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.