Thursday, 30 November 2017

One Year A-knee-versary

A post to celebrate my one year a-knee-versary and how far I have come (as well as to acknowledge the last few remaining hoops to jump through).

But first, forgive me: I am painfully aware that there are many a worse physical condition and ailment to be dealt in life (touch wood) than to go through a knee reconstruction, but the changes that my little injury had in store for me have been the foundations of huge a formative experience and one that I would like to reflect on one last time, here. So please, indulge me!

On this particular occasion I've decided to write myself a letter. Here we go.


Dear Sam,

Yes, it was shit. You knew it would be shit but you didn't think it would be quite this shit.

The plans you had in store for yourself hit the floor, hard.

There was an adjustment period and lots of change to embrace.
It was a learning curve about many things but mainly about yourself, some of it uglier than you would have liked, and there was definitely the need for a change of pace.

Friends and family were there when and where they could be but by nature it was a solo journey and still, down a line the length of a year, you wallow in self-pity and frustration at it not being quite over yet, especially in the head.

But it's a boring topic on repetition, even for you, and 365 days is a bloody long time for it to have been the loudest constant in your life.

So the hour to shut the pity parties down has arrived. The discomfort of it may still be on your mind for the next few thousand steps you take and who knows, maybe even the next few million.

But practice caution in moderation, one wise woman once said, probably, somewhere. I bet.

Remember, it's unhealthy and unsafe to be too careful and too safe, not to mention, it's pretty fucking dull.

Dive in head first and your arms, your legs, your body will follow - hopefully.
Just like it did before things were shaken up a bit. You used to dive and hope the rest would follow then as well, remember?
So, really, nothing has changed at all. Just a few more niggley bits to chew through before you can reap the rewards of a bit of added risk.

The biggest shit storm is behind you and, yes, there are still a few unpleasant skid marks to navigate through, but overall you've done well. So don't be so bloody hard on yourself - for being slow and further from the finish line than you were expecting to be by now - and let go a bit. For everyone's sake, but mostly for your own.

Sam x

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Clouds and Cities: Dawn to Dusk

Bologna, Italy

Sienna, Italy

Minoh, Japan

Grenoble, France

Bologna, Italy

Bologna, Italy

Bologna, Italy

Saturday, 11 February 2017


5 days since the operation; aside from the fact that my knee looks like a swollen octopus head, recovery seems to be going smoothly.

Rumour has it the outside world is snowy and very chilly so I have wisely decided to bind myself to my bed for a week.

As a student, I always thought I was lost and trying to figure out where my place was in the world. Little did I know that this feeling of floating would only fortify as I crept into my mid-twenties.

Which brings me to another silver stitching that this knee fiasco has shed light on.

Being unable to rush, physically, has also made me slow down overall. London, in my eyes, is the city of the rat race. Rent is extortionate, transport is not cheap and it is all too easy to burn a pint-sized hole in your pocket. It's hard to blame anyone for getting caught up in mindlessly elbowing each other on the rush-hour underground, seemingly in a hurry to get to a job they would probably rather not be in.

As a self-employed translator, I went straight from education to a rather structureless work life, so don't really even see myself as ever having been a part of the dreaded rat race. Yet, having been in a job that I did not find overly stimulating, though loved everything else about (people that I worked with, freedom etc.), to quit meant taking a leap into the unknown. In a different way to relocating on a whim to the Alps a year earlier, it is a slightly scarier vacuum of security and stability, but nonetheless a necessary push to get the mind exploring new opportunities and possibilities all over again.

The coinciding of my unemployment and my immobility has funnily enough been quite liberating, as well as frustrating and at times scary. Though peppered with moments of anxiety and necessary life-admin, it has meant I have not felt guilty, for once, for sitting on the sofa and reading a book. Most importantly, without the safety net of my translation work, I started to explore previously unexplored possibilities and made considerably more effort to open up new ones for myself.

I started learning to play the ukulele and a friend, upon request, gave me his unused guitar to play around with. I took a Graphic Design course online because, why not? and threw in a philosophy one as well. Most importantly I've learnt, the hard way, that cramming in too much stuff can have bitter results and force you to slow down or even come to a full stop.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Don't worry be happy

Some blessings come very well disguised - too well, even.

2016 had a handful of lemons to spring on me at the last minute and I'm still wading through its sour juice, picking out bits of pulp and its many pips.

It's crazy how some unforeseen messiness can overshadow all the good things that have preceded it.


Now, as I sit appreciating the remainder of sunlight that lingers on my windowsill at 4pm on a late January afternoon, after weeks of short winter days, it's dawning on me how the frosty mornings of the last few weeks, beautiful as they may have been, are creeping ever closer to spring.

