And she’s back!
I feel terrible for abandoning the blog without any formal hiatus announcement, but those who follow me regularly or who saw my last Journal post know the reason behind my disappearance. The weight of academic responsibilities came crashing on me, and I just couldn’t afford thinking about the blog as well.
Now that my degree course is done and dusted, I am working on getting my blogging mojo back. I’m starting with this Journal post where I’ll try to recap the good, the bad and the memorable of the last six months.
- Finishing my B.A. Honours degree after three years of hard work! 💪
- And since it took me a good while to start this post, I can already say it… results are in, I’m GRADUATING in November!! 🎓🎉
- Making it to the Dean’s List as one of six Faculty students who got top grades in the first two years of studies 🔝
- Mathias lifting my spirits up with an order of Swedish food, yum! 🇸🇪
- Cookies and chocolate! (they helped me cope with the stress) 🍫
- Last but not least, the arrival of our two furry babies, Dash and Rowley (more below) 🐶🐶
- My lousy time management when it comes to studying and writing the dissertation ⏰
- All the stress and edginess! 😱
- Health issues (my usual ones and others hitting family members) 😷
World, we present you Dash and Rowley
- These last six months weren’t all about nail-biting stress. Remember the ‘surprise’ I mentioned in my last post? It arrived at our home between January and February in the form of two male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies:
- Dash: born on 22nd November 2017, arrived home on 19th January 2018
- Rowley: born on 20th December 2017, arrived home on 17th February 2018
- As you can imagine, they totally changed our lives. Despite all the ‘troubles’ with taking care of them (like, waking up super early or chasing them around), they make us happier, more positive and more active. Nothing beats waking up to their kisses or going to bed with them curled up to us. And it’s incredible to see them grow up so fast (and a bit sad too… we miss those little puppy days).
- So, why did we get Cavaliers and why two boys? Why did we give them those names? What kind of character do they have? Stay tuned because some of my future posts will be dedicated to them and to dogs in general.
- In the meantime, you can follow them on Instagram on @dashandrowley.
Road to graduation
- The last semester: Saying it was tough is an understatement. I practically had no breaks between studying for exams, writing the dissertation and attending the last lectures. My dissertation’s writing process went downhill fast, ending up writing and editing until the last minute. All in all, it was a good project anyway, and the feedback I received proved it.
- Grades: They were great, and I actually improved the average once again! After three years of hard work, I’m proud to say that I’m graduating in November, earning a first class Honours degree in Italian. Ten years late, but it’s my most significant achievement ever.
- Ok, I’m graduating. Now what?: It’s time for a Master’s degree! I have already applied for my preferred course. However, there’s a chance that this course won’t even open if they don’t receive enough applications. So I risk having to wait a little longer to start my postgraduate phase, but more on that later.
Where I’ve been
- Anglo-Italian Conference: It was my second time attending this conference in Valletta, where I saw some speakers from the previous event and some new ones. Events like this inspire me to continue on my academic journey.
- Italian films: In May I went to see Il padre d’Italia (There is a Light) and Sicilian Ghost Story, two great movies! Both screenings were followed by an insightful talk from the respective directors.
- Picasso and Miró exhibition: While I was in the capital for the Anglo-Italian conference, I visited the Grandmaster’s Palace where they were exhibiting some originals by Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. It’s not the kind of art I usually like, but I couldn’t miss it. It was also another opportunity to wander around some rooms of the Palace, which always leave me in awe.
What I’ve been watching
- Movies: I watched around 70 films since the start of the year (you can see the list here on Letterboxd). Some titles worth mentioning:
- Harry Potter: At last, at the venerable age of 30, I watched all Harry Potter movies (I had only seen the first one when it came out, just because our school took us to the cinema). I don’t regret it; the series improves as it progresses (my favourites were the last two films because they’re the darkest). It hasn’t converted me into a fan, though, because fantasy (at least this kind) is still not my cup of tea.
- Bond: James Bond was another first for me. I watched all of the latest Bond films with Daniel Craig, except Quantum of Solace. I liked them, although I think the formula becomes tiring pretty quickly. I also watched a Pierce Brosnan one (GoldenEye), as well as George Lazenby’s only movie (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and the Bond girl in this one (Diana Rigg) is definitely my favourite! If I don’t watch all of the rest, I still plan to watch at least one from each Bond actor.
- Thought-provoking films: I watched a couple sci-fi movies that I really loved for their psychological themes: Moon and Ex Machina. I watched Interstellar too, which I also liked but to a lesser extent. Not sci-fi, but still psychological, I loved The Double, directed by Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd (read my review). It’s based on a Dostoyevsky novella, but the setting is more futuristic and dystopian.
- Recent releases: There were some 2017 and 2018 films that I was eager to watch and they didn’t disappoint, such as The Disaster Artist (LOVED it! too bad that it was ignored at the Oscars because of the scandal surrounding James Franco), Loving Vincent (wow, just wow), Call Me by Your Name, Coco, and Ferdinand. I even liked Star Wars: The Last Jedi; ok, in some aspects, it was a little disappointing, but I don’t understand all the fuss from the fanatics. Last but not least, Ready Player One: I liked it, but for Matt, who’s a fan of the novel, it was a big disappointment.
- Swedish: Thanks to Matt, I also watched a couple of recent Swedish films: Superswede, a documentary on 1970s Formula One driver Ronnie Peterson, and Ted – Show Me Love, a biographical film about the singer Ted Gärdestad.
- TV: Aside from keeping up to date with my favourite current shows such as MTV’s Catfish, Impractical Jokers and anything Gordon Ramsay, we re-watched some ‘old’ comedies like Malcolm in the Middle (we’re stuck on Season 5 because Matt – first time watching it – is not finding it funny anymore, sigh).
- Swedish series: We recently started watching several Swedish series. So far we finished Our Time is Now, Thicker than Water, and Fallet, and we’re currently watching Season 2 of Bonus Family that just came out on Netflix.
What I’ve been reading
- 14 books: Most of what I read was related to my dissertation, so there’s not much to say about them, although my research led me to read Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio for the first time and it was a revelation. I also read The Late Mattia Pascal by Luigi Pirandello and If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvino for an exam, and I liked them both. 20th-century literature is really my thing, haha.
- TBR: With all the books I’ve been collecting since last year and all those prospective reads to prepare myself for postgraduate life, my TBR list is neverending! And of course, I went and made it worse with a recent book haul at a sale in my town a few days ago.
- On the road to revival: I missed blogging during these months, even though I was entirely absent from the scene (the only thing I did was checking the stats and comments from time to time, without replying). I was so stressed and so distant from all things blogging that I almost contemplated the idea of quitting for good. However, seeing the views, comments and likes encouraged me not to give up.
- Slow comeback + planned makeover: I know that I still won’t post regularly, but at least re-reading all the ideas I have jotted down in my notebook motivates me to go on. The main reason why I still won’t be that regular (besides the obvious one: future studying) is that I’m planning a big makeover (theme, graphics, mass-editing of all posts). This process will take a long while. Hopefully, when all is done, I can focus on content-planning; my target is to start 2019 with a bigger focus on literature, films, and education!