Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn Calling

September is a time for new starts, and I always feel this rule applies more here in Italy than elsewhere because during the summer things wind down to a crawl. Here in Rome it can take up until mid-September for the city to creak to its feet, shake off the last of that summer dust kicked up by motorinos cruising along dry roads and get things up and running again.

In its annual state of sweaty lethargy was how I found Rome when I came back from England a month ago. Then I started a new job and things got very hectic. I've therefore only just noticed that life, in the meantime, has rediscovered its old rhythms. The traffic along my road is constant instead of trickling, small shops on side streets have reopened their shutters with a vengance, and there's the definite, delicious hint of a chill in the air early in the morning.

Raising my head above the parapet for the first time after three tiring weeks in my new job (more about that another time) I realise that while I have been spending my weekends in a daze of exhaustion I have been missing out on the lasts of the summer. Last visit to the lake or beach, last good peaches, last really, really cold beer, last chance to wear that cute red sundress. And worse still, it's last-chance saloon at the gelaterias, who are going down to weekend-only opening.

But that's ok, because autumn in Italy brings other joys. When you leave the house it means the sun warming your cockles instead of frying your brains. Autumn means the grape harvest and all its associated pleasures. It means being able to stay inside reading a book without feeling guilty that you should be doing something becasue it's such a beautiful evening. On the other hand it means strolls in the park, visiting museums, going on trips, and all those things you haven't been able to do during daytime hours for 3 months because the sun would have melted the soles of your shoes. It means starting to eat yummy soups again, and afterwards maybe allowing yourself the odd pudding or two, because, after all, that flesh'll be covered up soon.

How are you settling into autumn where you are?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You know you're getting older when....

Ah, flatsharing. You either hate it or, well, you hate it (or maybe I'm just a misery guts).

I remember when I was still living at home and about 18. I had an older boyfriend Dan who lived with his student friends, which seemed ever so exciting and glamorous until I realised staying over meant getting into a grimy damp-spotted shower in the morning and fighting my way through the pizza boxes to try and find some milk for my tea before leaving for work. And then there was the moaning. I swore to myself I would never rant boringly like him on the topic of whose turn it was to buy the toilet roll (don't moan at me, moan at THEM I wanted to shout but obviously, being British, he couldn't).

Ok, I accept that that particular house offered an authentic student house experience, and I happily spent three studenty years afterwards wallowing in a similar kind of grotty pigsty with likeminded people. Of course there were moans about things, there were always the moans, but there was a kind of unspoken pact that we would live in a godforsaken mess and no-one would care. It seemed almost expected of us.

The real problems started afterwards when the houseshares with 'real' people started. I didn't particularly want to share a house, and neither, I imagine, did they. There were no pally 'house dinners', no boozing the night away then bonding in the kitchen over burnt toast at 2am. 'Grown up' housemates weren't particularly looking for friends, they would have much preferred having their own place, thank you very much. They were also too used to sharing houses and weren't shy about telling you what they expected as good 'housemate behaviour'.

Maybe I've just had some bad experiences in the last few years,, but I really hope my time in houseshares is almost over. Friends my age have reported similar yearnings; one, after discovering that there were mice scratching away behind her bedroom wall sighed "aren't I too old for this now?". Another lives with a married couple who can't afford their own place, and frequently feels like a third wheel in his own home.

Sorry if this itself feels like a big old moan. Maybe I have finally ended up like poor old Dan. I've just moved house, so here's hoping the new year (September is like new year in Italy with everyone back from their month-long break) brings tolerable housemates and a non hair-clogged plughole...oh and plenty of riches so I can start saving for that deposit on a hosue!

On a side note, the last I heard from Dan he was an extremely successful management consultant being flown around the world to do management consultant-y type things. I imagine he doesn't have reason to moan about the loo roll any more.

Above: Past housesharing memories.