A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Men are like Paint November 28, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 1:52 pm
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Right now, my love life is all over the place. I feel like my heart is a paint pallet and all of the boys in my past, present and future are the different colors of paint. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, black, grey and all the shades in between. They are all so different. My mind is trying to paint my bedroom. It grabs a paint brush and puts one stroke of color on the wall, let’s it dry, looks at it and waits. After a while, the paintbrush gets emerged in water, everything that was once connected to the paintbrush is washed away. Used and disposed of, because my mind wants to try out a new color. So the paintbrush, once dipped in red, is now washed, dried and dipped into orange. A stroke of paint is streaked across the wall, but only a small line. Then, back into the water the paint brush goes and the same actions repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I have all of these beautiful colors, and they are all alluring it their own way, but it is me that is indecisive as to which color to paint my walls. Do I paint a tranquil colored room filled with soft hues where I can relax, a vibrant colored room that inspires me; colors that standout and are noticed, or colors that compliment the art hanging on the wall and serve merely as the backdrop?

A partner is like paint; and, paint is one of the most important parts of a room, it is the backdrop by which everything else evolves around and connects to. However I paint my room will decide for me as to what type of decor I fill the room with: elegant, country-feel, artsy, trendy or simplistic.  What kind of room do I feel most comfortable in, what kind of lifestyle do I want to lead? Each color is so different, all with their own unique characteristics and all provoke completely different emotions: relaxing, inspiring, serious, playful, lively, boring, cutting-edge, old-fashioned.  My surroundings are important to me because they change how I act. For instance, if I am in a super elegant room I wouldn’t dare jump on the couch, yet, if I was in a cozy room–game on! Some people are fortunate to be themselves in all kinds of rooms, but for me the room directly affects my behavior and actions.  Whether this is a trait or a flaw I am still unsure of. Is it good to be so adaptable to your surroundings or is it a vice?

There have been a few times I have committed more to a color by painting an entire wall. Only one though. And, it filled the room for a while and made it feel cosey, made me feel more at home.  But, I never let it go further than that…and the wall soon came to be painted over in white, small streaks of colors splashed across it’s surface like many times before as I continue to search for the color with which I feel most connected to instead of picking one and enjoying it.

So, my room remains unfinished, and in truth quite ugly. It’s not inviting nor is it relaxing or soothing because….it is not complete. I want to complete this room. I am ready to furnish it, to commit to a style and to call it my own. But, the question always comes back to me…what color do I choose when my mind changes so often? And, if I paint the whole room one color I want to be sure. I don’t want to someday repaint it again. I don’t want to do it all over. I would rather touch up the paint, or recoat it with another color. I want the color to last. I want my partner and my relationship to last.

Sometimes I just wish that a stranger would walk into my room with a bucket of paint and throw it on my walls. I would laugh at the madness. I would laugh at the realization of how easy the whole process can be: choose a color and throw the paint. Because, in the end a room that is painted and decorated feels like home. Maybe it’s not perfect, but it is cosy and warm.  A room left unpainted, undecorated feels merely like a room in transit. It doesn’t feel owned, it only feels rented and above all, it feelsincomplete.

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Belief September 19, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration and Motivation — italicana kitchen @ 3:49 pm
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Do you ever feel like you are treading water through life? You are working as hard as you can just to stay afloat but in return you are just exhausting yourself? Instead of swimming for the exercise or towards a destination you go nowhere. Or, instead of lying on the surface of the water and letting yourself relax and float, you stay rigid, body half immersed in the water, head cocked up looking in each direction while just kicking your feet. Life becomes neither an adventure or a comfort, instead it becomes a constant struggle just to live and at some point it seems almost easier to just let go and let yourself sink.

After a few months of treading water where I was exhausting myself but going nowhere, I let myself sink. I stopped writing. I stopped studying. I stopped dreaming. I stopped pursuing. And, instead, I started analyzing. I started critiquing. I started doubting. I started diminishing my goals and choices. And instead of filling my mind with productive thoughts, using my mind for creative outlets…I questioned myself: what is the point? What is the point of writing a book? What is the point of learning a language? What is the point of constantly challenging myself when I could just relax and lead a life of indifference?

But, a life of indifference is a life without belief. And, a life without belief is a hollow existence. Belief gives meaning to the day’s otherwise trivial events–because when it comes down to it, life is just life. But, when you believe in life, when you believe that the things you are doing are important than life itself becomes a life of purpose, not just a life spent treading water.

If you believe in the choices you make, you will find satisfaction with your results.  And, if you aren’t sure about the choices you are making then change perspectives or alter your beliefs–just don’t lose your ability to believe in something because that takes away the happiness of living.  For example, look at children when they play, they seem to always be happy and it’s not  because of the toy they are holding in their hands that makes them laugh and smile, but rather the belief they have in that toy to be something they created with their imagination. The toy car becomes the get-away car for their JI Joe or the toy doll becomes a magical fairy that flies through the clouds.  The object it not significant, rather the belief in what that object can do makes it significant.  

