Italia

2004?

Warning: This is a ranting e-mail. if you dont have time, I will not be offended. I dont mean to windge, but i have just come across some things that have thrown me for a loop. I am still loving being here, but have some things to share…

You know that “myth” about all Italians having one woman for a wife (mia donna) and one for a whore (the one woman he cheats with)? My god, it is so true! Very few men do not have a mistress around here. “My man” told me the other night that he is so glad I told him we cant call each other boyfriend and girlfriend. My reasoning is I am leaving in January. His is that he would have to tell me lies and would never be able to be open with me. We are in a monogamous relationship – that is not it – he just has be taught that you don’t share your innermost feelings an emotions with the one you love. That is for the woman he has sex with! That’s what the mistresses are for! So that the men can: a, have sex. b, have someone who doesn’t judge them. the wives are to beat them and coddle their sons so this pattern of not trusting their wives, who are supposed to emulate their own mothers, is repeated!

it is a cultural thing that is not looked down upon. it is accepted.

along with this, sleeping with people of any age. He has 25 year old friends who fuck 15 year old (who have already fucked multiple people) and no one bats an eye. and when I suggest that this could cause psychological damage to the 15 year old, who is just thinking how cool she is for sleeping with a guy so old, everyone, including the women, think I am nuts! All I can think is that the 25 year old is really that pathetic that he cant get someone his own age!

i just had a huge fight with “my man” about this two nights ago and I haven’t be able to come to peace with it. Actually, it was one of those fights where I get silent. We all know that is when it is the worst and I am utterly disgusted.. I want to believe I am tolerant and am ok with all cultural constructs! I can accept sexual “deviants” such as people who are into S&M or orgies. If people want to do that, as long as it is consensual, I think it is fine by me, but I feel like this lack of respect for age and for the child being able to grow up at their own pace, is a kind of an unfair assault or a type of preying on those weaker, or less knowledgeable. 45 year old men sleep with 15 year olds!

Hmmmm… I feel that in a place more “foreign” to me (a third world country perhapse), I would not have been so side blinded by this. I think I would have known what to tolerate, and what not to fight, but the fact that I am regarded as so in the wrong on this argument, well… if has kinda baffled me.

I am very happy to have come across this, as that’s why I live in different countries. To learn the good and the bad of their societies.

Also, the housekeeper at our hostel. She is from the Ukraine. She was arrested and beaten in jail a few nights ago. We just took her to the hospital because she can no longer walk without weeping. And this is acceptable. My boss, when he went to see her in jail, she was insane – screaming and banging her face against the cemement wall. She had drunk a bottle of vodka and taken pills but she was arrested for “shoplifting” but she had a receipt and was not, as my roommate was with her and told me she wasnt shoplift. she was not lucid, they say, and screaming at the police, so they went in a beat her. in the middle of the store. and if she screamed more, they beat her more. I cant even finish describing it.

And the whole town is talking about her. I was blocks away and I heard people talking openly about her and my boss. People I had never seen before. It is such a small town.
Some say it is because she is Ukranian, that she was treated that way. Some say it was because she was trying to attack the cops, but they got carried away, trying to stop her and shut her up. Emanuele gets hit on by his boss constantly. she has tried to make moves on him. there are no sexual harassment laws. there are no laws if your boss “forgets to pay you” as happened with simone.

I do love it here, for now. and I am happy I am learning these things. A country I thought was so like mine… well… none of them are.

I am not upset. please do not think that. but when you want to say how terrible America is… well, I am kinda thankful for the excess of laws and the puritanical views and the social constructs sometimes.

well, that is my random enlightenment of the day. had to get that off my chest.
thought you might be interested.

One of those quirky life experiences

(June 2010)

Having a bit of a panic over the past two days. More of what I’ve been having over the past weeks, but exacerbated.

What am I going to do when my 6 months are up at Australian Geographic (as mandated by my work visa)? Where do I want to go next? Why am I in such a frenzy after a certain phone call yesterday?

I just couldn’t seem to get my feet under me to calm myself down.

I was sitting at Border’s on my computer, drinking tea. The woman sitting next to me asks for my opinion about the title of her book. As I explain why I prefer one title over the other, I warn her that, since I am in marketing, it is likely I’m over thinking her simple request. We start talking about marketing and her book – just briefly. Maybe 30 secs.

