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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?
THAT’S THE WORD YOU’RE LOOKING FOR!

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.





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