Thursday, December 27

A Year...

The changability of life is an issue that will possibly never cease to intrigue me. Life that moves,changes,evolves somehow. As most people, I have a little "End of the Year" ritual - I assess the year that has just gone by and ponder upon valuable or less significant changes I would like to see in the coming year. In other words, I think...way too much. Nevertheless, I have always found this sort of meditation on life really handy in giving me better direction, more precise goals, aim better and, one would hope, make things better each year. Sometimes I manage,sometimes I fail, sometimes I learn from it all. This year has been incredibly difficult on so many levels, but I stand here with a smile on my face, a tranquil and serene smile, because I now know for a fact that what doesn't break us, makes us stronger indeed. A year ago I made a set of good intentions and resolutions for 2007. I randomly stumbled upon them again this morning to discover, to much of my surprise, that, with the exception of improving my French, all of them did come true!! May be not in the way I had thought those things would take place, but eventually they all happened and I am much better off as a result! But this is certainly not meant to be a paternalistic, condiscending message of victory, but an attempt to keep on trying to improve. If I could give a title to this year like one gives a title to a book, it would probably be "The Year of the Second Chances" - rarely does it happen at my young age to be given an opportunity to be transferred back to their life when they were half the age they are now and facing people and circumstances with a newly acquired sense of maturity, stability, experience and self confidence. I feel truly blessed for this. I truly do not want to mess it all up this time around. So here it is to second chances and the experiences which have made us the people we are!

Saturday, December 8

A Movable Feast

Only Hemingway, in his linguistic confidence and exquisite intentness with words, could have coined such a sublime, perfectly describing title for his book, A Movable Feast. "A Movable Feast" it's an expression which encompasses a great deal of significance; narrating the author's Parisian years through the bohemian 1920's, one is transported into life through Hemingway's eyes - the cafes, the places, the people, even the smells which intertwine, encounter, cross, enrich and mark his life. In the opening chapter, it is described the scene of a man, sitting outside a Parisian cafes on a cold autumn day... I can't remember exactly how the story goes, but I have this picture vivid in my head of a middle aged man, sat by a small wrought iron table, longish going grey haired, wearing a long beige rain-coat, a gray woollen scarf, intellectual looking tortoise-shell specs, black hat on the spare chair, writing onto his Moleskine notebook whilst smoking a cigar, his coffee cooling down on the table...As he writes, people stop by, meet up with him, are noticed or ignored, stories are being born. As I sat on the train on Wednesday, a man kindly gave up his seat for me. Instead, he had to go and sit opposite another man, pretty much his age. They started to converse under the most banal circumstances to then end up discussing roughly everything under the sun - politics, philosophy, society, economics, justice, love, stereotypes, life. A feast that can be movable. How can lives so diverse from each other, so varied, so different, be shared, reinterpreted, discussed, expanded upon, in strange contexts. All this is the alchemy of our common humaity where, on the journey of our lives takes us to all sort of places, even without ever moving.

Thursday, December 6

Captive Markets

Like hot chocolate in a small mountain cabin after a long day skiing, like a bottle of fresh water during a walk through the desert, like shops opened all day on Sundays before Christmas. We have all been in certain situations where, by choice or obligation, we have become victims of the so-called "Captive Markets". By definition, capitive markets have a much more specific meaning. A web sites offers this comprehensive definition: *A captive market is a group of consumers who have limited choice in terms of the products they can select/purchase (no choice)! This type of market was common during the production era when there was a limited supply of goods (and great demand). It occurs when the market is monopolistic, thus there is only one supplier in the marketplace. This is more likely to occur with digital products (Microsoft is a good example of this). It can occur when a marketer has achieved significant lock-in for its installed based. Thus the switching costs for the consumer to try a competing product become prohibitive.* In' my book', a captive market is when the "producers" know exactly that you will need their product, hence they will make it available to you at prohibiting conditions: if you can afford it, good for you; if you can't, on the contrary, too bad. In "developing" countries, this form of dispotism is, renownly and shamefully, common practice. Liverpool John Lennon Airport has got their own take on the matter. Given that only 'economy flights' land and take off from there, one assumes that they are saving on their travelling costs...big misunderstanding! The mere price of the shuttle from Manchester to Liverpool has gone from £5 to £10 in a mere 6 month! That's like a 100% increase, 100%!! And how do you explain that one set of scales indicates one is 2.5 kg overweight and the other check in set of scales indicates 3 kg less than the first?! (every kg overweight is charged at a price, of course!). Then there is the cue for the compulsory security check - 25 minutes long. Long enough to miss a flight. But, at the accessible price of £2 per passenger you can soar through the cue and get priority. What kind of message are we preaching? Money as a tool for priviledge even in a context, security, where everyone should be the same? It's £2, I know, but it is the principles that concerns me. And makes me cross.

