Wishing You All A Happy New Year And 2013 In Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog, and basically everyone is just here for the Zebra sex.

F left his crown in the car "on accident."

F left his crown in the car “on accident.”

 

2013 In Review (Holy Shit! I Survived!)

  • I had my Italian wedding in May and did it without a complete meltdown. We were married by a really nice hobbit in Cassino Italy. Dinner lasted for seven hours and my mum-in-law had to unzip my dress because I was fainting.
  • I went to Thailand for my honeymoon. It was amazing and everyone should go there at some point in their life. I saw so many hot lady-boys and the best fake boobs ever. But the elephant Trekking made me cry. That shit is sad. Go to an elephant sanctuary instead!
  • There were many epic in-law battles but in the end I think we learned to see eye-to-eye or at least I drank enough wine that it seemed more peaceful.
  • F got his Greencard! But only because the evil woman who probably hates kittens wasn’t there that day. I lost my ability referr to him as “my WOP” which was hard but I worked through it.
  • I went viral a few times! Well, my blog went viral, I don’t have any diseases that I know of. I had over 80,000 views in November, I gained a ton of new followers, made some new friends, and received a lot of great feedback that was awesome. Unfortunately some people were dickheads and I got some really “colorful” comments that were so ridiculous that I made a video about it.
  • Oliver was put on at least twenty different sex offender lists for his “LET ME LOVE YOUR LEG” bullying. We’re not proud. Well, both of us aren’t.
  • My most popular posts of 2013 were: 25 Things I’ve Learned About Italy18 Differences Between Living In Italy And The United StatesWhy Everyone Should Live In Italy At Least Once In Their Lives, The Big Cheat: The Truth About Italian Men, and 13 Things That Marrying An Italian Man Has Taught Me.
  • A lot of people came to my site by searching for: Midget Porn, Florence Italy Street Fashion, And Zebra Sex. I feel like Google finally gets me.

My New Years Resolutions are to: Do one thing every week to make the world a better place. Publish my book. And to bring back the running man. What’s yours?

Cruising In My Hood: Campo Di Marte

Dramatic Newspaper

Dramatic Newspaper

Chianti. Winning!

Chianti. Winning!

Espresso Cup With The Symbol Of Florence

Espresso Cup With The Symbol Of Florence

The Church Tower By My Apartment. Ding-Dong, You're Going To Hell (the bell is judgy).

The Church Tower By My Apartment. Ding-Dong, You’re Going To Hell (the bell is judgy).

Mini-Aperitivo

Mini-Aperitivo

My Local Bar. They Keep Treats Behind The Bar And Give Them Out Generously To Oliver

My Local Bar. They Keep Treats Behind The Bar And Give Them Out Generously To Oliver

Moving To Florence: Studying And Living

A lot of people who read this blog are either drunk or interested in moving to Italy, or both, which is why my community of readers are both fun and adventurous and basically better than everyone else. Since I love all of you so much I’d like to help import you to Italy by supplying whatever information I’ve learned to get you here and keep you here (mostly) legally. If you live in Italy or have lived in Italy feel free to comment and add to my suggestions!

Staying Longer Than Three Months And The Dreaded Visa

Let’s start with visa information. Compared to other countries, it’s fairly easy to get a visa for Italy if you’re from a developed country (if your country is considered third-world, they’ll still give it to you but you’ll have a few more hoops to jump through. I’d recommend just taking a boat and running for it.). There are a few different visa options and what you choose will probably come down to what you can afford. Anything up to three months doesn’t require a visa at all and that’s great if you want to come and do some tourism or a WWOOF program for the summer.

