Mar 24, 2015

Time races on. Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road.

Hello everyone. I'm a doctor now.
No, I can cure no illness. But in Italian a Dottore is someone with a university degree, even if the degree is in International Relations and Diplomatic Affairs, as in my case.
Yesterday, my brother took some pictures with my camera, my mother cried (a lot), my father brought something to eat and drink for a mid-morning appetizer. And I've been proclaimed doctor. 
When I was a little kid, my grandma used to tell that she hoped to live long enough to be at my wedding (yes, I know...). When I started to protest, others were the days I was looking for, not my wedding, she changed it with a "to be at your graduation".
My favorite tradition is this laurel crown (corona d'alloro) that every new graduate wears after the proclamation. Usually the ribbon is red, but my faculty color is purple, so I had a purple one and mom and I looked for (fake) purple flowers to add.
The tradition comes directly from the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, where a crown of laurel was donated to the triumphant general after the victory.
with my brother
with Mela
with Ivano
with Bi
chin-chin
In the evening, back home, we had a little dinner at my father's bar.
with my grandparents
my mom kept crying
with the cousins
Bi and Bea


brother and dad
...and now?

Mar 10, 2015

Being attracted by only lips would be a separate sexuality, if it were up to me.

As a little child, in kindergarten and elementary school, I was popular among those little boys, a lot. I had my first kiss when I was 3 yo. He was 5. When he left kindergarten we promised each other endless love. After, I had quite a few boyfriends. My longest relationship last four years, ending when we were both 9. 
This pattern dried up quickly with the pre-teen phase (the worst period of my life for so many reasons). Boys let me indifferent, and probably I had the same effect on them. And yet, there’s been the summer between my second and third year of middle school, when I used to go around with the popular kids (don’t ask me how that happened, I’ve no idea). At some point, I told my friend Arianna that I fancied this boy. I didn’t even like him that much. I didn’t want him to become my boyfriend or anything. Nevertheless, pretending made me feel in some ways better. That was the beginning of all the boys-girls drama, and I wanted to have a part in it.
Fast forward to the end of high school. In five years, three times I started to talk online with some boy (one on MSN, two on Facebook). All three times, we arrived nowhere. I made sure that we arrived nowhere. For a while I played the part of the girl with a crush. Heart shape eyes, big sighs, look lost in the void over the window of the bus hit by the rain and a sad song on repeat mode on my iPod. In all honesty, my heart was never really there. And I genuinely thought that everyone was somehow playing a game, of which I did maybe not understand the rules, but that was indeed just a game.

I’m now 22 yo and say that I’ve never had a beau (unless you count my elementary school little boyfriend, which I don’t), that I've never had sex, admit that out loud is embarrassing. And it’s embarrassing for that stupid social construct according to which someone’s value depend on the having, or not, a romantic relationship or a sex life.
I don’t buy it anymore. But it has not been always easy. 
I collected the (unsolicited) opinions about my lack of love partners, infatuations or suitors that people felt the need to share with me in the years:
- You are cute, I don’t understand why you don’t have anybody.
- Maybe you should lower your expectation.
- Relax, have fun.
- You can’t aspect to find Prince Charming.
- Girls less cute and smart than you have boyfriends.
- Lucky you for not having boys around to worry about.
These and many others comments kept buzzing in my head for a long time. I always thought that at some point I would have found the right one. In middle school it would have happen in high school. In high school it would have happen at university. And in the mid time I asked myself what was wrong with me. Why boys didn’t seem to find me attractive. Why I was not so attracted by boys. Maybe I liked girls. But I wasn’t that attracted by girls either. Am I too picky? But what would I get in settle for the first guy who show some interest. And so on.
I felt left behind everybody else, and couldn't understand why. I read too many books, watched too many films, to not wondering what have a significant other feels like. Nevertheless, I could never make myself give it a try.

