Hello, anybody still here? 😅
I’m sorry for the long silence (and I guess I’m talking to those few followers who are interested in my Journal posts). I was preoccupied with a million things these months and blogging not only ended up on the back burner, it completely disappeared from my radar! Shame.
Now, my temporary freedom from studies and my desire to chronicle my life have brought me back. Enjoy this monster of a post (and write me a comment to let me know you’re still interested in reading me…).
- My graduation! It happened, I survived. 🎓👩🎓
- Celebrating our first Christmas with Dash and Rowley, as well as their first birthdays 🎉
- Deciding on my Master’s dissertation proposal and submitting my application 📄
- Giving a presentation/lesson to a small class related to my B.A. dissertation – sort of an initiation for me 👩🏫
- Having a new, cosy sofa and sitting all huddled together with the dogs on cold wintry nights 💜
- Rediscovering the TV addict in me, watching lots of live shows, series, and sports (tennis and Formula E) 📺
- Reading books that are unrelated to my studies… I love that sense of freedom (though I know very well that it’ll be short-lived) 📚
- Finding a small hedgehog on the doorstep of our block and taking him to safety 🦔
- Starting a new habit with Matt: having fika together every afternoon (for the meaning of fika, check the Sweden section on this Wiki page) ☕️
- Waiting for the letter of acceptance (or rejection?!) from university… it’s killing me 😱
- Stress and its effects on my body 😰
- Falling asleep on the sofa way too early like any old person 😴
Doggie Diaries 🐶
- The main event of these months with Dash and Rowley was celebrating their birthdays! We bought them party hats and bow ties and ordered ‘pupcakes’ from a local ‘petisserie.’ On Dash’s birthday (November 22nd), we went to the park where we had a small picnic and enjoyed a walk in the sun. Dash is so good that we let him walk off-leash for a while; alas, Rowley escaped the second we took the leash off (good thing he found no escape route). On Rowley’s day (December 20th), we went for a walk to the beach. We also celebrated Dash’s gotcha day on January 19th. Can’t believe he’s been with us for a whole year already!
- We also loved our first Christmas with them. We prepared some meaty treats for them to eat while we had our usual Christmas buffet and we gave them a chewing toy and bones as gifts.
- Winter walks have been a blessing and a curse at the same time. With the chilly weather, our morning walks have become routine and, every now and then, we take them for a long walk by the sea, to the beach or in the park. The downside is, of course, the rain. We still take them out; however, their long fur absorbs muddy water from the puddles on the streets! At first, we had to go through the nuisance of washing their legs and tummies after almost every walk, until we found the perfect handmade raincoats on eBay. They made our lives much easier!
- They rarely have accidents inside the apartment anymore; Dash is virtually housebroken (until October, he was peeing on the curtains!), but Rowley still needs to do his business once more before going to bed at night. We tried to go out for a third walk, but it’s too tough to do it on cold wintry nights. Until a few weeks ago, they were waking us up at 3-5 AM to do their business or to demand an early breakfast. An awful routine that destroyed our sleep, but which it seems to be over now. We are making sure not to give in immediately when they scratch at the bedroom door, and we resist feeding them before 7 AM.
- Their character and habits keep evolving! Dash has definitely become more playful and cuddly. When we go to bed, it melts my heart to have him nudge me so that he can settle in my arms. He’s also becoming less shy outside as he is starting to bark at other dogs. Rowley is his usual energetic self (and here I was hoping that growing up and feeding him adult dog kibble would help in calming him down!). However, he’s always eager to please (and hungry for treats), so he has mastered some easy tricks such as sit, lay down, spin, paw, and jump. Dash is too lazy: he only knows how to sit, lay down and spin (it took longer to teach him that)… instead of pawing my hand for a treat, I tried to make him do a nose nudge. Always in his slow manner, but he managed, haha.
- Keep checking their updates on Instagram, @dashandrowley!
Where I’ve been
- Settimana della lingua italiana nel mondo: I kept my appointment with the annual celebration of the Italian language in the world organised by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura. Unfortunately, I could only attend the opening conference (about teaching Italian in the age of Internet). Damn timetable clashes.
- Conference on the Great War: Early in November, I attended a symposium that commemorated the centenary of the Armistice. The subjects of the talks included literature, films, art, medicine, and sciences.
- Malta Book Festival: After years of plans and last-minute cancellations, I finally made it to the national book festival for one particular event, a translation seminar with renowned British author and translator Tim Parks. And while there, I couldn’t leave without spending money on books that I don’t know when to read, haha.
What I’ve been watching
- Movies: In October we were continuing our 80’s marathon and integrating 90’s and more recent films, but by November we grew tired of films and spent more time watching TV and Netflix. You can see all the titles on my Letterboxd diary page.
- 80’s: The best ones were Blade Runner, Mask, and Tootsie. We also rewatched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, one of my all-time favourites. However, the film that takes the cake is Heathers: absolutely brilliant and Winona Ryder/Christian Slater are hot! I’ll definitely rewatch it at some point.
- More classics: I watched some must-see films for the first time, such as Interview with the Vampire, Misery, Goodfellas (a pleasant surprise as I usually don’t like gangster movies), The Usual Suspects (it was ok but disappointing in its predictability), and The Exorcist (not scary by today’s standards, phew).
