Tuesday, June 30, 2009

After 3 years of my blue razor, I'm giving the thing up. It won't even send texts anymore. Anyway, today I bought myself an iPhone to fill the emotional void.

And fuck, I can't figure out how to fix the time on my Gmail so it stops going at 6 hours ahead.

And my mother is slowly but surely going to drive me crazy.
Getting you out of my system was never an option.

"Apparently we can't get enough of the world," he'd said.
"No, I think it's a lifelong addiction."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

on second thought, a moment of your time.

The way we were, the ease of unwitting banter, the end of the only way we will ever know one another, here in this city, the one that never moved past the renaissance, he'd once said, the one we came to completely adore in that way we never thought we would've.

When you start to appreciate something for all those things you once perceived as faults. I knew it was love, and yet it took me forever to admit, to realize. And now I have to let you go.


I walked by your room earlier this evening, and I paused. I'd heard your room was still unlocked. You'd left sheets on your bed, some old clothes folded, and your keys laid on your desk. Your keys. I, I had my keys together as I was walking around the city today, and I had them in my hand, and out of nervous habit I started flipping them with my fingers, in my hands, and it was the same sound, the way we always knew who was entering the kitchen, or the stairway because you always had those keys in your hands. You had this ocd habit of locking your door every time you left the room. And now you're gone, and your room, it still smells of you, and the door's not locked. You're not there anymore.

As we leave, as we all leave, as we empty out these rooms that we've made into our home this past year, stripped of everything that made it ours. We pass on these keys, our stack of keys.


Friday, June 26, 2009

I've never been an eloquent speaker. Thoughts come out haphazardly, and in the end nothing I actually wanted to say comes out. Because we so often forget to say the important things. The things we really meant to say in moments of heightened emotions. That, you were my family for a period, and that means a lot. You guys got me through this year, this seemingly endless, almost impossible year, you guys helped me get through it. Why? Because you were there to experience it all with me. Because no one else will never get it when I say I miss corner panino or the tv room or lost nights at space or those endless stream of nights in our tv room and in our kitchen, intoxicated over quarters, political debates and late night pizza.

All I can really say, is thank you. And regardless of where we go, where we end up, I hope life treats you well and I hope, I hope you take care. And whether or not we stay a part of our lives from this point on, we will have always shared this. And I hope that's meant something to you.

For what it's worth.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And here's to you.

The days are less than numbered now it feels. I was having a fit today, and to cheer me up, Caitlin, Leigh and Carol cut off pieces of their hair and gave them to me as a gift. haha. And oddly enough, it really cheered me up. It's been...a day.

Rest in peace Michael Jackson.

Who would've thought days like these would come more often.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So today I sit here before you. A few days from receiving that M.A. and somehow I’m still unsure on how to pursue this course of life in journalism. A month from now I will be beginning American University’s boot camp—and pursuing their 1 year MA program in Communications with a concentration in Journalism and Public Affairs. And to be honest? All I’ve ever wanted was to write, and as much as I adore journalism—and I do, I am incredibly passionate about it. I’m not sure if it matters to me much whether I cover politics in Brussels, Washington, D.C. or if I cover stories for the arts and life style section. Maybe I’m too ambitious. I’m not sure that the MA I gained here will ever come to any practical use. But what I do know is that it has given me incredible knowledge on a topic that most people in the U.S. don’t have, and that has given me confidence in myself in the world of politics. I was a political science major, but I never had the confidence to speak up in class because I never felt that I possessed the adequate knowledge to do so without sounding stupid. But here I am today, and I would gladly sit and debate about the EU.

So my career aspirations—let me try to keep it simple. I will continue to pursue this route in journalism and public affairs that I have been on the past few years. But given the chance, if I can figure out how, perhaps if I get a mentor through American University’s mentorship program, I would like to figure out how to simply be a writer. I want a column in a newspaper; it doesn’t even have to be a major newspaper. Just a publication—an outlet for me to write about every day things, about love, and on the side, time to speak and interview characters I never would have been able to know. I want to know the stories of others, and I want to write about them. And I want others to hear my stories. That’s my career aspiration—whether realistic or not, I’m not sure. And I honestly have no concrete process for getting there, for succeeding. But I do know, that my life is evidence of the truth that anything is possible. It’s just about how badly you want it, and what you’re willing to give up for it. And on this note, I will make it. Or at least, I will be happy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Study Break

In the final moments, it all starts to feel surreal. I accomplished what I once thought would never be. And, at the end, I find, perhaps how easy it really all was.