After three months you’ll need either a student visa or an extended tourist visa. Getting a work visa in any country is nearly impossible so I wouldn’t even bother. If you choose to do some kind of study program here you are allowed to work twenty hours per week which is nice although keep in mind that the average hourly pay here is like seven euros. The easiest way to come here is if you’re already attending an American Uni that has connections with a Uni here in Italy. However, I didn’t do that. I took out huge loans and attended the post-bachelorette program at SACI. Though, there are much cheaper schools here for literally everything you can imagine from cooking to wine-making, to sculpture and language and let’s not forget about apprenticeships. Getting a student visa is a pretty straight shot. The website lists everything you need to do and submit and once you do that you should be fine for whatever amount of time you’re studying. If you are an artist or a writer you can probably do a Self Employed Visa, the only downside of this is proving you have the financial means to coast through a year or so. You’ll find the information on the same website I linked above.

Money is for sure the biggest problem to tackle because getting a visa requires you to have 1,000 bucks in the bank for every month you ask to be in Italy. It can be a lot. I didn’t do that, instead I submitted bank statements showing that I get paid regularly a certain amount and then I had my mother do the same and write a letter saying she would help me financially if I needed it and that worked just fine. (You should try to have at least a couple grand saved before you move here just in case you don’t find a job right away.).

With that said, I do know a few people who never bothered with the visa, instead they just leave the country every three months to go on a mini-vacation outside of the Shengen area. Apparently, this works, although the risk is that if you get caught over-staying your visa you are banned from Italy forever and also it’s not easy to find work if you’re not legal. Probably better to get the visa.

After you get your visa, when you arrive in Italy you need to go to the Police station within eight days and apply for a Residence Permit or a Permesso Di Soggiorno. I’ll be honest and say that IT FUCKING SUCKS. You’ll be in line for hours, plan on having a shitty day, it’s part of immigrating here. The Permesso is nice to have because once your student visa runs out as long as your Permesso is up-to-date you can  still stay. My old room-mate originally came on a student visa, but then she found a job as a tour guide and stayed on her Permesso alone. Make sure you have it and keep it current. 

Schools

Going to an Italian school is a good deal cheaper than going to an American school. Well, basically going to school anywhere on earth is cheaper than an American school but Italy is really cheap. As far as grants and loans are concerned there are a number of cultural grants that one can apply for from most countries (I know Canada offers them for example). The downside is I haven’t found many in the United States because ya know Ammmmmerca doesn’t fund a lot of cultural exchange programs. However, Italy gives some money to humans who want to study in Italy. 

Finding the right school can make all the difference. If you study your ass off before you come to Italy you can go to an Italian school which is cheaper, but everything will be taught in Italian. If you are like me and you suck at languages (because you are shy and awkward), you can find schools that are affordable and cater to English-speaking humans. Make sure the school is reputable, and that the degrees, certifications, etc. transfer to your home-country. More than anything just make sure you cross compare schools to make sure that you’re not getting ripped off. And do not do housing through the school! They always jack up the prices on student apartments and many schools make a large profit on the apartments. I know from experience.

A Few School Recommendations For Florence:

http://www.artfuji.it/

http://www.lorenzodemedici.it/en/home

http://www.scuolacucinaitaliana.com/

Rent And Apartments

I think it’s similar throughout Italy but most of my experience is with Florence. In Florence you’ll pay around 300-400 euros per month to rent a bedroom in a shared apartment. I highly recommend doing this. Frankly, it’s better for  money, you’ll learn Italian faster, and you’ll be living like the locals. Italians don’t rent their own apartments usually. They live with their parents or they rent a room in a shared apartment. They’ll probably ask for a deposit and first months rent, you’ll most likely have to sign a contract which you can break anytime in Italy with a written notice. Most rent should include utilities. The best way to find a room for rent is to come to Italy and go to universities or cafe’s and look at bulletin boards. This is how most people find room-mates and places to live. Ideally take a friend or someone with you just to be safe. If you are in Florence and insist on an English speaking room-mate try to find someone from the rent wall at the European Institute.

