Monday, October 30, 2006

Love to read

I love writing, but I do love reading even more. I read on average a book every four-five days. I give myself a couple of days break usually! My passion came from my mother - she is an avid reader and I grew up surrounded by shelves full of books of any kind.
From Danielle Steel to Wilbur Smith, from Shakespeare to Herman Hesse, from Ernest Hemingway to Erica Jung, from Erich Fromm to Stephen King, I had the pick of the best and the worst! I had romance and thrillers, I had philosophy and serious literature, psychology and history and I embraced them all.
All these books shaped and influenced me at a very young age and helped me become who I am today. Many things I have learned from the pages, many different dreamscapes anf worlds I inhabited, many journeys through the fantasies conjured from the hundred different stories. Every time a book ended, a small part of me also ended and disappointment was small or big, depending on how much I loved the book in question.
At 19 I broke my leg in a scooter accident and I had to stay six months in bed, back at my parent's place. Every day I was completely immersed in reading and read about 1 book per day. When you are in bed every day, immobile, without being able to even get up for anything, and I mean anything, all I could do was read.
Of course my mum's books were long ago read, so every visitor kept bringing me new or second hand books! I read anything and everything, just to take my mind off the situation I was in.
As time went on, reading became more and more my love and passion, but after moving to London, I decided to start reading in English instead of my own language, Italian. At first it was hard, even though my English was ok grammatically, it was lacking a lot of vocabulary. I started with I was hoping were easy books, something not too challenging, and so I chose Dean Koontz. I am not saying it is a completely easy read, but it's not exactly academic. I didn't get much at first, but slowly understood more and more. And I got hooked - he is so great and to this day, I still read all his new books. After him, I loved Patricia Cornwell, and I am still following all of her Dr Scarpetta series. The others I love from this genre are: Jonathan Kellerman (and his wife Faye), Michael Connelly, and Jeffery Deaver. Other authors I love are from different genres like Milan Kundera, Noam Chomski, Joanne Harris and also many Italian authors. The result is that my flat is full of books, full of shelves and every new book goes into a pile next to my bed!
I have run out many times of space and I really don't know where to put them anymore. I have started borrowing them from the library, so that I could also save some money, not only space!! Now I only buy new books when I go away travelling; the smell of new books is wonderful and browsing in a bookshop is the most relaxing past time for me.

So reading for me is a pleasure and very entertaining, but also sometimes can be anti-social and selfish, as nobody else can join in. I feel I shut people off a lot when I am reading, I hate being interrupted and so ignore everybody around me. I must then ''read with moderation''. There was a time when I was constantly reading and at that point I had to stop for a while and have a break, before this would have become an obsession. Now, I feel I have a more healthy relationship with books. I don't stay awake half the night like I used to, because I couldn't put a book down. I don't read every second I have free, and even on holiday I stopped reading on the beach for hours and missing life. So, I think that as long as I take it easy and limit my 'selfish pleasure', I should be okay!
I thank my mum for introducing me to this wonderful word of words, and I will certainly pass it on to my children one day, but I will also teach them to enjoy life outside of the dream world of books and not miss out anything else that life has to offer!

Friday, October 20, 2006

To Have or Not to Have: Kids Anyone?

Dilemma of a career couple

There is no escaping the question: whether you want to have kids or not, and if you do, when will you have them? It is a question mainly women ask themselves and some men as well, or maybe most of them think, how long can I go avoiding the issue?

But sooner or later it comes back, as your friends start having kids. Once you marry everybody starts asking you about them – from your mother to your friends, from the co-worker to the neighbour.
Your life is perfect, you have a wonderful career, that special someone, you are having great fun, drinking and going out with your friends, weekends away, travelling, money for yourself, maybe for the first time you feel you know who you are and what you are doing, no care in the world.
Your job brings you satisfaction, or if not that, at least some money. Money for shoes, cars, clothes, travel, you have paid your student's debts and now you are just enjoying spending every last penny you earn. And why not, you work hard for it.
Then you wake up one day and your wife or husband says: Hey, what about kids, should we at least start to think about it?

We all have our reservations, whether you are a woman or a man, you both may have a good career that you don’t want to give up. More than the career, you don’t want to give up the freedom and the fun, the carefree days and also the money.

But I think that a day comes when the money, the freedom, it is just not enough. All the self-indulgence starts to bother you and all the going out and the fun start to feel hollow and shallow. And then you start wondering, is there more to life than this?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Losing my mind

Well, I am lucky again, third time lucky to be exact. Let me explain...for the third time I have lost my wallet (purse in U.S. I think) and someone has found it and given it back to me. If I lived in a small town where everybody knew me...but I live in London!

The first time was in May 06 - I left it at an off licence shop not too far from my home, I was buying a bottle of wine for a party we were going to and I left the wallet on the counter.
The next evening the clerk of the shop knocked on our door and gave me my wallet back! It was lucky that I had my home address on the provisional driving licence in my wallet, otherwise he wouldn't have known where I lived.

The second time I lost it was back in July, in a club while paying for my drinks and again I left it at the counter. I realised after 10 minutes and ran to the bar and asked the barman if he had found a wallet, and after looking and asking around, they had found it in the manager's office where someone had put it for safekeeping.