She is a well-known Australian astrologer. She asks me my sign. “Your life will get so much easier in July.” Relief spread over me.

After some more talking about her website and what I do, I offer to answer digital questions if she has any in the future. She hands me her card and the icon at the top is my tattoo. While, it isn’t a wild stretch – an astrologer with a moon on her card – the fact it is the same shape, color, and angle as mine is pretty impressive.

As she is leaving I tell her I appreciate what she told me and the relief it gave me. She said it is just an astrological truth and I should be excited to start the next cycle of my life then. Would be a good time to head somewhere else.

It is one of those strange coincidences that make life lovely.

VOICEOVER FROM 2018: It did not get easier. Life got harder. For many years. 

Cultural Learnings (Part 2)

(August 2002)

Well, I have officially been living in Scotland for 3 months now. I leave on Tuesday for London, then Paris, then back to London, then hopefully (please please please please) to Venice.

Also, I have cleaned my last Scottish toilet today! I have hung up my housekeeping dress. (I will spare you any more of those observations about how the rich of Britain can not seem to have bowel movements in the toilet, but on every piece of linen I have to wash.)

For your cultural education, here’s some more brain candy…

1. Pop culture from our childhood may be the means to world peace 

At work, Danger Mouse is the bond that brings us together. Come on! If Penfold, DM, Baron Von Greenback, and Banana Man skit don’t bring us together, who will? Ok, maybe Super Grover and Guy Smiley, but those are my last hopes.

2. The residents of the UK are addicted to soap operas and campy gay men. 

While living on the farm, the family would relgiously watch East Enders every night and the head farmer (a total bloke) couldn’t contain himself watching Graham Norton every night.  I firmly believe that if your show touches on either of these items, you will have a hit show. Actually, an addition – that or reality tv in ANY FORM. Believe me, I have got sucked into watching a show called the Salon. Yes, they film the daily ins and outs of a beauty salon.  More sadly, I now watch it religiously.

3. I have tried and failed to understand cricket, and I admit I am a lesser person for it. 

4. Kiwis are the most patriotic people I have met. 

Don’t insult them, their country, or their black and orange socks. They will try to bite. Worse yet, they jimmy open your door at night and “body slam” you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

5. I thought I feared crazed soccer fans, until I met rugby fans. 

Don’t insult their team, even in jest. I was playfully teasing an Irish guy I was dating about his team (Munster), and he did not appreciate my humor on that subject. As a result, I was given a plethora of Munster paraphernalia and forced to watch multiple games after that.

6. I know this is hackneyed, but the Scots have a huge phobia of dentists, dental hygienists, and toothbrushes (tho toothpaste is in every bathroom). 

My god! These people in my town have no teeth!  I hate to tell you this, but NONE of them speak like Sean Connery. Whoever stereotyped the Scottish accents as sexy was VERY VERY mistaken. Sean and Ewan are genetic freaks. Also, they don’t say “lassie” to describe a female – its “wifey.” Yup. You can infer my thoughts on that one.

7. Dirty jokes are the quickest way to bring a room together. 

It is shocking how everyone has something to contribute once the first bawdy joke is told.

8. Tom Jones is the Welsh National treasure.

9. I hate to admit this, but I love haggis.

10. Marmite, Vegemite, and Bovril. Learn them, you will have to choose. Wars will be fought over these yeasty treats someday. 
12. The rest of the world seems to have missed out on some of the most important elements of our culture. 

The Kids in The Hall (ok, I know that isn’t ours to claim), old SNL, Iron Chef (hey, we dubbed it), Space Ghost, old Conan O’Brien (I will marry Andy Richter), The Dark Crystal, The Last Unicorn, Orgazmo, So I Married An Axe Murderer, and so much more! No wonder they all hate us so much! No one has yet explained our insanity to them. Don’t worry, Michael Moore and I have begun to break em in. I have the Scots singing Brak’s “Don’t Touch Me.”

