Sunday, December 31

Glasses Clinking, Cheers and Good Resolutions

When I was little I used to absolutely adore "The Smurfs"(as I might have already told you about in previous posts). For my fellow 80's kids, you may remember "Grouchy Smurf"... he used to be one of my favourites and his tagline was always "I hate,I hate, I hate" whatever it was at the given time and frowning away, he would cross his arms and shout his hate out! If I was a cartoon character at this time of the year, I would be Grouchy Smurf too because "I hate,I hate,I hate NEW YEAR's EVE!"
Naples,my home-town, is renown to host one of the best new year's celebration in the world with their opulent banquets, street entratainment and magnificent firework displays. Nonetheless, there is something about the expectations laid upon noon and the phony and surreal pretence of excitement that, to say the least, utterly depresses me.

Call me a sad weirdo, if you wish. But "I hate,I hate,I hate New Years Eve!"

Having said that, the beginning of a new year is the perfect opportunity to start afresh and the ideal time for meditation, reflections and good resolutions.The problem this year is that, the months, the seasons have gone by so incredibly fast that I haven't yet had a chance to think about my new years resolutions because I haven't yet thought of last year's! Of course, I still want to lose a stone, get more active, travel the world, be a better person and the usual routine..but this year I have definitively got more specific goals - here is a wee list:
1.Want to see my mom well
2.Get into Med School (whatever it takes!)
3.Lose a stone and get more active (this time I mean it!)
4.Get cracking with learning French
5.Go back to Paris and visit Barcellona.
6.Be more assertive and determinate without losing on sensitivity and lovingness. is just to mention a few. Righty oh, better leave now and get down to that "opulent banquet" I was mentioning! Have an awesome new year and may not only your dreams, but also your good resolutions come true!!!

Thursday, December 21

Fantasy, Reality and Cognizant Creative Imagination

I admit the title of this blog is a bit of a mouthful, but I had the urge to be able to express what I felt somehow eloquently and coherently.
Ever since Bea "deserted me" (slight exaggeration as usual) I haven't particularly enjoyed being at home on my own so I have been out most of the time. Both last night and tonight I have been at the cinema. Needless to say, this Christmas season's movie listings have been pretty poor and rather disappointing, in my opinion.

When I was a child, like now, I used to love going to the cinema and there was an increased sense of expectation around the Christmas time because everybody knew the "big movies" would come out at that time. Nowadays, it is difficult enough to find a decent movie in a year, let alone a single season.

Nonetheless, the past two views have been sligtly alleviated me of my growing skepticism.
"El Labirinto del Fauno"(Pan's Labyrinth) directed by Mexican Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Blade 2,The Devil's Backbone..) is a visually stunning, captivating film about fantasy that in its irrational and unbelievable nature finds, paradoxically, staggering parallels with a disturbingly cruel reality. Set after the Civil War when the maquis waged guerilla resistance against Franco, the film follows the adventures of a young girl whose mother married a sadistic fascist officer. The girl encounters a faun and manages to enter his enchanted and dangerous world. (8/10)
The other master-piece is "The Wizard of Oz". Ok, you may accuse me of infantilism: but I loved every minute of it! You see: one thing is to watch The Wizard of Oz as a child, with awe and fear, but it is a completely different matter to watch it with a second naivity, as a "grown up"(whatever that means!) I laughed so much I cried! I warmly reccomend it.

Going back to my original title...what can I say: I grew up reading tales of northern European mythology intertwined with native American litterature and ancient Greek wisdom and Persian, North African and Roman fascination for the mysteries of metaphysics - I was bestowed with a precious gift: the power of imagination where reality, fairytales and spirituality would often merge together in a enchanting location of the mind. In as much as I seek to discipline myself to skeptically deny the fiabesque elements of life, I often find that fairytales are not as unrealistic as they are portrayed to be. In their own antrophomorfic interpretation, we all have witches, fairies, the eternal battle between good and evil right at our door step..just a thought.. be continued...................

Wee Update on Mom

Mom went to hospital on Monday to undergo further tests. She had an additional biopsy and a number of uncomfortable tests (including a "Spinal Tap" which was the ultimate confirmation that my mom ROCKS!) - a joke apart, her condition is a lot more complex than we would have ever imagined. She has a form of cancer called "lymphoma". However, she is being dismissed today and, after her results are out, she will be expected to undego two cycles of chemotherapy.
I know that a number of you guys have been praying for my mother and it definitively shows. Despite all the upheaval, she is in much better spirits and appears remarkably confident. Also, she will be home for Christmas which is absolutely awesome.
Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers. They are what keeps us going and strong. We could not have done without you! Prayer requests? Guess I am still hoping for a miracle - no one likes to see those they love suffer; however, if the healing is going to be chemically induced, I would pray mom stays strong and doesn't go through pain. Also pray for us as a family - we need to be strong and supportive and, sometimes, it is hard.

Wednesday, December 20

The Footprints of Ignorance

D'oh, is right, Homer! I have just been on this web site where you can highlight on a map the places in the world you have visited in your life and I was embarrassed to see how little I have actually seen. As Socrates would say, "I know I don't know" - this brief exercise has definitively revealed how ignorant I am and has increased my desperation to travel more and more and more and more! Bon voyage,

Here is a picture how much of the world I have seen (in red,obviously).Check it out for yourself now!

create your own visited country map

Tuesday, December 19

The Resounding Echo of an Empty Home..

