I’m Back! (Kinda)

Bonjourno! Or not, because I’m no longer in Italy. *cries*

I arrived back yesterday, coming home at about 10 o’clock (though it felt like 11, because of the time difference). Robin stayed over at mine with her family, and she left this morning.

Saying goodbye to her was so emotional, but I should be seeing her soon because I plan to visit her at blind college. Convincing my mother to let me do that will be a challenge, but I should be able to.

God, I’m so tired. Checking out of the airport was possibly the most stressful thing ever, because I ended up snapping at my dad on the phone when he was telling me where that the taxi would pick us up. I feel bad about that, but we both apologised after and he said that he’d had a bad day. Robin’s brother kept on doing his god awful New York accent, which ended with him running up and down a travellator with his friend.

Honestly, not much of interest has happened since then. I felt like a zombie this morning when I woke, but I’m mostly human now. I think I just need to relax, being so exhausted. I’d rather be doing nothing and actually making a start on my holiday homework, but noooo. Such a nerrrddd uurgh.

On Tuesday, I’m going to Thailand until about the 23rd, which will be fun (I HOPE). I’m going to try and post, like I did in Italy, but who knows: the wifi might be terrible.

I still have a post that I need to do on when I visited Venice last Monday, which took a bloody age to write. Robin should be giving me some photos to post, which is a first!

Ahhh, I need sleep. I hope you’re all doing great, and I finally got to catch up on some blogs I’ve been meaning to read. That made me feel less unproductive. If you guys ever need anything, remember I’m just an email away.

Tomorrow, I have something exciting going on, but I’ll tell you about it once it’s done. I promise that I actuY will! It may not even happen; the likelihood is it won’t, but I can still hope.

Sorry, also, for not replying to many comments. I’ll do that as soon as I can. I just need to pack for Thailand, talk to some friends, sort out some shit and then maybe, MAYBE relax.

Hehe, relaxation’s a joke. Just BREATHE, Elm, breathe!

I’ll update you if anything interesting happens, as I always do.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

I Can Vaguely Socially Interact

Today, Robin and I went to a water park. I’m writing this on Thursday night, and half panicking that I won’t get it up in time. (Which I didn’t because #Rebel) CALM, Elm!

The water park was about half an hour from our campsite, and was huge. It had so many attractions, but Robin and I only went on two because I’m a wimp. After we went on them, we walked around (even though the floor was fucking boiling and our feet killed), went to get food at a noodle bar and relaxed in the “shade”. Saying that, the shade got interrupted by sunlight most of the time, and suncream had to be reapplied multiple times. Urgh.

You’re probably not wondering what the title means, so I’ll tell you anyway. It’s the thing that sticks in my mind when I remember the day, as sad as that is.

The first thing we went on was something similar to rapids. It was a water slide where you had to go in those rubber rings, and I went in one with Robin. You slid down and shrieked whilst you splashed into water, and it was bloody brilliant. I mean, I enjoyed it immensely, and yelled “BLOODY CRAPPING HELL!” on at least two occasions.

On the second slide, the “social interaction” happened. It’s actually laughable how I put that in quotation marks. Whilst the queue for the ‘crazy river’ wasn’t too long, the one for the other slide was significantly lengthier. As the sun beat down and I waited, with Robin and her mum and dad, I heard teenagers – speaking English – behind us.

Now, this has been rare this holiday. The norm is to hear Italian, German and Dutch, so to hear English was a shock. It was even more of a shock !hear it from someone who sounded close to my age, so because I’m a weird child, I fixated on it.

Oh, Elm.

Luckily, it’s fresh in my mind, so I can recount it properly. The whole experience happened at about midday, before I had lunch, and so the sun was intense. There were breaks of shade, but all throughout the time when we queued, I heard them behind me. I’m really fucking strange in that I like to socially interact, though I’m awful at it, and so I tried !get an opportunity to speak to the boy (he also had a little brother who was about 10, though I had no idea of the older boy’s age at that point).

Robin’s mum was talking to me about how old I looked (apparently I do look about 14, sometimes 15), and I kept on thinking about the people behind me. When the conversation moved onto how I supposedly had a good figure, and that Robin and I were both very pretty, I started to feel more confident. It wasn’t that I felt insecure before: today wasn’t a bad day for me in terms of that, because I feel alright about my body. It was more that I was worried as to how people would view me in a social situation. Because of that, as we reached the top of the staircase, I turned. Partly !get the sun on my face, and partly to just… Build up the nerve !tell myself that I could talk to people, if I wanted to. It was important to me that I could because it proves to me I can be okay in situations like that.

