Baffling.

“Have you never had a boyfriend?”

I shake my head.

What?… How?!”

I smile. Shrug.

“That’s… baffling.”

(And the word “baffling” was said with so much emotion I don’t think I’ll ever hear it again without thinking of that moment.)

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

You warm me to my core and you left me wanting more. -An Act of Kindness, Bastille

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Yes, I’m Collecting Scraps

 

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The cover of the scrapbook. Poet, Bastille

Scrapbooking is not something new or something unheard of, but it is something that I think is underappreciated. It gives validation to my belief that there is meaning behind everything! That every candy wrapper can have sentimental value and every picture has a story that deserves to be written next to it. As you may have noticed, I like recording things and having written reminders of my thoughts and feelings (more on this topic in my upcoming posts – see Posting Schedule), and therefore my having started another scrapbook is not exactly surprising. I’m still going to tell you all about it though.

1. At work the other day I needed a nametag for an event, and someone showed me how to use the label maker. Yes, they have a label maker. Yes, they are the coolest people ever. I printed my name inside a candy wrapper frame a couple of times, and one of them is now on the back of my scrapbook. I’m not even going to try to cover up the fact that the label maker totally made my day and that maybe the single best thing in my room right now is my sticker label.

2. I stayed over at a friend’s house in a another city, and we bought frozen yogurt (because, um, what I do with my friends is eat frozen yogurt… I promise we do do other things too. Like laugh at “do do”). I saved the stamp card I got and made sure not to lose it, and it’s now in my scrapbook.

3. Every now and then, late in the evening, when I’m in a certain mood, I let myself float through YouTube for longer than recommended by, well, anyone. On one such night I lost myself in a flurry of commencement speeches, and I landed on one given by John Green. It is by far the best speech I have ever heard. I transcribed large sections of it, and it is now written in my scrapbook.

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Part I

Part II

Part II

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Part III

These three examples demonstrate what my scrapbook means to me. The things in there might not be the most beautiful or the most impressive, but to me they mean something. Every time I see my name on the back of it I will remember my (slightly) out of proportion excitement, and how sweet everyone at work was that day. Every time I see the frozen yogurt card I’ll remember hanging out with my friend and her boyfriend in a park playing Heads Up in the dark. Every time I read the highlights of the speech I will remember to let myself be inspired (though I have something against that word) and remember all of the people I have read it aloud to.

And of course, let us not forget, that my scrapbook is also full of collages and song quotes. Because, well… it’s me. Way back when, during what feels like forever ago, I wrote a whole post* about how I want to fall in love and it all had to do with listening to Ed Sheeran’s love songs. Without further ado, the love page of my scrapbook:

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Thinking Out Loud + Afire Love

*clears throat* Okay, back to business. I’m simply writing this to encourage you to maybe give scrapbooking a try and to share with you what I have been busy doing lately. Mission accomplished, right? Okay, fine, I’ll answer that myself: right!

 

Yours truly,

And babbling because that’s the mood I’m in right now,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Where you invest your love, you invest your life. –Awake My Soul, Mumford & Sons

P.s. Tweet me with your examples of #RainbowArea!

*The post is called When You Wake Me Up

 

I didn’t even realize this is my 50th post! That’s insane! Please leave me a comment with the words (fifty, fiftieth, five, zero) or the number 50 in it. Let’s see what you can come up with :) get creative!

My True Identity

 

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Where I call home.

 

The time has come for me to tell you all the truth. You deserve to know who I really am. My name is Isabella Petracca.

I haven’t been fully honest. I’ve kept something huge from you: I had a brother. It’s awful; I automatically say “had” when it’s really “have”. He’s not dead or anything. It’s just that my family doesn’t talk about him anymore. Not since…

Not since he was convicted for meddling in drugs. This was a couple years ago now, when he was in his early twenties and living away from home. I’ve always looked up to him, he was my role model ever since I was a baby. He was my big brother, and I thought he walked on the stars and the moon was his personal spotlight. When he was picked up by the police my family cut off all contact with him, and I was too scared to try and contact him on my own and go against my family. Now we just ignore his existence. I’ve been ashamed of what he did, and I’ve spent all this time feeling guilty, as though I played a part in his downfall. I know it’s preposterous, but that’s how I felt.

There’s a reason I’m telling you about this now. Because I don’t feel like that anymore. I was visiting family in the States (I live in Greece, in my dad’s hometown, and my mom is American) and I went with my grandparents to distribute food for the needy. My main worry was that I would get tired in the middle, and have a horrible headache and suffer because of the noise of the city. But then, I was handing sandwiches to homeless people, and they were joking and laughing and making everyone around us crack up. I realized something: if these homeless people are not ashamed of their lives and they are not embarrassed to tell people the truth about what they have gone through, there is absolutely no reason I should be ashamed of something my brother has done.