Last night I got home from work. The house was tidy,the lights on the Chrsitmas tree were sparkling, the iconic opening tune of "Neighbours" in the back ground - yet I felt an overwhelming sense of emptiness, loneliness,should I say.I do acknowledge that my mom's condition obviously affects my ability to "think straight" and to be emotively strong, but I guess I had never imagined how much I was going to miss Bea. Indeed, my lovely housemate has departed to move onto "greater and better things".. Although we were never "into each other's pockets" all the time and lived very separate lives, it was awesome to have her around. We laughed together, snacked together, ate together and, in retrospect, watched an aweful lot of movies and drunk a lot! All this contributed to making Bea not only an ideal housemate, but a friend. "Thank you" so much to all the extravagant and quarkie bits that uoi brought to my life such as your obsession for "travelling rubber duckies" (they kinda were part of the household too!), your openess to innovation and undoubted sense of humor...not to mention outstanding political make me smile every time - and I wish you too the very best this life can offer. Steve's right: "England is even grayer than normal without you!" Missing you already!

***DISCLAIMER: I realize blogging this song may mislead you, fellow bloggers. Therefore, I would like to emphasise that the content of this song is not related to Bea in the slightest. However, the song always makes me think of silly conversations we have had! It's hilarious - enjoy!

Ben Folds Five, "Song for the Dumped"

Friday, December 15

Update from Italy..

To my fellow bloggers.

This is a little update on my mom. We have been to see a specialist in ematological ontology who has reccomended she goes into hospital as soon as possible to receive specific chemotherapies. She had originally been asked to go to hospital yesterday, but they had to give priority to more urgent cases and she was put back to next Monday. As far as mom's actual condition goes, her morale is often dictated by how much pain she is in. Nonetheless, there have been substancial improvements in her physical state since I first arrived. We all simply need to be reassured that, whether things are the way we would like them to be or not, God has his caring hand over our lives and strengthens us in his unceasing love with perfect comfort.Whatever happens, He equips us with sufficient energy for the journey; throughout the journey, he accompanies us, carries us in our weaknesses and replenishes us with true empowerment. I am blessed.
I don't know what is going to happen, but I put my trust in God and I am overwhelmed by an unexplainable sense of encouragement.
Please keep on praying for my mom - not only for her healing (be it "miraculous" or "chemically induced"miracle) but more importantly for an increased sense of strenghtening in her mind (disheartening is always round the corner). I hate being far away from my family at a time such as this, but this week I have been startled by the sheer number of friends and family who have been ever so supportive of my mother and of us all practically, spiritually and mentally. For all of them I am more than grateful. Righty oh, time to pack up. Flying back to sunny Manchester in the morning.

Monday, December 11

Going Home...

Just a little update for my fellow bloggers.
I will be flying home tomorrow morning - unfortunately, it is not for happy reasons. My mother, who has been unwell for a number of months now, has been diagnosed with intestinal tumours and will most likely be expected to undergo chemotherapy. Please pray that she will be at peace, that the treatment will be accurate and effective and that, somehow, I will be a strong moral and practical support to her, dad and Martina, my little sister. I am due back to sunny Manchester on Saturday morning - I will try to keep you updated as much as possible. Love you all lots!

Thursday, December 7

What Did you Use to Do as a Child?

I am getting increasingly frustrated when my British friends chat about programmes they used to watch as teenagers, tones that accompanied them as they where growing up because they are not what I used to do as a child!!!! In fairness, being all European children of the 80's, we do have some common ground...
For example, we were chatting away on Sunday night when my mate mentioned that kids in her school used to bully her by calling her "Smurfette" - (Not nice, kids can be horrible!) "Count Duckula" is another classic we all used to watch, or "Ninja Mutant Turtles" ... "Ghoast Busters"... "The Muppet Show" but then we get to "Kids from the Block"?!? No idea.
My greatest regret is that they will never be able to appreciate the comedy talent of the Gialappa's Band, the postmodern quarkiness of "Quelo" or the repulsive lack of manners of "Il Mago Oronzo"; this is obviously not to mention the delicacy and impeccable idealism of "Lady Oscar", the goofiness of Memole, the compelling sentimentalism of "Ben and Sebastien"and "Dolce Kelly"... the sophistication of respectively French and American/Japanese organized crime in "Lupin" and "Occhi di Gatto"...and this list could go on and on and on and on............. oh, you still there?! Righy oh, this is to be continued. Meanwhile, enjoy a little bit of Italian commedy (English Subs provided)

The Sound of A Generation

My early evenings television watching as a child would always open up at the sound of "Sunday, Monday, Happy Days.." the catchy tune and opening gingle to the iconic mid-70's TV serial "HAPPY DAYS". If I only mention it the theme tune is already resounding in my head! By the by, I ain't that old, what my generation of spring chickens used to watch were repeats!