The third time was last week. After a party we were heading to a bar near my area and after looking inside, we actually decided to head home by taxi instead of having another drink. Needless to say, when I got home I found that I had no wallet, immediately cancelled my cards and went to sleep. Today, after losing hope that somebody might have found my wallet, a phone call came at work! It was a clerk at my gym, somebody called her from this bar saying that they have found my wallet and the only way they could think of reaching me was by calling my gym and get them to call me. So this evening I will be on my way to this bar to pick it up!

I am thinking two solutions to this constant losing my wallet:
1) I don't go out to a bar ever again
2) I stop carrying my wallet anywhere with me

Seriously, why do I always keep losing it? It happens when I am busy - drinking - distracted - in a rush - nervous, it seems like I am losing my mind most times!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Meeting Mr or Mrs Right in London

Here we go, my first unpublished article...I should probably stick to blogs!

The evening is about to end, the club is about to shut, you are alone, with your friends, but alone, no ‘conquest’, another lonely night and weekend ahead of you – you are desperate for some affection some contact but you want more than a night of lust. You despair, you panic, but all you meet are the ones out for a one night stand, sex with no string attached, that’s all that some guys want and that’s all that some girls want (sometimes).
The place is full with available people, attractive people, and people that you wouldn’t even share a coffee with, people that you wouldn’t speak to in a million years, but the club is about to close and you are desperate…. It’s a lottery and you gamble and then you wake up on a Saturday morning, in a stranger’s bed, trying to work out where are your shoes, your purse, the nearest station, and even in which part of town you are in.
This is a likely scenario for many of us Londoners lost in a city of lonely souls, in a city of millions of lonely people. Everywhere you see couples, but you wonder how did they meet in such a city, a city where you don’t even know your neighbour’s name.

Meeting the right person is hard everywhere in the world, but especially in London where everybody has such high expectations, such high standards. They have everything - money, careers, friends, but they are missing that special someone, that special person to wake up with on a Sunday morning and with whom they can read the papers in bed. That special connection that you can only have with somebody that gets you – and not everybody gets you, we all know that.

The secret of meeting Mr or Mrs Right in London is to simply stop looking. I know it might sound like a cliché, but it is so true. The minute you start having a full life, and not worrying about whether you will meet that special someone, that’s when you will meet them. The minute you put yourself out there and be who you really are and be confident about yourself, that’s when you’ll hit the jackpot. The way you do it is to feel good about yourself, and that way you do that is to stop caring about whether you are good enough to be loved by anybody, and start loving yourself with all your limitations and insecurities. Someone will love you especially for your insecurities and your weaknesses because they are part of you and they make you who you are, a unique special person. And they make the other person feel that you’ll then accept their weaknesses too, which would really make you quite a catch!

So don’t ever hide them, be yourself and trust always your instinct, even if it goes against everything you have ever believed in. Even if it makes you do things that you’d never do, abandon yourself, forget your shyness, your inhibitions and your worries, and always always know that somewhere out there, there is somebody for you, somebody for everybody. In London especially, or anywhere really, you must believe in yourself and believe that anyone would be lucky to have a person like you, a person so endearing, that anyone would be crazy not to go for.

Where to meet? Anywhere, just smile, look at people in the eyes, be genuine, not too forward but not too shy, that’s the formula. All you have to do is to be fulfilled and have lots of passions and interests and soon you’ll meet somebody that will share those passions with you...or at least you’ll have something to talk about when a cute guy or girl happens to be in your circle of friends.
Of course this all sounds so obvious, but it is not easy to accept yourself fully, I still don't myself, but if you don’t accept yourself, then who would? In terms of my Mr Right, I met him in a bar, of all places, and never I would have thought this would turn out to be the best decision I made to go out that night, that night when I wasn’t looking for anybody, for the first time, that night when meeting someone was further from my mind than ever before.
It started like a bit of fun, but ended up being a marriage, so never assume anything about any situation, because you never know how it’s going to turn out, and that’s the beauty of life, the unknown, the surprise. I hear incredible stories about people that met in a supermarket or on a train, or at a traffic light, just be open to anything at anytime and you will not be disappointed. Ok, you might get disappointed a few times, or many times like I was, but I believe that in the meantime, until you do find someone special, you’d would at least had great fun trying...

Back from France

Hello, I am back from France! We went to Bolougne-Sur-Mer and Le Touquet and it was is a photo of the beach at Le Touquet:

We actually took the train under the Channel and it was a crazy experience to be shut in a car on a train travelling under the sea! A bit suffocating if I must admit...

Once we were back in London on Saturday night, I drove our car (we just bought it secondhand two weeks ago) for a bit in the center of the city at 10.30 at night, tired from the journey and I made a mess of it. I have only had my licence a little while, as you might know from this post: on top of the world, and this is the third time I have driven our new car, and I should not have done so being late and tired and dark and so on. I was all over the place and making mistakes after mistakes. Nothing happened, but I was disappointed that I wasn't driving very well at all and that I was so nervous. Also I need to get used to the car, it's a sportscar, too powerful and scary, while I learned in a Ford Fiesta, small and practical.

Anyway, I am posting my article right after this, later on today.