Monday, November 26

Only one hundred steps away...

I recently re-watched a beautiful movie called "I Cento Passi" (One Hundred Steps). It reached international acclaim a few years back together with more popular movies about organized crime, a denunciation of Mafia and its effects on the lives of many people who coexist with it. "I cento passi" (one hundred steps) was the distance between the Impastatos' house and the house of Tano Badalamenti, an important Mafia boss, in the small Sicilian town of Cinisi. The movie is the story of Peppino Impastato, a young left-wing activist that in the late seventies (when almost nobody dared to speak about Mafia, and several politicians maintained that Mafia did not even exist) repeatedly denounced Badalamenti crimes and the whole Mafia system using a small local radio station, with the arm of irony. In 1978 Peppino (30 years old) was killed by an explosion. The police archived the case as an accident or a suicide, but his friends never accepted this thesis. Note: This is a true story. More than wenty years after Peppino's death, the case has been re-opened. Tano Badalamenti, meanwhile, has been convicted in USA for drug traffic. I thought again about it this morning, whilst stuck in a traffic-jam caused by an abandoned vehicle on the side of a narrow city road. The car hadn't properly been abandoned by its owners. The car had previously been stolen and, under the owner's refusal to pay money to get it back, the robbers burnt it and left it on the side of the road, a so called unpaid "cavallo di ritorno" (return horse). You see I often wonder what you think about this. As a southern Italian, even if from a rather privileged background, I am aware and accustomed to all these idiosyncrasies. Weird. Weired that one can live so close to injustice, those physical hundred steps that suddenly become conceptual, ideological, moral and back and be accustomed to it.

"I Cento Passi" - Modena City Ramblers

Friday, November 16


I know you are already hearing the legendary song by the Rolling Stones resounding in your ears right now as I mentioned "Happy" (that's of course, if in the Beatles/Rolling Stones diatribe you were not a Beatles fan!) Rock on! The young lady in the picture, on the contrary, is my wonderful dog, Happy. She is the 'daughter my father never had', the life of this house and the cause of a heck of a lot of laughter. Jeez, I mean we are not stereotypically "pet-people", but ever since we have had her as a family pet we have experienced so much...well...happiness! Doh! Happy is also how I feel right now. Do you ever fear that changes are going to kill you,that if life takes a different turn from what you had expected you'll die of remorse and heartache? Well,not necessarily. Sometimes it's true: what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Happier. So here it is to change and life unexpected twists!

Sunday, November 11

Take a Chance

Today it is "Remembrance Sunday"in the UK. It is meant to be a day to remember those who lost their lives, suffered, sacrificed in war times. To me it has a very different, individualistic meaning. Remembrance Sunday five years ago was the day when I had been given a chance to get rid of a bondage, metaphorically speaking, that has shaped my life ever since. Today I live in a bondage-free world. Too bad it's taken me five years to get to this stage and put my life back on track.
Do you ever wish that, at a cross road you had taken the other direction? Today, in as much as I am conscious and grateful for the situations that have occurred in so far and filed my life, transforming into the person I am becoming, I wish I had taken that chance, I wish I had chosen to go my way instead of compromising my ideals for a more agreeable, ""conformist"" path...choices,ah?

