Tag Archives: friends

Lake at Avigliana

I turned 30 and the world didn’t even end*

*yet. (Remember when the most outrageous thing to happen in the world was that some famous food blog posted a bizarre article about fairy bread? Yeah, those were the days.)

A few weeks ago, it was my 30th birthday, and I fully intended to write something wise… well ok, something thoughtful… at least something not stupid about leaving my 20s. And then I was busy, and then I couldn’t be bothered, and now it’s Thanksgiving in America so I’m going to steal their holiday idea and write a list-post of things I’m grateful for about my birthday.

  • I was too busy to write, because my family came to visit. They are total weirdos (where do you think I get it from?) and I love them.
  • My sister is as lazy as I am, which makes her easy to entertain. Case in point: before she arrived, we talked about maybe going to Sicily for a few days while she was here. “Ehh, it’s kinda far,” we said. “Let’s go somewhere we can get to by train. How about Rome?” And then we said, “Yeah, but Rome we’d really have to make a long weekend of, how about somewhere in Liguria? We could even just go on Saturday morning and come back Sunday night.” And then, “The coast is nice and all, but the mountains are closer and we don’t have those in Australia.” At which point, we looked at the weather forecast, decided that up in the mountains would be too cold, and said, “How about a day trip to Sacra di San Michele? At least we’ll get a good view to the mountains there.” And then we overslept that morning, and went to Avigliana for the afternoon, and took a stroll along the lake (pictured above).
  • I also had a fantastic birthday brunch — I think the last time I organized a birthday party was my 18th, because frankly everything about planning a party makes me want to hide under a blanket and never come out, but in this case I had the best time. We had pancakes and shakshuka and fruit salad and an amazing coconut cake made by my friend A who was very gracous about me getting dessicated coconut all over her carpet when I blew out the candles.
  • I decided to do pancakes at least partly because I knew that at some point I’d appreciate the excuse to take a break in the kitchen, facing a wall and not talking to anyone while flipping pancakes. (Introverrrrrrt.) I am so grateful that I am so much better than I used to be at working out how to do things in a way that works for me.
  • Also, while I hate planning parties, I am grateful for the warm fuzzy feeling of seeing people talking and laughing together and knowing that I’d contributed to making that possible.
  • Finally — since this has already taken a turn for the corny and there’s no retreating now — I am so so grateful for everyone who celebrated my birthday with me. (Awwwww.) You guys made my 20s way less terrible than they would otherwise have been (seriously: whose stupid idea was it to have a whole decade where you’re still insecure like a teenager but have to deal with responsibilities like you’re an adult??) and I’m pretty sure my 30s will owe a lot to you, too.
Brain MRI

That time I got hit by a car: injury, uncertainty and stories

Here’s a dramatic opening line for you: A year ago this weekend, I was hit by a car while crossing the street.

This is the story per the police report and my hospital notes: I was hit by a green Fiat at 3:15 pm; I arrived in hospital fully conscious; I had fractured my skull in two places and suffered some bruising and minor bleeding on my brain; no surgery was required; CT scans and ultrasounds confirmed I had no other injuries; I spent 9 days in hospital for observation; a subsequent MRI 6 weeks later indicated satisfactory progress towards recovery and no need for further intervention.

That story sits comfortably in a folder of forms and papers with official letterheads, but it feels rather incomplete.

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Gran Madre and Superga at night

The other four seasons of the year.

It is currently pouring with rain and I’m wearing jeans and a cardigan, and I’m starting to lose faith in the traditional weather-based seasons here in Turin. (At least we had a summer here this year, unlike last year!) So I want to propse a new set of seasons, that aren’t about the weather. They’re the Living Abroad Seasons. There’s four of them, so that’s nice and traditional, although up-front disclaimer: they’re not equal in length, which jars against my need for symmetry, but oh well.

The current season is August, aka, Nothing Is Happening Here, Get Out of Town Season. Turin’s one of those Italian cities where everyone clears off to the mountains and/or the seaside for as much of August as possible. Shops close, there’s no traffic even in peak hour, the mailboxes in my apartment are piling up with uncollected letters. Normally I’d also be out of town for mid-August, but this year I somehow managed to arrange things so I arrived back in Turin on the 15th. Ghost town. It’s peaceful, in a way.

And August is a good break to psych up for People Arriving Season in September/October. People come back from holidays, either tanned (if they’re Italian) or sunburnt (if they’re like me). The university year starts, as do many fixed-term jobs, and new people arrive in town. I am every stereotype of an introvert, but I love meeting new people. (I just need a lie down in a dark room afterwards.) Finding out where people are from, why they’re here, noticing shared interests, it’s all great. People Arriving Season is my favourite Living Abroad Season.

The next season is the Long Season. Work. Socialize, in a more normal way now that not everyone is a new face. Slog through winter. Daydream of summer holidays. Christmas, New Years. Maybe travel somewhere fun over the Easter weekend. Become closer friends with people. Drift apart from others. Once the novelty of living away from where you grew up wears off, this is the season that looks like “real life”.

And then we get to Goodbye Season, in June-July. The university year ends, and so do those fixed-contract jobs, and over the course of a few weeks easily half of the new friends you made in September will have moved on to new things. It’s an exciting time, because people are going to do all sorts of interesting things and you get to be happy for them. But because I sort of snuck out of Perth when I left, I never really did the goodbye thing there (sorry everyone!) and I was in no way prepared for how exhausting Goodbye Season would be until I experienced it for myself. Constantly thinking, “will I ever see them again, I wonder?” is a bit of a downer, it turns out.

Sometimes I daydream of moving everyone I know and love to the same city — or inventing teleportation — so that I can keep all my friends nearby. And of course I could settle down somewhere and have a stable group of friends that I see every week for years and years. I know people who have based their lives around stability and it’s suiting them splendidly. But I suspect life isn’t as stable as it sometimes looks, and for now I’ll choose the highs and lows of instability.


Well that was an experience: my week in an Italian hospital

“Maybe if I fall asleep in this dream, I’ll wake up in my own bed,” I thought, as I tried to get comfortable on the stretcher I was lying on, somewhere in a corridor in the emergency department. Around me, nurses distributed drugs, chatting with patients in rapid Italian. “I can’t believe I’m dreaming in Italian!” I thought, as I drifted into a doze.

I woke up. I was still in hospital.

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