Eleven years later….

Three careers ( design, theatre, education); 

One marriage;

One divorce;

Another marriage;

A theatre company (created);

An online publication (inherited);

Countless theatre productions (acted on);

Nine theatre productions (directed);

Twenty theatre productions (produced) ;

One master degree;

Countless friendships made;

A few friendship broken (maybe they weren’t friendships after all);

Hundred thousand lessons learned; 

A few lessons that have yet to be learned;

Two cats; 

Two theatre awards;

Still no house bought; 

Several articles published;

Countless places around the world visited;

Ups and downs but overall ups. 

Eleven years ago I packed a small suitcase, left my beloved and yet stale Sydney (I only lived there for a year and few months) and headed to Hong Kong for a fashion design internship that was supposed to last for less than a year. 

Little I knew that what was waiting for me was going to be a roller coaster of people, facts, events and emotions. 
More can, and must,  be done. Let’s keep going.  

 Happy eleventh year Hong Kong anniversary to me. 

  

The importance of writing a diary.

I used to keep a diary.

As an (angry) teenager, it was my own private confessor. I also thought that keeping a diary was a good way to preserve memories for posterity, and perhaps some day I would surely have entertained someone, or myself, with the events, people, and facts I wrote about. I use to write on my diary religiously, regardless of whether something interesting happened or not. I had so much drama in my life that for a reason or another my pages were always filled up and they were never empty. Now that I look back, I think I kinda liked it that way, as it was surely entertaining (not sure whether this was a good thing, but it’s too late to regret it now).

I wrote several diaries all throughout my teenage, my years at university and much after that.When blogging became a trend, before social medias, I create one of my own and I used my blog as my personal therapist (keeping it slightly filtered as I could not publicly insult certain people- even though I very much wished to do so). I kept writing on the same blog after leaving university whilst in other countries like Australia first and then Hong Kong. I am not exactly sure what happened, but I simply stopped keeping a journal. I highly regret that now.

Two weeks ago I went home back to Italy. My room has remained exactly as I left it as my mother utterly refused to change anything in there; it became a sort of shrine for her.
Pictures with my long-haired friends from high school are still hanging all over the walls (those friends are still in the picture. Their long, voluptuous hair are not), together with the posters of Nirvana, the theatre memorabilia that I collected in my acting days (those days still exist but it was different back then) and few of my knick-knacks as a grunge/punk rock/alternative girl.
The drawer that contained pictures, letters and diaries is still there and it’s still full of memories from the past. I look at them from time to time as they have the power to take me back to certain days.
As the days went by in this sunny and expectation-free holiday, I spent my time chilling by the beach and riding my bike as I used to, as well as seeing old friends.
As we started talking and chatting of present and past events we inevitably ended up listing those people we used to hang out with when we were PRs for a local rock club. Believe it or not, Italy is a massive rock nation and our youth was spent listening to music, playing it and hanging out at the local record store. Our conversations evolved about songs, records or forming a band. Sometimes we chatted about boys we fancied and every single one of them was part of a rock band.
Our group of PRs for this club was one big (at times incestuous) family where we all believed what we worked on and we tried to make the place successful. After all, we were paid to be there.

After chatting with my friends for several evenings about how these people evolved in the past decade, I realized I did not have a very clear picture of those long gone days, and that the best thing I could do to picture those years was taking out one of my diaries and clear my mind.
The diary I’m talking about is dated 1999. A while back.

Reading a diary after so long is like being on acid, except that you are high on your own story. It felt like flying back on a DeLorean after being hibernated for years. The things that I, back in those days, have written in that diary, came as faint memories; I felt I was discovering things for the first time with the exception that I wrote all those stuff.

From the music we listened to and made, the friends I spent time with, the things we said and did, to the guy I fancied at that time.

He populated a big part of those pages with what he said or did. Despite the fact he was no Eddie Redmayne I found something special about him, something that very few people could see. I considered myself lucky for being able to see such side of him.

Our “relationship” was rather tumultuous as my behavior, back in the days, was not quite smooth; it was more rock’n’roll to tell people to F off, so I just followed that pattern of behavior. One moment I was kissing him, the other moment I was telling him to get lost. It is fair to say that the guy in question, despite charming, was quite full of himself, but I deep down wished I wasn’t so damn insecure and that I could handle the whole thing better.
My diary made me think a lot about me, how I grew throughout the years and how much I lost touch with myself; I could not remember how insecure I was, how many people took advantage of that insecurity, my inability to recognize genuine friends from the fake ones. I cannot help but wish I could jump on the teenage version of myself and inject the confidence that I have now. I would slap the younger version of myself and tell her to get a f……. grip.

The discovery of my diary was the highlight of my Italian holiday. I felt like shifting between two worlds.

In the event of memory loss, I would have a backup all written down. The experience was highly entertaining for my friends too, as I have shared my memories with those people who were involved with me in 1999. It was a blast from the past for them too and I felt like we shared a great moment together that brought us close again. Do yourself a favour and keep a diary, a real one. And no, your diary on FB won’t do.

Opportunity

This video speaks louder than anything else. 

It made me think of all the things that could go horribly wrong and, because of negativity or dark thoughts, how many potential opportunities get lost in oblivion. 

It is easy to be heavy, but it’s hard to be light. 

