Kamis, 11 Desember 2008

Water Under The Bridge

On Monday, Venice was hit by the fourth-worst flood since 1872. Driven by winds powering up the Adriatic, the water in the lagoon surrounding the city rose 156cm (61in) above normal levels....












While Venetians take floods in their stride, the swirling waters that burst the banks of the city's famed canals have convinced many here of the wisdom of a euro4.3 billion ($5.43 billion) project to build towering metal gates designed to protect Venice from being deluged.

Moses, named after the Old Testament figure who parted the Red Sea, is nearly half finished and is expected to be operational by 2014 — two years behind schedule due to financial problems.

If the retractable gates had been working at the time of the 160 centimeter (60 inch) floods, they would have been raised from their resting place on the seafloor by 6 a.m. — "keeping the entire city dry," according to the consortium administrating Moses.
Project Moses is due for completion between 2012 and 2014. But there is still no single body responsible for the defence of the city, and no plan for its long-term preservation, let alone funding.
"Venice will survive only for as long as man wants it to survive"

*Full length article and pictures can be found at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gkXJ8cU-TREaMwKhxR-e8dcZ6EJAD94S2H681

Rabu, 26 November 2008

Living Life On The Edge

The Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. From September to December it is possible, due to low water levels, to swim at the edge of the falls in a naturally formed pool.

Would you?

Kamis, 20 November 2008

Love Thursday: Positano, A History: Take 2

I am jumping on the Love Thursday bandwagon...and, seeing as how Positano is one of my greatest loves, this post is only fitting.


I found found this slightly different take on the origins of Positano. I'm a sucker for legends--the mystery, the romance, the adventure!!

The Legend of Positano:

"The legend recalls, in great detail, that one night a Saracen sailing vessel, that had stolen a precious Painting of the Madonna, suddenly found itself in the midst of a furious storm off the Positano coast. The south-west wind was threatening to make the mainmast come tumbling down any minute, the fury of the sea and of the rain beset the vessel sweeping men and objects overboard. The men of the crew had abandoned their duties and were running frantically from stern to stern on the high-prowed ancient Byzantine vessel, when all of a sudden the sailors heard a mysterious voice rising above the terrifying creaking of the foremast. Out of the howling gusts of the gale, a crystalclear voice apparently born of the wind repeatedly said: “Posa, posa!” (Lay me down). The Madonna, weary of roaming the seas, was asking to be brought to rest on land. The sailors understood and decided to obey, in the hope of reaching safety and with the premonition that they were face to face with a new reality: a miracle. All of the crew, converted to the Christian faith, got down to work like slaves, some went to the helm, others strove to get landward wind to fill the canvas of the one and only square sail: but miraculously every effort was superfluous because the vessel, as if propelled by a will of its own, started gliding towards the small bay where the Madonna was laid down on the small crescent shaped beach which nowadays is a favourite haunt of families on vacation. The storm had abated and billows were gradually receding. On the water line, still black from the early morning rain, the Byzantine Madonna shone out brightly from her cedar-tree tablet where a skilful artist of distant Greece had depicted her: and there she was found at dawn by the first fishermen going out to sea. The pious inhabitants of these shores built a temple on that very site and since that day the village took the name of Positano from the “Posa, posa” uttered by its Madonna (so the legend has it, for legends, we all know, are impatient of complex Greek etymological assumptions according to which the name Positano is a corruption of Poseidon)."



(From http://www.sorrento.cc/area-positano.php)

Selasa, 18 November 2008

A Silvia

By: Giacomo Leopardi

Silvia, rimembri ancora
quel tempo della tua vita mortale,
quando beltà splendea
negli occhi tuoi ridenti e fuggitivi,
e tu, lieta e pensosa, il limitare
di gioventù salivi?

Sonavan le quiete
stanze, e le vie d'intorno,
al tuo perpetuo canto,
allor che all'opre femminili intenta
sedevi, assai contenta
di quel vago avvenir che in mente avevi.
Era il maggio odoroso: e tu solevi
così menare il giorno.

Io gli studi leggiadri
talor lasciando e le sudate carte,
ove il tempo mio primo
e di me si spendea la miglior parte,
d’in su i veroni del paterno ostello
porgea gli orecchi al suon della tua voce,
ed alla man veloce
che percorrea la faticosa tela.
Mirava il ciel sereno,
le vie dorate e gli orti,
e quinci il mar da lungi, e quindi il monte.
Lingua mortal non dice
quel ch’io sentiva in seno.

Che pensieri soavi,
che speranze, che cori, o Silvia mia!
Quale allor ci apparia
la vita umana e il fato!
Quando sovviemmi di cotanta speme,
un affetto mi preme
acerbo e sconsolato,
e tornami a doler di mia sventura.

O natura, o natura,
perché non rendi poi
quel che prometti allor? perché di tanto
inganni i figli tuoi?

Tu pria che l’erbe inaridisse il verno,
da chiuso morbo combattuta e vinta,
perivi, o tenerella. E non vedevi
il fior degli anni tuoi;
non ti molceva il core
la dolce lode or delle negre chiome,
or degli sguardi innamorati e schivi;
né teco le compagne ai dì festivi
ragionavan d’amore.

Anche perìa fra poco
la speranza mia dolce: agli anni miei
anche negaro i fati
la giovinezza. Ahi come,
come passata sei,
cara compagna dell’età mia nova,
mia lacrimata speme!
Questo è il mondo? questi
i diletti, l’amor, l’opre, gli eventi,
onde cotanto ragionammo insieme?
questa la sorte delle umane genti?
All’apparir del vero
tu, misera, cadesti: e con la mano
la fredda morte ed una tomba ignuda
mostravi di lontano.