Jobs: How To Make Money

Almost everyone I know either works as an English speaking tour guide (easier to qualify for the job than you might think), teaches English, or works in a pub of some sort. There is also the dog-sitter or nanny thing but those are jobs that take some time to establish. Most other jobs will require to to speak Italian fairly well.  A lot of the people who I know that teach English just tutor kids or whomever here or there. You can advertise in a number of ways from putting up an add online to posting things around the city. Remember, Italy is not very internet friendly. Most things are still done in physical form such as posting “English Teacher” ads on boards in coffee shops or at schools etc. around the city. It’s not easy landing a job before you arrive here. People conduct everything face-to-face (a cute habit which quickly becomes irritatingly inconvenient.). Another option is to do freelance work for American companies. That’s what I do and I love it. You can sign up to a number of freelance websites to write (textbroker.com or freelancer.com are examples), or do graphic design, or a number of other things. If you can do this steadily before moving to Italy it’s probably the easiest option in the beginning.

Romance

You’ll probably arrive here and fall madly in love with some Italian Stallion because a lot of them dress well and they are good at the sex. It’s not that difficult to land an Italian man these days since there are way more of them than there are Italian women. Most of them, because of the culture, are what anglo-saxons equate with “prince charming.” Although keep a few things in mind: His mother probably controls his life and irons his panties. He is probably still friends with every girl he has ever slept with and he comes from a country where having a little somethin’-somethin’ on the side is considered normal and is talked about openly among dudes. He also might be fascist like all “yay fascism”. If you find one who isn’t a cheater, who has stopped breast feeding from his poor mom’s dry and chaffed teets, who isn’t pro-mussolini, and who washes his own panties: marry him. Then you can stay forever and make super cute mixed babies. Tuscan rainbows.

What would you add? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below. 😉

I Shouldn’t Be Allowed Around People Or Google.

Every once in a while my in-laws come from Cassino to Florence to visit us and stay at our apartment for the weekend. This past weekend they came on Saturday and left on Sunday, a short visit, and I have to admit a pleasant visit (for those of you who read M.E. regularly, you’re totally shitting your pants right now. I know.). Usually when they visit I find myself crying hysterically in the bathroom or I spend hours thinking of interesting ways to murder my husband. This time I decided something that I should have decided a long time ago: I do not give a flying fuck. I made my husband clean and prepare the apartment for them, I refused to be bothered or stressed because Misty is tired. When they arrived I said hello and was  polite, but I did minimum hosting which means I only handed out water and made sure my dog didn’t bother anyone t0o much. Everyone was fine and it was mostly not weird until someone had to go and ruin it for everyone.

We were all gathered in the living-room, my in-laws, F and I, drinking coffee when the attention turned to Oliver who was being his usual-self, attacking and enthusiastically humping Mr. Oinky his new stuffed pig, in his bed. Then, as though he was trying to make me look bad, he stopped, panted, lifted his leg and PISSED  on Mr. Oinky. Right on his head like he was all, “take that bitch” after a disappointing exchange. After all my work with this dog I’d still managed  to raise a canine version of R Kelly. Everyone exchanged uncomfortable glances and I leapt up to express clean while I explained that he had never done that before (which is entirely true) but it was too late. Obviously, I had a raised a freak and there was no getting around it.

————————

Later that evening we were invited to dinner at a friend of the family’s house who also lives in Florence. I realized a few things. The first thing being that I love how people do table spreads here. I mean, the entire table is literally overflowing with food. The second thing is that now that I’m married everyone is really interested in my vagina and concerned with how much action she’s potentially getting.

My in-laws, my brother and sister-in-law and the hosting couple, almost at the same time, leaned in and started asking questions. When are you guys going to have a baby? When? WHEN!?? Someone demanded that we have more sex. Have sex every day! Everyone seemed so excited about us having sex that I was kind of waiting for it to be suggested that we make a baby on the dinner table. No really, do it now. NOW. NOW!

I said, “well make one when we can afford it unless you know of a way to make it live off of air. Also, babies pee inside of you. THEY PEE INSIDE OF YOU! Speaking of pee, I should not be a mother. Did I tell you all what Oliver did to his stuffed animal today? Really, you don’t want me to reproduce.” And I think they all agreed so maybe the thing with Oliver was a blessing in disguise. It’s not that I don’t want kids, it’s just that I don’t want kids now. Or soon.

