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Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Spoilt for Choice

13/09/2016

Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

A friend commented the other day on the number of male admirers I was attracting in the village. And do you know what? She has a point.

It therefore begs the question; why oh why am I still single?

So let us for a moment consider all my options, and then perhaps you can help me choose between them.

Admirer A gives me flowers from his garden and declares that I am the air that he breathes and his ‘fiore di Primavera’. He enjoys walks with his dog, digging for potatoes, and chain-smoking. Admirer A is married and very much the wrong side of sixty.

Admirer B is tall and rather handsome. Apparently he likes me very very very much, or so he tells me every time we meet on the street; in broken Italian, because Admirer B…

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I’ll Show You Mine

30/08/2016

Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I have finally got myself a language exchange partner.

Sadly not the 6ft, raven-haired, dark-eyed hunk of unruly Italian masculinity that I had been hoping for; more a 4ft10, brown-haired, dark-eyed slip of Italian womanhood, but very welcome nevertheless. Especially in light of the fact that I seem to get away with conversing in Italian far more than she gets to practise her English.

Being single girls, and of roughly the same age, most of our conversations in both languages so far have been about boys. She has been giving me the low-down on Italian men – confirming most of what I had originally suspected, and I have been making stuff up about British ones.

Not having been anywhere near one since I was eighteen, my fictional Brit seems to have taken the middle ground somewhere between…

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Like a Horse and Carriage

06/09/2013

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Marriage is an institution that has gone severely out of fashion; there are occasional reports that it is staging a triumphant comeback, but for many people it is a step that is simply no longer relevant.

Which, I suppose, makes me old-fashioned (ditto my preference for Beethoven over Beyoncé, Pink Floyd over Pink and bog-standard trousers over those that display a spotty, g-stringed arse as soon as the wearer sits down), because I had always felt that should I ever meet a man with whom I decided to have a family, I might quite like to marry him first.

It was never about the big white wedding – horrid, fussy, expensive affairs in which being the dreaded centre of attention is apparently a must – it was more about the stated intention:

We are under no illusions that life is perfect, but we have taken the time and effort to organise a ceremonial promise to each other to try our very best to make our family work.

Giving myself and my intended that one further hoop to jump through seemed to offer an ideal opportunity for a last good think about our most heartfelt desires before we stepped into the bobbing sea of parenthood.

I have always been baffled by those (usually men, I might add) who claim marriage is too much of a commitment, but are happy to impregnate willy-nilly.

Pun, what pun?

But honestly, how on earth is marriage more of a commitment than breeding? You can’t divorce your children – although I understand they can now divorce you, if you don’t buy them the latest x-box or whatnot…

Of course there are still many who reckon love and marriage just go together like a nag and her cart. It has nothing to do with having children, it’s simply about forming a union that is built on mutual love and respect, a union they dearly hope will last forever and so wish to state that hope publicly.

And then there are those who are of the opinion that marriage is just a piece of paper. And I suppose they’re right: marriage can be just a piece of paper, if that is all you want it to be. And if that is all you see it as, then why bother? I get it.

Personally I just felt the need to officially verbalise my commitment to my partner before we went on to make an entirely more binding commitment to our offspring.

I didn’t want to call the father of my child, “my boyfriend” (too frivolous) or “my partner” (too business-like), I wanted to call him my husband and I wanted to be his wife – to me those felt like the building blocks for family.

But I am no romantic. Not a flutter felt I at uttering “I do”, and my heart didn’t dance a jig the first time I said “my husband”, I just felt rather silly – a little girl playing at being grown-up. I had no regrets at taking the plunge, but it changed precisely nothing.

Initially.

And then, once the overwhelming relief at getting the dreaded hoop-la over and done with had started to dissipate and a sense of normality returned, I began to notice that not all was as it had been: there was an added sense of contentment in the air; a togetherness and a tenderness that I hadn’t previously perceived.

Having set sail on the bobbing sea of life and parenthood – precarious novices in our untried and wobbly little boat – the feeling that we are in this together, a team composed of just the two of us, is overwhelming.

Overwhelming, but utterly and joyfully exhilarating.

