Riding the Waves.

Riding the Waves.

Mood swings are a pretty big part of my life. They come on a regular basis, sometimes knocking me over with a sudden depression or lifting me off my feet with a high. Sometimes I have a desperate need to be around people and will cling to my mum, following her around the house until the mood passes. At other times I am gripped by a sudden dislike for everyone around me, their flaws racing through my head and consuming me.

I used to fight against these. The highs were too high, the lows too low, everything else was equally irritating to deal with. The swings where I ended up under the control of anger made me feel guilty for judging people who I normally love. When I end up following people around I was acutely aware of how I must be grating on their nerves. Finding myself in the depths of depression I’d hate myself for ruining everyone’s day and cancelling plans. Getting hyperactive would annoy me due to the innate knowledge that I was running on a level of energy that no one could keep up with.

The thing is, fighting these things only pushed me into more swings. I’d get so angry with myself for being cross with others that I’d spiral right down into a low, or so aware of my own clinginess that I’d hide myself away and fall right down again. My highs would wear me out and annoy me so much that I’d drop.There are things that we can do with these mood swings to dig our way out, but the one that never works is judging ourselves or our thoughts and moods. Living with BPD makes it pretty inevitable that I’ll spend a lot of time on one end of my mood spectrum, and the more I look at these as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, the more unable I am to control myself.

It was at an emotional skills group that I learnt a new way to deal with my changing moods. It’s all about riding the waves. If you were to sit in the water and fight against its movements you’d only end up exhausting yourself and putting yourself in danger. But if you ride the wave, you get a feeling of accomplishment and enjoyment, and best of all – you’re safer. (Just a quick aside… I’ve never surfed, but some of my family have, my metaphors are from conjecture and conversations with them.) Even if you have problems with my surfing analogy, I can tell you from experience that when applied to moods, emotions and thoughts, it’s entirely true.

So next time you go up (or down, or round and round) just accept what you’re feeling. You can try some activities to cheer you up, but never acknowledge an emotion as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Let the mood come and wait patiently for it to change again. Since I’ve been trying this, I’ve actually had less frequent and less drastic mood swings. The violent fall from high to low is more gradual than it was. My bouts of anger are calmer. I’ve learnt to enjoy the highs, and the time I spend following my mum around the house. Learn to ride the waves, and you may just find yourself enjoying life a little more.

 

If you’re struggling and you need some help why not take a look at the information on the MIND website? If it’s a crisis please call your crisis team, doctor or Samaritans! (Links below)

MIND

Samaritans

Baby It’s Cold Outside.

Baby It’s Cold Outside.

This is part 5 of ‘Mince Pies and Murder’ if you need to catch up before reading: click here.

The door swings open and Patrick pulls his mouth into a wide smile that make his teeth appear like fangs in the dark room.

“Heard moving around. If you’re not sleeping you may as well come and sit with me.” He gestures for her to leave the room and she does, making sure to face him as she passes. “I could do with a drink… got any liquor?”

“Nah, I’m clean out.”

“Yeah right, it’s Christmas. Get me a drink Em.” Only the slightest pretence of friendship remains in his blue eyes that now glint with the frostiness of an ice burg. She crosses the room and opens cupboards at random, hoping for the dregs of a bottle of something to offer to her former friend who has clearly now become her captor. A bottle of whisky with a few glasses left is her saviour, a knight in a murky brown armour on the bottom shelf.

“So that crime, you know the murder from today… what do you think happened? Lover’s tiff?” She pours a measure as she speaks and crosses the room to hand him the glass.He smiles as he accepts the glass with that same frosty smile he’d given when he entered her room.

“Don’t worry yourself about that dear.” He takes a sip of the whisky and blows out a deep breath, staring at the black screen of the television.

“It is if I’ve been framed for the murder Patrick, don’t you think?”

