a life creative
I’ve had an introversive day sorting through my gems, scrap silver, new and old tools for the studio. I’ve wished the best of the new year to family and friends in Australia who have already shot over the 2014 line, and there are still a few hours to go here. I can hear the kids letting off firecrackers under the bridge and in the narrow streets – the kind banned in the 80s in Australia (firecrackers, that is, not the kids).
It’s been a great year, although not without its usual (and unusual) peaks and troughs.
All right, I know you’ve probably been sent a dozen of these, but I’m going to do it to you too, anyway. The year in review (what I remember of it): January: Sick, again. Moved again (6th and second final time) temporarily into Marco’s old bedroom. And thus commenced 6 weeks of a highschool sleepover style of living.
Continued to teach English to a friend’s little boy. February: Marco’s father got pneumonia and began a stint of 40 days in intensive care.
I got sick, again. Big flu and we were living at Marco’s parents. There was a cancelled longed-for trip to Tenerife, snow, snow and more snow and it was a pretty dark and bleak old time of disappointment and sickness and probably the biggest test of my emotional constitution so far. On the upside, my language shot ahead in leaps and bounds because of all the gameshows on TV.
March: We moved into the apartment. Hallelujah. Beginning of spring. Violets. Yes!
I drove for the first time (all the while my brain telling me that the gearstick was somewhere near the window), and I went to the cinema to see Argo in Italian, no subtitles.
April: National Poetry Writing Month, and thus sanity returrned.
I started a 2 month teaching contract at the local adult education centre, forged some solid friendships and realised how much I love teaching teenagers and adults.
May: I cooked for 22 people at home on a stovetop that had been installed 1/2 an hour before guests were due.
Busy times with the start of the tourist season. Teaching continued.
June: The busy lead up to the new shop.
A rainy summer start, a year on from when I first set foot in Italy.
I finished and passed my TEFL course, and finished my first Madre Lingua teaching contract.
Started writing a weekly poem column for Yareah Magazine.
July: The new shop opened in Via Degli Olmi and I helped out with its inaugurazione (not only by tainting the tastes for prodotti tipici with my big-hit banana bread) while Marco was with a cycling group in the Dolomites.
I went to Siena to spend a few days, caught up with friends and teachers and saw the tourist attractions I never seemed to have time for when I lived there for 3 months!
I continued north and met Marco in Lake Como and we headed on up to Vaujany in the French Alps, and then on to Roussillon in Provence, before I went my own way to London to see Emma and then on to Germany to visit with relatives I hadn’t seen since I was 4. I came back and Marco and I spent two days in the Cote d’Azure – the first time we have ever spent a whole day alone together, let alone two.
Came home to my little mountain town and got dressed up for the Sfilata delle Contrade di Santa Fiora.
August: marked the first year anniversary of having moved to Italia. Started to truly feel at home here. Ferragosto…great day but not a great night. Had a fever that lasted a week and then the good old summer water pipe algae tummy flu that saw through to the end of August. Yay. Nothing grapes don’t fix.
September: Busiest month for Marco with groups.
Went to London to see Emma and then met Dad in Newcastle and saw my relatives. Felt like a time of reconnection and I came back fullfilled and feeling as though a good chunk of odd unsettled things in my life had shifted. This is what I wrote in my diary then:
I have spent the last 4 days with my father in the town he was born in, in the presence of my aging grandparents (my grandfather is 93 and has lung cancer), treading fields my paternal ancestors ploughed and mined, catching up with sister, cousin and friends. I was lucky to have been able to do the same with my maternal side ancestors in July, which had originally been for novel research. But it’s been so much more. The last 18 months, living and travelling around on this side of the planet, has been all about family and nationality/identity and finally, finally feeling at home.
Lots of good happy stuff began happening then and I began teaching my first 3 students from home. Entertained the thought of reopening the abandoned enoteca and put it to Marco, who wholeheartedly agreed. And the seemingly abandoned idea of the studio took shape. And I made a bedhead.
October: Angela and Rosie stayed with us for a weekend.
Emma and Mark came for a short visit in time for chestnut season…and a Chelsea game or two which brought out the best of two soccer nuts from either end of Europe.
November: Babysat Maya the once-waif kitten.
Was nice to have an affectionate cat back in my life, even if temporarily.
Second birthday in Italia, spent in Firenze.
December: Well, here we are again. The last day of the year. 2nd Christmas here…gotta say, for someone antipodean born and raised, eating lasagne for Christmas dinner, with sideways rain outside the window, might take another year or two of getting used to. White Christmases are a rarity here…gotta go further north (or higher up the mountain) for that – here the snows come in January and February. Meh! Hot weather and siestas for Christmas still do it for me.
Opened the enoteca, piano piano, with Marco and then ‘en force’ last night with a great team of happy lovely peeps for very successful night for La Fiaccolata. Never seen so much prosciutto consumed (and my shoulder’s still recovering from slicing it! ) Looking forward to running the enoteca when we get back from Australia. Marco suggests calling it “AliBaba”…my shortened name and his nickname. Hmmm. Not very Italiano!
And that’s that.
What does tomorrow and the rest of 2014 bring? A trip to Australia for 5 weeks. A few nice surprises. The Kittykatmandoo studio, at long, long last. Creativity, friendships, travel, new businesses, and, above all, good health, buckets of patience, and happiness. I wish my beautiful Etruscano, all of my wonderful family and friends and readers and all the people I’m yet to meet the same: all the very best for a fantastic new year filled with the energy of creativity, inspiration, prosperity, kindness, stillness of spirit, health and happiness in every aspect of your life for the coming year, and always.
See you with jewellery galore in 2014.
Love, Ali from Kittykatmandoo xx
Writer | Artist
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