I can tell the world about my brother now, and walk with my head held high and the truth ringing in all of our ears. I have a brother. Maybe he doesn’t walk on the stars or have a close-knit relationship with the moon, but that doesn’t mean he’s not my family. The time has come for a change.

Thank you for listening to the naked truth of my life.

Yours truly,

Ella (short for Isabella)

 

Song quote:

All of your flaws and all my flaws, they may have been exhumed, you’ll see that we need them to be who we are, without them we’d be doomed. –Flaws, Bastille

P.s. Now click on this:

The Truth

 

(Yay for 40th post!)

 

IMPORTANT MESSAGE:

20.4.14: Hi everyone, I just wanted to make sure that it’s perfectly clear that this post was an April Fools Day joke! I am not Greek, I do not live in Greece, my name is not Isabella Petracca, I have never had a brother, I didn’t go with my grandparents to feed homeless people (though that’s a nice thing to do)… It’s all made up! I came up with it with a bunch of friends as a joke, but I figured that as it’s been so long since April Fools that it wouldn’t occur to anyone that it’s a prank. It is!

Well, have a nice day!

Try To Keep Up

 

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My week, summed up very well.

Hey, wait up! Time, where are you? This isn’t fun, I don’t like hide-and-seek. Or tag. Or whatever this is in game form. There’s so much going on, I just have to keep up and keep my head from rolling onto the floor and out the door (and under a bush, until I turn into mush).

I’ll start from the beginning, shall I?

My cousins are visiting. It’s great to see them, it truly is, it’s just time consuming. Over the weekend we went to our second cousins where I played pool for the first time (!) and other fun games fit for our old age. I loved it, though my head hurt me a ton, and I didn’t have time to study for my tests. And…. I was gonna say something…. I swear I knew what I wanted to say…. Shoot. It’s gone. I’m trying to think back to what happened at the beginning of the week. It’s been erased from my memory, apparently.

Oh! Now I remember. We started the day (at school) with triple biology (always a blast), and then we found out about a nasty rumor.  For those of you that have been following diligently, you know that I have already started my driving process (see Colloquial Miss if you want to catch up on that lovely experience). Well, after getting your green slip/form (where they check your eyesight and take the picture for your license), you need to get it signed by your doctor before you can go take your theory test. The theory test is basically made up of thirty multiple choice questions that test your knowledge of the road signs, laws, right of way, and all of those de facto important things. Up until now, you would study for it independently then arrive at the government ministry and take your test. You’re allowed to get up to four questions wrong (meaning if four are wrong, you’ve passed).

Okay, there’s your background information. What we found out was that as of the first of January, they’re changing the whole system. Or in other words, we all need to take our theory tests by January first. A bunch of us, including myself (us being my friends and schoolmates), were already in the process of studying for the theory test. Using either books or online websites, you spend some time learning what each thing means and what the rules are, then you test yourself over and over. Time consuming (keep track of how many times I need to use that phrase to describe my week and I’ll give you a sticker), but not too hard. Out of four chapters, I had finished the first.

We all kind of stressed out, until my good friend J had the idea to call the higher ups and ask them if the rumor is true before we all vomit up anxiety on our textbooks. I apologize for crudeness. She did, and they told her that they don’t know anything, and when prompted for information on who does, they replied that they do. But they “won’t know anything until two days before the system changes”. Essentially, they can’t confirm the rumors but the system will be changing. That was bad thing number one.

All day long, even before the rumor surfaced, I had a head splitting headache. Is that a thing? Can I say that? Too late. It was horrible. Sometimes it’s manageable, but that day I just put my head down in class and tried to block the world out. It hurt so much, I don’t know how to describe it (oh wait, I kind of did. Check out Shining, Elegant, Weightless White). Usually, no matter how bad I feel, I can put up a pretty good front, to the point where people don’t know I’m sick until I tell them. But this time my teachers were asking if I was okay, and I wanted to cry. We also found out that our teachers had organized to take us to go see snow the following day as a fun stress-reliever (it doesn’t snow in our area), and I knew that I couldn’t go because busses make me really sick.

I got home, and studied through the pain because I had no other choice, going back and forth between theory and a year-and-a-half’s worth of biology material. Later in the day I went to physical therapy, where my physical therapist/study buddy and I went over some of my biology terms, and then we talked about his cute kids for the remainder of the time.  Then I got home, and guess what I did? I studied! Shocker!