“Listen Emmeline. You weren’t born to be a detective, or lawyer or writer or adventurer. You were born to be a princess. Don’t you know that? You worry too much about these things, it damages your brain sweetheart.Don’t trouble your little mind about it any more dearie, I’ll end the mystery. It was me of course. Stupid girl took me back to hers, played the sweet and innocent cards and then rejected me. Spurned me. After offering herself on a platter she changed her mind. She had to be shown the weakness of her sex.”

His voice is flat as he speaks, emotionless, lacking remorse. He almost smiles as he tells her to sit beside him again on the sofa that she’ll throw out if she survives this situation herself.

“We’re going to be great together Em, did you get my messages? I assume you did… I saw the bauble, me and you together as children as we could never have been. But we’re together now, and I’ll never leave you. Never let you weaken your mind by thinking too much again. All you need to do is trust in my devotion… and get me another drink, there’s a love.”

She stands again and takes the glass from him, careful to control the slight tremble in her fingers. She walks to the counter and picks up the bottle, pouring the remains of it into the cut glass tumbler he’d been drinking from . But she keeps hold of the bottle, unable to let go. Somehow it makes her feel safe, powerful even, which he would no doubt despise. Either way she keeps a tight hold of the bottle, right hand slightly above the other as her dad had taught her with a cricket bat all those years ago.

“I don’t think I want to run Patrick, running will only make me look guilty. Besides, I’m not quitting my life for something I’m innocent of.”

He still hasn’t looked around but she sees his shoulder shake a little as though this had made him chuckle.

“Don’t be ridiculous Em. Where’s that drink?”

She takes a step toward the door and glances around for her keys which are absent from their place in the lock. She takes another step and a deep breath before responding.

“Oh it’s just on the side, I’ll bring it in a moment. I’d just like to know why you decided to frame me if you don’t mind. Why you’re keeping me here?”

She takes another step toward the door,  not far now. The keys are hanging on their hook a few feet away. She reaches her arm out. Not quite. She takes another step.

“Well my dear I couldn’t think of getting you to myself any other way. It worked anyway so I’ve got no regrets. Besides, I needed someone to take the blame once I’d ended up killing that girl. You should’ve kept those chairs, the broken leg was handy.”

“Why do you hate me Patrick? I thought we were friends!”

She takes another step. Loose floorboard. A creak escapes from the ground that may as well have been a screaming alarm. Patrick stands up and spins around in an instant to face her, crossing the gap in a few long steps and ducking as she launched the bottle at his head. His face transforms into a beast of anger as he slams her into the wall and bares his teeth in a smile that wreaks of whisky only inches from her face.

“All I did was love you and you didn’t have it in you to be grateful?” He is shouting now, in a booming gruff voice that is raked from his throat in painful, gravelly syllables. “A powerful woman, needing rescuing from herself. You weren’t made to be powerful so I was going to save you… ungrateful bitch!”

He drags her head into the wall with a handful of hair. She screams, lifts her fist up and into his chin with a crack. He shouts, almost a growl like every human cell was losing a battle with the beast within.He grabs her wrists and slams them into the wall with one hand, slapping her across the face with the other and punching her in the stomach. She doubles up in pain, focuses, brings her knee up between his legs with a shout and as he bends over she uses his own momentum and her fist to bring a pool of blood from his nose. They tumble to the ground. Rolling in a deathly tangle on the old carpet. He has her, legs buried beneath his knees, hands pinned to the ground. He smiles at her then, all warmth returning suddenly to his face.

“I’ll let you go and we’ll be friends. Together forever my beautiful Emmeline.”

He kisses her then. Forehead, cheeks, chin, she accepts them, plotting. He smiles, taking this as her submission, bring his lips toward her mouth. Kisses her long and hard. She bites his lip, and while he shouts in pain she smashes her head into his nose, furthering the earlier damage. He’s loosened his grip on her wrists in shock, she brings a fist into his stomach, then another. Pushes him over and straddles him, reaching for a part of the bottle which had remained intact. It shatters on impact with his bloodied head and the battle is done. She jumps to her feet and slots the key into the door, hands shaking she fumbles with the lock and runs down the stairs. Down the street. Stops at her neighbour, Eliza’s house and bangs on the door until her friend answers it in a dressing gown, just as the lights begin flashing in their regular blue strobes.