As you may already know, I am a feminist and I'd like to study for a master's degree in Gender Studies soon. This means that I'm always reading something, in order to be better prepared to fight my fights and to be the best ally for those that don't touch me directly. In doing so, I stumbled upon a quite new conversation, for the most part unheeded by the mainstream LGBTQI+ community. The conversation about the Asexual Spectrum.
I know the existence of asexuality for a long time, but I've never considered it a possibility for me. It does not suit me. But what I found in the last weeks seem a good match, and it is the existence of a spectrum that goes from being asexual to being sexual. As one can be straight or gay or anything in between, as one can be male or female or anything in between, one can be asexual or sexual or anything in between. How can I know that black and white are never the only two possibilities and still not apply the concept to me?
What I found are people who think and feel like I do or really close to it. The few times I really felt attracted by someone, I knew that someone for quite a long time and had a really emotional and mentally bond. I never looked at a beautiful stranger, or even an acquaintance, and felt attracted, as happens to most of the people I know. The only time I thought "I wouldn't mind to kiss him" regarding to a boy met a few hours before was only after a particularly intense conversation.
Those people, who like me are sexually attracted by someone only after forming a relationship on a sentimental or emotional level, mostly identify as demisexual. I'm at a point where I still don't know if I want to use this word for me (why could be a post by itself), and I am sure that many will think that there is no need for new labels and groups, that some kids just want to feel special, etcetera. And they may be in some ways right. But still, it's good to know that I am not alone. It's good to know that there is not a hole inside of me because I don't lack of anything.

I cut few things to keep this post on an acceptable length, but I could write something more about the Asexual Spectrum if you are interested.

Mar 8, 2015

Closure.

I've tried to write this post for a long time now, weeks. It is probably the reason behind the recent hiatus. For some reasons I could not finish it, so I didn't write anything else. It meant to be a diary/photo summary of my university years since, as I recently said, I'm about to graduate, but it turned out to be more difficult than what I expected. What I started to write goes like this:

"Four years ago, while most of my schoolmates were trying to figure out what they wanted to do next, I already knew. So I enrolled in the course on my choice, I looked for an apartment and the 26th of September 2011 I started my university career. That first day, during my first class, I was sure that that was what I was supposed to be. Not because someone else expected me to keep studying, but because I wanted to. This desire of learning is still with me. I am definitely not the best student, but I love to know."

The first week I was in the apartment I was alone. I explore every corner, every inch of it, and I moved all the furnitures of my bedroom that weren’t too heavy to move. On Sunday my three housemates arrived and I had to learn how to live with people I had never met before. 
For a long time a feeling of unease became my constant companion in the apartment. My mum taught me to not occupied too much space, to not demand for anything, and so I did. It take me months to understand that that was my home as much as theirs and that I should had act as such. But it was too late. It is not that I didn’t like my first three housemates, with whom I spent two entire years. The more I get to know them the more I enjoyed my time with them, but my initial hesitation compromise a bond that could have beeb much more of what it was. And they were also three years older than me, at their first year of a master’s degree in translation, and already knew each other. I was a shy 19 yo just out of high school who talked too much.
During our second year together they, close to the end of their Master, relaxed and I did too, and so we spent some time together a part for the usual daily apartment life. And when I looked them pack their things I knew that I will always remember my home in Forlì with them in it.

the shortest hair I've ever had
first months in Forlì
unexpected snow days
Francesca, Giulia and Caterina
June 2013
Someway, two years passed very quickly. Some periods had been better than others, some worst, but they all had been important. I had time for myself, to understand what I want, to grow. I get used to the city, found my favorite places (quite limited in Forlì) to hang out and my favorite people to hang out with.

And suddenly, my third and last year started. With a professor that I adored and another that I could not stand. In September Ilaria moved in the apartment. I already knew her, housemate of Carmela (you will meet her soon), but I was not prepare for hurricane she is! I tried many times to describe Ilaria, failing every time miserably. We spent hours talking since the middle of the night, watching Gilmore Girls during meals and eating Chinese food as frequent as possible.
For a semester we had too an international friend on my neighbor bedroom, the sweet Amey. I am sorry that for Erasmus she ended up in Forlì, not the most exiting city of all, but I hope she had a lovely time anyway (and I'm sorry for always talking too much).
With Ilaria
and Amey
a Beatles cover band was playing
At the start of the second semester of the year Carmela, already a friend of mine and Ilaria's housemate in their previous apartment, also moved in, after six month in France with the Erasmus Programme.
Mela was the first person I knew at uni. The third day of lesson, we set next to each other and out of the blue she started talking to me. But I needed some time to appreciate who I realized is one of the best person I've ever met. We had some lovely time last semester and now I miss her so much, but we still found ways to see each other and talk.
Mela and I, first sunny day in the park - 1 May '14
The last weeks in Forlì, last June and July, have been the happiest. Maybe because we all knew they were the last. We walked until late at night and talk and left balloons around and wait for the sunrise (I actually was the only one who did not fall asleep). There are many posts on this blog to prove that. Elisa, Francesca, Ivano, Mattia, Davide, all have contributed to create some of dearest memories of the past three years.
June and July '14
I waited that everyone left the apartment to go away and close the door behind me for the last time. As in a film. It felt as the last episode of a TV series, but it was only a season finale.

