Thursday, June 29, 2017

the crowned jewels


On Wednesday I cauterized the last major arterial supply to Italy, loading the few possessions I have into another dodgy white van screaming toward london (too soon?). I think any painful conscious uncoupling as Ms Paltrow would have put it (same woman who admits to taking her eggs not scrambled nor poached but up her cooter) had already been done because it was business as usual rather than wistful emotion for me. 36 hours were just enough to load up the goods, take a quick spin around the city on a two wheeler, have my favorite salty pistachio gelato, and indulge in the delight of the bidet. I'm really going to miss the bidet, and should I ever manage to get on the property ladder in london it's going to become the focal point of my studio apartment. 



On Saturday I will move into my very own living space in London. Since April I have been shacking up with dad which started out kind of awkward but has evolved into something pretty symbiotic. He delivers tea to me on my air mattress every morning, gives me random pocket money to get a mani pedi or bar of chocolate, listens and even cheerleads while I bitch about bureaucracy, cooks me curries, and generally contributes to an endless supply of banter and malarkey. He is not only effectively setting a high bar for any prospective boyfriend, but beginning to make me consider whether I would actually even ever need or want one. We do get into fights sometimes though, the most recent of which because he insisted that chicken katsu was the same phonetically or otherwise as chicken cazzo. If you're italian or Japenese or even if you're not you know that chicken cazzo is NOT the same as chicken katsu. Just google it. But he is too stubborn to admit defeat by his progeny. It's counter evolutionary or something. 

Dad and I have also had a musical meeting of the minds. He is righteously into all things jazz, me not so much. I find that particular genre of music kind of chaotic and lacking a coherent rhythm to which I can swivel my hips or nod my head. Still, I have joined him on an occasional Saturday night at the local jazz club, and he just a few days ago surprised me by blasting Future's Mask Off (Molly Percocet) across all the Sonos in the house before 9am, exclaiming that "there was a decided jazz melody reminiscent of John Coltrane with that little flute diddy in the background. Just listen!"  *turns up the volume*. 

See? same same. 

I have found that I'm integrating nicely into my new culture. My google search history includes queries such as "how do you pronounce scone" and my autocorrect has already started changing "program" to "programme" and "while" to "whilst". "Bloody" has become an essential part of my lexicon, "shag" not so much. I even made a friend, although I think my dad may have paid her off. She is the local barista from Poland. A mega babe, my age, fun, and makes a bitchin' cortado. I have also gotten my national insurance number (equivalent to social security or codice fiscale), a bank account, a contracted cell phone, found a flat and moved my crap, gotten a start date on my new job, applied for Irish citizenship, registered with the national health service, voted (liberal democrat) at the national election, and read more pleasure books than I probably have in the last 10 years. 

After a painful 3 month process I was also finally granted full registration and license to practice in the UK! The governing body made me jump through all kinds of hoops up to and including taking the IELTS exam to affirm that I have appropriate command over the english language. The fact that all my written and verbal communication with them had been in English was not sufficient, and I had to shell out 200 bones and tremble in anxiety about whether this would have been THE thing to take me down the deepest sewer of self loathing. It is intense, lasts several hours, and tests not only your reading, writing, listening, and speaking capabilities, but also your time management, ability to work efficiently under pressure, and in the environment of a fucking antarctic ice box. The aircon was turned up so high that my fingers turned blue and became arthritic, nearly precluding me from writing my essay on the current political conundrum regarding climate change (particularly ironic given the circumstance). I failed in my attempts to stay warm by fidgeting in my seat and picking the black lint off my white pants in between exam sections. And then once it was all done, I had to wait with bated breath for two weeks, considering the possibility that my listening skills (admittedly poor when it comes to banal everyday convos) might have been THE thing to interrupt my progression toward functioning adult member of society. The eventual humiliation of not passing an english language test was too much to bear and in those weeks I repeatedly picked off all my nail polish, split ends, and loose fibers on all my clothes. But rejoice was had when in the end the results came out and I had effected a perfect score, the certificate of which will join the pile of papers awaiting to be framed.

As for the concerns regarding safety, thank you to everyone who has called or texted to check up on me during recent extremist acts of violence. It's true the city hasn't gotten much gleaming publicity lately, but I will say that Londoners appear decidedly more concerned about Brexit than they do terrorism. Keep calm and carry on, as they say. And they really do. 

My dad used to tell me that he's not in favo(u)r of returning to the same places twice because they're never the same as you remember it. That always stuck with me. But on the morning of my final hours in Milan, I went back to the same coffee shop where I had had my first ever cappuccino on Christmas Eve 2010. At the time, my eyes were bright and it was the sweetest, most perfectly blended velvety drink of my life. The brioche was warm and crispy. The space was filled with fresh flowers and promise. This Wednesday morning though, the drink was watery, the brioche cold and soggy, and the plants lacking their usual vibrance. I couldn't help but be reminded of something someone once said to me- I'm not looking for something better, just something different. And in that moment I finally felt exactly the same. So off I went Wednesday evening to my new home, not gentle into that good night, but on a new kind of mission. One that trades coffee for tea, brioche for porridge, and hails a crowned matriarch. 

bye bitch!


No comments: