Chapter 20 : In which time does not wait for me

It’s been a little while since my last blog post. And yet, it does not feel so.

Simply because I have suddenly become extremely busy. I arrived back from the Christmas break on January 6th. I blink and it’s March 10th. Spooky.

In November I had so much free time – despite three weekends of activities – that I wrote a novel. A NOVEL. Now I find myself struggling to fit in a 500 word blog post.

I wish I could say it was down to me making a cohort of Italian friends. Ha. Haha. Though, to give me my due, I met a very nice woman at a recent Anglo-Italian dinner who said she expected I found it very boring here due to the lack of young folk and the insular attitude of the ones that are around. There – it’s not my fault!

No, I suspect rather that my lack of time is due to the 10k training (turns out that when you can run for more than ten minutes at a time it can eat quite far into the afternoon), the realisation that my distant dissertation deadline is actually slowly approaching and my slightly naive idea of letting my classes decide the topics of the lessons for themselves – much more interesting for us both, but rarely do all twelve pick the same theme, which has upped the amount of prep time required of me somewhat.

And, of course, there has been the usual flurry of visitors and visiting.

In February I was treated to visits from Laura and Lois, which was a great opportunity for me to relax and enjoy Reggio, rather than zipping off to meet people in more exotic locations.

Laura and I were extremely unlucky with the weather, but where the southern climate failed me Laura’s sunny (geddit?) personality stepped in, and what would have been a very dreary weekend for me on my own turned into a fantastic one. Having now shortlisted my favourite eateries, it was a weekend of gastronomic bliss, with the best ice cream, aperitivi and antipasti that Calabria could offer. We also explored some local delights that rather embarrassingly I had never stumbled upon in my wanderings: a castle and a rather lovely Ottoman church. It’s always nice to see somewhere through somebody else’s eyes, and I loved getting reacquainted with my (temporary) homeland, as well as one of my best pals 🙂

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Enjoying a meal out with Laura

I was sad to see Laura go, but after a three day grieving period I was off to the airport again to collect the Lo for another weekend of frivolity. Laura had shown me how the airport bus works (one weekend here and she’s WAY more of a native than me), so I could look like a truly accomplished local when I presented Lois with her pre-paid bus ticket. As it was her first time to Italy, Lois’ requests were simple: Italian pizza and ice cream were a must. We managed to get a table at Spacca Napoli that night, a truly divine pizzeria in the town centre, as well as championing some amazing looking pasta at home.

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Sisters reunited

As the sun decided to come out on March the 1st (to quote Lois, ‘It’s like somebody has just switched on Spring!’) we managed to get in a day trip to Tropea, a local-ish seaside resort that has been on my bucket list since I arrived. Tropea was really stunning – the cliffside town is both pretty and dramatic and you can walk along the gorgeous blue sea underneath the cliff tops. My advice to those considering a visit would be to stick to the pavement though, unless you want to experience the most acute agony of your life. The sandy/stone hybrid beach is clearly a feeble disguise for a disused broken glass depository – walking along the beach barefoot has never been such torture. If you look closely at the photos our carefree smiles are revealed as grimaces of pain. Still, it was lovely to spend some time with my big sis, and there is even talk of a second sisters visit to Tropea if weather and uni timetables comply!

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Beautiful Tropea

What with these visits and two trips back home (I indulge myself), it’s perhaps easy to see how this year has flown so far. And it shows no signs of letting up – there are still thirty things on my bucket list that won’t cross off themselves, and with under twelve weeks until I’m back home for good, I’d better get cracking!

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