Tuesday, November 6

A View of a New Old Life

This tiny rugged window overlooking the breathtaking Neapolitan gulf, inspirer of many poets, singers, painters, inspired me to change the title of my blog. "A Room With A View", like the title of the homonymous novel by E.M.Foster. A reniewing view onto an old life lived in a fresh way. My life back where it all began 24 years ago, Napoli, the land of my ancestors. Back where it all begun spiritually, artistically, in terms of taste, passions, start where I left off - hopefully better this time. So enjoy the view!

Thursday, November 1

What Where You Up to in 1983?

The last song that soundtracks "Mio Fratello e' Figlio Unico" it's a song my sister and I often sing hysterically in the car or hum as we are getting ready to go out. It's a what now seems to be an 'old song', first recorded in 1983. I still find it quite bizarre, to say the least, that I listen, like and even know by heart songs that were conceived when I was! I am such an 80's kid! Think about it though: 1983 was such a good year. The Eurythmics recorded "Sweet Dreams (are made of this)", "All Night Long" (Lionel Richie) came out together with "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel, "New Year's Day" by the legendary U2 and "Every breath you take" by Police! In 1983 Swatch introduced their first watches, the Vatican finally retracted their ban on Galileo Galilei, Nintendo game console was about to begin to change generations of kids, the first democratic elections are held in Argentina after 7 years of military totalitarianism, my mom and dad were busy handling a screaming little baby girl and there I was! But what about you? What were you up to in 1983? - sorry it doesn't rhyme!

Wednesday, October 31


The guys I tutor have a tendency to laugh at my unorthodox teaching methods, my diagrams and schemes, not to mention that, so they say, I know a song for pretty much most words in several languages - they laugh a lot at me, most of the time with me, which I think is nice. When it comes to the word "Ironic" need I explain what song comes to mind? Of course, it is the tune that officially beckoned Alanis Morissette into stardom in 1995. I have liked her ever since her first album! In 1995 I was a 12 year old version of myself and the acoustic abilities, the unusual vocal nuances, moderate feminism and alternative looks of Alanis Morissette together with slightly controversial lyrics made me a big fan. Tonight that song, the word ironic, are on my mind. So I would like to leave you with a video from my youth and a song that right now expresses my disappointments whilst cheering me up.

Thursday, October 25

How To Save a Life

I am a former theology student - now embarked upon a long journey of medical studies. In theory, I should know all there is to know about saving lives. This theme, concept, has been meaningful to me for a number of years. I wrote my first BA dissertation on the possible intersession between medicine and theology and I long to be living out those ideals in first person. When I wrote that paper, I quoted a simple, yet explicit, line from the movie "Patch Adams"; that movie and the real life character of Dr Adams have been a source of inspiration for me over the years. The protest against unfounded accepted stereotypes, not merely for argument's sake, but for the reinstatement and affirmation of sacrosanct humane and godly values such as compassion, unconditional love, kindness, overall justice. The quote is that when Patch Adams reminds his friend who is afraid someone may eventually die, even after receiving the necessary medical aid, to which he replies that a doctor's job is not to prevent death, but to improve the over-all quality of people's lives. Just today I have been pondering on the subject of suffering, death. Unfortunately or actually not that unfortunately after all, we cannot prevent death; death is part of life and I guess life would not be equally as valuable, precious, worth fighting for if we were immortal in this skin of ours. Nonetheless, we must strive to make it better, to make the most of what has been given to us not just as individuals, but as a whole of people associated by a common humanity. Saving lives is what doctors try to do day in day out, but ultimately I believe only God can truly save one's soul, hence their eternal life.

I have been wondering a bit recently over the gigantic internal changes that have been happening to me. In as much as I have tried to deny it for so long, I have grown harder, more cynical, less loving. I have loved someone so much that I guess all of the love I was capable of feeling has now combusted and now dedicating my life to other people's problems seems like a much more viable option. Caring for other people's children in order to avoid committing wholly to someone again and choosing to have children together; choosing to live in a tent not to pay a mortgage; saving lives in order to avoid facing my own.

