok. Now I'm back in the mood for some daily morning practice and I want to make it a habit again. 

Collect pinecones. Every Summer we go into the woods to collect bags and bags of pinecones to use them as fire starters in the colder months. It's just a lovely way to spend an afternoon. 

Craft. I've been in this super creative mood for a few weeks now and I want to make the most of it now that I still have some free time. On the other hand, I have kind of been stuck in a reading slump... Reading just isn't appealing right now, probably because I started studying again and the last thing I want to do when I have a spare half hour is spending more time processing words. I have recently started a new shawl using the yarn I bought from a local seller, and I also want to start a new embroidery project I have been thinking about for months. 

What do you want to do before Fall kicks in? What Summer activity embodies the season for you?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A day trip on the Apennines.

Like I told you in my last post, this year we as a family opted to spend our holidays here at home rather than going away for a few days. It's probably been the best decision we could have possibly made this year - I was abroad for half of it, so I was more than pleased to stay home. My parents and brother had come to visit me in the Netherlands in June, and so we had already kind of had a holiday this year. There is so much to see in my region that we have never run out of things to do - in fact there still are more places I want to see, but they will have to wait for next year I think. 

Last week we visited a couple of villages about an hour's drive away from where we live. I had stumbled upon a photo of a gorgeous medieval chapel on Instagram a few weeks before, and discovered it was really close to us! 





The church is so tiny and in the middle of nowhere that it's not even open all the time - you have to call the keeper and she will come and open it for you. Luckily she was already inside with a group of other tourists and she had begun her tour five minutes before we arrived. The chapel was absolutely stunning and my photos definitely don't do it justice. The frescoes have been there for 800 years and have survived a terribly destructive earthquake 8 years ago... it's just crazy to think that something so extraordinary is so little known, even by locals like me. 






Despite the chapel being so tiny, there was so much to admire. Part of the group of tourists we met was a priest, who talked about art, saints and prophets. My brother, my mother and I spent a good twenty minutes trying to translate with him a sentence from Latin, which he was convinced was not by Isaiah like the guide told us, and turned out actually being by Isaiah after all.




We then got back on the car and made our way to Santo Stefano di Sessanio, a tiny village on the Apennines. Less than 100 people live there. It's a place straight out from a fairytale. I bought naturally dyed local yarn for a shawl, and my mother bought local lentils and spelt. It was just one of those perfect days from start to finish.





I start studying again tomorrow, and because of that for the past few days I have been feeling like Summer is coming to a close - which is absolutely untrue because there still is all of August ahead of us, but still. I just have this feeling.