(And  I might reconsider doing it ever after reading this article on fetal masturbation. Seriously? Why babies? Also, I would like to know what the church thinks of this. Kind of puts a damper on the no touchy-touchy argument, doesn’t it?)

The sex talk faded away and I was able to focus more on eating and wine. I had Oliver chained under my chair with his Kong so he couldn’t freak anyone else out. The more I drink the less I can speak Italian, or English, so at some point I was just staring at everyone. I don’t know about any of you guys but bored is bad for me. Usually my imagination kicks in and it’s all downhill from there.

Lara, our nine month old niece was sitting on my mother-in-laws lap, poking her with little bread sticks that are about the width of a pretzal but longer. Then she started feeding my mother-in-law the bread-pretzal. And I leaned over to F and was all, “I want to feed your mom a breadstick !” And F was all, “DO NOT DO THAT.” I tried to stop myself but she was sitting next to me so at some  point I was waving one in front of her face making an airplane noise and then trying to poke it into her mouth. She wouldn’t eat it. Unaware of how to repair the awkward thing I’d already done, I bonked her on the head with it instead and said, “dooopidooopidooo.” Francesco was horrified. She shot me a mean look and somehow I felt an odd sense of satisfaction that is really inexplainable.

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On Sunday everyone returned to Cassino. The weather was shit in Florence so F and I decided to stay home and  watch Underworld because, you know, werewolves and vampires!

F: What if I was a Lycan and you were a vampire?

ME: Clearly, we’d get married and have a half-breed baby. I don’t see the issue.

F: What would your Vampire name be?

ME: Something gothic and ridiculous like Seraphyn.

F: What would my name be?

ME: PUPPY!

F: My name would NOT BE PUPPY! It would be Rocko!

ME: No. Your name would be puppy. That’s a good name!

F: I hate you. [Gets up and adjusts sound]

ME: Good puppy! [pat, pat, pat].

F: UUUUGH!

Leaving The Table Is Like Announcing That You’ve Eaten A Neighborhood Child

It’s no secret that my in-laws do not  like me. Why? I have no idea. I mean, I know I’m weird, but they hated me way before they had a chance to get to know me. Given the way that they pronounce my nationality, like a disease, saying it to others as though they’re apologizing to God, tells me that maybe it has something to do with where I’m from. Now, I’d also like to say that I know most people dislike their in-laws. I know that I’m not the only person in all the world with this problem, which is my purpose for writing this, I feel like other people can relate to it. Also, my point of doing this blog wasn’t to document how “beautiful” Italy is. Everyone knows it’s beautiful. I wanted to write an honest blog about what it’s really like living here as a foreign person. If I just post photos of pretty buildings and great food I’d only be telling half of the story. If that’s your thing, there are loads of tourism blogs about Italy that don’t document things like neo-nazis or evil mother-in-laws.

Cross Cultural Love: I Own Him On Paper

Cross Cultural Love: I Own Him On Paper

So, anyways, I’ve been with Francesco for over three years and since the beginning we have had a lot of problems with his parents. They objected to our marriage, our relationship, and me. I assumed at some point they’d be won-over by my charm, and by charm I mean, “she’s cute in a baby-in-a-head-shaping-helmet” kind of way. That did not happen and in many ways things have only gotten worse.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I were in his hometown visiting his parents when his mother took it upon herself to introduce me as her sons “girlfriend,” followed by an explaination to my husband that she doesn’t recognize our marriage. This. Pissed. Me. Off. In three years this is the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to say something to her. So I emailed her because I am super, incredibly, stupid. I’m not going to paste the exact email here but it was something like this:

“Look, clearly if you still have a problem with me after three years you’re always going to have a problem with me. I have no idea what you want. You’ve never liked me and have made sure that I’m aware of that. The tension in the family isn’t good for anyone. It’s not good for you guys, or Francesco, and I don’t want to cause problems in his life. He’s  in a really difficult position. I’m aware that you would have prefered he married an Italian woman, or one of his ex’s (whom his family is still close with), however he chose me. Why? No idea. But he did. Seriously, what do you want from me? Do you want me to pack up my stuff and return to the United States and leave Francesco? Is that the goal here?”