And that is the part I had never expected.

This is Status Viatoris, I know I know – just wait a couple of years and all the rosiness will have rubbed off blah blah blah, in Italy.

No Turning Back…

31/07/2013

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Heavy left hands...

Heavy left hands…

For I am now officially married.

Hitched.

Spliced.

Wed.

I jumped the broom, tied the knot, took the marital plunge; and do you know what? Life doesn’t feel remotely different.

Who’d a thunk it.

In the end, and like all the best bridezillas, I managed to get away with the wedding I had always wanted (if I had to have one at all, that was).

No fuss, minimal flap, a complete absence of fancy white dress and the bare necessity of guests.

Having ignored my bridal apparel for as long as possible (much to the anxiety of the much-into-forward-planning Mothership) I jumped in the bathtub for an ablute about an hour prior to the ceremony before finally allaying her fears by squeezing my ample tum into its nuptial threads without bursting any of the more obvious seams.

By ten to seven on Monday evening – apparently a most irregular choice of moments for matrimony – Tigger (resplendent in his new trainers) and I were hanging around outside the town hall with the majority of our 25 strong wedding party, waiting for the stragglers whilst being snapped in the first of far too many photos.

Civil wedding ceremonies in Italy, like many supposedly formal occasions, are nothing if not laid back; especially when the lady mayoress/celebrant happens to be a neighbour and very close friend.

With our very special marriage celebrant...

With our very special marriage celebrant…

Tigger and I were told not to bother sitting down in the chairs provided – no point, this will only take about five minutes! – so we stood obediently before her as she read out the contractual obligations we were entering in to, while our unruly party milled about taking yet more photos and umpiring a small ruckus that briefly broke out between a canine wedding guest and a curious cat that had popped in from the street midway to see what all the fuss was about.

Other than the usual exhortations to look after one’s spouse and not to get frisky with third parties, there was one final request in the wedding service that I found particularly poignant – the obligation to:

“instruct and educate offspring whilst taking into account their abilities, their natural inclinations and their own aspirations.” 

Potential Pushy Parents – you have been warned…

So, the final “sì” having been said, rings and kisses exchanged; newly weds and witnesses signed the register and Tigger and I made our way back down into the fresh air to be liberally showered with rice (and a random box of macaroni) for good luck in our new life together.

Then, horns blaring, the wedding party convoy made its noisy way along the 3km between village and pizzeria, where we settled in for an exquisite “giro pizza” and an unforgettable evening in the company of our most beloved blood relatives and our adoptive Italian family.

Non-traditional eco-flavour wedding favours...

Non-traditional eco-flavour wedding favours…

Romanians, Brits, Italians, Argentines and a random Ecuadorian – a truly international wedding.

This is Mrs Status Viatoris, who now has to decide if she has the energy to tussle with Italian bureaucracy in order to exchange her very boring surname for a marginally more exotic one, in Italy.

An English Fandango hits the cyber-shelves

19/04/2013

I am excited, terrified, pleased but nervous to announce that An English Fandango is now on the Amazon shelves in Kindle format.

If you fancy a gander at the cover – hilariously executed by the very talented Simone Chararyn – or if you would like to review and/or even buy, then the link can be found by clicking here.

Any feedback, even here on the blog, will be most gratefully received.

I have already had requests for non-Kindle formats, but as I have initially placed the book with KDP Select (which apparently enables wider promotion) I will only be able to do that after the 90-day exclusivity period ends.

(Please could those interested in another electronic format let me know what that would be? I am utterly clueless about such matters…)

Requests for paperback copies have also been forthcoming, but I have no idea if that will be financially viable on a small-scale – I will report back as soon as I know.

Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend!

Ding Dong the Bells are going to Chime

01/03/2013

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Sometime towards the end of 2012, discussions turned to the state of my ovaries.

Given the apparently serious nature of our love affair, and the possibly decrepit state of my reproductive organs, I thought it prudent to point out to Tigger that should he envisage a family with me, sooner rather than later might be the key to thwarting the wear and tear that was invariably being wrought by Old Father Time.