Last night me and Bea where yet again trying to pick a movie to watch together and both the movies she chose had been coincidentally directed by Ron Howard. Now, being the sophisticated and cultured woman she is, my lovely housemate did recognise that this Howard guy was someone famous, but she simply did not seem to make the connection that this revelation of a director used to be Fonzie Fonzarelli's best friend, ginger geek Richie Cunningham. When I tried to establish the connection for her, she looked even more puzzled. At that moment I acknowledged that something really quite tragic had occurred: the women had been deprived as a child of quality entratainment - she had never watched HAPPY DAYS. Shocked and perplexed, I felt sorry for her and resolved within myself to make it my ultimate mission to give her an education on CULT Television. (I joke...)

From Wikipedia:
Happy Days was a popular American television sitcom that originally aired between 1974 and 1984. It presented an idealized version of life in late 1950s and early 1960s America.
Happy Days centered on the life of a middle-class family, the Cunninghams, living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The family consisted of Howard, a hardware store owner and the family patriarch; Marion, a homemaker and the family matriarch; and the couple's teenage children, Richie (who had an optimistic if somewhat naïve outlook on life), Richie's younger sister Joanie, and Richie's older brother Chuck (a character that would abruptly disappear during the second season, with no explanation given until four years later). As the series went on the story focus often shifted to additional characters, notably those of ex-New Yorker Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, who was originally portrayed as a local thug but soon became a friend to Richie and the Cunningham family, and Fonzie's cousin Chachi, who became a love interest for Joanie Cunningham. The long-running show also resulted in several spinoff shows, many of which were highly successful in their own right.

You may accuse the program of being dated, unrealistic and, let's face it, cheesey. But "Happy Days" was a sitcom that did not want to pretenciously prove any points at all: all it set itself to do was to portray stereotypical aspects of a time past and to provide skin deep universal commedy with much success in my opinion. So Bea, my dear, here is a little introduction to an icon of 20th century entratainment.

Wednesday, December 6

Hundred and One Ways to Fail Your University Exams

Some people get huge into relationships whilst at university: they are into each other big time and nothing or no one else seem to matter - let alone papers, exams.. Other people prefer to waste huge ammounts of time onto the internet and computerized wizardery..others, get onto the beer and get side tracked ever so slightly. However, no one has lost it more than MMU first year students last academic year. Not only did they make the irreparable mistake to apply to Mikey Mouse University (which is a joke in itself!), not only did they invest too much time socializing and playing footie, but they even thought they had enough time to make a remake of the Nike advert - their interpretation of it! 5 minutes of hilarious comedy and questionable physical talents..but the best bit is that they all seem to have FAILED THEIR EXAMS last summers, so they clamimed as they were being interviewed on national television pleading for a bit of understanding. After all, they'll never make outstanding academics but, let's face it, they make pretty wicked clowns!!! Ihihih! Enjoy: From MMU freshers 2005/06: "REAL NIKE"

Wednesday, November 29

The Ideal Boyfriend

At the moment there are a few CDs that I am savoring like a gourmet meal, gargling down like vintage French champagne. Tom Waits' "Real Gone", Rodrigo y Gabriela (saw them in concert last amazing were they: an absolute sound sensation and pleasure to the ears). Really liking "Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah" - they had been banned for a wee while, but they are back in full honour now and really loving them (which is good considering that we are going to see them in Feb!). Nevertheless the greatest discovery of the past two weeks have got to be the "Dresden Dolls" (; although their name and vaudevillian showmanship conjure the atmosphere of a smoky backroom cabaret bar in 30s Germany, The Dresden Dolls are actually a Bostonian duo who have translated a love of musical melodrama into one of the most fascinating and extraordinary musical expressions around. Brian Viglione plays drums while Amanda Palmer hammers the life out of her grand piano, singing tales of the peculiar characters that inhabit the twilight world of her Brechtian imagination. Entering their world is a joyful and intoxicating experience. I may disagree with some of the song contents, but their undoubted talent, admirable courage in presenting something refreshingly "different" and artistically creative is a real ecstatic musical experience. Out of the two albums, "Coin Operated Boy" from their 2002 debut album, is my favourite song. It is, in my opinion, their trademark: blatantly arty, ingeniously composed, exquisitely articulated and innocently sinister.. Moreover, who has never secretly (or more openly) wished that sentimental relationships were idealistically blissful like Palmer's fantasy?!
I sure did... Enjoy the video!

Saturday, November 25

Old Values Wonders

An old Neapolitan proverb says, "Chi cagna 'a via vecchia p' 'a nova sape chello ca lassa e no chello ca trova!" - I am not entirely sure about the spelling, but then again, my Neapolitan is pathetic.. but the litteral translation is "Do not abandon the old ways for the new because you know what you leave behind, but you do not know what you may find". The concept is rather obvious: stick to what you know works 'cause its likely that your wacky creativity may be disastruous..and here behold: SPAGHETTI IN A TIN!