Of course, my purpose was to address their problems with me and the “less than ideal” situation, and ask what the family hoped to accomplish by reminding me every other weekend that I am not their first, second, or third choice of daughter-in-law. This is not what the mother took from it. Of the five paragraphs I wrote the only part she paid attention to was, “return to the United States” where she decided that I’m going to leave Francesco and divorce him as an “American does.” Her response back to me was something like this:

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. You’ve imagined everything because you are mentally unstable. Maybe you should look at how you’re acting, and stop hiding inside of yourself like a hedgehog.”

Where I responded internally: Oh b&$&, just wait until I publish a book! Just kidding, that would make me crazy (because there is no way anyone is going to publish me). But seriously, just wait. 

Suprisingly, her response also pissed off my husband because she called me a dellusional liar, which she can’t do in this particular case because he was there everytime she threw a tantrum forbidding him to marry me, screaming “why would you be with an AMERICAN,” and telling his friends that whatever they do to “find a nice Italian girl, not an American,” like her son did. Not to mention, she expressed her disapproval to the entire village, which of course came back to us. So, as nuts as I really am, I didn’t hallucinate the fact that she hates me and the idea of our cross-cultural union (because it’s 1825), nor did I hallucinate the few times she’s poked my breasts and told me how incredibly unattractive I am because I don’t have huge knockers. True story. So, my point is that I did not make this shit up. My husband called her to say, “My wife did not make this shit up.” Where she responded (seriously), “She left the table during lunch.” What does that even mean? Let me explain.

Leaving The Table Is Like Announcing That You’ve Eaten A Neighborhood Child: Important Cultural Lesson

Let’s say you’re sitting around a lunch table with guests and your baby starts screaming to the high-heavens, or, in my case, your dog feels the urge to make leg sex with everyone, followed by incessant barking, and then food thievery.

The polite thing to do is:

A) Keep eating. Smile. Drink more wine, and tune out everyone yelling at your dog to “stop” and “BASTA!” Embrace the fact that your screaming baby/obnoxious dog is the center of attention. Feel the love. Own it.

B) Take the disruptive child/dog into another room and let everyone eat in peace.

We all know that in the United States, Britain, France, etc, choice “A” would make you the rudest fucking person in the history of manners, EVER. However, I’ve recently learned that choice “B” is worse than committing murder in Francesco’s family.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, you’re wondering, “How does telling you that you’re not welcome in their family have anything to do with getting up from a table?” It doesn’t. Which is what makes this woman a genius because she is using a  classic red herring move. Touchè devil woman. Now, I have to make the next move but what I really want to do is disappear.Or, I can use her own method against her and reply back, “Goats drink goats milk in the spring . You ate an orange once. Eminem. Caffe Latté!”

I’m trying to figure out what to do next so I asked everyone for advice because clearly I can’t trust myself. An Italian friend of mine said that her behavior is standard for a small southern village, and that she will continue to use a “paranoid, and insane,” strategy to try to take the higher ground politically.” I am well-versed in this behavior, since I attended an American Junior High School, but ain’t no body got time for that! I talked with a few American friends who said that I should simply stop going to their home for a while because the constant negativity is causing harm and strain. I have great friends and I value their advice but honestly I don’t want to do that either. I don’t want to play her “strategy” game, and I don’t want to avoid the problems for another decade. My goal was to address the fact that there are issues and try to resolve it so that maybe one day my kids won’t have to grow up with the same tension (yes, I’m stupid, stupid, stupid!). Though, I do realize that if I couldn’t win them over in three years, it’s not going to happen, ever.