After I was ahead of Robin and her family on the staircase, I thought my chance had gone. That makes me sound like a stalker, but it was honestly only that I wanted to talk to someone my age. At school, I don’t branch out often (OMG I’ve made that pun before but still) and so I felt a crushing disappointment when I thought that I wouldn’t be able to show a stranger, someone I didn’t know, who I was when I was feeling the most free I’d felt in a long time. Does that make sense?

We turned right at the top of the staircase, walking into a patch of shade. I’d hung back a bit, mostly to get Robin in front of me so she could help me not look like a complete moron on the slide.

Robin’s mum spoke to them first. They were talking about a slide that they’d had to queue for for one and a half hours, that was – I think – one of the tallest in Europe. On hearing that talking, something changed inside my thinking; I thought: why not? So I turned once more, and just asked a question like “Are you SERIOUS?!”

After that, it was surprisingly easy to speak. I only thought I was an idiot once, when I said that I was so paranoid that I’d burn and he laughed a little. His brother was cool too: they were going to race each other down the slide for 5 euros, which made me chuckle.

Feeling somewhat bolder, I decided !ask questions. Robin’s mum found out he was staying at a campsite not far from the water park. When I spoke to him, he said he was 15 – and the strangest thing? It turns out that he lives in a place very near to the town where I go to school. AS IN, he lives VERY CLOSE to my school and would have gone to it if his dad didn’t move house.

As we got on the slides – there were five slides going down next to each other – I found out his name was James. Using his real name might be risky, but I’m at the point where I just don’t care. Him finding my blog is pretty much impossible, and even if he did, he most likely thinks I’m strange (which isn’t a bad thing!)

Possibly the most hilarious part of it was when I came off the slide. I realised I couldn’t exactly stand up, all 5 foot 1 inch of me, so I shrieked exactly that, followed by “WOAH, where am I?!”
James then called, sarcastically whilst laughing, “In a swimming pool!” My response? “SHUT UP I KNOW!” Laughing all the while, to show I was taking the piss. At least, I hope he realised I was… Oh god.

“So, we’ll see you around,” was the last thing he said. Afterwards, jokingly, I said to Robin that we should go looking for him, but I knew we wouldn’t see him again. The park was massive, with so many people that it would be like looking for half a needle in twenty haystacks. The disappointment I felt was short-lived, but it was more a sadness at a missed opportunity. Not really romantically – realistically, nothing could ever have happened, but just in a friendship and potential future happiness sort of way.

I didn’t get his number, or his facebook or anything. However, the possibility of us having mutual friends is so much higher than it’s ever been before with anyone I’ve met on holiday, which is rather scary if you think about it. I was in my bikini for fuck’s sake, acting like a total lunatic and laughing, carefree. He is someone I will, most likely, never be around again and so for me, it didn’t matter how I acted: only that I was happy.

I didn’t worry that my hair was horrendous, that I laughed too loudly, or if I turned and faced him too much. I didn’t think about how he saw me, or if Robin would judge me (which of course she didn’t). Again, he’s just a random boy on holiday, who I met for 20 minutes, and who I know nothing about. Still, I’m smiling because I’m remembering how great it felt to be in that moment.

It’s getting so much easier to say that I’m proud of myself. I spoke to someone, spontaneously and randomly, without thinking I was out of place or that I should just shut up. Maybe, over the past year, I’ve become better at speaking to people I don’t know, but this time was when I put it to the test.

I passed that “test”. I’ve never been more glad of that.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

I Can’t Speak Italian

Hii guys! I’m not actually sure when I’m going to be able to post this, but currently it’s the night of the 30th – so the second full day in Italy, and I love it so far.

Turns out, there isn’t good wifi here. Well I mean there IS – you have to buy it – but at the moment, I don’t have it and the only access I’ve had to les internets is 5 minutes using Robin’s data, but to be honest I’m at the stage where I don’t need it. Getting 10 hours of it costs you 10 euros, which is an insanely good deal considering what it’s been like the previous years. Okay, I won’t bore you with that.