My father is a traditionalist. Although a rebel in hundred and many ways, he is the last of an extint (or on the way to extinction) species: the Italian Manly Man. If something is broken, he'll fix it (even if the "thing" is my mom with kidney stones..mmmm!), if there is a cause to be fought, he will be your William Wallace in Braveheart, your Robin Hood in Sherwood forest, your Ghandi in India - and, if you mess with his daughters, he will be your pain in the ass. Yes, Mr Morra is a real man of ideals and morals, especially when it comes to food. Food is, in my father's world, the essence of life. Whenever I go back home for Christmas (in the desperate attempt to have a 'lie in' or two in the mornings), dad wakes me up at 7am every morning without fail (even on new year's day!)with the mere purpose of asking me, "What would you like to eat tonight for dinner?"..
Food is the essence of life in my dad's world. Everything is scrupulously chosen,prepared in advance and passionately cooked with scientific rigour and exquisiteness worth of poetry. My father goes to the markets:in through the tiny narrow streets of Naples on his scooter in the endless search for the perfect ingredient. He always says that when times are tough you can save up on many things, but never bargain on the quality of your food. We are forced under any circumstances (even when sick!!!) to sit around the arranged table and eat together in an act of nearly religious devotion. And, for all of my talk, I wouldn't want it any different. In as much as I criticise my father's excessive fussiness with regards to food, I think he has got a point: having food is a blessing, and as such, it should be honoured; families are a gift, and as such, they should be nurtured; why settling down for tinned spaghetti when making them yourself is, inevitably more time consuming, but a great deal tastier, healthier and cheaper? I love my dad, despite the fights he is my hero. Hence I shall keep on fighting the fight for quality food alongside him! Viva la pappa col pomodoro!!!!

Friday, November 24

Expand Your Cultural Horizons

I have always been passionate about cross-cultural communication. Be it my "Barbie Travel Book", or my innate preferences, I begun to develope an interest in alien cultures and foreign things from a very early age. So I have been to a number of places, seen a lot of scenaries,objects,people different from any other I had ever I moved to England, so I studied languages, so I have a foreign house mate which is a life enriching experience altogether. Last night we were chatting about music and she introduced me to some proper cool stuff like Elliot Smith, Flamenco singers, Drag Queen entratainers.(.really bizarre!) But the pinnacle of Bea trying to develop my musical taste must be the "I'm From Barcelona". Most of you would have probably heard them before; more unlikely, you would have put faces to the singing voices/band name. "I'm From Barcelona" are, despite the name, a Swedish late 80's boy band. Greasy hair, enormous specs, tacky outfits, outrageous coreographies..paradoxically Swedish,singing in English that they come from Barcelona!!! Have a sneekey preview of their video to the song "We are from Barcelona" - Guaranteed: it will bring a smile to your face and, perhaps, enhance your musical taste, expand your horizons... ... ... ... ... ... NOT!

Tuesday, November 21

Sittin' on the Dock of a Bay

...Not really "sitting on the dock of the bay"..guess this is more of an imaginary location, a state of mind than an accurate geographical description. Yes, I am still poorly (nothing serious,but this flu is starting to bug me now!), hence I am more kinda sitting by the window,watching the rain pour down on a melanchonic autumn day and missing my best friend enormously. Our mothers have both been unwell recently and it has been pretty impossible to keep in touch with each other. Moreover, it doesn't help that we live at the two extremities of the planet earth. Gosh, don't know what I would give to see her right now. Last night I dreamt that we were walking on the road together, chatting away like in the good old days where words were often not needed.. the last time we saw each other was over two years ago when their gorgeous baby boy was born - and now I look at his pictures and he is a proper little man and I cannot even begin to tell how proud I am of her, of what she has accomplished and of who she is. SO, if you are readying this, Rie-chan, know that I love you lots and that I always will no matter where we are,what we are doing or what happens around us.

Otis Redding, "Sittin'on the Dock of a Bay"

Monday, November 20

Travelling Without Moving

"Travelling Without Moving" is the title of a track from the homonimous album by Jamiroquai. I have always loved the song, but more surprisingly the concept behind it. At the moment I am skint as skint (not "skinned" as Steve rightly pointed out!) can be and, travelling appears to be very much of a luxury. However, I am reminded of the time when I was a child and imaginary travels were my most treasured treat. I remember one of the first books I ever owned was a "Barbie travelling book" - pathetic,I know, but I used to love it. Not only did it open my mind to the excitements of geography and of various cultural issues, but it also gave me an appetite for world travels and discoveries. A couple of years later a friend of the family bought us a "glow-in-the-dark globe".. for me it was like the wardrobe in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" : the secret source of amazement and wonder. I would turn the lights off and suddenly be transferred into another world.. the white beaches of French Polynesia, the dye pools of Morocco, Rio's Bidonville, South African Farms, Inca's temples in Mexico and Christmas on the beach in Australia..

Saturday, November 18

Man Flu or Bird Flu?