In a couple of weeks my experience in Forlì will be closed for good. I am a nostalgic person, I will always logging for what I leave behind, but at the same time I can't way to see what there is next...


Mar 7, 2015

Am I the only one who finds strange to say "I'm back" when back indicates something that is behind?

Hi everyone. I know, I've been away for quite a while. Probably it's a new record of mine. Or maybe not. Anyway, it feels like a long time.
What have I done in the last month or so? Why didn't I post anything? Good questions.
Actually, some things happened and I'm still waiting for some new ones and in this in between period nothing seems to have precise borders. Me either.
I have successfully (or at least, better that what I expected) passed my last exam, French II, and in a couple of months I will be a graduate. Despite this should be a happy moment, a moment of satisfaction, it is making me a little anxious as well. I have yet not figured out how to manage my parents, who don't speak to each other and don't seem keen to makes my day easier, in the same place at the same time for my graduation.
I am also waiting to know if I've been accepted to a program I applied for in November. It was a long shot, I knew that, but before they said that they were gonna reveled the results for February and now they wrote on the Facebook page that we will know nothing before the 15th of March. It is more likely that I've not be accepted than the contrary, but waiting and waiting is the worst. In the mean time, I'm applying for other master's degrees and hope to be able to go somewhere next semester. Another year at home will easily kill my soul.
Oh, and I'm gonna spend a week in Utrecht this summer for a course at the Utrecht Summer School and can't wait for it. (I'm also studying a little of Dutch)

A part for all these university stuff, I'm thinking about a lot of things, about me mostly. There so much that I still feel the need to know about the person that is writing this post. Probably I will share some thought with you.

Ok, this is was just a little catch up. Now I'll go reading all the blogs that I neglected these past weeks.
Bye. It feels good to be back.

Feb 1, 2015

read and watched #2

I have a lot to study these days, and this means that I've less time for books&co. But quantity is certainly not quality and I've read&watched some pretty interesting stuff anyway.


The corrections by Jonathan Franzen is the story of Alfred, a retired man who suffers from Parkinson, and his wife Enid, obsessed with the idea of reunite their sons and daughter for Christmas in their family house: Gary, a banker with three kids, a childish wife and depression; Chip, former professor fired because of an inappropriate relationship with a student; and Denise, a famous chef with a romantic life that doesn't fit in the American midwestern education her parents gave her. Most of all, this novel talks about the idea that we can always understand what it is not working as it should, what it is wrong, in ourselves and in the others, in order to be able to fix it, to correct it, and then live a life where everything is perfectly fine. However, it becomes soon clear that this way of acting just brings to other errors and mistakes, in an never-ending circle where we makes things wronger trying to make them better.
I've mix-feelings about The corrections. The idea is really interesting and the writing style is original, but arriving at the end of this quite long book it gets a little tiring. The story is also divided between the present and long parts in which we learn about the pass and the inner lives of the characters, and to me these "flashbacks" worked way better than the present narration.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JKR, read by Stephen Fry. I'm keeping with the re-reads of Harry Potter through the voice of Stephen Fry. As good as The Philosopher Stone. (I have to admit that sometimes my mind wonders a bit, listening to the audiobook, but knowing the series so well it is not really a problem. Do you ever listen to audiobooks?)

The Vile Village, 7th book of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I guess that almost everyone knows this series. In case you don't, A Series of Unfortunate Events is the story of three orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, who, after loosing their parents in a fire that burnt down their home too, are initially given to the care of the terrible Count Olaf who will spend the next 12 books (at least I think, I'm only at the 7th) trying to stolen the three kids' fortune.
This is half through the series, so I'm not gonna tell much, but I liked The Vile Village a lot and it seems that from this point the story will have a different path from all the previous ones and I'm really exiting to see what's next.



Selma (2014) - directed by Ava DuVernay.
Selma is a historical film about the Selma to Montgomery marches that in 1965 set the start of the civil rights revolution in the United States. This movie is very well done, I believe that Ava DuVernay deserved an Oscar nomination as best director for it, but honestly that's one of those times where the story itself is so important that the execution will always remain just in the background. I liked that MLK jr. was portrayed as an actual human being and not as a saint above everyone else and considering everything is happening in the States right now the film becomes even more important. If I have to say one thing that I don't particularly like, is that I would have liked to see something more, a biggest arc of events maybe.

