Sunday, November 30, 2008


I’m flying right now. I’m flying right now and I feel normal. I feel like a living breathing human being. I’ve had quite a few pangs of guilt over the past few hours that I’ve felt like a normal human being for feeling that way. In the end, I’ve decided that it’s what Pete would have wanted.

It helps temper the guilt a little to know that the pain is waiting for me as soon as I’m no longer flying through the air from one place to another. I’ll be home. I will be looking at people and places that he used to look at, but this time I’ll know that he’s not here to look at them anymore.

It seems slightly more merciless to me that I’m flying across time zones on his birthday and that for me this day is unnaturally long. The sun has been setting through the airplane window now for the past hour or so. It will be setting still when I arrive home.

I’ve been sitting in a brightly colored airplane under rainbow lighting with a really cool little kid for the past five hours. I wish I could stay here forever, taking small glasses of water from women in saris, eating chicken Indian style and watching movies so that I’ll never have to deal with the fact that I can’t tell my brother about it. He would be so entertained.

It’s both beautiful and cruel that the saddest day of my life is also neverending, definitely more day than god intended. The longest sunset I’ve ever witnessed on the longest darkest day I’ve ever lived.

Happy birthday kiddo, wherever you are.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

in the dark

today is the worst day that has ever happened. i wish that i could say i can't wait for it to be over, but tomorrow will be bad too.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday, Venerdì Bianco

It’s the day after thanksgiving, and I woke up from a really bizarre dream to see snow falling outside my window. Although Milan is very close to the Alps, it is not terribly common for it to know here, particularly with the ferocity with which it’s snowing outside right now.

But let me rewind about 14 hours and recount the events of Thanksgiving dinner. I had been told (and emailed) about a turkey dinner here at a bistrot somewhere in Brera (a very fashionable neighborhood in the northwest part of the center). The flyer had indicated the menu, the price (35€) and had called it a dinner/party with Football on the big screen(!). I surveyed my friends, but between the price and the vicious cold that’s been going around, I found myself pretty much on my own. I made a reservation for one for the 9:30 seating. At about 7:00 I was sitting in bed, bored and lonely, trying to decide whether I was going to go to this thing or not.

One of my reluctances in going to the dinner had been that I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a sit down environment, or something a bit more interactive. I was not entirely convinced that I could cope with sitting at a table by myself, eating turkey. It’s just fucking turkey right? Who gives a shit about the turkey?

At Bill’s suggestion, I finally decided to get my ass up and get out of the house. I got dressed, hopped on the Metro and walked around a little bit to find the itty-bitty street (thanks Rebekah, couldn’t live without the moleskine).

So, I arrive to the restaurant, which is, in fact, a restaurant with lots of tables where people are being seated for dinner. Damn it. I find the host (who is actually the owner), a Texan as a matter of fact, and he tells me that since I booked alone, he had put me at a table with someone else who was also alone, so that I didn’t have to eat alone. That was nice of him (right?), but unfortunately my mystery date hadn’t arrived yet. He asked if I wanted to wait a few minutes and offered me a seat at the bar. I sat at the bar and drank a glass of prosecco, all the while feeling strange, out of place and alone. There were tons of Americans around, so I’m sure I could’ve made friends, but I didn’t really feel like it. Those Americans weren’t a suitable replacement for my Americans, so why bother right?

Finally I got sick of waiting, and by this time it was already about 10pm, and I was very hungry. I went back up to Danny, the host/owner/Texan and said that I was ready to be seated with or without mystery date. He said, “Are you sure? I don’t want you to have to eat alone.” I responded, “I really do appreciate it, however, the fact is that I am alone. I’m alone in Milan, it’s the daily reality of my life so thanks again, it’s very sweet of you, but I’ll just take the table.”

I was seated in a two-top right at the top of the stairs, facing the stairs. So everyone who walked up the stairs got to look at the sad American woman eating thanksgiving dinner in Milan alone. There were moments when I felt like I was in a zoo. I ended up talking to the couple at the table next to me, two American college kids who are studying abroad for a semester. I had also brought a book, grazie a dio. So, in general, despite lots of indicators to the contrary, I was doing all right. The food was decent, slightly over-salted and the cranberry sauce had quite a suspicious quantity of blueberry flavor, but overall I give it a not bad.