“God, Emmeline, it’s cold outside. Get in here.”

 

 

Prodigal.

Prodigal.

This is part 4 of ‘New Beginnings’, if you need to catch up before reading: click here.

25/1

Two more dates this week, between shifts of shovelling caffeine into the mouths of greedy tourists with drooping bags of tiredness beneath their eyes. Obviously most of them do so much sightseeing that they forget to sleep. I stayed with Alli for a couple of days since I last wrote, but he turned out to be an incredibly irritating person to live with. I had hoped he’d get me away from Bianca but he’s worse. He natters away to me in Italian, way to quickly for me to have any idea what he’s dribbling on about and then gets mad when I don’t understand and ask him to repeat himself. I repeat in Inglese? You stupido or only sordo? I know that word well now, sordo, no I’m not bloody deaf you intolerable man. I haven’t seen him since I left his flat when he went to work 2 days ago.

When I got home I nearly called Rob, I miss his reliability. In my near month of living in this new place with new and unreliable people I’m beginning to miss his predictability and familiarity.My mum too, I called her yesterday. Had to. That woman is the most beautiful human on the planet. I may have taken her for granted and got bored of her weekly dinners but what I wouldn’t give for a Sunday roast with the parents right now. She wasn’t even annoyed that I hadn’t spoken to her in weeks, she was all how is it? Is it brilliant? Tell me everything! So I did. We spoke for a good hour and a half. We’ve arranged another chat next week but I’m not sure I’ll stay. I emailed them about that job tutoring kids in languages and they’ve offered me an interview.

26/1

I called Rob. In a desperate act of maintaining my disinterest I deliberately called when I could rely upon him to be eating his dinner and listening to some of his favourite music with a glass of Rioja. He still answered though. Seemed surprised but pleased I think. Said he was glad to hear from me, asked about my trip, told me briefly about his life. He retold my mum’s story of his visit to drop my stuff off at her house. Said my parents looked well. Apparently the old lady next door had moved into a nursing home and a young couple had moved in. He’d taken them a bottle of red and introduced himself (probably with one of his weak handshakes) but they hadn’t been happy to see him. Said they hadn’t moved here to make friends and he’d returned with the bottle to his (empty) flat. He’d started to say ‘our flat’ but quickly corrected himself sounding worried.

I accepted the interview. Called Mags first, she’s going to lend me a suit because I’ve not worn one in years and don’t want to pay for extra luggage on the way back. I’ve given Bianca notice, told work I’m leaving, I didn’t say bye to anyone else. Mum screamed when I called her, offered to get dad to pick me up from the airport which he agreed to, failing to hide the smile from his voice on the phone. I fly back tomorrow! Tonight I’m taking one final walk along the Ponte Vecchio to watch the sun set over the old stonework of the city.

28/1

I got the job! I start next week, maybe doing something that I’m interested in will help everything to run more smoothly. Mum says maybe I didn’t need such a drastic change but Mags said people always need change and it probably made me realise how much I’d miss her if I left for good. I laughed. She’s right though, leaving these people I’d loved reminded me how much I love them. Dinners at the parents might always be the same but they’re easy and full of love. Mags may be slightly insane and so familiar that she’s blended into the background of the city but she’s my best friend. No one in Italy, or anywhere else, even came close to knowing all of my little secrets and habits. To being allowed to laugh at my stupid comments and telling me openly when I look a state.

