Prologue

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One day I woke up, walked out on my job, and moved to a different continent.

Once in awhile we all wake up and think “fuck this!” yet we move on and get our asses to work.

I didn’t get my ass to work that day.

There is something about a terrible breakup and realizing that someone you were in love with was cheating on you. You wake up with a special kind of bitterness. This wasn’t some kind of “girl power” moment either so I’m not going to paint it that way.

I wallowed in self pity as I locked myself in my apartment for two weeks. I had to throw away the remaining bottle of wine I gave myself as a gift. All the songs on the radio reminded me of him, all of the objects in my home somehow brought back memories, and I couldn’t go for a walk without wanting to hit every couple in the face that crossed paths.

It was a decision made after endless hours of ugly crying and refreshing his Facebook page. Everyone started to feel sorry for me, and sometime after devouring too many Lindt chocolates (damn those were good) I started feeling sorry for myself.

When I gave Tony my two weeks notice, he smiled, seemingly unsurprised. He told me to give him a call if I needed anything. He probably just wanted a quick shag.

I decided I would start with the language course. After all, I had studied Spanish at college so I wouldn’t have too rough of a time understanding how to get taxi, perhaps renting out a small place, and eventually looking for a job.

I sat next to my window and looked down at the people walking by. Two girls walking to school wearing matching pink oversized backpacks. An eldery man with his over-eager French bulldog going for a walk. A middle aged couple holding hands. For fucks sake, another couple.

This isn’t going to be like one of those movies where a sad woman moves abroad and lives a life of luxury, meets tons of attractive men and “finds herself”.

I stood on a chair in order to fetch the dusty suitcase that was propped on top of my wardrobe.

This is a story of a woman who made a terribly impulsive decision (as I’m known to do) and moved to a country with no backup plan, a considerable amount of credit card debt, and difficulty finding her keys let alone some kind of personal realization.

There were quite a few attractive men though.

Everything, and nothing.

The supple raindrops on car windshields parked in nameless towns

are made of the same matter as the ice crystals

forming at the peak of Mount Everest.

The words you yell in hate,560585_10100764466614829_680102236_n

and confess in love,

invoke the same emotions in every language.

You are breathing the same air as your worst enemy.

You are entangled in a complex pattern, of the living

and the departed.

Your potential is infinite yet bounded

by the enslavement that exists in your mind

and nowhere else.

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An ode to Spain

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Hey Spain, come have a seat. I made some coffee for you, just how you like it –con leche.
This might be kind of awkward, I mean, we haven’t seen each other in a while, but I have to tell you something.
I’m still in love with you.
I remember when we first met in 2005. Things were different then..for the both of us.
You had me at hello, er, I mean “hola“.
You didn’t take too long to convince me to fall for you. In fact, you didn’t utter a word. We moved in silence together.
Your long, hot days and windy nights fill me with wanderlust.
I miss the savory oranges from the market on a Sunday morning, and your succulent tapas on a weeknight.
You gave me art. Masterpieces that I didn’t even know existed, painted by an eccentric man with unforgettable flair.
You gave me futbol – nights full of passion and rollercoasters of emotions.
I miss your men.
Your women too.
Overflowing with colour and life.
Don’t look at me like that! You know I had to go.
We were temporary lovers that fell into one another’s arms, living our moments to the last drop, just before letting go.
We went through so much together. From first loves to break-ups, exams and shitty apartments. Even in my lowest moments you managed to embrace me in your goodness.
I hope to find myself in the middle of Plaza España again, waiting for you and your endless surprises.
I’d never known love before I met you, and I haven’t felt it since.
Don’t leave just yet! I’ll get you another cup.
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What To Do With Miscellaneous Travel Photos

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a billion photos after a weekend trip. In addition to 50 awkward yet identical selfies behind a famous landmark, I’ll also have pictures of the landmarks themselves, and trees, flowers, dogs – you name it.
When I moved into my apartment recently, I planned on buying the standard wall painting from Ikea – flowers blowing in the wind, contemporary art that makes no sense, or a wall rug.
Instead, I developed those miscellaneous pictures from my travel collections, and created a travel collage.
Maybe it’s not up to National Geographic’s standards, but it’s a personal memory that creates a story, a sense of nostalgia, and most of all, it generates a way more interesting answer than, “I bought this at a generic furniture store”.