So, thank you Firenze. For allowing me this. This chance, this life, this experience, these people.

Our education succeeds.

And I've loved you my whole life.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

-William Shakespeare's Hamlet

The beginning of the end, as another window opens, I must let go

And here we are. And so it starts. I’m writing the one reflection I’ve been putting off. Why? Because it signifies the end. The end of this experience. And somehow, somehow now this entire year has felt surreal. I made this commitment last year to move to Italy and get my M.A. in Political Science. Not entirely because I was passionate about the E.U., but rather because I wanted to run away from the life I had. I wanted more than what I had. I wanted to live in a foreign country for a year of my life. I wanted to know what it was like. And so I signed the papers, and I paid the deposit. I deferred my acceptance to American University, to a program I actually favored, to run away to Italy. And who could blame me?

I came here last September, and I remember waking up from my nap after I’d arrived thinking, what did I get myself into? I had left an entire life on the other side of this great wide divide. And for what? Florence wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, I simply got used to living here. I hated the inefficiency, and how difficult it was to get the simple things I’d grown used to at home. Cookies had to be home made, cupcake mix was nowhere to be found, and I still have yet to see wings sold anywhere. There was a point last September when I broke down and started sobbing because I thought I was going to fail the program and I didn’t even really like the city. But somehow, over the course of time I accidentally managed to fall in love with this city and these housemates that I live with became my very own dysfunctional family. I’ve learned to appreciate Italy’s inefficiency, it’s personality, it’s organicness, and the culture that is the food. It’s incredibly difficult for me in these final moments to sum up my existence over the course of this entire year. I came into this program knowing nothing about the European Union, and now I feel confident enough to debate on the issue with others. I came into this program never really surrounding myself with people so different from me, and I feel like in that sense, it’s been the most challenging year of my life.

I grew up in the suburbs of northern Virginia, and I attended James Madison University as an undergraduate. I’ve always chosen my own friends, and I’ve always been particular in that. But, despite that, the people I’ve known my whole life, have never been all that different from me. Living in this house though, with 15 other students from all over the U.S. was incredibly eye opening. Cara’s from New Jersey, Allison’s from the middle of nowheresville Pennsylvania, Andrew grew up in Pakistan, and Carol is from Georgia. You always read and hear about different prejudices in different areas of the U.S., but I’d never really known anyone all that different from me—in terms of upbringing, and the environment that they had grown up in. Being in this house though, surrounded by vastly different people, from different places, with different thoughts, ideas and prejudices, I found for the first time in my life the reality of how different people are and how real prejudices are as a result of where we’ve grown up. I am no different.

I can surely say that this was the most difficult and rewarding experience of my life. I wouldn’t trade one single moment, and I wouldn’t do one single thing differently. I’ve been on over twenty-five flights, visited more cities than I can recall at this moment, seen more beauty than most people do in a lifetime, and by accident I fell in love and came to know some people who will be an important part of my life for years to come. Most days, I can’t believe I was lucky enough to be able to experience this. Most days, it all feels so surreal. I walk across the Ponte Santa Trinita and I can’t believe this is my life. And the thought of leaving in a week’s time makes me heart incredibly heavy. Even though I am ready to go home, I’m not quite ready to leave this city behind, in this way. I’m going to miss the fresh baked bread at corner panino, Sunday market day in Santo Spirito, and being able to get fresh and organic vegetables from the vegetable people in the square. I’m going to miss having friends to hang out with any hour and any day of the week. These little things have made up my daily life over the past year. And though I love the city I grew up in on the other side of this ocean, I have made a home here. The palazzo is our home, and these people, regardless of how dysfunctional, dramatic and chaotic our house may get, became my family. Even if half the house doesn’t like each other half the time, I know we care about each other because we shared something—we shared this experience that most people don’t ever get to. And I can’t ever be thankful enough for everything that I’ve been afforded here. And, at the end of the day, this wasn’t that hard, it wasn’t that impossible.
The differences between being in love and being comfortable. The differences between being in love and being committed. The differences between being in love and simply loving someone. The lines are so fine, that they are so often blurred. Sometimes I wonder where one begins and where one ends. But the differences are so stark, it's a matter of choice, it's a difference between happiness and complacency.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

il mio amore Firenze, non vi dimenticherĂ² mai

"Don't you know that only fools are satisfied."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And I said maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me.

