Operation Stay Motivated. How do you combat fatigue?

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Story of my LIFE.

I work 40+ hours every week. After my commute, I cook dinner, clean and watch my favourite television shows. Sometimes, I mix it up. I’ll throw on work out clothes and shake my booty with body combat or yoga at Nuffield gym. Yet without fail at the end of the day, especially lately from winter, all I want to do is decompress, curl up in my jammies and spend time at home. And that’s when the fatigues kick in …

How the HELL do people stay motivated to write?! Even without a family, I’m struggling! I want to pick people’s brains here. Surely, I’m not the only person to feel overwhelming fatigue after work all the time. In the next some odd months the boy and I would like to purchase a home and have our own family. WHAT THEN??

And forget about trying to take a day off. Oh no. Even when I try to relax I’m plagued with overwhelming guilt! My brain goes into overdriving and wants me to make up for the lost time. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Why in the hell do creative minds have so much angst?

I’m curious how WordPress peeps in the writing community manage. Do you make specific time each morning, evening or weekends? Do you tell people to leave you alone, hole yourself up with some food and whiskey, and just write write write. Are you between jobs and decided to write out of boredom? Is it a hobby you do for fun, or are you trying to make a career out of it? What is the method to your madness??

I remember one story in particular that resonated with me personally. This lady would wake up at 4 or 5 AM to write each morning before her normal warehouse job. One day, she happened to mention to her supervisor her plans to be a writer and he, of course, chastised her for being stupid/silly and that her writing wouldn’t amount to anything. Writing was too damn hard. Of course she did amount to something, a very big something, as SHE is actually Kate DiCamillo, an award winning children’s fiction author. Stories like that give me hope. And help quell the critic in my head. Maybe I should print that out and post it on a bulletin board in my room whenever the fatigue and self-criticism begin to creep in.

I have the want and drive. Yet having two full-time jobs is draining and socially ostracizing. I’ve been known to blow off events so I can stay home and “do a bit of writing.” Some times it’s for the physically draining job. Other times it’s for fun or freelance gigs. Not a surprise, I like the freelance gigs sooo much more 🙂

Until then, I’ll keep fighting my writing evening fatigue. Maybe I should start rewarding myself with a glass of wine and dark chocolate…

Mmmm…chocolate…

AstroFest in London! Who’s going?

European AstroFest 2013

In a few weeks, AstroFest will here! This will be my first Astronomy conference, ever. I’m OVER THE MOON with excitement. Okay, that was bad, my apologies…

Bad puns aside, over the last month I’ve been voraciously devouring astronomy at a vigorous pace. Once I get going it is hard to let go. Astronomy NOW, BBC and National Geographic have all written fantastic articles. I’ve spread my research with both print and online (thanks Twitter!). I’m feeling engaged and focused!

Is anyone else attending? I’m going to visit all sessions. I just hope to have enough time to walk the floor and look at telescopes. I’m still a complete newbie, but I hope to find good advice for amateurs. My plan is to pay off all my debt and look into purchasing one late this year. I’ll be asking loads of questions at the conference, too. After all, when else do you get the opportunity to speak with some of the most brilliant minds in astronomy?!

263250-stargazers-almanac-2013I recently purchased the Stargazers 2013 Almanac. We have it hanging in our living room next to our large window, where we can see the North sky fairly vividly. Of course, the weather has been cloudy lately from all the snow (see previous post!) so it hasn’t been used QUITE as much as I hoped, but it’s a very informative and fun read. I also liked that Ethical Superstore has them on clearance right now, on the cheap! I do love finding a bargin.

Are there any astronomy events you’re looking forward to? I’ve also heard about some local astronomy camping adventures in the Brecon Beacons, in Wales. I’m sincerely interested, but having a difficult time convincing anyone else to join me in some camping adventures!

Winter reflections

Britain is covered in snow. Mass transit has shut down. People are advised not drive if they can avoid it. I’m not complaining, there is so much beauty in winter. What I love the most living here is learning to slow down and enjoy my surroundings. I grew so use to my normal environment in California, and I took its beauty for granted. Winter is my time for being thoughtful and a bit wistful. We can’t always be energizer bunnies! I’m taking the time to relax, and reflecting on the natural beauty of my surroundings. I live in another country. It’s not every day you get to wake up and say that.

All pictures taken in Leamington Spa, England. Please link back to my page if you use any pictures.

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Jephson Park
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Jephson Gardens
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View from window of my house.
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Walking over the bridge in the park
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In the park with the birds
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Snow tracks

Traipsing between full-on-nerd and somewhat obsession…

Andromeda Galaxy. Eventually, our galaxies will collide! 😀

When I was a wee lass of eight or nine, astronomy and stamp collecting and my little ponies were my latest obsessions. My mom brought home hard cover kid books that said things like THE SOLAR SYSTEM or THE SUN: OUR NEAREST STAR. My eyes popped out of my head. It was the pictures. I could NOT wrap my tiny mind around it. We had probes flying into SPACE. You know, that mysteriously dark, cold place that I only saw on television. We now had actual photographs of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Neptune. We could discuss and argue over things like, air quality on Titan or Mars. Science postitively blew my mind.

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Beautiful Sun

Fast forward years later. I’m still fascinated by astronomy. I catch myself reading Astronomy Now, Sarcastic Rover, Discovery News on Twitter. I’ll roam the magazine section of grocery stores just to pick up the latest Astronomy issues. Hell, just recently I watched Stargazing Live on BBC. I find that I cannot, will not, and don’t want to stop. I want to absorb and continue learning.