As I move past the ass of 2016 and bring my head above the water again, I realise that I have let a series of personal misfortunes (including a couple of torn ligaments in my knee, followed by a couple of spectacularly snow-speckled and sore tonsils, resulting in some fits of delirium) more or less define my year.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, there are bigger issues at hand. Brexit is a thing. The NHS is falling to pieces (to which I can attest). Trump is president of America. Obama is not president of America. So on and so forth, the world appears to be ass-side up and on its head.

All we can do is keep it from getting us down, albeit whilst keeping a keen finger on the pulse of it all, and try not to take life too seriously.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Never any time for babes and wine

An indescribable video for an indescribable mood.

Men with funky trousers and luscious hair.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Seven Months: Here's What Happened

The dreaded radio silence that I had sworn never to let happen on this page has happened.

A short condensed list of other things that have happened on the side over the last 7+ months (because you are dying to know).

1) I am not unemployed! And have some fantastic colleagues with whom I share office space every so often. Infinitely grateful!

2) A handful of talented people have wandered into my life, much to my delight. From the musically-minded to athletically-inspiring, a mixed bag but a great one because of it.

3) Spent some QFT in Paris. Quality family time, that is - a rarity for my family which has the propensity to be dispersed around the globe. It involved a lot of food and drinks and minimal sight-seeing or cultural enlightenment of any sort.

4) I am trying to make an extra conscious effort to listen to song lyrics. It can be surprisingly difficult to tune in and really appreciate the stories recited in them. Not to mention acknowledge the melodic verses, poetic rhymes and plays on words, and the overall sheer genius that is involved in music-making. Especially when rushing (frantically) to catch a train or cycling (also pretty frantically, at times with undesired traumatic outcomes) around the city in the process. Such activities are attention-absorbing and distraction-laden. Alas that is life, London-style, for you. Frantic, traumatising and constantly rushing.
Fun fact: I have a somewhat unusual sore spot centred on the topic of lyrics having pretty much been fired from my first internship ever, working in a lyrics provider start-up. Apparently I asked too many questions (and didn't always agree with the way my boss decided to treat and communicate with his employees). Truly confidence-boosting moment in the final stages of my student life. Alas, I survived it and my employment prospects seem not to have suffered too much so all is good in the hood.

5) Seven months simply cannot be fit into a nutshell... or any condensed list of any sort. Not with ease at least.

So I will leave you listen to this instead:

Happy Sunday!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Hungry for Knowledge

There's always something new to be learnt. Everyday and everywhere.

Funnily enough a lot of the things that I've learnt as I continue to stumble through this bizarre jungle gym of a life, seem to have come not from my expensive education but from pure and simple experience. Cioè, quite simply from living it (surprise surprise).

Today, I learnt that the part of the human brain that controls our appetite and regulates how hungry or satiated we feel is called the appestat. How did I learn this?

By going to Appestat of course (and googling it whilst waiting for my saucisson sandwich).

It's a great little café-cum-pantry tucked away on Islington High Street, within skipping distance from Angel station, new to the 'hood at just 10 weeks old. I had originally planned to haul my laptop, and my arse, to The Coffee Works Project (which I still have yet to try) just a couple of doors down, but the low-key cosiness of Appestat prevailed and before I knew it I was inside.

They've got the simplicity of the decor spot on - not wannabe-rustic nor try-hard hipster; a small pantry-shop section at the entrance with cheeses chilling and cured meats resting and further along a nice lounging area for sitting with a cup of tea or coffee, alone or with a pal, as you like. Plain, clean, simple and functional furniture, friendly staff and no offensively loud music. Indeed, the perfect place to work your appestat.

The discovery of this haven was not my only lucky encounter of the day. I also bumped into an acquaintance precisely as I was being drawn in to this very café. In the end I had the added bonus of new friendly company with my cup of coffee.

I realise my opening remarks may have set a false tone to this post; it may have seemed, initially, as though I had something profound to say about the things that we learn in life. 

Alas, I don't. 

All I can say from my own jumbled efforts to reach the end of each day as unscathed as possible, is that no matter how hard I try to design and shape and select what I learn, what ends up sticking will often come either in an uncontrollable avalanche of events, at times emotionally shattering, or as little trinkets of knowledge and happenings that are swept up along the way and leave individual marks on me and the way I see things. What is more, no matter how hard I try to learn from my mistakes or avoid getting myself in certain situations, from time to time, I will always manage to wind up in those very situations. To put it more poetically, the poo on the road will always somehow find its way Conti the sole of your shoe when you least expect it (as, indeed, it did with me today. Literally.)

Maybe all one can really do, in that case, is learn to deal with it better when it happens. 

Today I discovered that I had the developed the ability to laugh and shrug things off
-albeit after some justified swearing-
and that this little trick is probably a big factor, if not the key, to happiness in my humble existence.

That and remembering to continue being curious, inquisitive and explorative.


P.s. Do pick up after your dogs though folks. Spread the word.