Regardless of where I am in this great big world, for some strange reason, Journey's Don't Stop Believin & Oasis' Wonderwall are two songs that follow. From parties in Ashby to pubs in Firenze. One reason why I have a soft spot for the crap that is pop culture. It provides for a common ground, among strangers, something to talk about.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Andrew: well, what i read was related to the recent shooting at the holocaust museum and a report the dept of homeland security released about a rise in hatred in the US
3:59 PM it's the #1 emailed piece on NYtimes today
4:03 PM moderates, center-right, and center-left don't bother me; liberals make me happy; far right makes me sad; far left makes me confused and a little angry; anarchists generally make me upset... except for the group that came to the rescue of a bunch of immigrants in Greece who were being attacked by a bunch of people on the far right while the police stood by and watched

I've failed to read about the shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., nor have I bothered to read about the elections in Iran and the uproar over Ahmadinejad's win. Why? I have too much of my own shit to worry about, that I don't want to read the news because nothing in the news is ever good. You open up the front page to any major newspaper and it's about Iran or North Korea or the kid who's drowned in the Potomac or the man who's been beaten in Tehran or the bodies of the kidnapped in Yemen have been found. And though, I get why the networks write this stuff. It's news, and it's important and it makes us aware and ignorance is simply ignorance, it is not bliss. But god, one reason why I hate politics is because of how aware it makes me of how messed up this whole damn world is.

The things we fight for, the things we die for, the things we murder for.

What about the things we live for?

This ain't like waking up in Vegas

3,000 words due 1 P.M. tomorrow.
I would take comfort in the fact that this will be the last paper I will ever have to write, but sadly, it's only reminding me of the year ahead that I've committed myself to.


Now where is the motivation?

Language barriers confuse me a lot. I must look utterly lost on top of my already naturally confused state. But ah, I love this city, I love not really understanding anything, and I love the little I can understand. And I love how at its core, the most necessary communication isn't solely dependent upon words. Though, I cringe a bit to say this, considering the weight I put on diction.

Daily Life

Sunday market day in the square. Corner panino and vegetable people outside my door.

How do I leave this life behind? How do I return to a life, to people who've moved on without me? How do I readjust to a life I used to have when I've moved on? What if, we can't meet, what if we won't be able to fit anymore? What if, what if, my heart has changed. Ah, I know it can't be, I know it can't be. But I'm still scared.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's not like we planned it

This photograph was taken 9 months ago. 9 months ago my life was nothing like it is now. I can say, I'm probably not the same. How could I be? I fell in love with this city. And in the process, I met strangers who have become family, and it hurts my heart to know I have to leave this life in 2 weeks time. Ah, but what else is new with me? At least that hasn't changed. I fall in love, and I have trouble letting go, and I hate leaving people. I really adore people. And in the past year, I traveled to Prague where even under the fall of snow the city was freezing, and we slid down 2 feet covered snowy mountains in search of a miniature museum that we never found, and I ended up throwing up outside a cab and on the side of a building as a result of losing in the game of "drink to drink & irish car bombs" with Paul, I attempted to smoke for the first time in Amsterdam while checking g-mail in the middle of it and finding out I had gotten on the short list for a fellowship, and the other day I smoked my first cigarette ever - I was that drunk. And I've never wanted to smoke cigarettes. My entire life I've complained to my father about his habits, to the point where he now automatically goes outside our house to do it. And, I think smoking that cigarette under my state of utter intoxication may have me thinking more 'damnit' than that time I lost my virginity. But, hey, at this point, I only get one life, so fuck it. And the men, oh the men. I'm tired of random hook ups. I really am. But I've been tired of it for awhile now I think. Ah.

So on the train ride home from Cinque terre last night.

Ilk: So what would you do, if you were going to die tomorrow? If you only had 24 hours. And you only had the resources you currently have.
Leigh: I would e-mail everyone I loved, tell them I'm dying, and they can drive the 4 hours to come see me. And I would get on a plane and go home.


I realized, if I were to die tomorrow, there are people I have loved for years on the other side of this world. And despite how depressed I'm going to be when I leave Italia, the thing is, I still have a home elsewhere. And so, it'll be okay. This is life isn't it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Everything's happening so fast.

And I realized, the people I talk to most on a daily basis whether in person or online are the people in this house.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

If I made a fool on the road, there's always this.

Matt's Away: girls feel emotions strongly. I am so pleased with the way this year is ending. These last weeks are like the season finale...drama filled awesomeness

ah, truth.

my palazzo family. i kinda adore them.