When I first saw this video, the word opportunity has been buzzing constantly in my head ever since. 

So very true. When life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pies (lemonade’s too boring). 

The video was shared by my friend and life coach Angela Douglas. 

Check out her page for more inspirational and motivational content. 

The importance of being able to W-R-I-T-E

Alright, this is not good. I am reopening this blog after a year. You hear me?? A year.

It’s not because much hasn’t happened in the meantime- uhm, quite the opposite- but I have procrastinated and have not treated this blog as a priority. What’s the point of having a blog then if one doesn’t treat it as a priority? Exactly.

We are always busy these days, we are  on the run, we have myriads of tasks to accomplish, places to be, people to meet and lists to check and yet sometimes we don’t know where our time goes. We say we don’t exercise enough, or don’t read enough or we don’t have time for a proper sit-down meal, but are we aware where time goes and how we manage it? We tend to justify everything with one word: busy. We are busy and that’s that.  Enough to clarify any situation or to answer any question. “I can’t do that/meet you/do something that takes 5 minutes of my time because I am busy. ”

People seem ok these days with that word, yet it’d be fun (and probably more interesting) if people simply started answering back:

“You are busy with what, exactly?”

That might put a halt on what is highly accepted these days and perhaps people might be a bit more considerate of others, as well as themselves.

As I realised I used the word “busy” more to cut conversations short than anything else, I decided I no longer wanted to be that person and that I wanted to be aware of where my time went. So I treated myself to a nice old-style paper weekly planner, and that’s where I write down everything (yes, including eyebrows trimming and paying bills. Why? Because I know it has to be done but if I fail to put it down visually I will forget to do it. It’s ok for the brows, but I don’t want to be cut off  on my electricity bill because I might forget about it).

It works beautifully. I have everything under control. I can actually relax with a book, schedule time for yoga and ballet classes, and accomplish work and tasks on time. Lists are nagging, but oh! the pleasure I get once they are done and I no longer have to worry about it. Highly recommended to anyone.

As in for me about not blogging, let’s face it: I did have time to blog- I just chose not to (let’s admit it…..I’m a lazy arse sometimes……)

 

 

How to protect ourselves against flu.

The cold season is coming, and with it the usual issues: cold, flu, cough, sore throat and so forth. Hong Kong is absolutely cramped with people, and as we know, people carry germs and bacteria. That’s inevitable. I particularly feel for those teachers who spend a lot of time with young children; I don’t know about the rest of the world, but kids in Hong Kong take their time to learn that a hand in front of their mouth must be put when coughing or sneezing (covering, inevitably, the unfortunate teacher or T.A. in sticky snot).

Are you a freelance teacher, or actor, or performer, and getting sick is the equivalent of either a) going to work feeling like crap, or b) taking a day off and losing a substantial amount of cash? Regardless of the job you do, read here.

In Hong Kong, Westerner doctors tend to pack patients with pills and medications that are rarely needed and not so often effective; they often insist in giving antibiotics for a cold – thing that I absolutely despise. Ultimately, the best way – tried, experimented and approved by my former weak immune system – to reinforce your immune system and avoid getting sick five times in a row is to go natural.

  • Sleep!

Yes, sleep. 8 hours at least. Your body needs rest, particularly when weakened by flu. Once you go home, don’t waste time in checking your emails, facebooking, watching TV and whatnot. Go. To. Bed.

  • Drink liquids, particularly hot ones.

We live in a country where we drink hot water even when it’s 40 degrees Celsius outside. But hot fluids are considered to be more gently on our vocal strings (very precious for teachers/actors/singers). My favourite flu drink is shredded ginger, Manuka honey and lemon in hot water. It soothes sore throat and it’s a real cough stopper!

  • Boil Coke.

Yes, seriously. And no, don’t say it’s disgusting until you have tried it. Take a can of coke, boil it with shredded ginger and lemon, and make sure that the ginger soaks in for a while. Drink it hot, feel the spicy note of the ginger opening your nose and restoring your throat. If drunken in the morning (again, if work is necessary) it’s a great energy drink.

  • Tea tree oil.

My favourite thing in the world! It clears sinus and calms down heavy cough. Here’s what I do: I boil a pot of hot water and I put few drops of tea tree oil in it. I cover my head with a towel, and my eyes with a sleeping mask (a must do, particularly if wearing contact lenses), breathing in and out the hot heavy-scented fumes for 15 minutes, twice a day. I never went longer than 4 days, as my cough/cold ended before!

  • Gargle!

With salt, or vinegar, or tea tree oil in warm water, several time a day.

  • Paracetamol.

Ok, perhaps not 100% natural, but a pill or two a day might be needed, particular if your temperature rises.

Ultimately, it all comes down to relaxation and hydration. Decide what the priority in your schedule is, and try to cancel the rest. Or at least one commitment. It was the beginning of the year and we were a week away from the opening of the theatre production of Den of Thieves. I started feeling sick but I did not want to stay home and leave the cast on their own, so I carried on with as much rehearsals as I could. Two days later our deputy stage manager had exactly what I had before, and it quickly spread among the rest of the cast. The actors put together a wonderful and energetic round of performances, but by the time we had wrapped the production, I could count the people untouched by flu on the fingers of one hand. I have now learnt that it is probably best to cancel a couple of rehearsals rather than going on at all costs.