I saw Rob yesterday. We went for coffee at an old favourite shop of ours. As I fell back into the rickety faded wood of the chair and inhaled the scent of freshly brewed coffee and old paper drifting from the books lining the walls I couldn’t help but feel at home. Rob set two mugs carefully down on our table. His black, two sugars. Mine a latte, none. One chocolate muffin to share, he sliced it in half. The standard routine wrapped around me like a blanket. Palpably warm. He smiled at me. The smile I knew so well from years of loving him and being loved in return. Reliable love. One that stayed the same through all these years and hadn’t been altered in my absence and failures.

I thought to myself then, perhaps the same things aren’t boring. They’re just as beautiful as the new sights I so admired upon my arrival in Florence. The sight of him just as entrancing as the music at night on the beautiful bridge as the sun set. The old things made new again by a new appreciation. A renewed love.

Cracks.

Cracks.

This is part 3 of ‘New Beginnings’ if you want to catch up before reading: click here.

10/1

I decided to take the whole ‘no constraints’ things seriously, and the first step was to break my schedule with this diary. A whole 6 days without it, felt like a lifetime! I did it though, and I’m back to update my future self on my adventures. Looked around a load of the palaces here which are impressive for the most part, but considering the wealth of the Medici family I’m not surprised. I’ve taken to reading about Italian history, focusing on here in particular and it’s quite interesting. I made a little timeline and took photos to match the various important places. I sent them to mum, part of me wishes she could be here, it’d be nice to have her around for a bit. But that’s silly. I’m independent now, I don’t need anyone.

Bianca and I go for dinner once a week, and she’s been teaching me the language. I’m getting pretty good at it. Sometimes I still ask people things in English and sometimes they respond in English, but I feel stupid every time. I should be better by now. I should be fluent. Once I’m fluent I can get a job and stay here forever. Bianca says I might be able to get a job in a cafe, one of those where sometime English people come and want to know what they’re eating.

I went to a bar the other night with her and she introduced me to some people. I ended up going home with one of her friends and staying at his for the night. He made me coffee in the morning but didn’t have time to sit with me on the balcony. No time. He had to go to work. Fair enough, would’ve been nice if he’d stayed a bit longer though. I posted the keys back through his letter box when I left.

15/1

I got a call from Mags this morning. Apparently it’s not the same without me, work is boring and the Friday drinks have become the dullest moment of her week. She said she doesn’t gel with anyone else, they’re all boring and married and not looking for anything new in their lives. She’s dyed her hair again apparently, green. Why? ‘For a change’. She’s off her rocker. It was nice to hear her voice. Mum replied to my letter too with a photo of her and dad and a little comment at the bottom saying that Rob had dropped a few of my things over and asked how I was getting on. She asked if she can give me a call sometime but I haven’t replied yet. I’m supposed to be adventuring by myself.

I went out with the guy again – his name’s Alessandro by the way – Alli we call him. It was interesting and my Italian’s getting good enough for us to have a proper chat in his language. The food was insane as usual but something was missing. It wasn’t easy. I guess that’s why I’m here, I got bored of easy. I found myself missing the ease of a conversation with Rob or my mum or Mags over some horrible stodgy English food. There’s no one here who really knows me, I’ve never had that before.

I’ve got an interview tomorrow to get a job in one of the touristy cafes near the Cathedral de Santa Maria Novella. If I get it I’ll be able to stick around, but I’m going to run out of money otherwise. I can just work for a few months. Might move on to another country. Keep the adventure moving…

21/1

I got the job. It’s so tedious though. Mainly I end up talking English because the cafe I work in is priced up for the tourists and the locals know better. It’s what I wanted though I suppose and it’s easy, just not really pushing my abilities, I feel like I’ve downgraded from my job in England. I guess that should have been obvious but it’s still a bit depressing. I was looking at a course in England, looking at learning languages in order to teach them to kids. It pays pretty well because it’s all private and I’d be doing something a little harder than serving coffee and pastries. It would however involve going home, not sure I’m ready for that.

