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"