Children make the world how they want it to find happiness. So can you. Get interested in something, and believe in what you are doing. Instead of spending your time living, why not spend your time creating?

 

A Blank Canvas September 15, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 8:20 pm
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When I arrived in Italy, I came loaded with a mind of ideas and goals of all the things I wanted to do while I am here. The problem, however, is that perfection began to prevail over action, and I’ve found myself the past few months spinning circles instead of moving forward with my goals.

It’s like I have been given this huge white empty canvas, clean new brushes and every imaginable color of paint. But, instead of picking up a paintbrush and painting, I’ve been analyzing, strategizing and over thinking everything. What do I want to paint? What colors will look good together?  What will be others reactions when they see this? I’ve been analyzing and trying to perfect something instead of  just picking up the paintbrush and see what comes in that moment.  I’ve been thinking that I only have this “ONE” white canvas….I don’t want to screw it up…and pressure builds to exponential levels because what I paint now will it be a picture that I want to look at for the rest of my life?

Yet, the truth is and what I am starting to get myself to realize each day is that with life it’s not just one canvas you get, but many. The portrait, landscape or image you paint today and hang on your wall can just as easily be removed and changed.  Let go of the pressure of trying to paint a picture you’ll be content with your entire life, and instead paint a picture that you want to paint in this moment given the tools and materials you have. Hang it on your wall, and after a while it may grow into a timeless piece you love forever or you may find you want to change it up–it served it’s purpose and it’s now time for something new.

It’s a waste to let a canvas stay blank and the paint dry up.  Enough analyzing, enough thinking, it’s time to start doing. It’s time start creating.

 

Another Vocab Blunder… March 31, 2009

Standing outside a restaurant last week, my friend introduced me to a group of friends.  While he turned to continue his conversation with another person I began to chat with one of the women.

Of course, our conversation started out by saying the introductory greetings of “Ciao/Hello…” “Come stai?/How are you?”….etc.  Later in the conversation, I noticed her beautiful red necklace.

“Che bel collare!” I exclaimed.

I received a puzzled look from the woman. Then I pointed to her red necklace hanging around her neck.

“Oh!” She said a wide grin flashing across her face, “La mia collana.”

Ah yes…”collana” because “collare” means collar.

“What a beautiful collar!” …so…I basically just told the woman she looked like a dog. Awesome.

 

Flying Bread and a Scratched Eye March 29, 2009

Instead of trying to back track and describe all of the amazing and incredible experiences of living in Italy for the past month and two days, I am going to simply flash forward to the present. Well, the present minus one day…last night…

I accompanied a handful of my new Italian friend to a birthday party celebration at a restaurant they had rented out for the evening. I planned to stay for dinner and afterward, while the rest of the fifty-some group of friends were going to a discoteca to dance, I was going to a fashion show! Yes, my night was beautifully planned out and I was looking forward to both occasions.

The dinner party started out great. A buffet of exquisite Italian appetizers: asparagus topped with polenta, varieties of focaccia and pizza, rice and pasta salads, veal layered with tuna spread and one of my favorites, l’erbazzone , a thin pastry bread filled with baked spinach.

The main course was on it’s way out of the kitchen and while the rest of the group had found their seats, there were four of us still standing in conversation.  Unintentional, and certainly wine-induced, a fellow friend threw a piece of bread at the man standing in front of me to get his attention to join everyone at the table. Well, unfortunately he had horrible aim in hitting a large target and a surprisingly impeccable ability in hitting a bulls eye….that being my eye. Not above, below, to the left or right of my eye–but smack dab in the middle, and so quickly that my eyelashes didn’t have the opportunity to defend itself from it’s attacker: the sharp edge of a crusty piece of bread.

Time nor eye-drops made the pain in my eye go away and after a half an hour of not being able to open, or even see out of my left eye, I let a few friends drive me to the emergency room. The doctor cleaned my eye (to the point where I wanted to scream it hurt so bad) it then the pain was more or less abated. He prescribed some medicine to help heal the corneal abrasion and although I could get the gyst of what the doctor was saying, I was glad to have my friend Lucio there to translate, especially the dosage for the prescriptions.  Fifteen minutes later, I was exiting the E.R. with my wallet still full of money—it didn’t cost a cent. Got to love Italian health care…I could only imagine the fees this little episode would set me back in the states.

Lessons learned: be thankful for every part of your body every second of the day as you never know when something unexpected like a piece of flying bread could change your life. Fortunately for me, this incident should clear up in a few days, but some accidents don’t. So, right now where ever you are, just count your blessing for the health you currently have.