I’ve got to know Bianca a little better now and I’ve discovered something. She’s one of those people who you only make friends with because you don’t have much choice and you’d never have picked if you did. She’s nice enough. I’m probably being unfair, Mags came to stay for two days this week and I took her to all my favourite places and we had a real laugh. She’s dyed her hair yet again, but she’s got a boyfriend now. An actual one that she isn’t planning to get rid of next time she changes the colour of her locks. he’s stuck around through two colours now, and that’s no mean feat! I miss her I guess.

A five minute flick through Budapest.

A five minute flick through Budapest.

As you may know, my posts have been a bit out of sync recently due to a little weekend trip to Budapest for my birthday. *Insert birthday singing here* To make up for this, and as a prelude to my March series on travelling with a mental illness, I’ve decided to include you in my holiday experience, by giving you a five minute run-down of some of my favourite places.

Seeing the sights.

This country is just beautiful! Everywhere you look there’s an incredible piece of architecture or landscape which you can’t take your eyes off. We walked to the top of
Gellert hill from which you can see the city laid out in front of you. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit of a trek and in the ice it probably wouldn’t have passed English health and safety laws, but then again what does these days? It’s well worth getting painfully out of breath for with breathtaking views over the city, when we went it was quite foggy and still well worth it, so I can’t imagine how incredible it must look on a clear day.

gellert
The view from Gellert.

 

fishermans-bastion
The Fisherman’s Bastion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it’s history you’re after there’s Buda Castle and the Parliament buildings. Both are structurally gorgeous and filled to the brim with history. There’s a museum in the castle now and all the panels are (helpfully) in English, although the guy in the cloakroom was a little scary. Talking of scary, the guards at parliament are possibly the most terrifying I’ve encountered.  The tour guides are friendly though, and give a lot of information in a short time. Even if you don’t fancy listening the building and rooms are so elaborate that there are plenty of selfies to be taken.

Finally (there’s loads more but I’ve limited myself to five minutes!) is the Fisherman’s Bastion. It was originally a fishing port, but now it’s mainly restaurants and viewing platforms. I loved its gorgeous white stone and little fairy tale turrets, I felt like a princess! The view’s pretty good from here too, and if you eat here you can see some lovely sights across the lake.

I’d also recommend St Stephen’s Basilica… but there aren’t any words. It’s insanely beautiful.

basilica
St Stephen’s Basilica.

Unusual entertainments.

The thermal baths are a big thing here, which is actually a problem because it leaves you with way too much choice! We choice Kiraly (after hours of discussions and research) as it was close to where we stayed and apparently one of the most authentic. We were pleased with our choice. It was fairly busy, but not even close to what some of the TripAdvisor reviews made it appear to be like. It was also significantly cheaper than most of the bigger baths. We don’t have any photos because we weren’t allowed but I’ll do my best to paint with words. The central baths are in a big circular room with a huge domed roof, which is pretty dark and full of steam coming off the many pools. The central pool was the busiest, but not quite warm enough for us, as we prefer our baths to almost scald us, there is however a much warmer pool which we never wanted to leave! There’s also a sauna, steam room, some sort of cold room and another bath outside the main room. There are water fountains too in little sinks jutting out from the corner of the room. All in all, they’re a lovely way to relax in the evening, especially if you visit while it’s cold!

buda-castle

We also went to the Flipper Museum. A museum underground that contained a huge number of pinball machines. It’s pretty cool and not too expensive and you could spend hours in there working your way through the various machines. There’s a little tuck shop style thing in there too which was pretty cool, and though you’re not allowed to eat or drink by the machines you can always pop up there for refreshments.

Eating & drinking.

