What Happened When I Stopped Watching T.V

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I’m just like everyone else. After a long day at work, my favorite thing to do on a weeknight was to pass out in front of the television. Most of the time, it didn’t even matter what I was watching, I just needed something to lull me into my zombie-like sleep.

This past summer, I decided to move to a different city here in Italy. After having lived in Milan for several months, I decided that I hated the city. It was too grey, too expensive, the people are always pissed off, and most importantly, it was full of litter with few green spaces (a big deal for a Canadian). So I headed off in search for a new apartment in my new city of residence, Bologna, Italy.
After having found a temporary apartment, I met with the landlord.
“You know there’s no television at the moment, right? We can look into getting one though, if you’d like?”
WHAT?! You mean no re-run marathons of my love-to-hate reality shows?!
“Nope, it’s no problem for me, I don’t want one.

Now don’t get my wrong. I love films and t.v series (Big Bang Theory and How I met Your Mother in particular), but I felt that the 2-3 hours of “couch potato time” per night was taking away from self-improvement and productivity.
So what did I do with the free time I was suddenly given?

1. I started my blog. I forgot how much I loved to write. It would be a waste not to write something down in my situation. I’m living abroad and moving from place to place, yet I didn’t even have a journal! Even if nobody reads what I write, I’ll have something to look back on after my 20s are over.

2. I started taking classes at the gym – I love the gym, but it’s hard to commit to going regularly, especially during the winter months when you want to curl up in front of the television. Since I didn’t have the t.v option, I forced myself to look at the classes offered at my local gym in the evenings. I signed up for body pump, among others, and made this a regular habit before bedtime.

3. I started reading regularly – I’ve loved reading since I was a child. It’s a habit I’ve carried with me throughout high school and university, but it died down a bit once I began working full time. I replaced the t.v stand with a bookshelf, and I choose something to read before I curl up on the couch and fall asleep. Reading makes me feel positive. Each time you read a new book, you open yourself to a new world of imagination, something that’s obviously missing from many television shows.

4. I made things – A travel box (see post), scrapbooks, photo albums, etc. making things makes you feel better, especially when you feel down. It’s really great to see a finished project that you designed yourself. The feeling of fulfillment that used to come from coloring books and crafts as a child has followed me into adulthood.

5. I stayed informed on my own – The news programs we see are biased. If you don’t make an effort to look for a second opinion, you don’t see both sides of the story. The internet has a mass amount of information from different countries with different political and social opinions. It was great to see how Italian television, BBC news, and CNN, all morphed the same news stories for their own benefit.

6. I had a drink with friends – When you’re exhausted on a Monday evening, the last thing you want to do is get dressed and go out. Actually, don’t even need to get dressed, just go out. Having a drink with friends after work was surprisingly therapeutic. Laughing about my current frustrations allowed me to sleep better, and I found myself walking home smiling after catching up with some friends.

The purpose of this post is to remind you that you’re full of ideas and creativity. Routine has a way of draining us of our imagination, but we don’t have to let this happen. Staying informed is easy with the internet, so you won’t be missing out on anything, but discovering a new sense of self that you thought disappeared a long time ago.

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The one where you feel grateful.

Prompt: Life just isn’t the same without your trusty sidekick. For this week’s writing challenge, tell us about your partner in crime.

The first words I ever said to my partner in crime were “get the f*ck out of here! you’re annoying.”
About a month later I fell in love with him though, how’s that for a paradox?

We were studying abroad in the same Spanish city. We were both football(soccer) fans. Unfortunately, our teams were playing one another, so we were both cursing each other’s team.
We met again later at a football match where the local city team was playing at home. I was “oh hell, you guys know that assh*ole from the bar?”
We sat next to one another and I was really mean and he asked me out

See: The one where you fall in love.

We compliment each other in the right way, just like any crime fighting team should (I’m definitely Batman by the way, he’s Robin – let’s make that clear).

We were born and raised on two different continents. When I get angry I cry, and he makes a series of hand gestures that probably have some sort of meaning.
He’s rational, I’m emotional. I exaggerate everything and he tells me to relax. He can cook better than I can, but that’s not saying much – besides if you’re from Italy it kind of runs in your gene pool, doesn’t it?

The reason he’s my sidekick is because he’s always there. When you reach your mid-twenties, finish school, and get a job, your social circle shrinks quite a bit. You begin to value people you can have a great conversation with, and those who listen to your hopes and worries rather than a good night out on the town.

Living abroad really sent the message home. When you’re living a million miles away and constantly saying hello and goodbye, fewer people stay in your life. Your heart becomes a home for those who count, and my Italian version of Robin has the master bedroom.
Maybe I should have gone with the Mario and Luigi combo?
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I “get myself off” in Spain.

Mastering a language is always a difficult thing, especially when you suddenly find yourself in a foreign country and nobody speaks English.

My first few days in Valladolid, Spain, were filled with hand gestures and online translators in the fall of 2011. I was about to begin university, and I didn’t know anyone yet, so obviously I had to embarrass myself in someway or we wouldn’t be talking about me.

Once you get into the higher level classes (year 3-4) at the university, the classroom sizes are greatly reduced. So obviously, the first thing they do to welcome international students is to have them present themselves.

On the verge of peeing my pants, I kept going over the few sentences I memorized. “I’m from Canada, I love football (soccer), and running. Running is my favourite thing to do, and I do it every day.”

Now, reflexive verbs are a tricky thing for English speakers. In Spanish you would say “me ducho” o “¿te afeitas?” literally meaning “I shower myself” and “do you shave yourself?” In English, we don’t have this distinction between the regular and reflexive verbs. We say, “I shave” and not “I shave myself”.

So the professor says, “next” and I’m up. “Hola me llamo Aleks, soy canadiense, me encanta el fútbol y me corro todos los días. Me corro porque es mi cosa preferida y lo hago todos los días.”

The problem lies in the “me corro”. If I wanted to say “I run everyday” it would be “Yo corro todos los días” or “corro todos los días”. If you say “me corro” it means “I get myself off everyday” meaning…I masturbate.

I told the class I get myself off everyday and it’s my favourite thing to do. I’d say it could be worse, but no, it really couldn’t be.

The real problem was that NO ONE corrected me, so I repeated this in ALL of my classes. THANK YOU FELLOW PEERS. Finally, a guy who spoke English fluently leaned over and stated, “you told everyone you like to orgasm.”
Surprisingly, except for a few smirks, no one really reacted to my bold statement. The Spanish are pretty liberal so, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing, right?

**if you want to share your athletic abilities with the Spanish, it’s always YO corro, never ME corro, unless of course, you do want to share that part of your day with your new foreign friends.

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