The Captain’s wife – part due


I just received the sweetest email from my husband on the ship. He was sent this excerpt below from a guest comment card:

Explain Positive Surprise
I have my picture taken with the captain and his wife, and two days later captain’s wife was jogging and stopped to say hello and if I remembered her and chatted with me for about five minutes I was incredibly impressed !!! Very beautiful and gracious woman
Recognized  Team Member
The captains wife

I had to laugh about the “jogging” bit, it was more like a lazy ten minute walk around the jogging track while wearing what appears to be serious athletic attire, hahaha. Still, very sweet of this guest to take the time to write something so nice about our encounter. We met at a Diamond Member’s brunch with the Captain, which I often attend with my husband.

🙂

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Expat holiday in a nutshell


I think it is really odd that no one has ever really asked me what it’s like to be an expat. I don’t mean here in Italy either. I get asked all the time about my country of origin and how does it compare to Italy. But when I am in Canada I usually get phrases like “oh, you live in Italy, you’re soooo LUCKY!” And then end of conversation.

Every summer I get homesick. I miss my family and friends and not having to struggle with a conversation. Yes, I am still learning the language and apparently it’s not sticking (go ahead, cue the blonde jokes, you know you wanna – le sigh*). I miss family bbq’s, the cottage and being able to amble down to the corner store at 10:30 p.m. because Sid and I decided we needed some chips and more beer!

I also get to skip the stifling summer heat in the city with no air conditioning. My cat sitters were melting and for that I am so sorry. If it’s any consolation, it is still really stinking hot here and I am presently writing this post in my underwear with a fan pointed at me.

Either way, I am glad to be home. This was a long trip to which I am now paying for with a pinched nerve in my back. Why? Well vacations take on many shapes and sizes. Some are for rest and fun, others for visiting and exploration and then you have the third type which is the typical vacation of an expat. To sum it up, that means trying to roll all the above into one holiday. So surely you can see my conundrum?

Here is a summary of my trip:
I slept in a total of 13 different beds (hotel in Miami, my mom’s, Suzie’s house and cottage, Sue’s house and camper, Sid’s, Kelly’s, Alan’s, Rick’s, Shelley’s, Cyndy’s, the ship).
I have no idea how many hours were spent flying or at airports but I do know I was on a total of 7 planes.
I went through Immigration check points 13 times, that includes those x-ray machines so at some point after 60 I may start to glow in the dark, how cool is that!
I visited 5 countries, some of them more than once…hello Bahamas, again.
I was on 6 boats and 1 ship.
In 7 taxis and had 1 rental car.

Oh, and one more thing, all of this was accomplished while shlepping around a 50 pound suitcase, 13 pound carry-on rolly and a snazzy Coach handbag that was getting ruined because I put my running shoes in it since my suitcase was over the limit. Put that photo on the fashion runways of Paris, Yeeeee Haw!

I’m now home with a sore back, can you tell I’ve already downed a few pain pills? hmmmm, yes indeed, that is what it’s really like to be an expat, just in case you asked.🙂

The upside is that I got to spend some great times with family and friends, sit around a camp fire, eat my brother’s freshly caught fish, see an amazing show in Toronto with my besties, get drunk with Sid, see Pat Benatar and head bang with my sister, go swimming in the lake, hug my dad, paint with my mom, come face to face with a random white cow in Nevis, get a ride on a Harley with my brother-in-law, swim in the sea (twice) with my husband, visit six-toed cats in Key West, catch up with an old friend from 40+ years ago and make new friends too! Hello Mike and the Thorold gang, and Patty and Rob from Alabama.

It takes a village as they say. So thank you to my cat sitters, Di and MaryLouise, for taking such great care of Coco too. Feeling a bit like a rockstar, yeah! Only in reality I am a soft, squishy 50 year old with a very strange tan now and a stupid back problem, hahaha.

Love you all and guess what, I have to go back again next year cuz there’s a very important wedding coming up🙂

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~Namaste peeps~

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The Captain’s wife – part uno


If you ever find yourself bored on a cruise ship I encourage you to do a load of laundry. I know, who ever could possibly be bored on a cruise ship and why in the world would I want to do laundry? But I am the captain’s wife and I have been to Nassau, Bahamas sooooo many times that the only thing left to do there is take up basket weaving. Ok, maybe not, but you get the idea.

Yesterday I loaded up our bags and went to task. Two loads, and the last day of the cruise but we were in port so I thought I was safe and would have the facilities to myself. Apparently I couldn’t have been more wrong about this and so let the freakshow commence…

Let me just start by saying that is it just me or is it perfectly normal in the U.S. to remove the shirt off your back and just start ironing it? Not once, but twice this happened and one of them was a woman with five kids!

