Thursday, 10 December 2015

Growing avocados

How was your long weekend?”All the colleagues I chatted to today asked me this question.

Yes”, was my answer, “Way too short".

Two national holidays one after the other meant I was coming back after 4 days away from the office and with the nice prospect of a very short working week ahead of me. Not bad!

Yet, getting back into Milan and into work proved very difficult, if feels harder at each train trip.
Ah, if only I had a penny for every single time I found myself trying to explain the reason why I hate this place so much! Summed up with the pennies I wish I had for each time somebody asked me what’s wrong with Milan and/or why my company didn’t move to Torino… Well, I think at that point I’d have enough money to stop working, retire and do something better than trying to find impossible answers to insufferable questions.

As nobody is giving me any money, I’ll try to answer the questions, just not this time, just not here, it’s something we can postpone to some better time in the future.

For now I just want to wallow in the nice feeling the memory of 4 days spent at home can give me.
I didn’t do anything spectacular or breathtaking. I went to the hairdresser: my hair took a beating by the week spent in Chengdu, as something in the water and air made my hair bleed the color dye out way too quickly and by Saturday I was the shade of a very pale cotton candy. Now I’m back to a nice punch-in-between-the-eyes, glows-in-the-dark shocking pink.
It goes extremely well with my new hat:

rikke hat


I spent times with my family. Without putting any real effort into it, my niece and the family fell into Doctor Who! My sister was even talking about getting a Dalek ringtone (I might have helped her a bit a little later on).
Because Rai is playing catch up, it’s basically running a single episode every day, so my niece is happily overdosing on it: I’m not sure about what will happen when they’ll get to the end of this season. I think it’ll be around Christmas break and at that point I’ll have a cranky 10-year-old niece with no new episode to watch… and cinemas too packed to go and watch “Star Wars”. Oh joy.
I watched Ninotchka twice, because it’s a nice movie and it was the only movie I remembered to load on the iPad on Friday (note to self: organize better for Christmas break).

Well, we're not thinking too much about it right now. At the moment the talk is about how heretical we can get the nativity scene to be this year. Oh, I know, I know: we're an atheist family, what's the point of us celebrating Christmas. Well, I'm celebrating the fact I get days off work, where I can be over-indulgent with food and alcohol without having to deal with my ghosts and paranoia.
And in the past few years watching the kids setting up the nativity scene at their grandparents have proved to be the most entertaining part of the whole holiday. My mum has recently declared she was never ever going to get the statues out, she was done, no way she was going through the whole nightmare one more time.
Three days later she was proudly showing off on FaceTime her latest contribution to the scene: she made a small shop "buy here" with some old box and she was going to place the Angry Bird Darth Vader I got her as souvenir next to it.  The nativity scene isn't complete yet, but I already spotted 2 statues that look straight out of "The Walking Dead", a blue duck with a star hanging off the neck and my sister also temporarily placed her penguin, Pinguino Gerundio, in it.

I am going back in two days, so I am pretty sure I'll see more interesting addition to the ensemble, and as long as I can remove any battery that powers nasty music boxes I'm going to be ok.

Wazowski
(2 of those nasty music boxes in the background)

I spent lot of time reading: nothing better than my armchair, some tea and whiskey and a book to finish. This weekend around it was the turn of “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. I finished reading it yesterday on the bus: it was cold and dark. Humidity made the bus damp. I had music on, as usual, so I was in a bubble, even though not as comfortable a bubble as the one provided me by my armchair. In a way it made sense: I was sad as I could see the pages to the end becoming less and less each stop and I didn’t want to be too cozy when I was being sad.
While waiting for the bus I read this:
“Yes,” said Whiskey Jack.“‘Yes’? What kind of an answer is ‘Yes’?”“It’s a good answer. True answer, too.”
[…]
“Avocados,” agreed Whiskey Jack. “That’s them. They don’t grow up this way. This is wild rice country. Moose country. What I’m trying to say is that America is like that. It’s not good growing country for gods. They don’t grow well here. They’re like avocados trying to grow in wild rice country.” (American Gods, Neil Gaiman)
I wrote it down, in a very bad calligraphy: try to write while standing on an articulated bus speeding on some tram tracks and then tell me how good your calligraphy is.
It’s an honest answer, yes, more honest than most of the bullshit I received as answers in the past few months.
And perhaps me trying to live and be happy in Milan is just like being an avocado trying to grow in wild rice country.

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