"How to Save a Life" (The Fray)

Monday, October 22

Quicky News

For those who have been following on the story and are interested. There is some great news about my mom - and some not as great. The good news is that, even though the diagnosis will only be thoroughly confirmed in 5 years time, mom has been declared in COMPLETE REMISSION from Lymphoma which is an unbelievable result and a huge sigh of relief. Nevertheless, the cancer has left a severe lesion to one of her spinal vertebrae for which she is due to be undergoing surgery by Friday this week. If the situation hasn't deteriorated since her last scan, the procedure should be relatively simple and micro-invasive. If not, they will need to implant her with an artificial vertebral replacement - which is a lot trickier. If you are a believer, please do pray for her. If you aren't, just may her life be an inspiration to you. We, as a family, have certainty that your thoughts and intercession have made her feel a supernatural straightening throughout the whole time she's been ill and will surely continue to encourage her. Doctors wise, we are in good hands. Even better hands when we consider that God watches over us all. Thanks for your time.

Saturday, October 20

PMT: Italian Style!

When I say, "PMT" women throughout the world will immediately know what I am talking about. For the men...mmm...well, think of your girlfriends, your wives, your sisters, your mothers, even, at that time of the month when they say "oh, I feel so bloated", "does my bum look big in this" and generally are uneasy to be around. Alternatively, think of Bridget Jones in full depressed mood scraping mould off the last piece of cheese off her fridge! I am not a particularly PMT prone person. I used to HATE it when my best friend's girlfriend used to emotionally blackmail him by blaming her every selfish outburst onto her, alleged, PMT!! What? A PMT that is 360 day long?!?!?! Anyway. The inspiration for this post comes from a minor cultural difference I noticed today for the first time since I moved back to Italy. When I was studying in the UK I looooved to lounge around in my pj's for as long as I could, especially around does days..I mean I salute the Brits who can do depressed, feel sorry for one self so well (obviously this is a huge generalization). But, blame it on the weather, blame it on a major drinking culture, my observation of the English has brought me to form an opinion on the above explained matter: people drink a lot, it's colder and feeling miserable seems to be more of an option, I guess. When I was in England, it was a piece of cake to walk into any supermarkets, fill up my basket with junk, comfort food and wine, wearing track suit bottoms, trainers and pinned up hair, no make up, looking as scruffy as one can look and go back home and have some "quality time" with one's couch, watching cheesy "chick flicks" and crying like there's no tomorrow! No wonder I put on weight! Anyway. This afternoon I walked not into one, but two supermarkets and I came out both times empty handed...well, should I say with a celery stick and a bag of chestnuts! I felt guilty and looked upon as some sort of alien every time I even set eyes on a piece of choc! You see, Italian women just don't do self pity! As a response to life lemons', they ask for tequila and salt! They put their designer shoes on, go to the local spa, get their hair done at the salon and hit the shops before going out with some handsome, perfectly groomed Italian stallion! That's PMT Italian style! Right, I am off for tonight! Byeeeeeeeeeeeee

Thursday, October 18

Hard Work!

The making of dreams is hard work! I have been studying all day, I am off to teaching a class in half hour and I've got a shattering swimming training session at 8! Doh! I am tireeeeeeeeed!!! Ciao for now!
***Will be back with more interesting posts soon!"

