In order to write my last post better, I looked at the journal I kept this year. I am not talking about the journal where I depicted myself as a Government spy obsessed by cooking and shower times (that notebook is now safe in my room’s bottom drawer, ready to be found by next year’s students), but about my actual diary.
I had decided to keep it on the fourth of August, but actually began writing more than “Beginning of this diary” only on the 21st, same month (and it was a Tuesday). I was on holiday with my uncles and aunt, in a lovely seaside town close to Venice, and I was reading ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ (which I loved to bits, and about which I wrote: “I find the kind of education the young ladies Austen wrote about fascinating. I wonder what it would be like to study the art of conversation and ceremonials nowadays”) and ‘De Profundis‘ (that I simply defined “fascinating”, at loss of words and descriptions; I definitely suck at literary criticism). And then I wrote about talking with my mum and sister about the ‘Brits way of life’ [not my words; someone at Uni, during the International Students Induction week, spoke in those terms]: “also, I am not sure whether or not to believe about parties every night, I mean, you need a night off every now and then don’t you. And I also hope that there are a few people who are not alcoholics”. HAHA you were wrong, miss Myself-from-the-past.
Anyway, on Wednesday the 19th of September I wrote about my first night in Canterbury by myself, reflecting upon the strange feeling of being in a 10 persons flat by myself with a few apples and tea bags, immediately followed by insults directed to myself for having locked myself out of my room and having had to go to the major building’s reception to ask for security to come and let me in. In my pijamas. At half ten pm. Stuttering and not completely sure about the Security guard’s name. That’s what you call a good start, I believe..?
My next entry in the journal is about the following day and it was written before attending a dinner, offered by the University, where all the International Students could team up, meet and generally spend time together after a full day of workshops and induction talks about “the Brits and their little funny things” [quoting the same person as earlier]. This entry begins with: “Fuck. Everyone speaks just so well, apart from one Spanish girl who has never studied English. I am feeling such a cretin right now.” then a few words about the beauty of the city and the niceness of a few people I’d met, and “looking forward to tonight, hopefully I’ll get to know a few people better… even if I do not really remember anyone’s name and no one will be wearing a label, fuck.” …well this one does not really need commentary, does it? The funny thing is that this post ends with “I usually write the most when I am upset… and I have been writing way too much for just a few days. I hope I will not have filled this notebook before Christmas, otherwise that’d indicate that this place stinks and sucks, and I definitely hope it won’t be so shit, fuck sake”. Bonjour finesse…! *
After that, I moved to Broadstairs, went exloring with A. and met a few lovely people. So it was only on the 23rd that I adjourned my diary: “The flatmates are moving in! Wish me luck!”, followed by the first impressions on them, written that same night. I was absolutely right about everything but one thing: “Also, it seems like language-related things are alright. They seem to understand me and I can kind of understand them, unless we’re having a group conversation, because that is WAY too fast and I cannot follow more than one person apparently, which is unbelievably annoying”… how wrong. Apparently one of my flatmates did not understand a single thing of what I told her en passant as soon as I saw her; and about my mistakes relating to my own understanding, well, there’s a lot about that later on in my journal.
For instance, as late as on the 11th October I wrote: “…and that makes me feel stupidly miserable, I mean, I basically don’t speak because I am LATE. Still having troubles with conversations involving more than two people, which means every single conversation, with talking/understanding when there is background noise e.g. music, which means always, as we’re always playing music. The positive aspect is that I would theoretically be okay with one-to-one conversation, if we are far enough from the source of outer noise, apart from the fact that I am so nervous worrying about not understanding that I miss out on words and ask ‘pardon’ half a second before grasping the meaning of whatever that poor and lovely soul was trying to communicate. Fucking annoying, I would annoy myself to death if I were talking to myself -luckily enough for me, this problem does not exist since I rarely speak at all. Why do you have to be so fucking slow anyway. Reminder for the next life, add 6 more hours to your days and listen to more radio or do something more. On a very more positive note, the lectures are going alright – I am even enjoying accounting!”. And then talk about why my language tutor (K., who has literally stopped me from booking the next available flight to Milan and sending out a request to the Department of Economics of the UniMi) about youth’s weirdness, aka my flatmates’ pranks that I had taken seriously and had made her worried about my emotional state… this will forever make a good story! **
Anyway, after that very angry post and a two lines post, the day after, basically saying that I felt silly, combined with a few cheer-me-up kind of insults to myself, I decided that I had indulged in complaining a bit too much even for my own private journal, so I simply did not write in it until I had positive stuff to talk about – so we arrive at the next entry, 8th December: I talked about conversations about the Universe and reincarnation, a trip to the city library, and I randomly wrote “The Pokemon theme is different.” right after having written “and also I’d like to finally speak without the impression of having fucking rocks in my idiotic mouth”***: a decent psychological escamotage, I suppose! Except that the last sentence is
“Still feels a little bit like middle school, but – I hope it will snow soon”.
A bit less of a decent escamotage, this time…
The best post in the whole diary is a single line I wrote on the 17th February:
“I CAN THINK!”
I hadn’t gone crazy, just realised it was possible to think and speak my mind at the same time. It does seem stupid, but this realisation came to me so suddenly I felt the urge to acknowledge this marvellous progress in my language abilities -and it was about at the same time when I began googling English words to translate them into Italian. And when I began understanding one of my flatmates, too. * ashamed face *
Then a few posts on life and things that were happening… then, which made me laugh, a long post on the 21st May that basically says someone’s name, his/her actions, my reasons for being pissed off and a “fuck you” at various intensities, according to what they had/hadn’t done. I think that that was the moment when I was very kind to anyone… because I had already insulted them and I felt liberated. In these moments I remember why I have always kept a diary: it is hilarious to go back and re-read, and reading this year’s journal in order to write a post about it at 2 am is just the funniest thing ever.
Anyway, after that, we arrive at today’s post, made of various comments that I wrote during the five hours long coach journey to the airport and that includes things like my favourite places in the area, the places that I want to visit/know better next year, small memories that I am afraid of forgetting because they are silly little things, all kinds of shit people think of when travelling. I literally had to stop myself when I began writing nonsense such as “hour is said without the H. How does that make any sense”, because that is something that surprised me in September and shouldn’t really come to my mind again.
I am definitely keeping a journal again next year, hopefully writing a bit more often in it because it is funny to see how my mind works, in retrospective.
* As this blog has been partially requested by a non-Italian speaker friend, I have decided to write it in English; to comply, I am translating my diary entries, that are in Italian until the 26th April, into English. And you should be thankful for that, because my swearwords in Italian sound way worse than they do in English. I should work on that whole “being a lady” thing.
** A good story that I will not tell here, though. As I have always done, I try not to mention people’s names nor make them recognisable to those who know them, and giving away those stories would definitely have this effect.
*** Yeah, I am always so polite, I know.