My next surprise was when I came back half way through the drying cycle to find that someone had put their t-shirt in with my stuff! Seriously? I always check the drum before putting my clothes in, so I was positive it was not there when I loaded up the machine.

Then, a guy came in with nothing. No clothes to wash. He looked at me, the t-shirt that I took out and hung on a hook and back at me, then took off his unwrinkled, nylon shirt and started nervously ironing it…hmmmm.

Then, the same woman with five kids came back after about ten minutes with no clothes to wash or iron and asked if I worked there. I said no and that I was just waiting for my stuff to dry because the machine wasn’t working properly and kept shutting itself off. Hmmmm, why was she even there? Was it her t-shirt that was tossed into my dryer? Was she waiting for me to leave so she could fish it out without me being any the wiser (footnote, I hid it in my laundry bag, this was starting to get entertaining)

She tried to start up a conversation with some guy who was ironing his shorts for like 20 minutes before he realized it wasn’t turned on, umhmm. She failed to notice that he was wearing headphones and singing to himself whilst I was just quietly reading a book. Then she started to chat with me. Yes, because that is what you do on ships…you wander into the smallest room where it is hotter than India and strike up a conversation with people you don’t know and who are clearly not interested in socializing with you.

Several more people came into the room, again with no clothes to wash or iron, this was getting to be quite the experience. I am sure that they were all thinking why doesn’t this stupid girl just leave so we can get our t-shirtback, hahahaha.

So by now I bet you are wondering how it all ended. I gave up after feeding at least $9 into the dryer and packed up my crap and hung it in the cabin to dry. As for the mysterious t-shirt, I took that too and then chucked it into the garbage. Yes, call me evil, but I cannot help but wonder what else happens in those little rooms when you walk out and leave your undies to fluff and dry? Why don’t they lock? And why would someone think it was totally ok to put their clothes in with mine?

And who takes their shirt off in a public launderette so that they can iron it while wearing just a bra? I mean, ok, maybe if I was desperate, or drunk, but really? Come on!

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Past, Present & Future


As an English teacher, my life is structured around grammar tenses of time. We measure so much of our lives around the concept of time, even the way in which we write or speak.

As a writer, I mix up my tenses all the time. Just ask my writing partner, Domenico, he’ll tell you, I make him nuts sometimes with my crazy edits on the premise that it doesn’t sound right to me. How he tolerates me is something I will never truly understand but bless him for doing so.

I’m in Canada right now and in a way I feel like I have stepped into the past. This was my home country for 30+ years. Every time I come back a little peice of me is also chipped off. I find I cannot remember my way around Toronto as easily as I use to. Things look different to me, much bigger than I remember too.

I may not have an Italian Passport yet, but I am realizing that the more that time passes, the more European I have become. I care more about politics! How the hell did that happen? I care more about the environment too. Again, repeat phrase above. I care less about TV and more about nature. Maybe it has less to do with where I live and more about being fifty, I dunno.

I also noticed that the longer I am away, the longer my list grows of people in Canada whom I would like to see more of. I always thought moving away would wittle down my friends list but in fact it has increased it!

In the past few years I have rekindled all kinds of friendships that I never would have bothered with had I still lived here. No offence to those who have re-entered my life after a 25 year absense, I am loving all of it but never gave ot much thought before.

The best part is that these people are subtley reminding me of who I was back then at 8, 14 and 20! A really, really, long time ago!

It has gotten to be so awesome that a childhood friend came to Italy to babysit Coco for me! I cannot think of a better situation than that!

And just for shits and giggles…here is a photo of me that a friend had…we used to be in a band together and I thought I was Pat Benatar, hahaha. Hope you enjoy the rest of dog days of summer!

~Peace out, Leah

 

 

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The Hardest Part of Travelling that No One Talks About


This is bang on…had to share.

This piece was not written by myself but I couldn’t have said it better. The words epitomise a strong undercurrent I have been feeling for a while. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it,…

Source: The Hardest Part of Travelling that No One Talks About

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Senza parole


Without words…

I have been painting now for a month. I certainly do not know yet what my style is and it has been fun experimenting and exploring this new medium. What I didn’t expect was to have such a strong urge to become an activist on a topic I know very little about. The subject is Rape. It has been flooding the news this week after the light sentencing of a Stanford boy. Then there was also the massive protest on Brazil’s Copacabana beach after a young girl was gang raped.

Like I said, this is a subject I know very little about. When I was a young girl I had some close calls. I had friends who were raped or also close calls just like me. I may have even unknowingly left friends behind at parties not realizing they may have needed my help. I have always been an independent person and can usually smell trouble from a mile away. But I have also been just plain lucky.

Last night I was dead tired but felt this overwhelming urge to paint. I wanted to sit down, my legs were aching, but I kept going. For five hours I painted and thought about how my leg pain was nothing compared to what some women endured while raped and then the aftermath of getting no justice. The shaming. The fear. The isolation. Again, I know nothing of this firsthand.