We found loads of cool places to eat here. The first night we went to a ‘Sailor’s Bar’ which had been recommended to us by our host and although the service wasn’t the best we could have hoped for, the food was tasty and we were served in a reasonable time. The decor is also really cute and there’s a view of the river which is always good. We also ate another place which was ridiculously cheap, at only 5000HUF each! There are a lot of meat and potatoes going on, and they’re much better than ours. My favourite restaurant was a incredibly romantic. The waiter took my coat, pulled my chair out and even put my coat back on at the end of the night: I left feeling like the most important person in the world! The food was amazing, and came in really good portions, but that’s not the best bit. The best bit is the music. Live. A violinist and pianist who play throughout the evening, take suggestions and sometimes even serenade you. I’ve never been anywhere like it, and if I could, I’d go every day.

It’s time to give the Ruin bars a mention. If you want to go out drinking, these are the most unique places we found. They’re built in ruined houses or factories and instead of renovating them, they’ve simply found ways to bring out their old charms and re use them as bars. They are some of the strangest places that I’ve visited, but they’re also strangely nice.

bridge

I had the best time here, and surprisingly, since I’m always shivering at home, the cold didn’t bother me that much. My last word to you? Get a coat on and book a flight!

 

 

Examination of the Overlooked.

Examination of the Overlooked.

This is part 4 of ‘Mince Pies and Murder’, if you need to catch up before reading: click here.

Emmeline closes the door to her bedroom and sits on the edge of the bed, examining the pictures of her family pasted onto the bauble.  There’s one that isn’t quite right, the picture of her at two years old wearing one of those enormous puffed out skirts that only look at home sitting on top of a toilet roll. It’s the most horrific colour, a sickly peach that borders on the colour of something one might produce after a night of heavy drinking or eating badly cooked food. She’s smiling in the picture, huge gaps between shiny white baby teeth on plain view between her wide open lips. A little boy is pasted beside her, his head slightly above as though he’s stood next to her but is taller. She doesn’t recognise him. Having looked at this picture a number of times it’s clear to her that the picture is meant to be beside hers, but the boy is not one of her relations.

She pulls out the little pile of letters from beneath her pillow and replaces them with the bauble. The letters start of at some degree of friendliness with suggestions of going for coffee, dinner, movie; but they develop quickly into ‘long and passionately secret encounters’, running away together and getting married. Either way, the scrawling green pen tells her, she’d have to leave her job and give herself over to the complete mercy of this new lover. She’d not replied, at first thinking they were a joke, and then living in denial of the existence of a stalker in kind who wanted her submission to his greater power and manhood.

She closes her eyes and pictures each of her memories with Patrick in turn. He’d been friendly when she’d arrived, taken her under his wing and welcomed her to the team. He’d brought her coffee most mornings, and once he’d bought her a minuscule birthday cake when she’d refused to take her 30th as holiday. He’d cooled down a little bit after the promotion, she supposes, but she hadn’t noticed at the time having been so absorbed in her own success. It was probably a mistake, she thinks, opening her eyes and surveying the inside of her room. At least he hasn’t tried to come in yet.

Tucking the letters back under her pillow she walks to the window and looks out, judging the distance to the ground below. Too high. She is uncertain what happens when men this power hungry have the object of desire within their grasp, but it’s doubtful that he’ll let her go now. Possibly not ever. Newspaper headlines flash through her head: Disappearing Detective. Loner Detective Vanishes At Christmas. Murderer On the Loose. In her panic she’d almost forgotten the murder… everyone thought she’d killed that girl! She couldn’t really ask for help in her present state.

She pulls the blind closed and begins fumbling in the bottom of her wardrobe, looking for the floorboard where she hides her passport and a little cash in case of emergency or robbery. Gone. Empty. Dammit. She needs to prove that she hadn’t killed that girl. She’d looked like she was about to go on a date, all preened and in a nice dress, freshly done nails by the look of them. Unless she’d just got back from a date instead. Either way, there was a lover of some kind involved, or someone who’d pretended to be…a detective perhaps who was hoping to get his partner all to himself? Paranoia, has to be.