I’ve tried compliments, helping the mom clean and cook more, doing whatever they tell me, I’ve tried everything that Francesco has told me to do to improve the relationship but it hasn’t worked. I’m not the kind of person who normally places blame on other people (but my husband has assured me that this really isn’t me), nor am I the kind of person who cares if people like me or not (because duh, everyone does), but this is my husband’s family. I really want them to like me and it hurts a lot that they don’t (whine, whine, whine). However, I’m aware that you cannot force open a closed mind. If a person isn’t used to cultural differences, there is nothing that anyone can do. I know that because my own father is racist, homophobic, and all kinds of closed-minded. Can’t change them.

So the question is: Do I keep going there, pretending that everything is fine, tune out their criticism and smile, knowing they all want me to overdose on gasoline, or do I politely step aside and avoid the tension for a while, or do I respond to the the mother-in-law’s hedgehog email and hope that if we go back and fourth enough times we’ll come to some resolve?

Being a grown up is hard.

For A Follow-Up Of The In-Laws Saga Click Here. 

Do Bribes Work in Real Life Like They Do In The Movies?

There are times when I think I’m in the mafia. Sure, I grew up poor, in bad areas, but somewhere in my brain I believe that I’m the godfather. In the fourth grade I tried to start my own gang. I didn’t know what a gang was but I knew that I was good at convincing people of things and I knew that I could have followers. All was nice until I wanted my gang to beat up another kid for me. That kid was a dick, and he irritated me by bullying other kids. My gang of four or five nine year olds refused to inflict violence on the larger kid, which, ya know, was smart. Since I was smaller than my fellow members I couldn’t intimidate them to encourage them to hurt someone else, so I turned my persistent, irritating nature to another cause that allowed me to lead a group of humans and started an environmental group instead. The environment totally won.

About twenty years later we come full circle to my life now. I live in Italy with my boyfriend whom I love. However, as relationships often are, it’s problematic. We have problems. It all started about eight months ago when I realized I didn’t know my boyfriend at all. He’d lied to me about most of the details from his past. I’m jaded, I’ve been the rebound girl lots of times in my life. Since I’m totally awesome it’s not difficult for me to become a distraction for men. However, distractions only last so long, and eventually they go back to what wounded them in the first place and also I’m weird. Weird isn’t fun forever. Because this has been a recurring theme in my life, and because I’m not a fan of repeating my mistakes, I asked my boyfriend in the first few months of our meeting many details about his ex’s. Unlike many women, my jealousy is usually only attached to people I have a reason to worry about. Lying or hiding is a big read flag that I have a reason to worry.

I found out the truth after we were engaged, after we’d moved in together, after we got a dog together. The truth was this: He didn’t date his ex for “four months” nearly two years before I met him as he told me. He dated her for two years, ending only three months before I met him. Tragic. This left me with the decision to leave or to stay. I chose to stay, because I love him and because I’m an idiot. He was all like, “but I didn’t love her, EVER,” and I was all, “prove it, liar-face.” He can’t prove it. Which is weird because it should be an easy thing to prove. Right?

There are a variety of reasons why proving it seems to be a challenge. One, Italians don’t like to be involved in each other’s business. Even if it’s simply validating a friend’s story. Most of his “friends” have refused to even simply tell me, “yes that’s what happened” or “no it’s not.” Another issue is that nobody really knows the truth except for a couple of their mutual friends, her, and him. He lied so obviously he doesn’t count. Their mutual friends don’t want to be involved, and neither does she.

Unfortunately I know she doesn’t want to be involved because in a moment of desperation I asked her very politely if she would be willing to confirm something for me. She never responded, rather she called Francesco and told on me (what the fuck happened to women uniting!? Rude.). I’m always shocked when people have these reactions to things. Despite being a total asshole, I’m pretty fair and sympathetic to other people. Not always, I’m not perfect obviously, but I try and I would totally talk to me in this situation. Really.

