Travel

rome 🇮🇹 galleria borghese, more wandering about parks and blissful pre-covid crowds

It’s the long-awaited finale to my photos from the trip to Rome, Italy I took two summers ago! I thought to myself the other day “hey, did I ever finish that Rome travel series of posts?”, checked the blog, and no, I had not. There was one more to go. So here we are, a full year and a half into my COVID lockdown life, unsure when I’ll venture out on international travels again, looking at photos of Rome. I don’t recall much about this day, but remembering what little I do feels so odd now. Like when I watch a YouTube vlog that I don’t realize was pre-COVID, and I have an automatic reaction at so many crowds gathering unmasked. How odd that it once was that I never thought twice about all this and plowed through crowds fearlessly to get the best view of an old pretty thing.

This was the Borghese Gallery, and they didn’t allow photography inside. But holy shit, this was a good art museum. Like, top three I’ve ever been in. Maybe even top one?! The paintings and sculptures are all beautiful, but the interiors are similarly gorgeous – marble, cornices, the works. I have no better words to describe this other than: holy shit, so fucking good, I’m dying to go again.

One more thing I’ll say before we leave for the gardens – the café staff were quite rude here. I made a mistake in my Italian when ordering and the guy helping me laughed, turned around and said something to his coworkers, and then they all laughed. I hope now that I was reading into it, but I think based on context, tone, and body language, they were laughing at me. And it was pretty shitty! That’s the last commentary I’ll leave in this post – we walked around the park after, all the way back to Piazza del Popolo and then to our hotel near The Pantheon.

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may, 2021

1. who knows honestly

Full transparency, it’s June 10 and I’m just now starting this blog post. I usually try to start these in the middle of the month it’s for, so even if I finish it late (which I usually do), I’ve already recorded a bit about what I’m feeling, doing, thinking, and it’s enough to get me going if I come back to it later. No such luck this time! I’m finishing this on June 20! What did I do during May? Have fun? Have a breakdown? It’s all a guess to me, but from what I’m piecing together from my journal and calendar, it’s something in between. In May I started hanging out with people outside my household again, which was lovely! I’ve had my boyfriend and my brother as my main social company for over a year now, so it’s been nice to see friends not in a small FaceTime screen on my phone and go to restaurants and whatnot with them. We also took a little trip to LA, and it was my last full month of undergrad!

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april, 2021

1. spring has sprung sprang sproink spank sprank

Oops, I did it again. Nothing fun and sexy like the song, no – I overbooked myself and felt exhausted for a week, as I am apparently wont to do at the beginning of the quarter. What is it about ease that is so difficult for me? Is it that I think of myself as being either good or bad at everything, including finding ease and contentment and peace? Why do I say yes to so many things? Am I ambitious, or do I just think I need to do Useful Things for Other People to achieve some sense of worth? Would I be less neurotic if I weren’t so self-aware of my neuroses? (I think, in another life, I could have been a tortured and vaguely wealthy white man, and that positioning enables me to fill absolute gallons of novels with endless questions like this.) So, yeah, April started off like that, and I want to say it ended a little better. I got better throughout the month at saying no to things to take care of myself, and I’m trying to keep that up.

Also, I think I have allergies now. It’s horrid.

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march, 2021

1. aging is a gift, woman pleads with self in mirror

March is my birthday month, and as someone who cares a lot about beginnings/endings/arbitrary markers of time that humans make up, I’m always in my feelings this month. This year, I don’t think I can say I’m in my early 20’s anymore. That’s a bit of a jarring and uncomfortable thought to have – the early 20’s are the most romanticized, hopeful, lively time period, at least in most media I’ve consumed up to this point, and I feel as though I spent my younger years thinking that these years would be some magical halcyon days. There’s some stuff to unpack here about me living in my head and daydreams instead of in the moment, as well as some stuff about having a shitload of unprocessed trauma and baggage that I thought would perhaps go poof once I hit my hot as hell 20’s. (Still waiting on the hot as hell glow up.) But I think I’m starting to genuinely believe that aging is a good damn thing that I’m lucky to experience. So many people pass before their time, and hasn’t this year made that even more apparent? I don’t want to sit around being ungrateful for the days I have, scared about the years others lose. I heard this quote from David Bowie recently that goes like, “Aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.” It’s been percolating in my head for a few weeks now, and I really like that thought. With each year, we grow more into ourselves, more comfortable with who we are, and we were always meant to feel this way. And looking back at where I was, who I was, a year ago, I can definitely say I’m glad I’m me-today and not me-a-year-ago, or two-years-ago, or three. I’m fairly certain I’ll feel the same way a year from now, so why not just trust that process and enjoy the ride? I’m trying to seek out ease a little more, and not make things harder for myself than they have to be – so this is my birthday month and I’m older and that’s where I’m starting.

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february, 2021

1. here for a bad time, not a long time

February, my lord. The shortest month got me. What do I even have to say? It’s already the second week of March, and February was a blur. I think I felt extra scattered during this month, but I also think that’s maybe just ‘normal’ right now. My daily life is fairly routine at this point in the global pandemic – I work and go to school from home, I take a walk outside, I go to get groceries, I hang out at home with the same couple people I’ve had for company for a year now – so I think I feel as if I should be optimizing for productivity, given that I have a regular routine and am lucky to have that? And that’s why I think I feel more scattered, when maybe it’s just normal to feel scattered. My therapist and I talked about this recently, when I told her I was surprised I was so irritated at something that wasn’t a big deal. She said that right now we’re all operating at a higher constant level of stress and anxiety – if the baseline is 8, it’s easier for smaller things to bump us up to a 10. I think that’s a good way of thinking about it. I’ve been at an 8 for so long, and it’s exhausting. I’m trying to be gentle with myself when I have a weekend where I’m not productive at all, and not immediately equate “not getting things done” to “worthless lump of coal”.

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