Clique: "An ordinary cold is perceived as a deadly illness by a man" - Now, you may accuse me of sexism and stereotypical feminism, but I shall give you an example to prove my point. Imagine: it is Thursday afternoon at the office and I am feeling like pooh - got a terrible chest infection and when I cough the whole building shakes, looking pretty rough too when suddenly one of the lecturers I work for comes down to see me ( after 10 days of ignoring my pleads for assistance!) to simply fulfil his innate urge to complain about the fact that he was "poorly not well men!".. looking for sympathy..and to give me even more work to do - which eventually I did because: why is that that when a man has got a cold, he thinks the whole world should stop, give him a pad on the shoulder and take care of him and him alone? By Friday, I was feeling even worse,so I e-mailed my friend Joe to say that I had self-diagnosed my self and,in my opinion, I had a case of "Man's Flu"; the symptoms? - it's like a normal nasty cold, annoying super loud cough and an unexplainable impulse to whine and to potter about. To this Joe replied: "Kind of yeah - but you need to be careful with your words. 'Men's flu' is just flu that a man has - I think the actual term you need is 'Man flu' - this is something entirely different which effectively renders a man completely useless for periods of up to 6 weeks, sometimes even longer. Sneezing, sniffling, headaches, blocked nose, loss of the will to live... these things all contribute to man flu." In conclusion, it appears that I merely have an ordinary BIRD FLU which means that, after all this sneezing,coughing and feeling horrible all I get is to GO TO WORK in the morning! ..and keep on smiling!

Friday, November 17

Une Semaine à Manchester

"Cookie-Mania & the Wheel of Death"

At last, my sister has sent me some pictures of her time here in Manchester with our cus,Dalila. Despite the worryingly scary pictures, we actually had a pretty cool time. She is growing up and beginning to grasp that it is not "all about her" - though I guess she's forever gonna be the baby of the family. But, what can I say, I love her a lot. Here are a few pics for her week in Manchester, enjoy. xx


"Frankie & Benny's"

Tuesday, November 14

Urban Life

Gazing at the bright red sun going down in the Sahara desert; the mid-night sun in Lapland; the lush Irish cliffs overlooking the raging sea in winter; candid fields of nothing else but white snow; fields of sunflowers - and the list of breathtaking natural beauty could go on,and on, and on. I have always been astounded by nature's extravaganza and seemed to find it easier to connect with God and find inspiration in the midst of Creation than within the confinements of four walls. Nonetheless, I am a "city-girl", and I cannot deny it. Last night I was on the top floor at the office, I was switching the lights off before going home(just to be envirolmentally conscientious) and behold, a vision of Manchester's skyline. The city looked beautiful, somehow magic. I remember walking down Oxford Road for lectures in a constant sense of excitement and awe. I know that this sounds absurd considering I've been priviledged enough to see some of the world's wonders, but there is some magic even in man-constructed monstruosities..and a vibrant sense of vitality in God's masterpieces walking, struggling, talking, seating,living. God not only crafted a beautiful looking universe, but he also designed people like you and I, gave them intellect and the gift of uniqueness and innate beauty. The thought that me,you and the individuals who cross our paths in life are an image of the Creator himself - bring me a reassuring sense of comfort and exquisitedly profound challenges.

Monday, November 13

In Remembrance of Me

Remembrance Sunday yesterday. I must admit that this day has got little or no significance for me at all. I was born in an era when wars were taken away from our sight because we became faint-hearted at the sight of blood and hypocritically accepted that, whilst it was perfectly ok for the Rwandans to slaughter each other and for Afgani territories to be wiped out, our children oughtn't see the horrors of war (unless the aggressor was over six foot tall, dark and handsome with a magnetic look and a seductive smile, of course). I was born in an era when German schools chose to "omit" from their history curricula the Holocaust in the WW2. I was raised in a country where Mrs Mussolini is somebody who was considered apt for being a minister in the ruling political cohalition and where being a neo-nazi is a popular choice in European high schools. I was brought up in a world where we actually pay to go and watch insatiable violence onto a big screen whilst munching on junk food and drinking pop. Alienated from reality,grown indifferent to suffering. However, there are situation, scenes, words that make you consider the reality of war, allegories of a common humanity, metaphores of global neighbourhood. And so it happens that someone else's suffering comes close to home not necessarily because it gets closer geographically or because a relative of yours is involved into the conflict - but the revelation generates from the realization that,in the end of the day, we are all human, all guilty of the same weaknessess, all in need of justice,rights,forgiveness. The movie we watched last night at church "To End of All Wars" it's a beautiful graphic display of this concept. Based on an autobiographical novel by Ernest Gordon, its cinematographical rendition is an emotive and thought provoking piece. Although I was unimpressed by the cliques and often too explicit allegories - (but maybe that's more of a reflection on my personal views: I don't seem to like it to be told what to see,understand and ultimately believe, I couldn't help but feel drown into swapping my detachment for a more humane sentiment where anger is suddenly substituted by grace and blood thirst after vindication is tranformed into forgiveness. Excellent choice for the occasion.

Saturday, November 11

Live To Tell the Tale

Oh my goodness! I cannot believe I actually saw MUSE, Live @ MEN Arena on Saturday night standing ...third row!!! (I could basically "smell" Matthew Bellamy's sweat..together with that of many others!yuck!) It was phenomenal.. and what made the evening even better is that the ticket was offered to me for free!! Muse are such great performers and their ability to fuse their evident classical knowledge with alternative/electronic music is a pleasure to the ears. Every thing was simply perfect, absolutely loved it..apart from the minger who decided to pee in a cup and then to throw the cup in the air - disgusting. This is not going to be a very long blog, I don't really have the time, but I wanted to share this memorable event with you, fellow bloggers! So, here is a wee taste of Muse's talent: The video to "Knights of Cydonia" - 6.06 minutes of undoubted magic, sounds that can take you onto a different universe..try to believe!