In the Stanford case, the girl was very drunk and didn’t remember much of anything. Was she irresponsible? Sure, for drinking too much. But that does not justify what happened to her. She was unconscious, naked and lying behind a dumpster. A man was sexually assaulting her. That is Rape. Rape is Rape.

He got six months in prison, what???

This painting was tough. I didn’t want to paint the red hand across the women’s mouths. The idea scared me. Their faces were so beautiful. It stirred an emotion in me of fear. Of not being able to breathe or speak. If this painting disturbs you as much as it does me then my mission has been accomplished. Art dipicts life.

When will these real women be heard? When will their words have value in our societies? Why did it take 30 years and a busload of women to shut down Bill Cosby? Why did the Stanford boy only get six months? Why did 30 men rape a 16 year old girl in Brazil and no one tried to stop them?

…like I said, Senza Parole. Without words.

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When Dust Bunnies Fly


These past several months have been filled with so much activity and excitement that I’m afraid to look under my bed. Yes, that’s right, the dust bunnies are so big that even Coco is steering clear.

Initially, my Spring/Summer was looking quite bleak. Post 50th birthday bliss in Paris, I came crashing down hard with a personal situation that arose that quite honestly I was not very happy about. I fought back the tears of frustration and migraines and wondered what I was doing wrong. The Universe kept pushing me further and further from my destination that I finally just gave up. Yep, that’s right. I surrendered. Exhausted and pissed off, I decided I wasn’t going to fight anymore and I GAVE UP.

I distanced myself from the things that caused me stress and anxiety in my life and decided I no longer wanted to be the victim of circumstances other people controlled. I’m not a quitter by nature so this was a really tough thing for me. What I’ve realized since, is that it was the best decision I’ve made in years.

Finally letting go of what I “thought I should be doing” has cleared the path for the Universe to allow me to receive the message of what “I should actually be doing”. I’m a creative idiot and have always surrounded myself with artists of all walks of life. I’m also a bit weird and confess that I carry poems by Tagore in my wallet. I’m a writer, obviously, and have old lined booklets full of my miserable teen years and started chronicling my observations on life at the mere age of ten. So, it’s no accident that blogging found me – thank you Elora!

Oh, what a tortured soul I was! But talent? Bah. I knew it when I saw it in others but lacked the ability to see it in myself. I knew I could sing, but there was always someone better, I can be kinda funny too, but then there are all those comedians. Same goes for dancing, writing and the endless list of all my failures combined. Blogging on the other hand has opened up so many friendships, experiences and doors but I was clearly running out of steam here too. I decided to step back, post less and focus on living outside the screen and keyboard for a while.

This latest crossroad was unwelcome. I was comfortable with my shortcomings and broken record mentality of how nothing was going my way. Admittedly, I was even getting tired of playing that song but I didn’t know how to push the reset button anymore because I got fat, lazy and depressed. Then it happened. It felt like the worst betrayal of all. Someone else kicked me out of my own dream. Or at least, that is how it felt for me. I was made to feel like an unwanted, disposable rag that just got in the way.

Forced to hit the reset button, I started with nature. I bought loads of plants and started a garden on my balcony. I’ve killed a few along the way but watching a flower bloom from a seed after being overwatered and manhandled by yours truly, was inspiring. I even bought a wisteria tree which is insane!

Then the magic started. I went to an art class for fun. The blank canvas invoked a fear inside of me that I wanted to conquer. I wanted to play but suddenly was frozen. Then I learned how forgiving a brush stoke can be. And another one, and one more. Two hours flew by and then I woke up to see a finished painting and wondered where it came from. Did I actually just do that? I cannot even win a game of Pictionary!

I don’t honestly know where this energy is coming from. I’m the girl who buys stencils and colours inside the lines. I’ve been painting now for three weeks and I’ve sold a few of my paintings already. Who is this person and where was she for the first fifty years? I have even opened up an Etsy store called Paint Butterfly Kisses, and hope that this is not a temporary phenomena.

I’ve been so inspired to paint that I stay up until 3:00 a.m. to finish one. I’m a zombie the next day and like I said, the dust bunnies are so big under the bed that Coco thinks she has new friends in the apartment.

And just to be sure I have my two feet firmly planted on the ground, and a back up plan to my plan, I started a massage course and will be certified in a few months. House cleaning be damned! I’m busy with smelly feet and painting frenzies 😀😂

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“Oshun” SOLD

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“Daisybelle”

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“Miss Percy”

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“Orecchino d’Oro”

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“Aganjú”

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“Verde Caldo”

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“Peacock on Acid” SOLD

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“Charlie”

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“Pavone Pio”

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“Inspiration”

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“Mr. Cluk” SOLD

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“Mariah II” SOLD

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“Mariah”

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