Untitled from Kim Ha on Vimeo.

Untitled from Kim Ha on Vimeo.

Untitled from Kim Ha on Vimeo.

ciaociao from Leigh Raskin on Vimeo.

La dolce vita from Kim Ha on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do." - Mark Twain

Oh, the things we do in moments of heightened emotions.

No regrets, sir.

To tell the truth, this could be the last time.


And I won't waste a minute without you.
And I'm going to miss the hell out of this place.
And I can't imagine living anywhere else at this moment.
And I'm going to be severely depressed for awhile.
And I'm going to miss the hell out of all of you.

And I wish, I wish, loving my life to this degree didn't have to hurt so much.

"What were we talking about last night?"

Lately, for some strange reason, we've decided our conversations are so vital that they must continue even when one of us has to pee. Last night Carol and Leigh were in Leigh's bathroom talking, and then I came in. And then later Leigh, Caitlin and I were in the bathroom talking. At one point I was so surprised I had to stand in the shower just to take it all in. Hahah. God geezus christs. And later, when we were downstairs, I had to pee so me and Leigh were just in the bathroom talking, and I didn't even have to pee anymore but I was still on the toilet because we were talking. And then I decided to sit in my closet with Caitlin as we talked with Leigh. I love these after hours nights, when we just talk and talk and talk in our world within this palazzo. They're far more entertaining than going out to some bar and getting hit on by Italians or Americans, most of whom are simply passing through. It's not fun anymore, simply passing through.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I wouldn't give up one stupid decision.

For as long, as long as I could ever ever remember, I have never, ever, ever been lucky in love. Not for any one period in my life. Not for any one period during my existence, never. And, I've never, taken any man hostage on this point. And, I understand. I understand. I understand that he loves her, god I see it. I can see it. For the first time in my life, I wholeheartedly approved in a marriage, a marriage he did not approve of. A life he isn't ready for. Children he doesn't yet want. But you know what, I truly believe he will give up all these stupid beliefs simply because he loves her, and I wholeheartedly approve. And the thing is, all this time I've been so upset because I hadn't realized, the end would come so soon, I didn't realize. All the attention he always gave me. The way he made fun of me, the ease of his banter. And it took me by surprise, and I didn't expect it, and I was so upset about it, but I get it now. And to be honest, if they got married today, it would be one of the few that I approved of. ///////////// And you know what, I spent an hour in my room tonight crying. Crying over what would never be, crying over what I would have never wanted to be, crying over what I never even really wanted. Crying because he told me he decided he had a girlfriend and he didn't want that guilt over his shoulders. Crying because he couldn't tell me this through the written word, but he felt the dignified way, the only way, without evidence, was through the spoken word. This guy who I didn't even adore, this guy who up until a week ago didn't even make it on my radar, not because he wasn't attractive but because it just never occurred to me to look past our palazzo family. and fuck, he had, it had never occurred to me past last september, the one moment that i'd put out of my mind, and it had for him, it had, and he'd never had the idea or the balls to say anything or do anything and then he did, and then he did, and now it's nothing, and it's fine with me, it's fine with me, i don't really care, except for the simple fact that it made me think

it made me think, it made me wonder. so....what if we are doomed to repeat the fate of our parents? At 24, I'm still not sure if my parents were ever made for each other, and I'm still highly skeptical of this fact. So what if I follow my mother's fate? What if in the end, I simply end up settling. and fuck I don't want that, fuck I don't want that, and fuck I don't want the cancer either, fuck, fuck, fuck. fuck. fuck. I can't say anything but. But the fucking simple inevitability of all things.


But hey, I could be wrong about everything I've just said above. Because what if none of this is as it seems? I could always be wrong. There's always room to be wrong.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Confessing everything.

What kind of world would we be in if everyone said every single thing they ever thought? What if there was no such thing as self censorship, fear of embarrassment, fear of loss of dignity, self reproach, self consciousness, pride. What if I did everything I wanted to do in the moment.

It would all be a damn mess, wouldn't it.

Young folks.

On rainy Sundays. These are my favorite in Florence. Sitting in the T.V. room watching dvds of Dawsons Creek, while the city pours. Mornings laying in bed under the wake of torrential storms.

We have a symposium tomorrow. I have to present a paper I wrote 2 months ago on a topic I barely remember. And it will be okay.

We have a paper due in less than 14 days. 3,000 words of child's play.

And it seems, the way we were, the way we were may have gone with the beginning of the end. The ease of unwitting banter.