Cultural Learnings (Part 1)

(August 2002)

Damn. 32 hours and I have made it from Vienna to Dublin. 4 trains, one taxi, one hotel in Wales, and a ferry. I just made some purchases for the new job. I’m going to crash at this hostel for 2 days and then head to the other coast, and hopefully be at work by 3:30 pm.

Anyway, as I can’t get into my hostel for another 20 minutes, I thought I would enlighten you folks with some “profound”, cultural discoveries I have made this month.

These certainly can’t be sweeping generalizations. 🙂

They are in no particular order, except for the first one. It was the one that scares me the most.

1. The Brits are obsessed with Dick Van Dyke. 

This may sound like a joke but I am 100% serious. It all started at dinner with James asking me if “D.V.D.” is a god in the states. I thought he was “taking a piss” so I was sarcastic and said yes. Evidently, as many of us rush home to watch the Simpsons, UK university students make sure to never miss an episode of Diagnosis Murder. James and Nicky both stated that it is a “brilliant” show and the plot is impeccable. (Quincy is their second favorite!) I asked other Brits in other stops and everyone looked at me like I was insane. “Of course! 1 o’clock everyday. waiting for the new season.” Apparently this phenomenon stems from their love of his “terrible cockney accent” in Mary Poppins, which the mention of said Disney film spurs them ALL into a rousing rendition of “chim chimerie.” It is frighteningly universal amongst all uni students. I have been laughing for weeks because of this and the countless trivia that is thrown at me about characters and cameos on the show (10 minutes were devoted to figuring out D.V.D.’s son’s name, as he is evidently a regular!)
2. Traveling males from Los Angeles agree that women should have “asses like a twelve year old.” 

We’re talking “quality with at capital “K” here kids. It was a repeated many times in many places. And you wonder why people think Americans are strange.

3. Slovenians are the sweetest people on Earth – unless they work in the tourist industry. 

If they work in a hotel, hostel, tourist information center, or restaurant, they want you dead.

4. People hate that Americans have “cute” and “quaint” in their vocabulary. 

They feel like the US believes that Europe is just a Xeroxed copy of the US, reduced to 62%.

5. The Irish know nothing about wine. 

And Kiwi & I went to the store to get the best Shiraz we could find for $5. The Irish had no idea there were so many types beyond red and white. The ones that are well traveled know “rosie” or “the crappy pink stuff” (to quote Colm).

6.The word “fanny” has a very different meaning than our meaning in the UK, Australia, and Ireland. 

It is not the posterior, but the front of a woman’s anatomy where a child comes out. They find “leave it to beaver” hilarious as Ward uses the phrase “get your fanny down here” often. Also, when the phrase “fanny pack” is said, they going into convulsions of laughter.

London it is

(AUGUST 2002)
After three days in London, here is your overdue update, my dears.
1. I’ve met a ton of people… everyone travels for years… tempting, at least.

2. An old heidelberg project member lives here and took me out to a swank dinner ($80!!) where you get your fortune told at the table. an amazing dinner. sooooo good. since I can’t get a place in brussels until saturday, i’m chilling here and my friend from UM is taking me out to the clubs with her friends on friday.

3. Spent the day at an incredible museum – Victoria & Albert – fucking incredible! Spending the day at the museum, taking beaks to lay in the grass in the courtyard in the sun and read my book…. idyllic.  god it is so nice to travel alone – no worries about catering to differences in opinion! not that I’m stubborn… but   🙂

4. everyone is calling me the “happy bugger” after the hostel’s bouncer caught me in a state of ecxtacy when I finally realized…

I have no responsibilities. no job, no school, no appointments, no where I have to be until I want to leave, no one to worry about, no one I have to talk to except for when I choose to… it is an amazing experience! It is hard to comprehend… but then… when it hits me… I get a huge smile and sit back on the porch, grab another beer, and meet another crazy aussie or strange french man who purpetually offersme pot. hehehehehe

5. oh yeah – got my nose pierced yesterday in Camden Town – punk rock central. the woman who pierced me had 15 pierecings that I could see on the front of her face… not counting her ears… but she was such a sweetie. it hurt like a fucking bitch but. been wanting it… but finally caved in in NYC and did it here. and amazingly… it looks damn good. It fits me very well (uh… does that sound cocky? I hope not – vey few things make me feel damn hot – and this defiitely does, hehehehehe)  uhmm… I never really liked piercings – but I counted mine today… 8!