Wednesday, October 3

Crumbs from Your Table

"How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" is the album that fuelled my study for my BA dissertation. There are a few songs off the album that are significant to me for a number of reasons,"Crumbs from Your Table" being the most significant. Released in 2004 at a time of great fervour over the "Make Poverty History" campaign and a general high of media coverage and public interest, and action, with regards to social justice issues, it treats on the subject of social disproportions. One of my favourite lines reads 'where you live should not decide on whether you live or whether you die'. I am often criticised because I desire to work as a medical doctor amongst the most destitute in the so-called "Developing world". They say, "why do you want to go so far when there is evident need and poverty virtually at your door step". The observation is realistic, nonetheless inaccurate. Indeed there is a lot of poverty in the south of Italy. Some of the areas where I minister are oozing with undereducated children who live on the street with little or no care from a parental authority. Often abused, mistreated, malnourished, unloved. However, the beauty of our assistentialist state is that their basic needs are, theoretically, catered for. The level of disparity and injustice that I observe in the developing world is, in my opinion, of colossal proportions. Just this morning I was reading that in Sierra Leone there is one surgeon for every 1.000.000 people - one million.
Although 'colonialism' in the most degrading and terrible connotation of the word is officially over, exploitation ain't. In order to cure disease in our countries, the pharmaceutical industry experiments, or worse freely administers faulty drugs which will necessitate the purchase of further medicinals, onto human test animals in the southern hemisphere. Because we have polluted most of our environment, we go growing OGM corn crops in Africa's most fertile fields to produce eco-friendly biofuels, pay the residents a misery and force them to relocate to worse, less salubrious marshland infested by parasites responsible for the transmission of malaria onto humans. Malaria alone kills over 150.000 children a month, the same number of victims killed by the South East Asia Tsunami in 2004. The Italian government pays for its members of Parliament to be flown on a personal jet to the F1 races, pays their restaurant bills and private medical care when an anti-malaria pill costs less than $0.60 a dose. Despite the embargo on the 'blood diamonds', Lebanon still manages to ship them at more reasonable prices to the West. Think.

"Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"

...and a million lives worth.

God help us not to be blind, not to be vile, not to be mere observers. We have done enough damage already.

Monday, September 24

Cultural Full Immersion

They often ask me if I ever missed home, felt homesick during the time I was abroad. Strangely enough, I doubt I ever did. Inevitably, there were times when I missed my origins, 'what it's good about the land of my nativity', our unique way of 'doing things', 'living life'; times of slight frustration over occasional lack of cross-cultural-communication abilities. Other than that, maybe due to both my flexibility and the British tolerance to coexisting realities, I have always comfortably felt like a cosmopolitan, a citizen of the world. My return to Italy it's a big surprise for everyone - me included. Nonetheless, it is a rather comfortable surprise, fluid, 'flat as a pancake'. Currently, it feels like when an exchange student goes abroad and experiences the culture and folklore of a different country. That's a very similar experience to my 'Italian Full Immersion', with the added value that this time it is not a holiday, it is lasting and it is mine. I like that. The always filled with busyness life of the Wee Italian Chick, has not chased to be so. As a result, the past few weeks have been oozing with Italian-ness.. Based on a 2003 novel by Antonio Pennacchi, Il Fasciocomunista, "Mio Fratello E' Figlio Unico" (literally "My Brother is an Only Child"), it's a fresh and refreshing product of contemporary Italian cinematography I had the pleasure of watching on Monday night. Directed by Daniele Luchetti, starring the now super-acclaimed, by both public and critics, Riccardo Scamarcio (the hottie off generational movies such as "Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo" and"Ho Voglia di Te"), tells the story of two brothers growing up in the immediate post WW2 and, in doing so, with incredible irony,acumen,lightheartedness, narrates the story of a changing country from a political, cultural and social point of view. Another movie I recently watched about a changing Italy it's leftwing genious director, Nanni Moretti, latest work: Il Caimano.Il Caimano is an open accusation of Berlusconi's politics, corruption and popularity.Nevertheless, in Moretti's words, 'Il Caimano ' is not only a political film. He stated that the film deals mainly with the cultural vices of Italian people, and also the story about the dissolution of a common family. Is this the sign of change?

Friday, September 21

The Fashionist

At uni, I got a heck of a lot of nicknames. One of the most ironic ones was "the Italian Stylen" - me, the only Italian who can't dress!? I am not much for fashion, though I seem to have a strong sense of what I like and what I most definitively don't like.
I remember laughing hysterically as I used to look through my mom and dad's old photos wearing big 'hear-dos' in the 80's, flared jeans in the 70's and so on. Me and my little sister would laugh and laugh and remark we would never ever wear flared jeans. Liers. By the mid 1990's we two were shopping obsessively for the most flared pair of jeans. By last year, we two were wearing those hideous buffooned fringes and leg-warmers. Not funny. That's why now I am a little weary to be too judgemental about the ever so comfortable as ever so ugly footwear of the year, the crocs. So I would like you to make up your own mind on the matter, maybe with a little help from our Canadian friends (see video below)