Italy is really lovely. It’s boiling – yesterday and today, it was about 30 degrees where we’re staying. At times it’s just way too hot, but it’s rather nice and a break from rainy England. You walk outside and the heat hits you, and it’s got to the point where the air conditioning, inside, feels much too cold.

We’re staying in this awesome caravan, like we did when we went to France. Robin and I share a room, with her brother and his friend sharing the one next door. There’s a kitchen, a living room in the same room, a room with a double bed and then a nice seating area outside. Also, the place itself is picturesque, with lots of trees (which I’m happy about) and shade, which is broken by patches of sunlight along the pathways.

On Thursday, we arrived (getting to the airport and boarding the flight was VERY stressful, but that’s because I was paranoid). After we landed, we stepped outside the plane and I just had this thought that now, I was on Italian soil and it was exhilarating; I went a bit hyper.

Shopping for food was actually less frustrating than I expected. Going round a supermarket with Robin and her family, choosing what we wanted to eat, felt a shitload more freeing than just having it done for us. Plus, Italian food is great. Once we’d done all of that, and arrived at the sort of campsite where we’re staying, we didn’t do much. Just relaxed, and chatted as we usually do.

On the first day – so yesterday – Robin and I explored. By that I basically mean she walked around whilst guiding me, and we had a look at all the different things there were. In previous years, it’s just been rather simple with a bar and caravans, but here it’s organised in neat rows and it’s almost like a little town. You have the bar, the pool (in fact there are about four pools which is brilliant) and all of the caravans are different, owned by different companies, and there are even some chalets and tents scattered about.

Exploring involved over 2 hours of catching up, where I told her everything that’s happened over the last 6 months. There was a lot to tell, but luckily she wasn’t bored as I basically regaled her with how my life has been. She was unbelievably supportive and not judgemental, as she always is, but that shouldn’t surprise me. Because she goes to a boarding college, there’s not much she HASN’T seen or heard, and in the hours of catching up, she told me many stories that had me laughing insanely.

Last night, we went out for dinner. We’d gone shopping beforehand, but because I’m boring, I didn’t buy anything. Oh, and Italian pasta is gorgeous. It’s been my personal goal to try eating pasta in Italy, and finally that’s achieved! I regret nothing.

Today, we just went swimming. Both days, we woke up late – at about 9:30 – which felt really great because I was calm and not stressed. Robin got bitten by mosquitos, and because she’s allergic, they swelled up and are now the size of bloody golf balls. I feel so sorry for her honestly, but she went to the doctor this evening and has some prescription drugs, so she’s okay.

As I said, we went swimming (in the pool, not the sea, because fuck beaches). For the first time ever, I wore my bikini – after dousing myself in suncream – and god, I’ve never felt so… Confident. I thought I’d be a mess, constantly questioning how I look, but because Robin was there I was fine. She said this, which stuck in my mind: “I started putting bikinis on because though I felt insecure, I just thought fuck it! Why not?” I went by that philosophy, and it worked, because I could lie on a towel and sunbathe without asking myself if I looked disgusting. If you ever feel nervous about putting something on, like an item of clothing, just remember that it’s YOUR body and that you do have the confidence to feel comfortable.

It’s about 8.30 now, and I’m writing this just outside the bar. There’s music playing on a stage a way to my right, people talking and the busy sounds of chatter to my left, and Robin sitting next to me. I feel really peaceful, and this is the first time I’ve written a post outside, which is so liberating. The air is warm around me, with people walking behind my chair and kids shrieking. I’ll definitely be repeating the experience someday.

Tomorrow, we’re just going to do nothing – relax as per usual. Robin still hasn’t caught me up on all of her stories, and I’ll hopefully have wifi tomorrow so that I can actually post this. Recently – when I had my 5 minutes of wifi – I checked WordPress and saw some truly lovely comments that made me smile. I’ll reply to those as soon as possible, but I’d like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I DO mean that: I can’t read blogs at the moment, and won’t be able to for a long time, so I can’t return the favour on new blogs I find.

If you ARE a new blogger and just want someone to chat to, I’m here. I thought I’d say that now, because now’s a good enough time as any.

