The months of teaching in Italy and living in the States changed me. And I don’t just mean my hair colour or my accent. Which, incidentally, changes when it wants. My brother calls me a twat when I call him and my intonation is off, Italians ask me if I am Eastern European, and I once spent an entire evening with a chap who asked me, right before he took off his trousers, “So what part of Australia are you from?”
No. I don’t mean those changes. I mean the changes to the insides of my head.
I went right from America back to Italy, desperate for more adventure, and by the time I had to return to the UK for my final year of school, I was devastated.
I’d essentially been AWOL for eighteen months. I tried making the best of living in *gulp* DERBY, but it just didn’t do it for me. I’m not bigger or better than the place, but it just didn’t fit for me. By Christmas I was on the floor of my parents living room, curled in a ball, saying over and over again, “I just don’t want to be here. I just don’t want to be here.” I was bored.
The boredom paid off I suppose, because I just graduated with a first-class honours in Creative Writing. WINNING.
I didn’t want a Career, that much I knew. I wanted to go and study in the States again to get my Master’s. I was going to fund it with a ridiculously well paid university job in Japan. Then the earthquake and tsunami happened, and it seemed kind of insensitive to call and ask if I still had a university to teach in. So I refused to make any sort of plan at all for a bit, and just see.
I really don’t know what I was waiting for.
I remember getting a message alert on Facebook one day, saying something about the news feed settings. Apparently, you can set your Facebook homepage to give you the news on the people you interact with most, or from everybody on your ‘friends’ list.
Like, d’uh. If I wanted to know what my next-door neighbour was doing I’d just yell over the garden wall. I don’t have Facebook to chronicle the daily adventures of my flatmates. I have Facebook to stalk the shit out of ex-lovers, potential lovers, enemies, frenemies and anyone who pisses off my best friend. OF COURSE I ALTERED MY SETTING.
That very same day, a girl I had crossed paths with for four days that first summer in Italy advertised her job in her status. “I’ve been in Rome for two years,” it said, “And now it’s time to go home. Anybody looking for a teaching job?”
I wouldn’t have seen it if it weren’t for the setting change. THANKS FACEBOOK.
I sent her the CV I had worked on for the Japan job. High self-esteem aside, it was pretty impressive. By saying yes to every opportunity that had come my way the previous two years, I had amassed thousands of hours in the classroom, run workshops in writing and drama, developed special skill sets and experience with a gazillion different organisations, and without a full-time bloke distracting me from studying was also in the top one percentile of my class. None of this crossed my mind as I hit send though. I did it mindlessly.
Calum, I totally just heard you add to the end of that sentence, as with everything LAURA.
I do some things consciously. Like eat cake. And play Scrabble. And hunt boys.
That totally counts.