Since that didn’t work and I hate being told “no”, I’ve resorted to bribes. They work in movies, and in the place I grew up. Maybe they work in Europe too? So, I sit at my laptop trying to think of the least creepy way to bribe her. I write and re-write the email in various forms. Note that, I’m kind of being silly and joking at this point. I know it won’t work and that I’m being super weird BUT I kind of feel like doing something silly makes up for the fact that this whole thing has made me feel like doodie.

Here are the first few drafts I wrote.

“You are a stupid bitch and I hope you die. If I give you 200 euros will you talk to me about my idiot boyfriend, if not I will take the money and pay someone to pee in your shampoo.” This one would obviously not work.

“Please, this is destroying our relationship and you’re the only person that can help me. I’ll pay you, please just take pity on me and help me out.” Since she’s a heartless, evil, witch this won’t work either.

And finally, the one I chose, “I get it, you’re bitter, I’m dating your ex, and you think I’m crazy. I am. Still, I need info and you have it, how about we make an exchange, you answer a few questions and I pay you 200 euros.” This one, maybe. Hmmm.

Now, I’m aware she isn’t going to answer back. I get it. However, I am unbearably tenacious, and slightly obsessive. I rarely, rarely, give up on anything, ever. My friends have tried discouraging my many crazy or odd “goals” many times in my life. Bless them they still try to talk me into more “normal” behavior. Sometimes I wonder if they hang up the phone with me and think, “dear god there is no hope for her.” Some of my friends have resorted to the idea that eventually I’ll off myself or develop serious Prozac dependencies in my future, something to curb my non-stop crazy thoughts. I like to think that it just makes me effective rather than broken. That’s justification!

The truth is that I’m scared. Sure, anyone can lose anyone they love at anytime. People change, grow apart, fall in love with someone else, lots of things can happen in a lifetime. But, it’s entirely different to start your life with with a base of lies, deceit and the idea that they are possibly in love with someone else. I could sweep it under the rug and “move on” but anyone knows that every woman will hold that in the back of her mind for the rest of her life. Ten years from now I’d wonder still if he misses her. And he’d sure as fuck never be allowed to go to spain without me for the rest of his life. Of course.  Wouldn’t it be easier to be sure?

I’ve always believed that hope is our greatest friend and biggest enemy. Hope makes us lie and trick ourselves, but it’s also the only thing that pushes our species forward. Without it, we’d give up and die off. It could very well be for the best.

But before that I’d like to focus my annoying nature to fixing my relationship so I don’t have to give up on it. I’d like people to cooperate, and since I can’t force them to do it just like in elementary school, the least I can do is make cooperating appealing. It works in the movies. And I mean, money! Who doesn’t like money!?

Art School in Florence: The First Weeks

The first week of school in Florence was over-whelming given the fact that I was jet-lagged and refused to stop wearing high heels despite the cobblestone and my frequent falls. By then, I’d become aquinted with my room-mates, and we formed a sort of friendship based on a lack of other options. There was Mindy, a woman of around sixty-five who told everyone she was thirty-five, a painter, the recipient of the schools scholarship and was given a full-ride. Then, there was Amy the southern bell who talked fast, walked fast, and seemed to be full-on addicted to some form of upper I desperately wanted. There was Click, a small girl from South Africa, a film-maker, who spoke a mix of ghetto and educated, british english. And another girl who was sort of a non-factor and not really worth mentioning, not because I didn’t like her, but because really it was like living with a ghost. Ghost shared a room with Click.