- Recent films: I enjoyed The Greatest Showman, one of the best films I’ve seen in this period. I loved all the songs, yet I felt that without the music, the film’s story was just ok. I also watched Creed (but not the sequel yet), and I thought it was a great continuation to the Rocky series. Then we watched The Age of Adaline, mostly because we knew there was a Cavalier King Charles in it (the movie’s premise was interesting but ultimately fell flat). And the new Jumanji was another disappointment (never watched the first one from start to finish, so I can’t compare).
- They Shall Not Grow Old: This deserves a bullet point of its own! It’s Peter Jackson’s docu-film with remastered original footage and audio from World War I. It aired on BBC Two on the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice. Thanks to the mastery of Jackson and his team, these soldiers came back to life, so vibrant, so… alive. I was in tears by the end.
- Netflix: The first film we watched since our newfound love for Netflix was Gerald’s Game, a Stephen King adaptation. We also followed the hype and watched Bird Box with Sandra Bullock. Both of them have the kind of creepiness that I love, but they irked me at some points. Last but not least… Black Mirror: Bandersnatch! I’ve been waiting for this ever since the first news of an interactive episode came out. It didn’t disappoint: choosing how to continue the story was fun, and we spent a whole day on it. The downside is that too many plotlines ended way too quickly and sometimes we felt forced to choose specific options over others. After a while, it became boring having to restart all over again and having to rewatch certain parts (we stopped with two options left unexplored). Choosing the paths and reasoning them out probably also took my focus off the actual story and characters. Nonetheless, I think it was a cool experiment and I demand more!
- TV: Watching TV/Netflix has been so much easier, especially for me because these days I’m often too tired for a whole movie. I’m also rediscovering the excitement of finding out new shows and waiting for new seasons.
- The Haunting of Hill House: I saw its trailer on TV by chance, and I thought I might brace myself for it, hoping it wasn’t too ‘horror.’ I was lucky because it was just the right kind of horror, more creepy and less gory, with a few jump-scares that I could survive, haha. But above all, it was very emotional, especially episodes 5 and 6 were heart-breaking. Highly recommended! Someday I want to try the Shirley Jackson book it’s based on.
- Animation: Netflix released the third season of F is for Family late in November, and I’m happy to say that this show keeps getting better and better. We tried Rick and Morty and I didn’t think I would like it so much. For some reason, I always thought it was aimed for a younger audience, but it’s not. We also tried BoJack Horseman and after a long while it grew on me. On the other hand, I loved Big Mouth straight away, every episode had me close to tears with laughter. We also watched Paradise P.D. (which I didn’t like that much) and an episode of Archer (but we’re saving that for later).
- Documentaries: It was a docu-series that got me hooked on Netflix. Dark Net is two seasons long and explores the impact of technology and the dark web on people. It’s pretty jarring. We also watched Dogs, another emotional docu-series about our furry friends. And then lots of true crime documentaries: Making a Murderer, Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist, The Innocent Man, The Keepers, The Confession Tapes, and the most recent Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Gosh, I had forgotten how much I loved true crime!
- Comedy: One night, on Comedy Central, we discovered Nathan For You, a part docu-reality, part cringe comedy show created by Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder. It’s hilarious! Too bad that it just came to an end. We also watched Jon Benjamin Has A Van, a similar kind of show where Fielder had a small part (Jon Benjamin is perhaps more known as one of the main voices on Archer and Bob’s Burgers), but it wasn’t as good.
What I’ve been reading
- From October to December, I had to read specific texts that helped me in deciding on a subject for my Master’s project and in writing a proposal. In between, I managed to fit:
- Tim Parks: When I decided to go to his seminar at the book festival, I thought I’d read at least one of his books. I chose Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo, which has nothing to do with translation, but is about Parks’ experience as an expat and train commuter in Italy. Although his outlook can be considered negative, it still made me dream of travelling around Italy by train.
- The Castle of Otranto: I chose this Gothic novel by Horace Walpole as my sole Halloween read this year. It was an easy read, even if by no means scary.
- After submitting my proposal early in January, I officially started my break from studies, and I could finally pick one of the several books that have been waiting for me on my shelves for months.
- Fredrik Backman: I had to start with my favourite author. At last, I read his famous Beartown, which represents his turn to more serious/thriller fiction. I absolutely loved it! He knows how to do drama as much as comedy. I’m still reading the sequel, Us Against You.
- Marie Kondo: All my feeds were buzzing about this Japanese organising guru because of the new Netflix show inspired by her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Since this book was already on my Goodreads to-read list, I thought I’d check it out before giving the show a try. I’m not big on self-help books and such, but organising and decluttering are issues that I’ve been meaning to tackle. I didn’t think that the KonMari method is rocket science, but I find it hard to imagine myself talking to objects and considering them in terms of whether they spark joy or not. It has a lot to do with Oriental spirituality, so I find it unrelatable. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t mind trying out some of her tips.
- Things with my blog have gone worse and worse. It’s not just about lack of time or ideas anymore; I honestly didn’t feel the need to communicate. And I didn’t even open my blogging notes on Evernote, that’s how detached I’ve been feeling.
- Now that I can breathe more freely (for now), I’m slowly (really slowly!) feeling feel the need to get back to blogging. I even went back to my Evernote and wrote a few new ideas!
- I’m giving myself a definite ultimatum: if by the end of March (when my domain expires), I don’t revive the blog or, at least, start a regenerative process, then I’m either, a) downgrading it to a WordPress domain and keep it as a personal journal or, b) close it down completely. Tough.