One year, and beyond. - 10 September 2008

I didn't even realize it: it has been now just a little more than a year since I moved to South Africa.

Life down south

I still remember being invited to Jill's (Lindsey's sister) birthday, probably my first night out in South Africa, eating great pizza at Toni's spaghetti and thinking about a busy year ahead. Back then I didn't have a long visa (I could stay only 3 months), my internet connection was terrible - still is - and Lindsey and I had to plan a wedding, a honeymoon, trips to Europe, a car for me, a house and a life together.
Everything happened, in less than 12 months.

On the bridgeLife has never been so busy like in the past months, and sure married life is something that I wasn't really prepared to face. I didn't have any idea how to be a husband and I still believe that no one can possible know or be born with the essential knowledge required to have a perfect marriage.
It's a test and trial process which, for someone so accustomed like me on being by myself in my own un-emotional word (where I can share jokes about films and tv series that few people know), it's not that easy. Lindsey has been a soldier and, if we were at war and she was a private, probably by know someone would have promoted her to general.

Anyway, if you haven't realized it (probably you didn't if you can't read Italian), I've been posting more photos and articles on the Italian section of this site, available here. You might not understand a single word, but at least you can enjoy the pictures.
Most of them are saved on flickr, with the English comment to explain what the hell is happening around these places.
This doesn't mean that I will leave the main English section of the site abandoned, and I will keep using it exactly the same way I used it in the past year: to report travels and exceptional events that happens to me. Or to write articles like this one, providing you a summary of what you missed.

Since I moved to South Africa I stopped travelling as much as I used to do in London.
From London, the whole world was accessible, and cheaply.
I will never regret living there for 6 years, since I spent my 20s exactly the way I wanted, exploring and finding answers to the important questions of life (how to get home on a bus at 3am with no help at all and incapable of speaking, thinking properly and walking straight? how to behave at bachelor parties? how to understand cricket rules? how to survive a weekend with just 2 pounds in your pocket and a card that doesn't work anymore?)
Moving to South Africa has been obviously a life choice. Entering the 30s, I decided that I wanted some stability to be able to push other projects I had in mind (which are still incomplete...), and, as insane as it sounds, a country in Africa gave me that stability (and the house, and the wife) that I would have never being able to find in London.
Plus, the 8 months-long summer and the swimming pool in my garden should help a lot.

The last time I was here I was telling you about the recent trip to Europe, which will probably be the first and last in this 2008. I won't come back home for Christmas, like I used to do since I moved out, and the never ending expenses to fix the house are compromising my 2008 budget. 2009 will probably be a more relaxed year, and some times I wish it would come a little earlier.

Lindsey and I got two dogs in the meanwhile. Theire names are Bruce (as in Bruce Willis, male), and Cucciola (as in puppy in Italian, female). They were rescued and we found them at FORA, when they were around 6 weeks old. While Bruce is some sort of Labrador cross something, no one is really sure about Cucciola. There is some Labrador in her, some German Sheppard, some Staffordshire. Probably few dogs had a gangbang and she was the final result.

CucciolaBruceCucciola and Bruce

While Cucciola hasn't been sick a whole day, Bruce apparently was dying of distemper, a fatal disease in dogs. After spending a fortune at the vet (you would have never imagined how expensive is to take care of two dogs!) we managed to improve his health and now he looks much better.
They spend most of the day playing in the garden or sleeping by my side, while I work, and after sharing my office with me for the whole day they really get excited when Lindsey comes back from work, and they stop even considering me.

We also won of those makeovers with the dstv/sky channel called "the home channel ".
Some months ago we applied on an online form, which wasn't really working. The tech in me found a way to send the email with our story (poor Italian-polish emigrated from London and just married to a South African in need of a living room makeover) and the worst picture of the room possible and then forget about it.

They contacted us in August and they came to do the makeover in the first week of September. The whole operation lasted 5 days, almost a week of moving furniture, painting, re-painting, filming, witnessing rows between the designer (with her uncompromising view of how Lindsey and I should live in our living room) and the painter (with his more "real" approach).
For 4 days I was doubtful about the final results: silver walls with a brown feature wall covered by two gigantic mirrors, holes in my ceiling to accommodate 20 tall branches, brown floors... but we were positively surprised with the outcome.

Living Room Makevoer: beforeLiving Room Makevoer: duringLiving Room Makevoer: after

Sure, it took a hell of a mindset changing but the final result was a much better and intelligent use of the space. We still didn't like some colors, so by the time you read the report probably the same people repainted the floors all around the house. The strangest prop, something looking like a cross between the cousin IT from the Adams' family and a dead dog, is still here, but luckily it has been borrowed for the shoot and it will leave this house soon.
Still, the TV looks quite small now with the new configuration. Time for a 50 inches HD? I was so hoping they would give me one included in the makeover...
As soon as it's on television (second half of September), I will record it and stream it on youtube, so you can all admire my "wow" face.

Panorama in the finalMy football career here in South Africa has been great so far. Maybe it's because they are not used to the intensity of European players (especially after so many years in England and Italy), but in my first season for the Panorama Football Club I made a good impact in the midfield, winning many times the man of the match award (which consits in free beer) and literally taking my team to the final of the cup league (thanks to a great goal from distance).
If we win the cup, expect one of those bragging articles. If not, forget I've even mentioned it.

Anyway, life has been pretty busy as you can imagine. I'm not too sure if finally we'll be able to relax in the next months, but after everything that happened in 2008, anything else will feel like a breeze....