Also, I’ve decided that I won’t be trying to “get with” someone. I did a lot of thinking, and realised I’m in no emotional state to do that. My “legendary paranoia” puts me in the position where I’m finding it difficult to trust myself, almost? I’d love to just have something small, meaningless, to let myself be free, and the more I think about it, the more appealing it comes. However, it would feel like a betrayal and I’m not sure to whom. My mind is on other things, and so it wouldn’t be fair to the person at all if I did. It might not make sense, but I’m just trying to make myself happy.

I adore Italy. Because there are not many English families around, you can hear a blend of different languages: Dutch, German, even some French and obviously, Italian. The latter’s such a beautiful language, and I love hearing it. In the coming days, I hope that I can post more, but I sometimes just need time away from everything. A break. I can’t and won’t feel guilty about it, and you know I haven’t forgotten about you all.

I hope that you’re doing great. If you’re on holiday, have a fab time!

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

What I Plan to Do in Italy

Because I am obviously incapable of coming up with imaginative post titles, this is what it says on the tin: not that my post, or blog, is a tin because that would be weird and impossible. Okay, I’m getting off track…

It’s a day before Italy and for some reason, all my fear and nervousness has disappeared. My mum went shopping this morning and got me a bunch of stuff, like a cleanser, shampoo, conditioner blah blah blah, which actually made me feel a lot more confident. That, coupled with the lovely and supportive comments I got from you all yesterday, has made me feel a lot better about my body, and my personality in general. Thanks for that, by the way.

Robin’s coming over later – one of my best friends, who I’ve known for 5 years. As is customary, we’re going to have a massive catch up session which will include hours of talking about what’s been happening since we last saw each other – 6 months ago or so. I think that we both have a lot to say, which should be interesting because I tell her everything. AAAAAHH and the Jasmine situation… Great.

I’m pretty sure that that’s what we’ll be doing for a lot of the holiday. Sitting in the sun, just talking and laughing; that’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most. Robin is such a good friend, and she actually understands me so much, and so we don’t have to talk all the time to be such good friends. Whenever we spend time with each other, it doesn’t feel like time has passed since the last one.

Unlike last year and the year before, where we went to France, there won’t be A teens club. That makes me kind of sad, because the friends I made at BASE – Like Cassia from last year commade me feel so much more confident about myself. Often, I don’t feel like a typical teenager, but in France I felt like I belonged somehow.

In Italy, I’m going to make an effort to approach other people our age. I’m sure Robin can help with that: she’s got more sight than me, so we won’t be walking up to 30-year-old people which would be so awkward. I always get scared that they won’t take me seriously because of my height and physical appearance, but people appeared to like me well enough in France. I should channel that to make me feel better, and not feel so self-conscious. Whenever I get insecure, I’ll just remember that Robin’s with me and that even if people don’t like me, it’s their loss and not mine.

Ohh, the memories from France are coming back. Last summer, I compared it to the year before on several occasions, which I shouldn’t have done because the experience was very different. I think I actually enjoyed myself more, because I was older and had gone through many things like the Ash situation, so I appreciated the new memories to a higher level, because I thought deeply about them. This year, I’ll plan to not compare the memories I have, and to just let go and enjoy myself.

I’m not entirely sure where we’ll be going in Italy. We’re staying in a caravan – and by “we”, I mean me, Robin and Robin’s family (pus her brother’s friend). At some point, we should be going out to see the local area and go to restaurants, which will truly make me feel free. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, which is part of the reason I’m so excited.

As I’m me, I’m rather scared that I’ll “get with” someone in Italy. The possibility of that is shrinking, but it’s STILL a possibility. Because of what’s happened recently, I’m not sure if I’m in the right state of mind to just get with someone random, but who knows? If it happens, it happens. I won’t stop it, because I need to discover more about myself to get experibbes before I go to Sixth Form. Manipulative? Probably, but I’m trying not to fel shitty about it and to not regret any future… Happenings. That just sounds disturbing as shit.

Now I’m thinking about it, I’ve decided not to schedule posts. In doing it, it would make me a hell of a lot more stressed, and I don’t need that. That most likely means I won’t be blogging much, because this is my last holiday with Robin and her family for a while, and so I’ll want to spend as much time with her as possible and not be antisocial. However, I’ll make an effort to post if I can, like I did last year. If something interesting happens, you’ll be the first to know.

Yesterday, I got involved in a bloggers’ group chat for the first time in a while. It made me feel so happy, like I was including myself and not shutting myself off. Now, the inside jokes are legendary. I won’t be able to talk to them much in Italy, which makes me sad, but oh well!