 

A Continual Quest February 19, 2009

It’s officially official…. in one week from today I am moving to Italy! Although, I already planned to be leaving, until I had my visa in hand nothing was certain. I flew to San Francisco last week, applied for my visa and a few days later walked out of the Italian Consulate’s white wooden doors with a huge smile spread wide across my face, my visa in hand, and the stripes of red, green and white from the Italian flag hung over the door frame waving behind me. Just over a year ago I was leaving Seattle for an around the world trip, now merely 12 months later, I am about to embark on a new adventure. What amazing moments are waiting for me in Italy? What new terrene can I explore?

The world offers endless possibilities if you continually strive for them. The key to accomplishing your goals and dreams is to not stop after completing one goal, but rather to keep challenging yourself to achieve all of your goals on your list. And, when that list is done–time to make a new one.

Never stop aspiring for your dreams after you complete your first round of goals. Of course, take some time to soak in the glory of your accomplishments, congratulations!  But, don’t think for a moment that you are done–your list of dreams should be constant, never ending. No matter how many goals you’ve accomplished or how much status or wealth you have obtained, you should never allow yourself to sit idle in life when you have the potential each day to fulfill a personal goal or to help others achieve theirs.

Obstacles are bound to cross your path stealing your motivation like two black masked men robbing piles of crisp green cash from the vault of a bank, leaving you empty and in disarray.  But, when all is lost, that is when your true strength perseveres. “Okay,” you should say. “What can I do right now to better my situation and what is out of my control?” Be relentless about identifying the things you can change, and let go of the things you can’t.

Life should be a challenge. Whether you create the challenge for yourself, or the challenge falls unexpectedly in your lap like Cancer or paralysis, you still have a reason to push yourself. Don’t give up. Strive for your dreams, and if your current dreams are too far away to grasp or have now become unrealistic given an unexpected situation, create a new list–keeping pushing yourself.

The true prize is your journey in persevering towards your goals, rather than the single moment when you actually achieve them. The gratification from holding a trophy is minuscule to the power of conquering the skills that allowed you to get there which were achieved from hours of practice, diligence to your goal and belief in yourself that–yes! my dreams are important, they are worth the effort.

 

A whole new day January 28, 2009

When the sunlight streams through your bedroom window and finds its way towards your sleepy eyes, do you open them with a smile and think–I have a whole new day! Or, do you grumble as you turn over, wanting to return back to sleep, trying to escape the fact that…ugh..I have a whole new day…?

Sure, there are days that I feel the latter. There are days I wish I could escape the realities of the world.  There are days when life does not seem magical with endless possibilities, but rather  a small dark room where I am trapped. These emotions are normal, and you should allow yourself to momentarily feel the negative feelings instead of blocking them out.

Let your body express itself: shed tears over a broken relationship, lament with regret over a missed opportunity, bubble quietly with indignation—then stop.  Now it’s time to let your mind interpret these emotions. Why am I crying? Am I sad because of lost love or fear of being alone? Why am I complaining? Am I afraid i will never get a similar chance as before? Why am I angry? Did I not get what I want or am I upset by the actions of another?

You’ve allowed your body to express itself, your mind to interpret these emotions now it’s time to take the advice offered by your heart.

Relationships: If the person you love doesn’t love you back, let yourself grieve for this loss. Once your tears are dry realize that things are what they are, and you would rather be in love with someone who loves you back than being in a relationship void of love. If the world is a grain of sand, then love is the ocean–love is huge! If you submerse yourself in water, it is impossible not to get wet. If you submerse yourself in love, it’s impossible not to feel loved.  So dive back in.

Regrets: We all have them, but we shouldn’t keep them–let them free. Recognize your regret, tell yourself that you are unhappy with your actions then be proactive to either make amends or allow yourself to let go.  If it is a regret that you still can take positive action on, then what are you waiting for–transform your regret into an accomplishment! If it’s a regret that you can’t change, then accept that it is part of your past and walk forward. Don’t dwell on things you can’t control, everyone makes mistakes, now walk forward.

Anger: The world would be a better place if this emotion did not exist. But, it does, and you have a responsibility to yourself and others to control it. Recognize the fiery feelings that bubble inside and instead of letting them overflow uncontrollably, release them through a positive outlet.  Anger can be a good catalyst to a positive change in that a synonym for anger is passion, just like a synonym for love is passion. If you channel your passions in positive ways you can make BIG changes, because you are passionate about doing something. Instead of being passive, you actually want to be involved in changing the present. I get angry when I see litter on the ground, as a result, I pick it up. I get angry when I don’t challenge myself, as a result, I take more risks. etc.

When you wake up tomorrow, let your body express itself, your mind interpret your feelings, then allow yourself to really listen to your heart’s advice–it’s your best friend. Know that love is never lost, it’s all around you. You have control over your present actions to lead your life how you want to. And, you have the amazing opportunity to channel your passions to make a positive change.