Wednesday, November 8


An Unexplainable Dependence from Blogger..

Ever since I discovered this online blogging system I don't seem to be able to stop typing..and checking out my friends' bloggs..and those of their friends..or of people I have never even met before.

Today I was surpraised in discovering that the "Blogger Fever" is not exclusively my personal prerogative, but many others appear to be caught in the epidemic. So I have asked myself what could possibly make blogging so popular, nearly addictive? The answer is simple: we all long for human contact.

I know it sounds absurd that one looks for human contact over the internet (where there is virtually no contact at all) - however, I believe this is paradoxically true. Just think: most of us write a journal and may always had inclusive of dreams and frustrations and thoughts that in that private dimension become the outward expression of internal stirrings. Now imagine to have the possibility of expressing the real you with a reduced risk of confrontation,shame and embarrassment.It is the pinnacle of human relationships: expose yourself to the world without shame!

I am reminded of the movie "Crash"(2005). I am fully aware that many of you will have criticism of some description towards this film - and trust me, I acknowledge the Americanisms in it (big time) and the cliques and pretencious acting, but I do love the concept behind it. People every day every where fight for acknolegment; we long for respect and are desperate after human contact..increasingly more in our fast-moving, careless and always-too-busy society.

So "BLOGGOMANIA"..could it be the cure for people's indifference or is it going to be another pretty mask to conceal our longing for human contact and inability to relate to one another?!

Whichever way: I AM LOVIN' IT!

Tuesday, November 7

The Modern Woman

Stereotypes are the essence of our society; and we all so easily judge and attribute labels for people we all pretenciously know better than..

This concept intrigues me and often irritates me especially when it is the product of begotted and ignorant church members. Stereotypes or more likely "not fitting in them" was the reason why I was ostracised as a teenager, criticised as a growing woman and fought against as an adult by those one would have expected the greatest support from.

I left my country,my family and my comfort zone behind in the persuit of God's sovreign calling upon my life: the search for better and greater things where a pure, genuine and biblical concept of Christian faith is persued rather than a life of apparences and cliques and etiquet..and for that, I was looked down upon.

There are times when I look at my life and I can see where they are coming from: I am not married, not in a serious relationship, not living at home; I don't have a normal job, I like Japanese food and have a nose ring; I wanna travel the world whilst loving to live in other words: I am different. Different from stereotypes, but proud to be me. And even prouder to know that God loves me exactly for who I am.

Nonetheless, I look at women from the past, icons of feminility and rapturing beauty and I wish contemporary women had preseved some of that charm and class..or should I say: "I wish I could be bothered more with the way I portray my feminility..." I mean, consider Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo, Bridgitte Bardot, Gina Lollobrigida, Audry Hepburn, Monica Bellucci, Sofia Loren..their grace, their delicate features, smoldering smiles, elegant walks, perfect hair(even straight out of bed!), lovely longette skirts (never revealing too much but always looking very desirable)..MAN: we have gone a long way from that!!! In fairness, I doubt Grace Kelly ever had three jobs on the go, I guess Monica Bellucci never attempted to walk 3 miles to work in those sexy high heals and did Audry ever had a bad hair day?!? Just another thought!

However, all these excuses do not suffice: gotta get myself sorted and bring something of that classical beauty and charm back..

Sunday, November 5

Heart's Cravings

There are particular seasons of life when, although my life is so closely intertwined with my faith, I feel the urge to persue increasing closeness to God, when humanity ceases to matter as much as usual and I begin to be drown to the divine more and more.. It was bizarre at church this morning when suddenly despite all of my concerns and fears, I just could not pray the usual "spiritual shopping list" to God, but I had to simply worship Him for who he is and I loved it! It is like Jesus' words in the gospels when he urges us to seek his kingdom first and he shall add all those things we so strenously worry about unto us,,,without our aid! And it is not about being "airy fairy" or detached from reality - but it is a spirit freeing act: through worshipping God and seeking Him before anything else we are putting Life into perspective because, in the end of the day, he is the one who is in charge of it all! And living carelessly (without cares) in the knowledge of his supreme kingship inspires me to live my life to the full..Every person I meet is suddenly transformed into the image of the Creator and even annoying interruptions become, as Stefan would say, "HOLY MOMENTS"!

Friday, November 3

A Taste for the Vernacular..

Shame on me! In as much as I would like to think of myself as a pretty decent,well educated and profound person, my fascination with a certain strand of grottesque humour surprises me yet makes me laugh so much that I cannot help it.
Last night I went to watch the latest Borat movie at the cinema: the content is plain wrong (no question asked), but I was ever so amused by an exaggerated projection of certain aspects of our the things that many think but no-body dares to say them as they are..just a thought. Meanwhile,I leave you to have a little taste of Borat's Cultural Learnings.



Dating Lessons

Wednesday, November 1

It Is Not Easy Being Green..