6. my friend from grammar school e-mailed me. he’s in china – haven’t talked to him since I ran into him 5 years ago on a street in Chicago. he heard I was here and offered me a place to stay… so… once work starts, I’m going to go see Gerry in a small town in China! flights are so cheap here! it is about $300 for a round trip to Beijing. even cheaper to africa! I’ve decided… I don’t care if I don’t get signed on for an extra 2 years… I’m going to work super hard and get enough to travel the world until I’m 25, if I don’t have an amazing museum (or other) job that is too good to give up.

7. eveyone here, who have been to Galway, say it is incredible. gives me some encouragement. I’m still pretty scared to move to a new counry alone… ok, I’m still usually nervous to be traveling alone… but… how else do I grow if I don’t!

going on… some boys from alabama convinced me to go to the Old Globe Theater tomorrow… my favorite Shkspr. pklay – midsummers night dream. we’ll see if I go… because I heard an old abby is playing chamber music by candle light tomorrow night – and I can see the next play. camber music in one of london’s oldest abbies, by candle light? ohhhhh… this sounds perfect!

oh yeah, and all they play over the loud speakers at my hostel is old school hip hop. oh wait… they are playing SWV!!!

sistas with voices… fuck that shit.

ok, going on…

only problem is, London is SO FUCKING EXPENSIVE!
In 3 days, with lodging and food and piercing – $200

ok… and beer and cigarettes. damn it, need to cut that down or else I’m going to blow through my budgetted amount for each week. luckily the train will be free once I leave britan. well… also, not eating much again – but don’t really get hungry, and it helps my budget… hmmmm… but tonights creme brulee was amazing!

ok, now they are playing snoop. this is better. and NATE DOGG!

can’t wait for eastern europe… sooooooo cheap. $5 a night in budpest. so fucking excited.
well… gots to go. my boys from Tel Aviv are trying to drag me to the night club. Gil, these kids from Israel are sooooooooo much fun. these kids are a blast!

anyway – I’ve chatted too much.

over and out, big doggie.

I love you all! and, eventhough I’m having fun… I miss you very very much.

miss your smiling faces.

annabelle

It’s a shame I don’t believe in love

Paraphrasing an online dating interaction…

10pm last night.

Him: “I just finished a great day of meetings and have so much energy to burn! Where do you live in DC? Let me come over.” (Note, this is the first message from this guy.)

Just now, as I was making a coffee run, I decide that writing him a follow-up could be an amusing distraction.

Me: “So, did you find a woman last night?”
Him: “I did but she isn’t interesting enough for me. I have incredibly high standards. [blah blah blah]”
Me: “Gotcha.”
Him: “Cynic. Cynic. Cynic. It must be terrible to live your life as a miserable person. Terrible.”

Guys, I really missed my chance at true love.

“Traveler, not a tourist”

I was asked to write up something to prove I am a “traveler, not a tourist.”

“I’ve had some amazing adventures – I’ve waited out a freak July blizzard in Mongolia in the backseat of a two-door car, eaten freeze-dried squid with grandmas on the steps of a monument in Siberia, taught myself how to ride a moped in Slovenia, laid around in a mud-filled dormant volcano in Colombia, floated on a tube down a river lined with bars in Laos, and danced salsa with a handsome man in a square in Italy in front of crowd.”

Now imagine if I included the awesome “accident prone” stories…

I’m pretty impressed with 20-year-old me.

And I’m still friends with you wonderful people who I went on these trips with or I met on the adventures 💜

Hello.

Today, I introduced my 24-year old coworker to Lionel Richie’s “Hello”.

This is the conversation that took place over instant message.

{Feel free to play the video in another window for the full effect}

Me:
start at :59

Her:
too late I’m learning
ok here we go at :59
this is creepy
IS SHE BLIND?
stop being a creeper Ricie
this is really creepy. He’s such a creeper

Me:
btw the video gets worse

Her:
he just called her
I’m really invested
she should not look so happy
she’s being stalked

Me:
4:40…

Her:
i’m there now
OH MY GOD

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