School Routines

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Before I left Italy, the sensation was of a constant surrealism. As long as I had by my side my parents, my friends, my habits, nothing really would change.

The transition was difficult, and by transition I mean the actual voyage. You’re tired and confused, but you can’t afford to be left “behind”. In spite of extreme tiredness, I did my best to ensure I had an important place in the equally confused lives of my companions in adventure.

What saves me now, now that I have a routine, is that same surrealism! When is it that life becomes REAL and no longer seems as if you’re living an absurd dream, almost a joke?

The sky at times suddenly becomes so clear and still that it seems like a gigantic painting hung up behind the trees.

We spend our free three-quarters of an hour with our feet hanging over a cliff in constant “OMG”ing about how damned high we are and how frickin’ SPECTACULAR the view is. It’s so surreal that vertigo forgets to arrive.

Routine:

Wake up every morning at 7 and I’m never tired.

Walk to school or back. See a monkey, grab a rock and throw it at him.

Eat: rice, rice, RICE. Hot, hot, HOT! Curry, curry, curry and so on.

Check your ankles to be sure you don’t have any leeches attached (sooner or later it happens to everyone, it’s an unwritten law).

“You’ll have indigestion at least twice a month, that’s normal.”

Never drink water that doesn’t come from a bizarre little purifying machine and you have to wait a year for it to be, of course, purified, before that joke of a trickle comes out and after an hour fills your glass. (Fortunately, in the dining hall they are incorporated into the taps!)

Get used to every day introducing yourself, explaining where you’re from, why you have an American accent but a decidedly unAmerican name.

Never stop, you don’t have time to rest. You risk falling behind, to shut yourself up in your room because you don’t know who to be with. Talk, talk, TALK! Smile, joke, participate, get noticed, carve yourself a niche within this small but difficult-to-penetrate community.

Do your homework, maybe you’re not absolutely dedicated but you do it, which is already something. Because you live at school, you want to learn. What you read interests you, what you write makes sense because you have thought about it, and nothing is taken for granted or accidental. At the end of the day you don’t remember your own name and you can’t do anything but laugh hysterically with tiredness, but it’s fantastic just like this.

I swear, after this I’ll take a year of vacation!

Yesterday I cried for the first time in my life upon finishing a book.

Today at school:

“Do you know where he is? If you see him, can you tell him I was looking for him?”

Perfect. Now I’m “the girlfriend of” and no longer “the girl who” or “that girl.” As if choosing to live as a couple means becoming a single entity, and losing some of your own uniqueness? On the one hand it’s fantastic, on the other it’s a competition for who is himself and not the partner of the other. But then you take refuge from the rain together and it doesn’t matter any more who says what and what they call you.

I remember home with affection, but I don’t miss it.

I don’t miss anything, which is ironic because, compared with how I lived before, I don’t have anything!

All of a sudden you live on school food, the usual t-shirts that circulate, on 1500 rupees a month: 33.3 dollars, currently less than 33.3 euros I believe!

Every evening we gather on a bed to talk about how long we’d waited to know people like us. We talk about the present and all its absurdities, comparing it with the past, which remains sacred: it’s what we are! And what will we be in a year? Who remembers exactly how long a year lasts? Maybe it’s precisely because “a year” means nothing and I don’t realize that it means “a year” that everything seems so easy to me!

Life is now.

Vodafone says so,

Teo Bulfer [a friend in Lecco] says so!

I say so because it seems to me the most applicable phrase.

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