When I had finished my turkey/potatoes/stuffing/cranblueberry sauce/spinach plate, I had to get up and use the restroom. For everyone who doesn’t know, it Italy, restrooms are unisex. You walk in and generally there’s a sink and a couple of stalls with doors, that are more like little rooms than regular bathroom stalls. I went into one of the stalls and locked the door. When I was just about finished, a guy opened the door (despite the fact that it had been locked) and started to walk in. I screamed. I only saw his pink button down shirt. I think at that point he retreated back up the stairs, because when I came out of the bathroom, he was nowhere to be found. I breathed a sigh of relief; at least I didn’t have to look at him. Little did I know that this particular pleasure was to be reserved for mere seconds later when I was halfway up the stairs and he was coming back down. It was a narrow staircase and we conveniently ran into each other on the landing where we had to maneuver a little bit to walk around each other. He made a discernible effort to not look me in the face while we continued in our opposite directions.

Welcome to the land of complete mortification…it’s nice to meet you.

I returned to my table to find my dessert waiting for me there: a little square of “pumpkin pie” floating in an almost completely melted vanilla gelato soup. It was, shall we say, slightly disappointing.

Then, I had a nice little reprise with Mr. Pink Shirt when he came back up the stairs and had to pass my Thanksgiving-for-one table, which was so conveniently centrally located.

At the end of it all, I was really glad that I had gone out…even to a ridiculously traumatic meal like that one. I got to come home, call some family and talk to the people who I really wish I had been with. Conveniently, by that time, I had enough of a buzz going that I had already mostly set aside the, what one might call, horrific events of the evening.

So, now it’s almost noon on Friday morning, black Friday in the US and, as it turns out, a white Friday in Milan. I’m going to take a shower in a few minutes and get outside and enjoy the snow. Right about now in Chicago, the lines are building outside of all the electronics stores and the Wal-Marts so that people can have themselves a merry little Christmas in the midst of a worldwide financial crisis. I’m going to go get a panino and drink a cappuccino, and disavow all knowledge.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


today is november 27th, thanksgiving day. it's cold and sunny in milan and completely devoid of the sights and smells to which i am accustomed. it's difficult not to think about all of the thanksgivings i have spent in the past and all the people i love who are thousands of miles away.

the past year has been huge for me. i think it's fairly safe to say that i have closed one chapter of my life, while simultaneously opening a few others. it's difficult to be without bill, particularly today. we've been together for three years, but only for one thanksgiving so far, and unfortunately our first together as husband and wife may have to wait a while, as it looks like we might spend next year's equally distantly.

my one wish this year is that all of my loved ones be happy and surrounded by love. for the last few years my family and family members have seen more space grow between us, all of us. it seems like this year, everyone feels a little bit alone, not just i, who actually am so.

life is hard...and growing up and moving on is maybe the hardest part of it. i am thankful for everyone and for the history we already share, and for the future that we haven't yet written together.

with love.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

one day it will all be mine.

i went shopping today. i didn't buy anything, and it was completely amazing. there are so many beautiful things here i can't even describe it. i really missed bill today. there were so many things that i wanted to buy for him (and for me of course). i went to corso como 10, which is a very famous store here. they carry pretty much every major designer and it's an incredibly beautiful and interesting space. i also checked out lots of awesome little stores. the style here is so fantastic (unsurprising right?).

whenever i have the opportunity to look around like this, i always feel really filled up at the end of it. it's the reason that i know i have to work in fashion. there are just so many beautiful pieces of art in the world...and yes of course they're really expensive, but so beautiful. and fuck money anyway. you can't take it with you right? (<--says the girl who has none)

someday i'll have lots and i'll have a houseful of beautiful things that i will wear and use all the time and they will give me great pleasure. sigh, just not today.