Wow I just realized I can’t tell you about everything that has happened because it would take me until next week to write all of that, and I don’t have that kind of time. Okay, fast-forward:

1)   My sister collapsed and I had to take care of her until my parents could get home and figure out whether she needed to be taken to the emergency room or not (she was in the end, and then sent home). That’s what I did on the day my friends went to play in the snow.

2)   The biology test went all right for me though it was pretty hard, but it went badly for most of my friends, which was very upsetting.

3)   I had to go to the doctor to get my form signed, and that took a long time that should have been spent studying for theory. The whole process was time consuming.

4)   I was told I need to go on another upsetting diet (my friend D said I should call it a “regime”), this time dairy-free, gluten-free and no processed foods. If anyone feels it’s important, I can explain why at some point. Mainly, it sucks and I hate being sick. It’s so time consuming having to prepare food every time I want to eat something.

5)   My parents bought me a new phone, and I chipped in for about a third of the cost, but it doesn’t work. I went to six stores to try to set it up, then my dad went to five stores to try to set up (time consuming), and he finally found someone who knows how to do it for the added cost of over 100 dollars… Meanwhile, all of the back and forth has messed up my old phone (a cute little red Sony Ericson), so it’s not really working. Hopefully next week my phone will be set, and then I’ll be able to post from my phone! Ah! Though I probably won’t, let’s be realistic here. No mobile version is better than the real thing.

6)   That very bad headache? Still here. It won’t go away, I think it’s going to drive me insane if it doesn’t let up soon.

7)   Hey my lucky number! Ooh, which reminds me, I have to tell you about the theory test itself! Man this post is really long.

Anyway, today J and I got a ride with her dad and went to take our test. First off, the office was in a deserted building, on the second floor, on a landing outside the building, past a bunch of workshops where men with masks on and working heavy machinery turned to stare at us as we walked past. Briskly. Then we got to office, opened the door and a guard jumped up and told us to put our things on the desk while he ran his metal detector over us and stuffed our things into lockers. A pleasant welcome if I’ve ever seen one. Then we were told to sit, and after being sent back to put more of our things into our lockers (including my scarf, because it’s all the rage to hide answers in them nowadays), they finally called my name. J wished me luck, and I went up to the desk. They had me sign some forms, then told me to look at the camera. I suddenly got worried, because I did not want my license picture to be taken then, seeing as I already worked so hard to get a nice one of my green slip. I asked the lady what the picture was for, and said that I had already taken mine, and she went, “You’re pretty, what do you care?” *clears throat* I insisted, and then she told me it was for “identification purposes”. Fine. I smiled. By the way, I saw the picture later and it was not pretty.

Then she sent me into the room, where I was lead to cubicle number 7 (hence the memory trigger) and shown how to work the test. It’s on the computer; I was basically told how to use a mouse to press the “next” and “finish” buttons. J was seated next to me at cubicle 8. I took my time, answered everything very carefully, then went back and counted up how many I thought might be wrong. I got to three, so I decided to go for it and pressed the finish button. I came out, waited with J on the waiting chairs (that’s their official name) and then the same lady who thinks I’m pretty came up with both of our forms and went, “One of you passed, one of you failed”. Such a kind, tactful lady. Now, J and I had discussed what might happen if we went together, and we both came to the conclusion that one of was going to pass and the other one wasn’t, because it’s just been that kind of week. It was so bad that our friend D sent us both a text saying (after I updated them about the new regime), that she doesn’t know what to say but she thinks “we should commune and create a cry session for one of the worst weeks in 2013”.  J said, “Spot on”, and I declared that “I concur. It’s a date.” J said she would laugh if she fails, I warned her and her dad that I would cry.

So when she said that to J and I, we looked at each other and turned to our forms, and she started laughing before I had time to process the little word on my form that let me know that I passed. The second we made eye contact we started laughing hysterically because we were right, and then my favorite lady asked us to leave because we were being disruptive. We grabbed out things and headed for the door, where the guard stopped us and gave us his advice on when to come again and what website to use to study. He was actually sweet in the end, surprisingly. We quickly walked into the building from the landing and left.

I’m glad we’re such good friends that the situation wasn’t awkward. I was sad for her, she was happy for me, and mainly we were both exhausted, tired and angry about what a bad week it’s been. Luckily everyone is going there to take the test in the next few days, so she has plenty of opportunities to go again with someone, and then I’m sure she’ll pass because she did eleven practice tests the night before and passed all of them, so it was really just a fluke that she didn’t pass the real one. And I know she’s reading this, and laughing. Go get some food and stop doing more practice tests.