To be honest it was merely an observation – I had long ago made peace with the possibility of a childless future (Life seems to me to be filled with plenty of other goals to strive for and hidden corners to explore).

Anyway, it transpired that a family is exactly what Tigger had envisaged with me, which is how I now find myself engaged to be married.

The Rock

Less of a rock and more of a chiefly calcium carbonate deposit formed around a grain of sand or other foreign matter in the shells of certain molluscs… But still very pretty.

And I simply cannot wait to be the wife of such a kind, loving, funny, supportive, intelligent, and wonderful man – although preferably via a registry office wedding involving no more than two guests and which I can attend in my trainers… oh yes, I am the last of the great romantics.

On paper we  are undoubtedly a very odd match.

I am a thirty-five year old English girl (not sure what it takes to be a woman, but I don’t feel I’m quite there yet…), he is a twenty-six year old Romanian of Hungarian origin.

I am an atheist, an only child and a bookworm; he is Catholic, the fourth child of six and has never picked up a book in his life.

I am an antisocial over-thinker; he is gregarious and happy-go-lucky.

I write stuff, translate stuff, teach stuff and sell stuff; he does stuff with iron, and has been known also to do stuff with wood and bricks and cement too.

I am messy, he is neat. I am fanciful, he is practical.

I have moved to Spain then France then Italy in a self-indulgent quest for a more exciting life, he has moved to Spain then Cyprus then Italy out of necessity – a necessity for reliably paid employment.

I have been through a fairly impressive roll call of partners in my attempt to track down “The One”, he never saw the point of having a girlfriend until he met me.

In fact about the only thing we have in common is that we love each other, and very much. A warm yet exciting, comforting yet heart-pounding kind of love that makes me go “oh! so that’s what everyone meant…!” for up till now I had assumed that people in relationships just made do.

No More.

No Less.

And into this already pretty cushy bargain, I also get the benefit of a lovely family. One that already boasts an Ecuadorian brother-in-law, thus relieving me of the burden of being the only foreigner; as well an extraordinarily special little Ecuadorian/Romanian nephew who had already melted my heart long before I had even made his uncle’s acquaintance.

Thus a whole new chapter of my life opens up, and in a direction that I really had not counted on.  Will it still be possible to be a Modern-Day Nomad with her head in the clouds and her fingers on the keyboard as well as a wife, and possibly also one day a mother?

I sincerely hope so. And I think that this partnership – for it most decidedly is a partnership, as opposed to two independent humans sharing merely bed and board as in previous relationships – has the necessary ingredients to make it possible.

I was already fairly sure of that six months ago but when my lovely strong cheerful man broke down and cried like a baby at the prospect of losing my beloved dog; then I knew it for certain.

This is Status Viatoris, who has enjoyed a few days off from An English Fandango, but who will be cracking on with “Marbella” from Monday.

True Amore?

22/06/2012

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Being someone who is fascinated by human nature in general, and cultural differences in particular, there are many aspects of the Italian psyche that have piqued my curiosity over the years.

Most especially, given the unrivalled reputation for romance the country holds, the attitude to love and relationships.

And Italy certainly seems to be a country that thrives on relationships – the necessity of being in one often seeming to override the need to actually be happy.

One only has to go out on a Saturday night to witness the profusion of girlfriends clinging like parasitic twins to miserable looking paramours or trailing pitifully around behind them as they do blokey stuff with their mates whilst attempting to pretend they’re single.

The concept of girl power appears to have been largely ignored: many youngsters will be a couple of years into a long-term relationship before they even finish their schooling and these young (and not so young) girlfriends show not even a glimmer of self-respect as they stalk their boyfriends from pillar to post in an attempt to ensure his fidelity.

Of course the boys are not much better; coercion not being an obvious factor in luring them into such claustrophobic love matches. Rather than grasping opportunities for the independence to explore and grow during their relative youth, they seem to inexplicably prefer often unsatisfying partnerships with girls they seem to care relatively little about; only to then expend huge amounts of energy on repeated attempts at infidelity.

It is all rather baffling.

Certainly the grand gestures are all to be found here if those are what one is interested in: metre-high declarations of love painted in public places, endless file pictures of kissing and hugging couples accompanied by cutesy messages all over social networking sites, a willingness to trip down the aisle… being single in Italy does seem to be something of a rarity, but are people truly happy?