Sunday, September 9

Stereotypes (part I)

On one of my last flights from England to Northern Ireland, I came across an article in the Easyjet magazine about the stereotypical differences amongst European men and women. After all, it is a 35 minute flight and at 6 am I am rarely in the mood for profoundly intellectual thinking - so trashy magazines normally do the trick. The writer presented a blatantly over-simplistic description of moody-ever-super-slim Parisian women, never-failing-punctual German men and overly stylish Italian ladies wearing big sunglasses even after sunset. When it came to Italian men, they were described as impeccably stylish, perfectly groomed and possessing the irresistible charm of a thousand Casanovas. I inevitably giggled. I am often amused when people abroad have these mental images, stereotypes, fantasies, dare I say, about foreign citizens. In E.M. Forster's novel, "A Room With A View", the gentle ladies of England are warned against the brute, passionate nature of the Italian males. I just love that book. It is like the much cheekier, more raw, even kinkier version of Jane Austen! What causes me hilarity is that, from personal experience, I am not entirely sure on whether the Italian male is raw passionate, incurably romantic or merely arrogant and sleazy. Even though I have always known it to be in my nature to be an observer of people around me, how they behave and interact with each other, I have noticed this inclination has increased ever since I made a return to the Homeland. In Notting Hill, Anna Scott recites the lines "Rita Hayworth used to say: ' They go to bed with Gilda and wake up with me'." To which William replies: "Who is Gilda?" and Anna Scott says: "Her most famous part. Men went to bed with the dream; they didn't like it when they would wake up with the reality." I wonder if often it is the same with stereotypes. Many people dream, fantasize about others in the hope they will be better than what they have, often forgetting that it is what we are intrinsically that makes us unique, not or national identity...right?

***To Be Continued***

Stereotypes (part II)

***Continued from Part I***
In part one, we have explored how stereotypes may often be the result of over simplistic analysis and unrealistic fantasies, which are unlikely to be met in real life. In this new chapter, I would like to assess the nature of the Italian men and how they can be categorized. Specifically, we will analyse the Neapolitan men as they are my prime source of observation. Like Neapolitan ice-cream, they come in three flavours: Lo Scugnizzo, il Macho Latino and il Figlio di Papa'. The fist category is what we will call, for ease sake, the "Scugnizzo"literally rendered into English as "Street urchin"; traditionally this term acquires a completely different meaning, however, we shall utilize the word "scugnizzo" to describe a category of Neapolitan men characterized by the following qualities: scugnizzi are incurable 'grown up kids' who generally tend to despise higher education, people in authority and all that law and knowledge encompass. They make a cult of their outward appearance: all of their clothing items are carefully selected in the respect of the latest trends and their hairstyles modelled upon the newest fashion - paying no attention to whether a certain style will suit them or not, neither to if the cost of the item may cause them to go in debt or even steal. Their image is identifiable amongst many: gel hard hair, structured like an engineering master piece (ideally sleek flat side parting and spikes at the back); piercings (generally one diamond on the left year); over-powering after shave fragrance, big labels tops, trousers, shoes, coats. They drive brand new scooters (most likely stolen) and listen to neo-melodic Neapolitan music or techo/house - loud. Tendencies to chauvinism, violence, rudeness, sleaziness and illegality. Expressive and extroverted emotional outbreaks to be expected. However, it is to be highlighted that the "scugnizzi" can be tender lovers, respectful sons and responsible parents, able to live by "honour"...whatever it takes.
The second category is every foreign woman's dream, il Macho Latino, the super hot, perfect body, sexy talking bold, daring and reckless ultimate manly man. Il Macho Latino, like his scugnizzo cousin, places a great deal of attention to his outer persona. Every item of clothing is indeed chosen with maximum attention to detail, tailored like a fitted glove to accentuate and valorize every secret of manly charm. Labels and brands mean very little compared to how something is supposed to make him look. The Macho Latino's, like their Barbie sisters, do not give much importance to their "inner beauty" - they may read about philosophy, history and poetry but that's because, of course, history has proven that it always works to pull. Jewelry is worn like a winning prize, with pride and arrogance, the more the better. The gym becomes a real sanctuary of beauty and beauty parlor's their weekly confessions. The Macho Latinos are witty, handsome, proud, self-confidence yet often lonely, shallow and dissatisfied. Commitment is,for obvious reason, not an ability on the Macho's list. Does it need to be?
Last but definitively not least is the "Figli di Papa'" category, the "Daddy's boys". Life has been fine and dandy for them: they come from a good, often excellent household. They have attended the best schools, lived in the best homes, eaten the most delicate foods, travelled the globe, speak several languages, wear fine clothes, go to university. Their summer attire consists of white linen trousers, striped white and blue shirt, blue pullover over their shoulders, designer trainers, big sunglasses, golden tan, golden Rolex, soft long-ish hair gently blown away by the sweet sea breeze as they sit onto their boat. Characteristics? They have everything, but rarely comprehend the value of what they have. They can be sleezy strong of daddy's money ~ not knowing that money doesn't always buy everything.