I was so tired last night that when I wrote my checklist for this morning, this is what came out:

–       Green slip

–       Wallot

–       Phone + id

–       Wallet

Yeah, it was that bad. I showed it to my dad this morning and he laughed at me. Understandably, I suppose. Ooh, and I scheduled my first driving lesson for next week!

Wow, I’m at two thousand words. Maybe it’s time to stop talking. Maybe I should edit some of this stuff out. But we all know I won’t.

Yours truly,

Ella

Song Quote:

We have paved these streets with moments of defeat. –These Streets, Bastille

 

P.s. Who got the meatball reference?

 

Laughter Lines

Old Women Jumproping

This is what my friend and I will be doing when we get together in our eighties. Just saying.

“Drumroll please!” I exclaim, as my hand nears the pile of little yellow cards. The drumming begins, and I lift one card high into the air. The drumming stops abruptly as I bring the card to eye level. “Advance to Go, collect 200.” She sighs, I laugh, pieces move and the game continues.

Yes, I was playing Monopoly. The friend I was playing with has been my friend since before I was born. Let me explain.

Once upon a time, when my mother was around 11 years old, she met a girl named Monica, and the two became friends. Naturally, Monica’s parents and my mother’s parents became friendly too. When they were both in their twenties and individually moved away from home, they ended up in the same city and moved in together. My mother married my father, and soon after Monica got married too. Both couples moved to Boston, and started bringing children to the world.

McLaughin (my friend- it’s a nickname that stuck) and I are both the youngest children. When McLaughing was one month old, and my mother was eight months pregnant, Monica and my mom met for coffee. They put McLaughin’s teeny weeny infant hand on my mom’s belly, where I was happily residing, and thus, we shared our first high five (of many) before I was born.

Seven and a bit years later, both families ended up across the world, a forty five minute drive from one another. McLaughin and I have always gotten along very well whenever our families met up (it’s harder to do than you would think, with 11 different schedules between us). Then, we got to an age where we didn’t mind being away from home for a bit, so I would find my way to their house for a weekend here and there, and vice versa. Then we got cellphones, and I talked to McLaughin at least once a week, walking to and from dance class.

Eventually, McLaughin and I were the ones pulling for the families to get together (though of course our moms were very happy about it too, it’s just we’re the ones that push for it). Whenever we see each other we have the greatest time. It’s laughter and fun, compassion and friendship, ridiculousness and comfort. And some more laughter.

This weekend, they come over for 28 hours (I only counted now, mind you). It was so much fun having them over, I absolutely loved it. It was horrible and annoying that I felt sick and exhausted the whole time, but McLaughin’s general kindness made it all a little easier to deal with. My grandfather is with us too, and of course he’s known Monica since she was a little girl, and he sees McLaughin whenever she comes to visit me. My grandfather is a sweetie-pie, and he was asking my mom what he could do to make Monica happy, so my mom told him to tell a lot of jokes- he complied.

Towards the end their stay, McLaughin and I started playing Monopoly. We created our own set of traditions for the game, which include buying everything we land on, hugging when one of us gets snake eyes, drumming the table when Chance or Community Chest are called for, and this thing called “race”. The rest of the house was quiet because everyone was in the living room reading, and we were next door in the kitchen hogging the table, so whenever something exciting happened they were all a part of it (willingly or not) because they over-heard it all. I don’t know about everyone else, but McLaughin and I enjoyed that. McLaughin has the ability to simply fill me with joy, give me energy and put me in a good mood.

They stayed late to have some dinner with us and I pulled out my camera and took a bunch of pictures. I suddenly remembered I was supposed to go to a surprise good bye party for a friend, so McLaughin, my sister and I rushed up to my room and rummaged through my closet, choosing an outfit and sending me to the bathroom to change. The rest of the family was shouting at us cause we were holding everyone up, but it wouldn’t be a traditional get-together if that didn’t happen at some point to someone in the family, so it was A-Okay.

I hugged everyone goodbye, and we all rushed out the door. I was late for the party, but it was the absolute best reason for being late- I was busy having a good time with some good friends. A friendship like ours will never fade, it will never stop being this beautiful, McLaughin will always be one of my dearest friends.

Yours truly,

Ella

P.s. I added a new page! Check out “In The Beginning”

 

Song Quote:

I’ll see you in the future when we’re older, and we are full of stories to be told… I’ll see you with your laughter lines. –Laughter Lines, Bastille

 

From my previous post, this poll is still relevant:

I Deserve a Nobel Prize

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At the end of last year, my classmates and I took certain country-wide tests that are a pretty big deal. I only took two, and therefore this year I have eleven. It’s going to be great fun. But the point is, we get our test results back only at the beginning of the following year.