Or does this almost pathological need to be part of a couple mean that many Italians settle for what they can get, as opposed to holding out for somebody who could actually make that vital difference in their lives.

For surely there is no shame in choosing solitude over the wrong partner? Being single is a wonderful opportunity to explore much of what life has to offer as well as getting to know oneself; the perfect recipe for being able to recognise and appreciate love when it does come to call.

This is Status Viatoris, who hates to generalise but honestly, italiani, what are you all so scared of?? in Italy.

Emotional Incapability Need Not Be Terminal

01/05/2012

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I have recently been taught that good communication may well be the key to making relationships work.

It is also, apparently, the key to saving them – those which still have the whisper of a pulse, anyway.

For when the dust settled on a sudden and inexplicable rift with Tigger/Toyboy, and I was at last capable of having a meaningful conversation without ending up snuffling pathetically into a hanky, we sat down together and had a good long chat.

We talked, really talked, and realised that despite the relative brevity of the relationship, really talking had been allowed to slip fatally low on our list of priorities.

And although I had certainly been aware of its descent, it was Tigger who actually troubled to point it out.

It was assuming that had stepped in to take the vacancy left by really talking, and assuming makes a very poor substitute indeed – as well as of course making an ass of you and… well, I’m sure you know the rest.

The trouble with assuming – besides being very different from the actual knowing that tends to come from really talking – is that it relies quite heavily on the experiences and past observations of the assumer.

Not ideal when the assumer and the assumee have an age-difference of almost a decade, come from extremely dissimilar cultural backgrounds and communicate in a language that neither of them speaks to mother-tongue standard.

So having established that what we both wanted from each other was considerably different from what we had assumed we wanted from each other, and that what we both want is to be together but with a little more dedication and a regular helping of really talking, Tigger and I managed to retrieve what we both thought we’d lost for good.

Us.

This is Status Viatoris, working at making a relationship work, in Norfamtonshire.

Valentinesing It Up With The Stars

16/02/2012

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Love, love love…

I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day.

To anyone who asks, I usually claim my distaste is due to the element of commercial hogwash involved: How dare Interflora and Hallmark hold me to ransom; telling me when to be romantic, how to be romantic and at what cost?

But the reality is also that I have long objected to the feelings of misery and rejection that this day induces in those unfortunate “unloved” and “unadmired from afar”.

For years I looked forward to the 14th of February; an excited tingle in the pit of my stomach promising me that this would be the year in which a longed-for secret admirer would pick me out of the crowd, and make me feel special just for being me.

It never happened.

And as far as I recall, neither of my brief teenage pairings coincided with that most loved-up of days – or if they did, nothing the poor youth did to mark the occasion managed to wangle a mention in my memory bank.

Which brings me to my second issue with this date; for since attaining adulthood, I have most definitely been in long-term relationships over Valentine’s Day, and yet when asked just the other day, I had zero recollection of the romantic gestures performed thereon.

That is not to say that there weren’t any.

It is perhaps more an indication of the value I put on the thoughtful spontaneous gestures – those provoked by real concern for the well-being of the loved one, that gifts of flowers, chocolates and restaurant meals dictated by a ruthless global “romance-fest”, do very little to float my proverbial boat.

But since I now appear to find myself in another relationship, I thought it  prudent to test the waters before declaring these opinions in case I had inadvertently lumbered myself with a traditionalist.

Thankfully, Tigger’s disinterest in Valentine’s Day managed to eclipse even my own, so I decided to instead spend an Anti-Valentine’s night out with a girlfriend in the seaside town of Sanremo; happily coinciding with the first night of the “Festival di Sanremo“.

This well-known event has taken place since 1951, and is a celebration of the Italian music industry; showcasing new talent and new songs, together with many old favourites.