Should obsession have its boundaries?

Although it doesn’t interfere with my personal life or professional (hushhush, I do sneak quick reads at work) I do seriously wonder why I never went into astronomy as a career. Why, oh why, didn’t I major in astrobiology? What good is obsessing over something if you can never give back in any way?

My boyfriend and I want to have kids eventually, and we talked about how nerdy fun they will be. It’s definitely too late for me to go back to college, but I am thrilled to teach my kids about astronomy and take them to the Academy of Sciences. Maybe expanding my own child’s mind will be the ultimate way I give back.

Road to Italian Citizenship, Part One: How do I know I Qualify?

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Wanna be a dual citizen?

Let’s be honest. Coveting dual citizenship is an appealing concept. Having more than one passport reminds me of grand espionage, James Bond or Jason Bourne style. But on a serious note it can look great on your CV, possibly landing you a career globally!

I speak from personal experience: I work abroad! I’m a dual citizen in the United Kingdom. As part of the EU, I can work/study/travel in different European countries without any visa worry. Italians work in Belgium. Germans work in France. You get the idea! [EDIT: because of the Brexit decision, we’re not sure how this will affect current/future Europeans working in the UK]

From my understanding, dual Italian citizenship is an “easier” dual citizenship to pursue. I put this in quotations for a reason. Firstly, obtaining citizenship through jure sanguinis (ie. the blood-line) is more than just proving your Italian heritage through connections, you’ll need to collect forms, forms and MORE forms. You really need to do homework! Plus, like any government establishment, it requires a good deal of patience. Like the army, you’ll experience a lot of hurry up and wait as you send away for appropriate documents.

Do I regret it? Not for a second. It’s ABSOLUTELY worth the process. It took me about eight months of work to go this and I’m really glad I did!

I’ve broken this into a few parts to help those who are looking into obtaining citizenship for themselves, and their families.

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The road can be long, but it’s worth it!

How do I know if I qualify for dual citizenship?

Through jure sanguinis: “Italian citizenship is granted by birth through the paternal line (with no limit on the number of generations) or through the maternal line (for individuals born after January 1, 1948). If you were born in any country where citizenship is acquired by birth, and any one of the situations listed below pertains to you, you may be considered an Italian citizen.”

There are lots of different ways to qualify. Here are a few of the most typical:

  • Your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
  • Your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, you were born after January 1st, 1948 and you never renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
  • Your father was born in your native country, your paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth, neither you nor your father ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
  • Your mother was born in your native country, your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, you were born after January 1, 1948 and neither you nor your mother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
  • Your paternal or maternal grandfather was born in your native country, your paternal great-grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of his birth, neither you nor your father nor your grandfather ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship.
  • Your maternal grandmother was born in your native country, your maternal great grand-father was an Italian citizen at the time of her birth, your mother was born after January 1st, 1948, and neither you nor your mother nor your grandmother ever renounced your right to Italian citizenship. (This is the one I chose).

To find more, please look at this webpage:

I know all of that looks extremely daunting, but go over all of it slowly. The only way to actually RENOUNCE your citizenship rights is to declare at the embassy you no longer want to be an Italian citizen.

In my own example, I decided to go through my mother’s lineage (see above).

My great-grandfather was born in Montegrosso and moved to the States at a young age with my great-grandmother. My grandmother was born in Madera, California. And my mother was born in 1950 (not 1948). Although my great-grandfather became a naturalized citizen in the 1930s, he did not formally declare to the Italian government he wanted to renounce his citizenship. Because of that my grandmother, mother, and myself were all entitled to citizenship through his blood-line.

Why should I get this done?

In my own example, I chose dual citizenship to work abroad in Europe. I don’t speak Italian, but have always had the desire to learn other languages. Having dual citizenship allows me the freedom to be a full citizen. I will have an easier time purchasing property and can even vote! I’m also entitled to universal health care and retirement benefits, if I choose.

What about taxes?

If I decide to travel in/out of Italy, every couple of years I would have to pay a small tax. Currently I pay 50 EUR, however this will probably always change. As I don’t live or work in italy now, I’m exempt from this tax when I leave or travel out of the UK. This is ONLY when leaving Italy.

What about being in the army?

The Italian army is like the American army: strictly volunteer. Plus as a woman, I wouldn’t have to serve.

In my next post, I’ll talk more about the process of obtaining certificates and how to get those tricky documents in Italy!

Christmas in Belgium

Scattered images from our trip in Brussels and Brugge.

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My favourite picture of Belguim

The start of something new

Enter my mind

I’m finally on my way towards creating a professional blogger and website! This is long overdue. While I did have a personal blog when I studied abroad at Swansea University, it was mostly used as a way to communicate with friends and family back home. Before the onslaught popularity of Facebook.

My blog choice came to me rather quickly, which surprised me. Even without understanding the word Serendipity, it is lyrical and beautiful. I chose the name after looking back the last five years of my life and recalling certain events as they began to unfold because of choices I made; these lucky, accidental beginnings. Guided by fate, a higher power, my own instincts? If I never pushed myself to study abroad I wouldn’t have known about pursuing dual Italian citizenship. What about the people I have met along the way? These initial beginnings we forge create offshoots, like the archetypal Celtic tree of life.

My page will be ever-changing. Right now, it is only a blog. But soon I will incorporate my writing portfolio. I also plan on discussing how I was able to receive dual EU citizenship, and help anyone who is also going through the process.