Thanks to Surfy-Dude Steve for bringing this wonderful song back to my mind. As my notorious childhood hero, Kermit the Frog,used to say, "It is not easy being green"..and the older I get the more meaning these words acquire. Green is my favourite colour, but other than the lush Irish valleys, green represents to me the colour of social awareness and activism: it is the colour of those who ackowledge that the world is terrible at times, but live in the proactive hope that a difference can be made; and "I have a dream" and I believe that change can happen.Nonetheless, I cannot hide my frustration when I have to travel 50 miles in my car to get organic produce (thus producing even more carbon-dioxide and increasing pollution levels!..which was the original reason for me going organic!) or walking 7Km back and forth from work every day in the cold, only to be breathing in even more fumes from the flippin' vehicles on the road! Or buying eco-friendly products and never being able to find them at the coop because it's only WALMART stores that stock up on that kind of products!MADNESS! Indeed,my dear Kermit, being green ain't easy, but I am an optimist still and, despite it all, I believe that one by one changes can be made..and if nothing should ever happen, I'll go to heaven knowing that I have done my best to make the world a slightly better place and perhaps inspired others to do the same.

Tuesday, October 31

My List of Dreams..

Following yesterday's blog on "The Making of Dreams" here is my list of dreams - most recent update!
In no particular order..
1.Become a mum..sad isn't it?!But that's always been one of my greatest aspirations.
2.To be a medical doctor and a good one too..
3.To sail around the world (combination of my fascination for water,cultures and travelling)
4.To backpack South America (guess I have been slightly influenced by El Che?)
5.Learn at least three other languages (ideally French,Japanese and Spanish)
6.To live in New York or Paris
7.To retire in a Tuscan Cottage
8.To write a chidren's story book (maybe not for publishing,but for my kids)
9.To be proposed to in a field of lavender
May I add at this point that many of my old dreams have already come to pass such as graduating, learning English, living in a foreign country, seeing Kyoto/Japan, having my nose pierced,visiting Kenya (and seeing baby elephants from close up)...

I am just actively seeking to realize the other ones...(apart from no. 1 and 9..can't do that by myself unfortunately!)

Monday, October 30

The Making of a Dream

Everyone has got dreams, don't they? When we were children, who of us didn't dream to be someone or do something - astronauts, fire wardens, professional ballet dancers or, if you were my little sister, "assistant at the deli counter”…guess insanity runs in the family! I remember when I was a little girl, I dreamt to be a painter at first (age 3-10), then an architect (that one didn't last too long, from 10-11 and that's only because I fancied my art teacher who was an architect..),then my passion for writing (you would have never guessed, eh?!) made me want to be a journalist; but that one didn't last too long either, so by the age of fourteen all I wanted to be was a medical doctor. Yes: the white coat and all, but more importantly I had to find a way to fulfill my desire to be helpful to others, to understand things not to mention my sheer marvel at the complexity and perfection of the human body (an evident manifestation of the divine intelligence at work, in my opinion. Anyway, all this was just an intro to today's blog.
Many of you fellow bloggers, including my wee sis, have produced lists of things you would like to do by the time you reach a certain age…now, I have tried that one, but it doesn't seem to be working for me and the reason is simple:
a. the amount of aspirations I have is a list as long as my arms!
b. I don't do deadlines anymore.
You see, I used to plan my life down to the minute; I used to feel the urge to be in control of my existence, thus causing myself major disappointments when those goals were not reached or not perfectly performed according to plan. In this way not only I caused myself a lot of unnecessary heart aches, but I also misunderstood a vital lesson which is that satisfaction and fulfillment are not the mere product of achieving goals; more so, they are the result of contemplation, reflection and enjoyment of the many unexpected events, side-paths and random encounters which accompany and curve our life journey by making it interesting, unpredictable and enriching. Try to believe.
So in as much as I am incapable of producing a list of the five/ten things I want to do by the time I’ll be “x” years old, I am fully aware of the dreams which keep little task oriented dreamers, like me, going. But I’ll keep the list to myself for now.

Saturday, October 28

Disappointment with Humankind

Tonight I thought I'd do some good old girly pampering: relaxing 'night in' and a nice movie just to catch up the tiredness that has been affecting me recently. Everything went to plan, but the film I chose to watch. "Imagining Argentina" with Emma Thompson and Antonio Banderas - quality acting, I thought, and perfect equilibrium between suspance and quiet introspective sighs. I must say it had been a while since I watched a movie (other than "Shooting Dogs") which had the ability to involve me so much on both an intellectual and emotional level. Based on a novel by Lawrence Thornton, "Imagining Argentina" tells the story of Carlos Rueda the director of a children's theatre in Buenos Aires in the 1970's, a city haunted by the ongoing disappearance of individuals who dare to take a stand against the dictatorship government. He returns one day to find his home empty; his wife, Cecelia, a journalist, has been taken away for writing a controversial article in local paper 'La Opinion'. Carlos meets with others whose loved ones have disappeared and discovers, that in the extreme desperation of people, he can look into their faces and see the fate of those they love. Somehow, he has no idea how, he can see into the past and the future. People flock to him for news of those disappeared. But no matter how hard he tries, he fails to see his own. Although I had studied about the Deciaparecidos phenomenon in school, especially with regards to Peron's dictatorship, watching the reality and consequences of such a inhumane form of punishment in a much more domestic context, has definitively brought it home for me. Nevertheless, like every time I see the extent of human cruelty, it repulses me and makes me ashamed of being part of that same humanity..Robin Williams interpreting "Patch Adams" in the homonymous movie states in disappointment after his innocent and loving girlfriend has been cruelly murdered by a psychopath: "Humans are the only animals in the whole of creation who kill their own". The killing and, more appallingly in my opinion, the torturing of innocents makes me incredibly angry and disappointed with humankind. But then I am drawn to think that God his innocent son not sparing, sent him to die cruelly at the hands of degenerated criminals and, the most sublime thing of all is that he was being sacrificed for them especially that they may be forgiven and made clean?! No wonder why many have referred to the crucifiction as "the scandal of the cross" - it is admirable that one may die for his friends; but to die for the murderers, paedos, adulterers, liers, ungodly, that's truly revolutionary.Thank you.