Second hiding place. A tiny box on the top shelf of her wardrobe, so short that you couldn’t feel it when it was pushed all the way to the back. Bingo. A second mobile phone. She switches it on and crosses the fingers of her left hand, praying it has some juice.She dialls 9-9-9 and hides it in the inside pocket of her jacket just as her partner opens the door without knocking.

 

The First Step.

The First Step.

This is part 2 of ‘New Beginnings’, if you need to catch up before reading: click here.

2/1

New year, new me! I know it’s a massive cliche and if I’m going to change everything I should really get rid of the diary but I’m just not there yet… besides if this all goes horribly wrong I’d like to know at exactly what point the disaster happened. So the diary stays, you’d be glad to know if you were capable of feeling emotions, or thinking, or breathing. Either way, I’m not chucking you on the fire so that’s always a plus.

So I’ve become a little impulsive. Last night I booked flights, two singles to Florence for tomorrow! I haven’t told Bobbie yet but I’ll see him at dinner and I can tell him then. I’ve already called mum and cancelled dinner for the foreseeable future, no more dull Sunday lunches for me. Besides, I don’t know when I’m coming back or if I am. I only booked one way tickets and I haven’t even found a place to stay yet! I feel like a new person, so adventurous, I even quit my job. Huge!!! Can’t go back to work tomorrow if I’m going on holiday indefinitely. It’s a new start. I found an Italian phrase book in the attic and buried under a load of dusty books from Bobbie’s university days and I’ve been trying to memorise as many words as I can. I at least know ‘Ciao’ and I guess that’s a good start.

3/1

And we have lift off!! I’m writing this on the plane which thankfully is going calmly along in the air without any of that turbulence stuff, I’ve always wondered what that actually is. It’s probably just the weather or something but either way it’s terrifying, plus it’s not the most useful when you’re trying to write.

Bobbie isn’t with me. He stayed at home, after a lecture about how irresponsible I’m being and how he can’t take time off work and I shouldn’t desert him and jet off to a country for God knows how long. He doesn’t know if he can wait so I told him not to bother. Hey presto! The new me is single. I know I sound all chirpy but that’s just an act, strange as that is since you can’t tell anyone and are basically just my thoughts but I’ve decided to live firmly under the philosophy of faking it till I make it. I’ll miss him though, he was always there and it’s going to be weird without him.

Anyway, adventure! I got an email back from a woman called Bianca who says I can rent her spare room for as long as I like. She can speak a bit of English and promised to help me figure out the language. It’s so exciting, I can’t wait to land.

4/1

Alright so when she said that she speaks a bit of English, she really means ‘a bit’. We’re currently communicating largely through hand gestures and heavy use of the phrase book, I think it’ll be useful eventually, I guess I have to learn the language now. The room was a little mis-advertised too, there’s no bed, just a mattress on the floor. The rest of the place is nice though and there’s plenty of space to cram everything I own into the cupboards which is great. The view out of the window is the best bit, she lives in a tiny little place near to the Ponte Vecchio and my bedroom window looks out over the river. It’s so beautiful! On the other side of the river are blocks of yellow stone houses just like the flat we’re in, and on the left is the bridge, the most exquisitely ancient bridge. It’s laden with little market stalls and the glinting windows of tiny shops, in the middle are some perfectly sculpted archways and sometimes you can see people in them, gazing out over the river.

She took me to a restaurant last night and I’m not sure whether the food was better, or the atmosphere. I deliberately picked some kind of pasta without fully knowing what it was, but the flavour was an explosion in my mouth. The most incredible thing I’ve ever eaten, I swear if I go home I’ll take a year’s supply back with me! The city comes alive at night too and I was overwhelmed by the number of people who have walked these streets before me, the air is almost electric with vibrancy and friendly noise. As we crossed the bridge there was a guy playing the guitar and singing and everyone stood to watch for a while, we joined them for a bit and I remember being so glad that I didn’t have anywhere specific to be at any time soon.I think I’ll live my whole life this way, no constraints or boundaries, always moving forwards.