Friday, November 21, 2008

freda moon-stelloh...

love you and miss you, and if i were you i would keep that 20 right where you've got it, although maybe throw in "has lots of fun" in the middle. i'm also hoping there are some good betting odds for "gets an unbelievable interesting and lucrative job upon degree completion," updates forthcoming. xoxo

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the cheese stands alone sometimes, but it's getting better all the time.

so, it was brought to my attention today by a dear friend of mine that i have been neglecting my readership. mea culpa, mea culpa.

the past couple weeks have been a veritable roller coaster. with reference to my last posting, i've been able to work out most of the kinks here. i have internet access finally. i bought a phone that as it turns out i won't really be using that much, and i've actually managed to make a couple friends who i really really like. so that's good too. i've been going out a bit (just a bit) and having lots of fun with some lovely italian girls. they're all so sweet and so much fun. consequently my italian has improved dramatically which is also fantastic.

there's also a completely adorable chinese girl named yoyo who sits next to me in class who i love. she's completely hilarious, very smart and we have lots of funny paper conversations in class so as not to be disruptive (see below). you can find all of these people on my facebook account if you're interested in photos and the like.

things have (i guess) been busy here lately. my course are going exceptionally well. they're very interesting...i even like accounting. who knew? things are actually kind of already winding down here. i only have two more weeks of class and then a week off to study for exams. then, as most of you already know, i'll be going home for almost three weeks (yay!!) to spend time with bill and the cats and my couch (and friends of course).

for the most part everyone in my classes is really nice too, although there are a few people who've been getting on my nerves. there are also quite a few people who can't seem to keep their damn mouths shut which is really deeply pissing me off on a regular basis. what are we, in fucking kindergarten?!

so, all in all, italy is improving for me dramatically. i'm feeling very hopeful about the coming year and think it's going to be lots and lots of fun. hopefully i'll have lots of visitors who will get to share it with me.


Monday, November 10, 2008

nothing works in this damn country!

today has been somewhat frustrating thus far. i bought an internet key for the computer over the weekend in the hopes of solving my access problems at home. no phone and no internet is pretty rough in my world. i was all excited to use it when i got home to rent a movie and lay in bed as i was pretty hung over and feeling shitty.

as you might have guessed the damn thing didn't work.

i had planned to go to the bookstore to buy a schoolbook and go grocery shopping on sunday. i wanted to hang around the house and finally get myself organized. if you're familiar with italy, you might have guessed that the bookstore was closed. you may or may not have guessed that the damn grocery store was closed too. i had also been holding on to some hope that the internet key would work on sunday. maybe it just needed 24 hours to activate. nope. no such luck.

right now it's 5:53pm. i'm sitting at school having just finished working with a group on a project that took four hours instead of one and a half. i'm also feeling pressured to get everything done on the internet that i need, plus catch up with the news, since i'm completely cut off at home.

when i leave here, soon, i'm hoping that the public transit is functioning. there was a transit strike today and maybe it hasn't ended yet. apparently transit strikes in italy only occur during business hours.

what the fuck!?

oh, and in one final addition to my rant, living in a country where people don't speak english is actually making my english worse! and i've only been here for two weeks!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

election day

today has been a big day so far. i started school this morning, and [this afternoon in italy] polls are opening all across the united states to allow her citizens to choose a new president. to me, and to most of you who would be reading this blog, the choice is clear. the opportunity to elect barack obama to our nation's highest office is not one to be taken lightly or to be thrown away. he has the potential to affect a real change in america, the likes of which my generation, and perhaps that of my parents as well, has not yet seen.

bill also left today to fly home. i'm already missing him and we've only been apart for about eight hours. it's going to be a long year.

i am happy to report that school will be very very interesting this year. our first lesson today, in a course called the essentials of management, gave me a clear indication that my education here will allow me to develop the kind of knowledge and lexicon in business that i have been lacking thus far in my career. my classmates are a very diverse group and they seem to have all come to this place the same way as i. everyone seems to have been searching for this very thing, and was only able to find it at bocconi. it doesn't seem to exist anywhere else. i'm thankful for the opportunity and fully intend to kick ass and have a job this time next year. i just wish i were a little closer to home.