37 years and the incomparable sensation of feeling fulfilled.
A state of bliss…
Yesterday big demonstrations to defend women dignity all over Italy - demonstrations that soon turned into a demonstration against Berlusconi. It is estimated that about one million people, both men and women, participated.
Our Blog expresses its solidarity for this cause by reporting the following little story...
They say that when God created the world, He decided to grant two virtues to the people, so that they could prosper.
So He made the Swiss tidy and respectful of the laws.
The English persevering and fond of study.
The Japanese hard worker and patient.
The French learned and refined.
The Spanish merry and welcoming.
When the turn of the Italians came, God said to the Angel who was taking note of His will: “The Italians will be intelligent, honest, and belonging to the ‘Popolo delle Libertà*’”.
When God finally concluded the creation, the Angel told Him: “My Lord, you gave two virtues to all the peoples, but three to the Italians! This would make them prevailing over all the other!”
“Oh my God - God said - that’s true! But you know, my dear Angel, that you cannot take out divine virtues once they are granted. Let the Italians have three virtues then, but let’s make sure that each of them cannot have more than two at the same time…”
And that’s how it came that:
- The Italians who are honest and belong to the Popolo delle Libertà cannot be intelligent;
- The Italians who are intelligent and belong to the Popolo delle Libertà cannot be honest;
- And the Italians who are honest and intelligent…**
(*) Silvio Berlusconi’s Party.
(**) From Beppe Grillo’s blog.
Lili and Marc!
Considering that the visits of Chiara, mamma, and Agnes and Xavier in the past weeks could not be properly considered visits to les M&M’s, as Mathilde had not yet arrived, the award for the first official visit to les M&M’s goes to Lili and Marc, who - directly from the Hague - managed to meet us less than 12 hours from Mathilde’s arrival!
Lili is an old friend from the times of Addis, almost a sister. After the experience in Ethiopia, we managed to keep in contact and to see each other quite regularly in 2004, when we were both studying in the UK: Lili in Essex and I in London. After the UK we took off in two different directions: Lili towards East, and precisely to Afghanistan, and I towards West, tossed between Washington and Africa. And for almost seven years we didn’t see each other. But these friendships are well grounded, and even if you don’t see each other for years, whenever you meet again it seems that time has not passed at all. And so it was…
Marc is a new entry, but as all the Dutch he inspires a natural liking. We had the good feeling we could get along.
Lili and Marc left on Monday, but we had the feeling we will see them often in the near future…
And now that the award to the first one who met les M&M’s in Rome has been assigned, who will gain the award for the first guest at les M&M’s???
(*) Continues from previous post.
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare your luggage, book your air or train tickets, request your annual leaves: les M&M’s have found a place to stay in Rome* with, all in all, a decent guest room. We look forward to having you chez nous soon**.
So, take advantage of les M&M’s notorious hospitality: prepare your luggage and book your tickets… before it is too late!
(*) And it has not been easy. But that’s another story…
(**) The guest room will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.
I met Francesco for the first time in Turin in 2000, at the JPO Induction Course, and I felt immediately at my ease with him. Francesco is in fact one of those persons that always puts you in a good mood. In his company I can't refrain from laughing heartily.
Francesco and I met again a few months later in New York, at another training course, and for three weeks we basically spent 24 hours/day ‘culo e camicia’, as we would say in Italy (as thick as thieves). For the following three years we met a few times in Kenya and Ethiopia, the countries where we were working respectively. After I left Ethiopia in 2003 we lost a bit track of each other, but when in 2005 I went to IFAD for a few meetings I met him again. He had left Kenya the previous year, and moved back to his hometown, Rome. Since then we managed to keep in touch, and managed to meet once or twice per year, either in Rome or Washington.
During our meeting in Rome in 2005, Francesco mentioned me he had bought an old mansion that he was restoring. And every time we met afterwards, Francesco used to update me on how the works were advancing. Apparently this mansion was beautiful: in the middle of a national park, surrounded by nature and deepened in the silence. When a couple of years after the house had finally been finished, Francesco didn’t miss an occasion to remind me I should go and visit it. But then, mysteriously, every time I had the opportunity to go, for a reason or another, the invitation was skipped.
To the point that I started doubting that this house was actually existing. ‘Perhaps he still leaves with his parents and he is too ashamed to confess it’ I thought.
Anyway, today Francesco finally invited me at his home, and have to say that, first, it actually exists. And second, that in fact it is very nice indeed.
I also finally met Linda, Francesco’s fiancée - another character whose existence I started seriously doubting, as Francesco kept on talking about her and telling me I should meet her, but then, for a reason or another, he always skipped introducing her to me.
Anyway, besides the excellent pasta, the delicious roasted turkey, and the exquisite wine, the good feeling of tonight was given by the sensation of having found a couple of persons with whom we may get along during our stay in Rome…
In Rome do like the Romans.
I was told that you can’t survive in Rome without a scooter. And so, after having come out of the Delhi traffic unharmed, I decided to raise the bar higher and to challenge myself in the Roman traffic.
You all know that my dream would have been a motorbike. I already imagined myself riding my bike to the Castelli Romani or the ‘agriturismi’ in Tuscany over the week-ends. Unfortunately this won’t happen this time.
But it’s nice to keep a dream in the drawer, ready to be fulfilled one day or another...
(*) Photo credit: Federica
Daily update on my house-hunting. Some consideratons based on the experience gained so far.
The apartments in a nice neighbourhood are far from the office, those in a quiet area far from the center. In those in a lively and trendy neighbourhood it is difficult to park, those near parks and gardens are far from the metro. Those that are in nice buildings are furnished with grandma-like furniture, those that have recently been maintained have small rooms. Those that have a nice terrace do not have elevators, and those that have elevators are far from the grocery. Those that are bright have old window frames, and in those with a brand-new fridge and washing machine there is no bathtub (Mathilde’s only condition). Those that are close to our friends are on the wrong metro line, and those that are spacious are facing north. Those that have nice landlords have noisy neighbours, in those where the neighbours are nice the real estate agents are jerks.
And all of them are quite expensive!
And you, what are the most important elements for you to choose your apartment?
This is our journal : notre journal de bord, il nostro diario di viaggio. ?xml:namespace>
Here are piled our stories, our adventures, our memories, our pictures, our thoughts and reflections…
Welcome on board!