On the first day of class we were a dozen or so in the graduate program. We were asked to give a presentation explaining our previous artwork. I’d painted here and there, but I didn’t have a body of artwork and I certainly didn’t have photos of any of it. I wasn’t even aware that it might be a good idea to take photos of artwork. I’d only ever done it for fun while drunk. All of the students took their turns, many who, I was surprised, didn’t have a bachelors degree in art either. Some however, did and they were scary. When it was my turn I walked up to the front of the room, and waved to everyone. I’m really shy and I overcompensate by acting like I don’t care. “So, I used to paint, with oil and acrylic. My laptop exploded so I don’t have images, but I can tell you about the work. Sometimes I painted animals with human heads in sexual positions. I’m really interested in sex and sexuality, my thesis in college was on sexual fluidity. I write. Uhm…yeeep”. And then I took my seat. Everyone was staring at me as though I’d just said I had sex with my mother.

Our professor stood up in front of the class and assigned the task of choosing our “major professor”, the human who would guide us throughout the year. Then he looked at me, and in broken English with flailing hand gestures said, “But not you Misty, I a choose one for you bee-cose I can a see you’re like a fire, and you need someone who put out your fire”. I didn’t think giving a poor presentation made me appear aggressive, however clearly to this man it did. Though, from the looks of him it was easy to see he was a nervous person. He held his body in the shape of an “S” with his head bent down, his spined curved with his pelvis forward, and his knees bent. He talked with his hands while simultaneosly bending his knees. He moved and bounced like a puppet.

Later that day I discovered that my major professor was Serbian, and famed for making students cry. “Perfect,” I thought, “just what I need.” Though, Amy had him for a class and refered to him as “brilliant”, which helped to erase my picture of him as a sort of war criminal. I’d made an appointment with him and took to the library. I spent a few days before our meeting trying to understand as much about contemporary art as I possibly could. My knowledge was limited to everything before the seventeenth century which would not be helpful, unless I planned on recreating (destroying) Da Vinci work. I was immediately drawn to Sophie Calle who was also a writer, and seemed to be a little crazy. Which was exactly what I needed.

When I met my major professor it was obvious where his famed reputation came from, he was intense and extremely bold. His eyes were very serious and always locked on a target, he was overly confident, and spoke with a harsh yugoslavian accent. He was intelligent, true, but  I was able to follow him. This seemed to please him and he would smile with his mouth when I responded to his obscure references to things like Kant, or Sybil of Cumae. He agreed to be my professor and somehow I felt very accomplished. He seemed like the type who hated the general population, though I would later discover he was rather sweet and altruistic in his own scary way.

That night I stayed in the studio until three a.m. printing references to work from and making long lists for ideas and inspiration. If I would have known then, what I know now, I would have outsourced my projects to India, and become a sort of Damien Hirst  of globalization. Live and learn. Instead, stupidly, I tried to do my art work myself. For the next few weeks everything I saw, smelled, felt, or heard was a potential installation. “Look! Dog shit! I could do something with dog shit! Mastorbation! I like that! I could do something with that! Gypsies! I could do a photo documentary on gypsies!” I was unbearably clueless, and have no idea how anyone put up with me.

I’d also taken to insomnia and drinking my weight in alcohol almost every night. It wasn’t accidental. Since my brother had past away exactly one year prior to my arrival in Italy, I wasn’t emotionally stable. I was also lonely, and anxious which only fueled the  need for some form of escape even more. Somehow, I would drag a random school-mate out with me until five a.m., sleep for three hours and be in class in the morning. Luckily, my earliest class was Fresco, with Mario and Luigi (no shit). They had a coffee maker in the classroom so I was able to load up on caffeine while sketching out paintings in our sand mixture. Luigi was very quiet and was rarely in the studio, but Mario was extremely lively. He loved to talk, and I spent the morning inhaling my coffee, the earthy smells of the Fresco workshop, and laughing at Mario’s naive way of speaking exactly what was on his mind. “I make the sex with my girlfriend. Then my mamma call me, I love my mamma but I want her to make dead”, I’d try not to laugh, “that’s not nice Mario”. He’d gesture wildly as though he were carrying heavy rocks in front of his groin area and say, “but she a always breakin my a balls!”. After I few months I’d learn that professors in Europe basically say, and do whatever they want with little respect of propriety. I have to say, I kind of learned to love it.