Friday, September 7

When Stories and History Meet

"Aurevoire, Big Luciano!"

By now everyone in the global community has been bombarded with images of the, undiscussedly, greatest Tenor of all times, "Il Maestro" as he was known, "Big Luciano", the Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, sadly departed yesterday morning in his villa in Modena, Italy. From the BBC, to La Repubblica, Le Monde and other news agencies from all over the globe have grandeously celebrated and reverently mourned what El País describes as "A divine voice that has been silenced" . I get the impression most people expect us to mourn. After all we are Italians, right?: we are bound to be emotional, extrovert and overly expressive. I have sometimes tried to detach myself from the stereotype, but as I heard the news yesterday and re-watched some footage of Pavarotti's career several times, I became sad. Pavarotti represented, with his voice and international involvement, a positive image of what is beautiful, precious, rare, unique about our Land. He was an icon, a pillar. Like "the Olympic Torch", carrying the flame of sportive spirit across the world; like the Eiffel Tower in Paris reminding the French about their heritage, the "Big Ben" in London, Clocks in Switzerland, Clogs in Holland, Guinness in Ireland, "Big Luciano" was an institution for my country, and we all loved him like as if he was a member of each one of our families. We grew up watching him singing at every significant event of our lives - every new year's day, at midnight, the opening of the Olympic games, the "Pavarotti & Friends" charitable events. Music was his life and his music accompanies every Italian like the soundtrack of our lives, passionately stroking the most sensitive cords of our spirits, pride and love. Now that he has gone, exactly two days after Gigi Sabani, an iconic representative of Italian comedy and television for over thirty years, it's like as if a brick had been taken out of an old castle. Even though its base stands strong of ancient values formed and reinforced throughout history, it's most intrinsic beauty has been robbed of a precious element and we sure will miss you, Big Luciano!

Saturday, September 1


Meet my friend, Ruth.

She is petite, but has got the heart and the fierceness of a giant. She is the one and rare example of a woman who lives by ideals, abides by heartfelt morals and loves unconditionally. She does her utmost for people, infuses passion and enthusiasm in every job and cherishes friendship in a way I have rarely seen anyone do. She is the kind of friend who makes sure you get a card in the post on your birthday, who rings you from a coach in Croatia to check up on how you are doing, who cries when you tell her you are moving on somewhere else. I love Ruth. Ok, she does talk A LOT and she is a wee brain-box, but I wouldn't change her for the world. She is our Ruth. That's why I feel so terrible I forgot a very important birthday of hers! Ruthy, if you are reading this: HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! I know it's a little late, but it's truly heart-felt. Love you lots, buddy. xx