Wednesday, October 25

In One Song

Are you ready to rock?! My new housemate is a genius: she has come up with this brilliant idea to waste precious time in life.“El Cancionero” (literally, “The Songbook”) is extremely easy and great fun. It consists in answering some questions about you with song titles. Only true answers and true titles – no cheating, mind you. So let’s rock! (P.S. Bear with me, the blog has been translated from Spanish into English and I have never studied Spanish before...)

Are you a man or a woman?

“Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin);“I’m a b**” (Meredith Brook)

Describe yourself?

"Brown Eyed Girl" (Van Morrison)
"You Are Not Bad for a Girl" (The White Stripes)
“Got Put a Smile Upon My Face” (Coldplay)
“Senseless as a Cuckoo”(Paul Curreri)

What do people think when they are around you?

“Virtual Insanity” (Jamiroquai) “I can tell that we are gonna be friends” (White Stripes); “Happy” (The Rolling Stones)

How are you feeling?

“I Feel Good” (James Brown)

How can you describe your last sentimental relationship?

“You don’t love me the way that I love you” (The Kooks)

Describe your new relationship with your partner or suitor(s)

“Travelling Without Moving” (Jamiroquai)
“One Way or Another” (Blondie)

Where would you like to be right now?

“Cayman Islands” (Kings of Convenience)

How are you with regards to love?

“Hungry Heart” (Bruce Springsteen)

How is your life?

“Hard to Explain” (The Strokes)
"Anything but Ordinary" (Avril Lavigne)

What would you choose if you had only one wish?

“See the World” (The Kooks)

Write a quote or a famous sentence

“Sometimes you can’t make it on your own” (U2)

Now let’s rap it up..

“Time to Say Good-Bye”(Andrea Bocelli); “Last Goodbye”(Jeff Buckley)

So, now is your turn - do it yourself and pass it on! Could be real fun!!!

Sunday, October 22

The Advantages of Getting Lost

Ok,no need to be smart many of you may already know, I seem to have mysteriously acquired the reputation of somebody who has the tendency to have a poor sense of direction on the road and who "occasionally" gets lost or experiences extended substitute the "somebody" with "everyone who knows me for more than five minutes" and the "occasionally" with "all the time even with a flippin' map" and you will get a more accurate picture of what is going on here: I am a desperate case in need of a sat nav (for dummies)!Doh! However, despite the enormous frustration I sometimes feel when I am pulled over on the side of the motorway crying my little eyes out in desperation, I have always descovered that, if you are in the right frame of mind, "getting lost" can open up your life to a world of incredible discoveries and adventures which are the greatest, because you never expected them in the first place! It is the fine line between constantly wanting to be in rigorous control of your existence and living carelessly in the knowledge and confidence of God's sovreignty..just a thought.. It is like when I was in Takamatsu City two years ago and I wondered off on my own..eventually got lost and had to ask directions to Japanese! I saw places, met people, cherished smiles and frowns I would have otherwise never encountered.Or I think back at today, travelling back from Essex to Manchester on a rainy M1..neglected to turn off to get onto the M6 and ended up driving to Sheffield via Sherwood forest and the Snakepath through half of Yorkshire which probably delayed me loads, but what I saw was better than a church service: the dales, the lush valleys and the trees turning brown and amber and orange and red; the colours of the sky merging into the horizon; the sound of birds a vision of God's creative extravaganza! Simply wonderful.

Saturday, October 21

Meet the New Mrs Oliver!!!

What an eventful week-end! This week-end I was down in Essex to fulfil my duties as bridesmaid at Ben and Katherine's wedding. Not considering that I nearly killed the bride in a car crash just hours before the wedding cerimony and that Ben kinda disappeared a few hours after saying 'I do' (not to worry, he came back!!!) and that we had to go back home to get the cake we had left behind, it was a wonderful day! Katherine looked stunning beyond description and the evident testimony of their love for God and one another compelled us to be delighted and full of praise to an amazingly faithful God!!! Four years ago none of us could have ever imagined what took place on Saturday..guess we should all learn to rely on the Boss a bit more!!! I certainly need to! Added bonus to the lovely week-end is that I got to spend some time with my "English Adoptive Fam" (Kath's family really)who have shown me so much love over the past four years I cannot even begin to tell. Thank you!! Also, I got a chance to see some good old friends again and have a brief catch up with them - Pablo,Rach,Pete,Luc,Carla (and newly met fiance!!!)and all the wondeful peps from TCC. Great stuff. Well sure more updates shall follow.