I’ll miss you so much. I hope you have an amazing summer, whether you’re going on holiday or not. You can find plenty of things to do if you’re not going away; be imaginative and maybe go on walks, if you’re bored.

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚

Holidays Are Actually Stressful

You know what this season is? Summer.

Yes, summer. Where you’re supposed to RELAX. Key word: supposed. Because guess what I’ve done? I’ve started to mildly stress about my holiday to Italy, which starts on Thursday.

There has to be an emphasis on mildly. I’m not as bad as I used to be in terms of stress, but it is still there. I’ve found the most ridiculous things to stress about, as well. This is a time to have fun and be happy with one of my best friends ever, Robin, and catch up on six months of gossip – er, I mean, events that have happened in our lives. I have a lot to update her on, but that’s a story for another time.

Because I’m a complete conformist stereotzpe (psh, where’s the rebel gone in me?) I wanted to buy a bikini for this holiday. I’ve never worn one before, because I’ve never seen the purpose, and even though I am somewhat self-conscious about my body, I thought I’d give it a go. There’s no time like the present, after all, and I’m going to Italy to get new experiences, and to just be free.

The only issue was actually buying the damned thing. My mum and I went to our local shoping centre, and looked through about five shops. To put it bluntly, I’m a size 6, and they literally had none in my size. Only one shop sold them the size that would fit, and you had to order it online. As you can imagine, I got a tad bit upset (and stressed), but I’ve got much better at not showing it and I only once snapped “Yeah, well that’s fucking great isn’t it?” Also, I only went into self-hating “why don’t you just put on more weight you’re awful” mode ONCE! I’m vaguely proud of myself?

All of this worrying about my body is irritating me. If people aren’t happy with how I look, then to be honest they can actually bugger off: I feel insecure as it is, not being able to see myself (oh here we go aggg. As a result, I HAVE to rely on other people to tell me if I look good. Luckily, it’s Robin and her family, who I’ve known for 5 years, so I know they would.

After we got back from shopping, my mum ordered a bikini online (no idea what it looks like). It should hopefully arrive tomorrow, and I’ll see if it fits then, but I have this constant worry that it won’t and I’ll look like a complete moron. Ahh, I’ll just see how it goes: there’s no use worrying about it now, and I think I just need to relax before my holiday. HA!

This is most likely oversharing, but it’s got to the point where I trust you with this kind of thing. I really don’t like the hair on my legs: it’s blonde and there isn’t much of it, but I can feel it. Because it’s not very visible, I haven’t needed to shave, wax or anything which kind of makes me feel like a gross outcast? Anyway, my mum is addiment that I don’t remove the hair because otherwise, it’ll “grow back a lot more” in her words, but I’m worried about what I should do. I might ask my stepmother for help if I see her before I go, actually.

I STILL haven’t done much holiday homework. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to do it ON holiday because I stupidly procrastinated. The main thing I’m worp ied about is, surprisingly, the English, but I think Robin can help me out because she’s insanely intelligent. Let’s hope I don’t leave it to the last minute.

Tomorrow, and possibly the day after before Robin comes, I’ll be writing and scheduling posts that will be published in the time I go to Italy. Who knows – I may get a chance to po still in Italy, like I did in France last year. If there are funny or embarrassing stories, I’ll definitely let you guys know, because I’ll NEED to write about them.

Thinking about that, does Robin know I have a blog? I don’t actually know. Amid most likely hours of conversation about what’s been happening with us, I’ll drop a mention of Elm.

To summarise, holidays CAN be stressful, especially when you’re me and find it somehow amusing to find many things to worry about. I still have to buy suncream, aftersun and various other items like that.

I’m worrying about not talking to friends, especially to you bloggers. I’ve not been active in the community much recently, which makes me sad – sorry! It’ll be okay though. I’ll also miss my real life friends like Odd, Wren, Red and Willow, but I should be able to speak to them all at some point.

OMG Elm, just enjoy your holiday! ARGH!!! (Sorry about that)

I’m obviously not going until Thursday, but I wanted to update you guys on how I’m doing. Again, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to write, so I won’t give an exact estimation.

You guys doing anything interesting over the holidays?

From Elm ๐Ÿ™‚