The imitation game (2014) - directed by Morten Tyldum, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.
This is the movie adaptation of the biography of Alan Turing, the English mathematician who during the IIWW worked to crack the German enigma code and who was later persecuted because of his sexuality.
I went to the cinema to see The imitation game with a friend who is also a fellow history affectionate and we were both shocked by the fact that we had never heard of Alan Turing's story before. This is definitely something that has to be put in all history books, everyone should know what he did during the war and what happened to him after it. Please, if you haven't already, watch this film.

American Sniper (2014) - directed by Clint Eastwood, with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.
Can I truly say that I watched American Sniper? Maybe not, since I watched only less than half of it, but that's all I could tollerate. First of all, even if I could pretend that what the movie is about never happened and that is all a fantasy, I probably didn't like it anyway. The script just doesn't work, everything is predictable and no lines sound natural and real and please if you really have to write this story at least do it decently! Anyway, I could no ignore that this film is about a part of our contemporary history, or at least a point of view of our contemporary history, and that is has and is going to have an effect on so many people. American Sniper is based on the real Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's missions in Iraq. Now, my problem with the movie is that I can't see anything but American imperialist propaganda. It would have been fine if it was able to show the problematic behind the figure of the "american hero", but it doesn't do that.
Have you seen it? Did you like it?

Match (2014) - directed and written by Stephen Belber, with sir Patrick Stewart.
A Juilliard professor is interviewed by a woman and his husband. She asked to talk with him for her dissertation about the history of dance, but maybe things are not what they seem...
Match is a little, very well done film, one of those that takes places almost entirely in one location and where the characters just talk, talk a lot. I like the kind. If you too, give it a try.

But I'm a cheerleader! (1992) - directed by Jamie Babbit, with Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall.
I don't even know how I stepped into this movie last night, but I did and I'm happy for it. But I'm a cheerleader! tells the story of Megan, who seems to be a typical american teenager: good student, cheerleader, a boyfriend. Until her parents and friends organized an intervention to make her realize that she is a lesbian and then send her to a correctional camp in order to become straight. Satirical and hilarious, this is definitely a LGBTQ+ film to watch.


In the flesh (2013-?) - I'm not particularly fond of zombies' stories, and at first this series looks like a zombies' story. But after watching this video of Claudia Boleyn I decided to give it a try. And OMG, it is very good. It's everything Claudia said and I'm so sad that there are not more episodes. BBC3 cancelled the show, but fan started several petitions to convince the channel to give the show a third season or to convince Amazon or Netflix to pick it up. If you are interested in the petitions, here the links: one two three 
The show tells the life after The Rising, when all the people who died in 2009 came back as zombies, and the Pale Wars that followed between the new re-animated corps and the livings. A medication has been invented to bring consciousness to the zombies (or Partially Deceased Sindrome sufferers, as the government calls them) so that they can be reintegrated in the society. But trying to be a member of the society is not that easy, especially when you already died once, and we see that in particular through the eyes of Kieren Walker, 18 yo when he killed himself, and his family.

Cucumber Banana Tofu (2015) - Is a brand new British tv show, or better, they are three shows connected with one another.
In Cucumber we meet Henry, a middle-age man who works for an insurance company, and his long time boyfriend Lance. Their lives are gonna be change by a disastrous Date Night...
Banana is considered "the LGBTQ+ Skins". Do you really need to know more?
And finally there is Tofu, which is a ten minutes documentary about sex, which is big character in both Cucumber and Banana.
We are at the very start of these three shows, two episodes each, so obviously I don't know how they're gonna be, but for the moment I really liked them (even if I'm not so sure about Tofu). Banana in particular, since is about young adult people. The representation is better than 99% of the rest of tv and the writing is brilliant.

Parks&Rec (2009-2015) - The last season of Parks&Rec. is here, is amazing, I am sad that there would be no more of it and that at some point I will have to say goodbye to Leslie Knope and the others, but this show always makes my day.

Shameless (2011- ) Also Shameless came back this month. I'm liking it, but I hope to see more of Ian, the third sibling of the Gallagher family, he's my favorite.

And finally, Orange is the new black (2013 - ) I already talked about OSTNB a long time ago, after the first season (here the post), I kept telling people to watch it and still do. So do it, ok? Go watch Orange is the new black!!

It's all for this read&watched. What have you read or watch recently?