The evening was awash with a scented profusion of ladies in fur coats (rarely have I seen a town that still does such unabashed trade in this nasty item of clothing – possibly explained by the following hilarious photograph purloined from Facebook:)

“2012 will be the end of the world; come to Sanremo – we’re 50 years behind…”

many also bearing that wide-eyed, creased-pillow lipped, snubbed-nosed, expressionless countenance of the cosmetically fiddled-with: another Sanremo speciality…

Also to be spotted were the more edgy music types; exotic as parrots in this provincial little corner of Liguria, with their Indie Rock hairstyles and alternative fashion senses.

Occasionally an excited babble of photographers would rush past, hot in the pursuit of some artiste or other, and on two occasions we even witnessed them cornering their prey in a pyrotechnical explosion of flashbulbs – but unfortunately were unable to identify the stars in question; even without the face-obscuring qualities of big fluffy microphones, all of our group were apparently stunningly uninformed when it comes to the Italian celebrity circuit.

Thus passed an extremely amusing Valentine’s Evening, as we goggled at all the handsome out-of-towners, attempted to spot famous faces we had no hope of recognising: all whilst simultaneously poking fun at the parade of girls tottering along in their spangly dresses and overly high heels, clutching the mandatory rose in one hand and their Valentine date in the other.

And the very next evening there appeared at my door, Tigger, clutching a large box of Swiss chocolates.

Best of both worlds? I think so… 🙂

And for all the romantics out there, here is a romantic song – You’ll Return to Me – written and performed by a local band, some of whom even hail from My Little Italian Village…

This is Status Viatoris, feeling the luuuuuuuuurve, in Italy.

Freezing Precipitation Precipitates Daft Tourists

29/01/2012

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Today I woke up to the sound of torrential rain drumming its fingers impatiently on the skylights (slightly unnerving as the cheap plastic doesn’t look substantial enough to deal with a determined sunbeam, let alone a full-on winter storm) and the cheering sight of the surrounding hills dusted with snow.

Cheering because it meant I could turn back over, pull the covers up under my chins, and snooze on guilt-free for a couple of hours.

Oh yes, a pyjama day was definitely what the doctor ordered, and later on, having cajoled Pooch out of the door and into the neighbour’s garden for purposes of tinklement, I settled back onto the sofa with a cup of tea in one hand and the remote control in the other.

But Tigger/Toyboy apparently heard the accompanying sigh of contentment, and, deciding that not enough had been done to earn it, started lobbying for an outing to get up close and personal with the aforementioned snow.

Hurrumph. Now I am really not snow’s Number 1 fan.

Whilst I can concede that yes yes it is all very pretty when viewed at its virginal best through a window, and with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and/or vin chaud clasped to one’s breast; trudging along in it whilst trying to painfully reintroduce sensation to one’s chilled digits, doesn’t really get my juices flowing.

But five and a half months into a fling romance relationship whatever, is probably a tad too soon to let the other person in on all the home truths – that he has inadvertently tumbled into the lair of an idle couch potato without a spontaneous bone in her body especially when it involves extremes of temperature.

So off we went.

Pooch getting all up in snow’s grill (whilst getting a lot of snow crammed up his own grill)

And a certain someone was thrilled beyond measure that just a few kilometres up the road, ghastly rain – so ruinous to velvety fur and cheery dispositions – was miraculously transformed into snow…

…yet another of his most favouritist things.

Playing in snow!

Running in snow!!

Wagging in snow!!!

And although my toes did complain most bitterly about the injustice of being torn from toasty slippers, and shoved without ceremony into icy wellies, I am rather glad I made the effort.

We threw a number of snowballs (Tigger and I), ate some snowballs (Pooch), laughed at other snow-tourists from our village wheel-spinning up and down the hill (all three of us), and then Pooch “helped” Tigger build a rather impressive pupazzo di neve accompanied by cries of:

“No! Pooch stop eating it. No! Go away. Stop it. I said stop it. No, that’s supposed to be its arm, not for you. No, Pooch. Stop it. I said STOP IT!”

and suchlike.

Getting up close and personal with a snow person!!!!

Thus the illusion of an uncomplicated, fun-loving, outward-bound chick is maintained for just a little while longer.

Phew!

This is Status Viatoris, who has heard all about the theory of “no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” but still firmly subscribes to the staying indoors tactic, in Italy.


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