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The 12 Adventures of Christmas

12) On the 12th adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me – a delicious carbonara in the heart of Bologna, Italy.

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11) On the 11th adventure of Christmas my true love gave to me – an evening walk through the twinkling streets of Mantova, Italy.

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10) On the 10th adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me – handmade gnocchi from a bustling Christmas market.

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9) On the 9th adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me – crowds of Christmas shoppers in Madrid’s main square.

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8) On the 8th adventure of Christmas my true love gave to me, a sunset above the clouds.

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7) On the 7th adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a Spanish dessert on an empty stomach.

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6) On the 6th adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a late night conversation in an open cafe.

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5) On the 6th adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a fuzzy kind of feeling.

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4) On the 4th adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me – improv decorations.

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3) On the 3rd adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me – a mouth-watering lunch in Valladolid, Spain.

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2) On the 2nd adventure of Christmas, my true love gave to me – flying Christmas presents.

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1) On the first adventure of Christmas my true love gave to me, an accidentally heart-shaped walnut.

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Italian prose on porticos

In a previous post, I included a photograph of a poem that was painted onto a wall here in Bologna. The city is full of these short poems that can be spotted on signs, stone walls, and street corners. I’ve been collecting and translating them for the past few weeks, but I’ve edited this post to include a few. The poems are still a mystery to me, but they seem to have been placed around the city by the Movement for the Emancipation of Poetry.
The MVP (Movimento Emancipazione Poesia) has stated the following about their work in Bologna, Italy

“To this day, in the vulgar contemporary society, poetry does not hold the role that, for cultural and historical reasons, it is entitled to. This is not because it no longer carries the ability to communicate and elicit emotions, feelings and fantasies, but rather because although poetry continues to be written, it is no longer read, the preference being for cheap empty entertainment over the noble and difficult exercise of spirited thought. […]”

These photos and translations (done by me) will be edition number one of a series of posts I’d like to do. It seems that I’ve still got over 100 poems to discover in this city.

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Translation:
I swear on my own heart
I’ve never wanted it!
Can you hear it beating?
How do we surrender to the certainty of possessing one another?
It’s the fear
We’ll go in search of
other peaks
from which we can
tremble.

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Translation:
We still speak of
Faded memories
Of the days yet to arrive
Of bridges and boundaries
Of sunrises, sunsets
Of us.
It’s a fine line,
Tonight
The end.

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Translation:
We are the same verb,
declined* in different tenses.
Different windows on the same moon
Mismatched eyes crying the same tears

*a process used in Latin grammar [declension]

Finally, my personal favourite

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Translation:
I hate you.
I hate you because you came into my life way too early.
I’m nothing yet. I’m mud between the fingers of destiny.
An insane compass driving me.
I’m afraid.
I’m afraid that what I will be will destroy what we were, removing your eyes that watch me every morning, hanging on the ceiling of my bedroom.

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Italian Street Art

Bologna is a stunning ancient city (see post) that is also home to the oldest university in the world. Students are attracted from all over the globe to study behind its prestigious walls. The student neighbourhood has adopted a different flair than the rest of the old town, yet equally as beautiful.

Poetry – The “Emancipation of Poetry” society has posted these excerpts on the walls of the city.

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Translation:
I hate you.
I hate you because you came into my life way too early.
I’m nothing yet. I’m mud between the fingers of destiny.
An insane compass driving me.
I’m afraid.
I’m afraid that what I will be will destroy what we were, removing your eyes that watch me every morning, hanging on the ceiling of my bedroom.

Fly away.

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Looking for pizza?

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Long live the rebels!

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Red.

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