Skip to main content

My first month of University: the importance of 'good stories'

Here we are once again. It’s been a long time, eh?

Well, the fact that you haven’t heard from me for one month or two does not necessarily mean that I’ve run out of ideas… HELL NO! I’ve got plenty of them… too many, some say.
The truth is… I’ve run out of something else: patience? (maybe), money? (always), time?

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: How many times have we heard this before, Valerio?
Well, at this stage I can openly admit that in the past every time you heard me screaming I DON’T HAVE TIMEEE, crying and wiggling on the floor, I was just exaggerating. You know… usual healthy drama. I can’t really live without it.

But now I am serious: I do not have time. My last day off was more than 34 days ago! (ouch). And everybody who knows me a bit is like… Really? Valerio without a day off for one month? How did that happen?

Anyway, this is not the point. WHAT’S THE POINT THEN?  you must be wondering. Just give me a few seconds, I am getting there, slowly and calmly. I am not like other Londoners… no need to rush!

The matter is… whoa! A lot of things have happened this month… so it’s taking me quite a lot to process them and place them in a logical order that will eventually allow me to provide you with a clear portrait of the situation.  However, I am pretty sure that none of the things I have written here will sound logical to you so do not make any efforts in seeking a sense in my words because there might not be one.

Anyway! I’d start by saying that in September I officially started that amazing thing called University. And man, I ain’t joking when I say that IT-IS-FREAKIN’-AWESOME.
Ok, I am actually working on two essays that I have to submit by the end of the month and – don’t ask me how -  I’ve just happened to watch a documentary about the history of Philippine Press. That is less awesome… isn’t it?

Well, it’s important, you know. University is basically the reason why I left my country and moved to this beautifully ruthless land, forcing myself to have a taste of so-called real life: a job, a house, the bills, a washing machine and loads of weekly burnt light bulbs. Definitely not my cup of tea. Yet, I am doing it because I have to and, most important, because I want to.
I wake up every morning, I take two trains and get to campus. There, I meet interesting and intelligent people (some more, some less… but that is part of the game) and I get to attend extremely engaging lectures conducted by illuminated individuals:  the brightest minds in British journalism, charming people and trained professionals without evident mental disorders (surprise!). 

In the meantime I work. But I am kind of sure that you don’t want to read about that. I’ve talked a lot about my problems with the hierarchic system of the world of work and, in general, with every kind of authority figure. Next time, maybe.

The most obvious consequence, therefore, is that I get tired. Physically and emotionally, for different reasons. I am here, after an endless day spent at the library, writing and writing, with my eyes bleeding and asking for mercy, and of course I feel tired. But that kind of happy, satisfactory tiredness you just can't get enough of.
I take a quick look at the window and I see a little magic square full of young people, a white gazebo covered with autumn leaves, a series of lovely brick houses with luminous windows and an old little kiosk run by a quirky Asian woman… and I feel good.
I feel that I am doing the right thing, in the right place. Now, isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that something to be happy about?

Speaking of emotional tiredness… it’s complicated. London can be a heartless city, often dominated by rudeness and indifference. Sad faces in the tube, staring at their expensive phones and too focused on their busy lives to dare see what’s behind the touch-screen, wandering blindly in the kingdom of false courtesy and  inflicted good manners. 

University is slowly helping me to get over this feeling of emotional isolation, surrounding me with a long missed human warmth and partially restoring my faith in people. Clearly, I have already had to face some of the catastrophic side effects of this situation, but who cares about them? At the end you just want to feel something, whether it is good or bad. It’s still better than not being able to feel anything at all.

Enough with this drama and sensationalism! Things may actually be simpler than they seem: I’ve got this feeling that this is just the beginning of a long, beautiful story.  The story of a man who seeks stories to live and, most important, to feel alive. And no matter how bad my day was as long as, at the end of it, I have a good story to tell to and a few people willing to listen to me.


Popular posts from this blog

Valerio's Press Review: "GQ Magazine, April 2021"

Welcome to Valerio's Press Review, the series in which I read a magazine or newspaper (okay... look at the pictures) and write mean things about the people in them. It's fun! 1) A revitalising afternoon of clam-digging on Southend beach? A day of snorkelling by the port of Dover? Make sure you pack Rolex’s newest submarine watch! You don’t want the fish to think you’re poor.  2) Dolce & Gabbana’s latest collection. The question on everybody’s lips is: do you really want to look like your rich friend’s beach house bathroom? The answer is, and always will be, yes. 3) Sam Claflin for Barbour. A GQ insider told me that his puzzled expression is due to the fact that, for the whole duration of the photo shoot, Sam couldn’t help but wonder if he’d remembered to feed the cat before he left his flat. Models... they’re just like us <3 4) GQ’s Staycation must-have items. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only bring one item with you, what would it be? Duh! A £32

La (Not So) Dolce Vita

Being Italian has been the single most beneficial asset in my dating life. Growing up in Naples, I was just a guy. In London, I became a “charming” Italian guy. In Milan, my Neapolitan accent is a liability. In the UK, apparently, it’s the sexiest sound known to man (and woman), the immigrant version of the siren song.   After taking residence in the Big Smoke, I quickly realised that Brits have a very precise idea of the Italian man, made up of mainly preconceived notions. They’re harmless for the most part, certainly romanticised, often flattering, but prejudiced nevertheless.   You know what they say: if you can’t beat them, join them. And join them I did. I first came to terms with the extent of my super-power that one time in 2015 when I held the door for a middle-aged woman at a Pret in North London. I said something like “after you” or “good morning” and as soon as she heard the effortless way with which the Rs rolled off my tongue she almost dropped her butternut squash salad o

Getting on with it

A friend of mine messaged me the other day about an opportunity to pitch a piece for a new magazine looking for articles about happiness and well-being. She swiftly withdrew her suggestion upon realising I had literally nothing to contribute to the subject. I can’t seem to shake off the ever so slight suspicion that my particularly abrasive brand of defeatist sarcasm is unlikely to go down well with an audience that’s after feel-good stories for a much-needed start-of-week pick-me-up (that’s enough hyphens for today). Life in the time of Miss Rona is predictably slow. Aside from the customary episodes of wretchedness which stud my life that I have already discussed at length on this platform, I have very little to write about. I am of course binge-watching the Crown (hence me casually using words like “wretchedness”). I have also decided to finally do something about my life-long shampoo addiction and reduce the frequency of my hair washing from once every 24 hours to once every 30 hou