Friday, August 31


Throughout my life, I have always had it in me to be a contestant, a rebel. Not necessarily 'burning my bra' in front of the masses, but always being inquisitive and, somehow, argumentative about various issues. I am of the kind of watches telly and argues-out-loud with the news reporter because he is 'talking bullshit' or vivaciously criticise the ref in an important football match I am not even at, responding on my mother's behalf when my sister is playing 'spoiled-brats' and similar.. When I was in senior high especially, I was rather obnoxious and arrogant. I even made my Faith an occasion for constant 'Bible Bashing' and verbalised debates. My all time favourite was biology, ethics and philosophy classes - best ones for open discussion. I even took it against Darwin, the Papacy and Sigmund Freud. In fact, the latter was a special target for mouthy me. I despised his theories, made his arguments a joke and bull-eyed his distressed personality. These days I like to refer to my past behaviour as 'teen-age arrogance'. As you all know one of my favourite topics is 'pantha rei', the issue of change. I feel I have changed. A lot. Having worked with troubled teens, children from disadvantaged backgrounds and people in general for quite sometime, I have grown to appreciate some more expert and wiser words from others, like Freud, for instance. One of his theories suggests that our adult behaviour is, to say the least, influenced by our upbringing. Don't get me wrong: my upbringing has been close to idyllic, perfect, dare I say. What bothers me the most right now is what my teachers said. Teachers, instructors, professors of life. I often reflect on whether most of the academic profession is totally in the wrong job. Frustrated, middle-aged, dissatisfied academics who take it onto their students through mental humiliation and lack of sufficient stimulation. My classical Greek lyceum professor, for instance, who seemed to find an incredible sense of satisfaction in humiliating me in front of my whole class by saying I would have never achieved anything in life, that I was a nobody, that I was mediocre. Isn't it weird how, at the eve of a decisive step in my life, those are the words that are resounding in my head. I not stupid, not smart; I am mediocre. I have often reflected on that woman's cruelty and often wondered whether she was a, pardon my French, b!*$%# or the only person who ever really saw right through me. I am shattered.

Sunday, August 26

"Shaddap You Face!"

I felt we can all always do with a little 'cheering up', a short moment of happiness and positive, worry-less thinking. So here it is a little gift of """"Italian""""" joy! This song makes me smile every time I hear it - likewise I pray that it manages to bring a wee smile onto your faces as well. And to anyone who doubts us, mocks us, for any thought that hunts us and makes us sad, lets implore that emotion to "Shaddap You Face"! (Hey!)

Friday, August 24

Stress Valve

Hi. I know I'd said I wouldn't have written until after the exam...but I am studying so hard and being so secluded from any form of social interaction that I am beginning to feel like a pressure cooker that is about to explode. My family and friends are being simply great. They are standing right beside me at this time of incredible stress and pressure, preparing meals, being ever so tolerant of my unsociable behaviour and supporting me in every way possible. So here goes a huge, massive thank you to all of you who are supporting my pursuit of a dream.

I never thought I would, but I have actually started missing the blogworld a little. More than I ever thought possible, writing here has been an incredible 'stress valve'. Whereby a journal often becomes self-indulgent and unresolved, writing one's thoughts for public display appears to be ever so much more cathartic. I have also realised how some of the people who read this blog regularly have surprisingly become people I feel I know, I may have a connection with, friends. And like we all miss those who are dear to us when they have gone on holiday, moved out town, or have been to busy to keep in touch, I have missed you. So here is another wee 'hello' and a 'thank you' for the person you me as well as to the world. Ah! Feel better already! Biochemistry: here I come again!!!

Thursday, August 16

Only a Temporary Interval..

Dear all,
We are currently in the full of summer here..yesterday was actually "Ferragosto", Mid-August, (originally a religious festivity). We are experiencing a rather pleasant hot weather which makes a change from the unpredictable English summer weather. Even though I have been spending some quality time in some of the most beautiful locations on the southern Italian coast, enjoying some of the most exquisite cuisines in the world and drunk some of the best coffees and wines, I have been rather busy studying, preparing for a very important exam on September 4th. So this post doubles up as an apology for my seemingly lack of interest in the blogword, and a brief 'farewell' to the days when I will be a little bit more relaxed to find something to write about that does not involve eukariotic cells, chemical relations, physics and you name it! Good-bye and see you soon!!!