In other news, over before this program was fit to end. Why? Perhaps because in the final moments, people find themselves in situations they wouldn't normally be in. Why? Because it is the end. Because it doesn't matter anymore. Because we won't have to live with it for long. Because the reminder won't be for long.

And I woke up this morning incredibly sad. Incredibly sad because you aren't the same. Not entirely the same. The difference may be subtle, but it is there. And it's sad because I just realized, this may be the only way I will know you, we will know each other from now on. And that makes my heart heavy.

I've always been a skeptic when it comes to the ordinary romance. Only a handful of my friends are in long-term relationships, and of those, I may only approve of one or two for marriage. Either way, hers was one that over the course of knowing, I thought perhaps I was too skeptic on the ability of perfection in things. Except, it seems, nothing is really ever as perfect as it may seem. And though I've always been aware of this fact, it's weird to see it, to be a witness to the imperfection. The imperfection in a perfection I almost believed in.

23 January 2009.

"i was thinking about life. can't figure out if i'm happy or not," he said.
"well if you have to think about it..."
"not sure," he replied. "hey, how about you, are you happy?"

and my first reaction to his hesitation was perhaps he wasn't. because wouldn't it be something you wouldn't need to think about? but i hesitated. and my reply? i guess i am happy.

it's weird. being back in italy, i'm not homesick like i was the first time. and in some ways it kinda felt like coming home. and i know, when this is over, this is one of those times in my life i'm going to look back on and miss terribly.

so maybe, maybe i won't ever attain everything i desire. well of course not, because my desires are endless and insatiable. but if i were to go now, today. i'd say, i got everything i ever wanted.

and that's enough.

Ikea Art

I've had more awkward moments in the past week of my life than before I can remember.

And I have way too much information floating around in my head.

I'm not sure I can continue taking more in.

How come everything just started getting entirely bizarre?

I'm not sure much can surprise me from this point.

And although I'm entirely aware that I'm incredibly guilty of online stalking, it makes me uncomfortable to know that someone else may be stalking me, or a stranger openly reading my blog.

I hope my final three weeks in Italy doesn't continue to be this way. I'm not sure I could handle that.

I have trouble looking people in the eye lately. I don't generally have trouble looking people in the eye. I can lie to people, and still look them in the eye. But when it comes to complexities involving matters of the heart and nights of intoxication. Those two points, whether together or separate. I have difficulty dealing with.

Dear, I'm just shaking my head this week.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Giggles, fuck-ups and this life

10:13:06 AM Carol Forehand: kim ridiculous things were happennig in and around your bedroom last night

1:18:26 PM Leigh Raskin: awkward
1:18:30 PM Kim Ha: awkward
1:18:34 PM Kim Ha: this whole house is awkward
1:19:01 PM Leigh Raskin: haha
1:19:02 PM Leigh Raskin: basically

we were having conversations that were not conducive for the environment. i was brushing my teeth in my bedroom and going on about something. and then leigh had to pee, so i went with her to the other bathroom, but it smelled like poo. major poo. so we had to use ilk's bathroom. so she peed as i finished brushing my teeth and talking. and then carol came in. and we kept discussing. and then we had to leave once the environment changed.

i love late night shit like this.

and there was a major fight in santo spirito while me, claire and carol were sitting on the steps talking. about 15 people ran after some dood and they were throwing beer bottles, and i didn't see but they probably ended up beating the crap out of him.

my life never ceases to be eventful.

1:41:47 PM Kim Ha: hahahha
1:41:50 PM Kim Ha: that is sooo effing cute
1:41:50 PM Kim Ha: hahaha
1:41:56 PM Kim Ha: shit yo is that what men hear when we talk?
1:41:57 PM Kim Ha: hahah
1:42:11 PM Matt Fackner: yeah pretty much
1:42:22 PM Matt Fackner: thats what the kitchen sounds like 90 percent of the time

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

and if it's crowded all the better because we know we're gonna stay up late

It's been a really bizarre 5 days. Financial aid fuck ups to life fails to watching David Beckham play and seeing Three 6 Mafia to rando USC frat boys with real nice jeans and shoes to other fails to 5 days of intoxication and dinner at acqua al due to moving to san diego to really bizarre affairs to wandering into stadium like 'clubs' in the cascine to bizarre interactions to weed in clubs to letters to linwood rose to matt's pee filling an entire wine bottle to leigh licking tongue rings and lesbians.

I need to detox.

But it's been a damn good time.