Milling around the lobby of our school, the entire 11th and 12th grade (it’s not that many, don’t get excited, it comes out to 25 students or so) were chatting excitedly with each other. A senior was standing with all of the grade sheets (discreetly stapled so as only your name is visible), and handing them out. I walked up, took a deep breath as he searched for mine, and prepared myself.

Standing against the wall, my teacher happened to pass by (he taught one of the two subjects I was tested on), and I asked him if he wanted to be present for the historic moment. Yes, that’s how I worded it. He waited while I pried open the sheet of paper, shrieked, and passed it to him. 100! On both! On everything! He passed it to the principal who was passing by, who shrieked too (sort of) and congratulated me. All of that hard work last year, it served its purpose.

I joined the milling teenagers and pretty much everyone was satisfied with their grades (our school’s average on these tests is in the nineties). I was chatting with two girls about how despite being happy with the grade, it feels like there’s something missing…. Then I graced them with this beautiful dream scenario (the presenter is Ryan Seacrest, the result of watching the American Idol finale the other day):

I’m standing in a really fancy dress on a big stage, while a good-looking man in a suit (with pretty hair) walks up holding a gold envelope. The presenter (there will be a presenter) narrates to the audience, “The good-looking man is walking down stage to Ella, and is holding the gold results envelope in his right hand while his hair shines and swishes. He is presenting Ella with it. This is it, ladies and gentlemen, here- we- go. Ella is prying open the envelope, the results are in, she shoots, she…. She’s smiling, she scores!”

And the hall erupts into erroneous applause, everyone is on their feet, cheering and stamping! Confetti is falling from the heavens as my test scores flash on the screens behind me. A red carpet is being unrolled before me, and the good-looking man holds my hand as I navigate my way into the people. I’m laughing and crying, camera flashes are going off like I’m actually photogenic, and everyone is overjoyed on my behalf. The day is forever declared the “Ella did it” day, to be celebrated by no one, ever.

We were all talking about how this slip of paper doesn’t feel substantial enough, and we really just deserve the Nobel Prize. As my friend corrected though, we’ll settle for a simple Oscar or Emmy.

Instead, we just went on with our day. But that could have been nice. As it is, I’m very happy with my test scores and I’m glad all of my friends did well as well. This is exactly what I need to fill me with some sort of non-depressed feelings about starting school again. Now I’m a little bit buoyed. Mini yay!

Yours truly,

Ella

P.s. This post is dedicated to my friends, with whom I spent whole days cramming for these tests. Our study dates have a special place in my heart, forever.

Song Quote:

These are the days that bind you together, forever, and these little things will define you, forever. –Bad Blood, Bastille (alright, so the name of the song sounds negative, but this quote isn’t, so just go with it.)

Pinning Down Magic

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Like I said… Magic

Magic is everywhere, but like the moon, you can’t pin it down. We’re all exposed to the Magic, but we take it in differently. For me, Magic is watching dancers on stage, moving in time with the music and each other. Magic is watching two people who are in love.

Magic is writing down how I feel. I like capturing moments and feeling, and it’s something I’ve always done. When I danced, I would choreograph a routine that portrayed how I felt right then. Anytime I danced that routine, I went back to that feeling and experienced it all over again. In art, I capture a moment, by the facial expressions, the placement, the color choice.

But when I write, it’s something different. Sure, in dance, if I made a move timid instead of strong, it changed the feeling. And if I made the background gray instead of white in a sketch, it changes the feeling. But those are nothing compared to writing. I can play with words, expressions, emotions, tensions, humor, kindness, nuances, intonation, language… I can create something I’m feeling, or something I want to feel, or a feeling I miss. That is my Magic, putting everything down in words.

Like I told my cousin this past weekend, I share my feelings a lot. With people, of course. But also with other things. I think the example I gave her was TV: if someone is crying in the movie, I’m crying too; if someone is smiling, so am I. That’s just how it goes. I express emotions through everything I do, all day long.

So I suppose, instead of my Magic being writing, my Magic should really be feelings. I do them really well. I’m like a sorceress, a magician, a wizard, a witch. My Magic is my own. There is no limit to the Magic I can have. My Magic is love, dance, art, writing, expressing, feeling… really, everything is Magic.

Lumos,

Ella

Song Quote:

Now you’ll live through the ages, I can  feel your pulse in the pages, I have written you down, Now you will live forever. -Poet, Bastille