Italian Man Granted Divorce Because Of Terrible Mother-in-law

A court in Salerno has granted an Italian man a divorce after accepting his claim that his mother-in-law had "made my life hell".

The 36-year-old man, a car salesman from Ravello in southern Italy identified only as Antonio under privacy laws, said: ''The marriage lasted just four months, but it was hell."

The man said he and his ex-wife Gemma, 31, had even signed a pre-nuptial agreement when they married, guaranteeing that her mother would not interfere in their life together. The agreement had not been observed, however, and the couple had separated.

''I thought all the stories about terrible mothers-in-law were made up, but I was forced to think again," he said. "There's no point describing everything I suffered, you have to go through it yourself."

Ten years on from their marriage, which took place in 1998, a civil court in Salerno this week finally confirmed an annulment of the marriage by the Catholic Church, even though the ex-wife, who comes from Amalfi, insisted that her mother had only intervened when her former husband mistreated her.

''My husband never took care of me or our daughter," she told the court. "The months of marriage were terrible because of the unacceptable behaviour of a man who was supposed to love and respect me."

She added: 'My mother wasn't interfering, she was worried about her daughter's physical and psychological state." Her mother had not done anything "that any other responsible parent would not also have done''.

Mothers-in-law are often blamed for putting a strain on marriages in Italy, though usually it is the husband's mother rather than the wife's who is held to blame. Last year a poll by the research institute Eures said that three out of ten Italian divorces were due to "the unusually close attachment of Italian men to their mothers".

Annamaria Cassanese, a psychologist, said grooms' mothers often continued to live close to the married couple, visited them frequently and criticised their daughters-in-law.
They offered to help with cooking, ironing and babysitting, but "this can often be the beginning of an invasion, in which the mother-in-law slowly takes over and undermines the woman in her own home".


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5145739.ece

Kamis, 13 November 2008

La Normalita

Dicono che la normalita e la vera rivoluzione.

Cosa significa "la normalita"?

"Eccoti qui decidi che la fase dell'eterna adolescenza è finita e che è ora di crescere e crescerai. E allora tutto cambia e questa volta cambierà. Avrai una casa più grande, la piscina, il garage col posto auto, il prato sempre curato, il portico fiorito e le porte smaltate, il cane...e la barca...avrai la salute assicurata, la vita assicurata, il frigorifero sempre pieno per nn sentirti povero, un tappeto etnico per continuare a sentirti giovane e finestre da cui entra sempre il sole... e allora avrai la tua famiglia felice i tuoi bambini in salute ... non è questo che avevi sempre sognato?" (L'ultimo Bacio)

Allora la normalita e composta da beni materiali? Barca, cane, casa grande, auto, etc. Anche i bambini sono considerati come proprieta.

In questo caso, no, grazie. Preferisco avere passione, amore, avventura.

Che pensate voi?

Selasa, 11 November 2008

Positano--A Brief History


After visiting Positano, famed writer John Steinbeck wrote “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”


According to legend, Positano was founded by Poseidon, the god of the sea, for a nymph he loved, Pasitea.


The Phoenicians and the Greeks are thought to have encountered Positano on their journeys to the West. Eventually, Roman conquerers took over the town. Emperor Tiberius, not trusting the products from the nearby Island of Capri (fears of conspiracies were rampant), stocked up on flour from Positano.When the roman empire fell, Positano entered the Repubblica Marinara of Amalfi and fell into a comfortable existence thanks to commerce with nearby Mediterranean towns.Unfortunately, misfortune also struck the town during this period. It was raged and pillaged by the Pisans, Sarancen and Turk pirates.


In order to prevent further invasions for the sea, the town modified its architecture. Using the mountains to advantage, houses were built, clinging to the coast line at a heigh difficult to reach, surrounded by protective walls, towers and curving lanes. Positano soon became an established hub for maritime traffic.In 1942, Positano fell victim to a feud between several rich Neapolitan families. Famine, plague and death followed. But just as a phoenix rises from the ashes, Positano rose to greatness once again.


During the XVI and XVII centuries, the ships of Positano traded with the Middle East, bringing home spices, silks, and precious woods. Going into the XVIII century, Positano was a prosperous town, rich in Baroque architecture. After the unification of Italy, many inhabitants of Positano left for America to seek their fortunes amongst streets paved in gold. Once there, they took up work as writers, or artists–spreading the word about Positano.After the second world war, Positano was “officially” discovered by the world–people from all over the world flocked to this small corner of paradise, restoring monastaries and houses, opening boutiques and cafes.

Today, Positano is a tourist haven. In the summer, travelers from all over the world flock to this small town, crowding the already narrow stairways. Yet somehow, Positano retains its charm, mystique and small town simplicity.


When faced with such beauty, one can hardly doubt that Positano is a gift from the gods.

Senin, 10 November 2008

Lost in Translation

We set out for a nighttime stroll along the lake. The breeze, uncharacteristically warm for November, ruffled through the trees. "I wish we could go out on a boat tonight", I said, glancing at the empty boat docks. "I wish someone would buy us a drink", she said, glancing at all the couples walking past.

Strolling past the massive ship housing the yacht club, we reach the bench at the edge of the dock. Looking out accross the lake, with the city behind us, we talk about everything and nothing. What we want from life, what we will someday name our kids, who we will marry, where we will live.

Hours later, a cooler breeze wraps itself around the dock. Shivering, we call it a night and start the walk back towards the city.

Suddenly, a voice cuts through the stillness. "Girls, hey girls!". We look up and see a man looking down at us from the deck of the yacht club. "Girls, why don't you come on up for a drink?". Not the types to turn down adventure (or a free drink), we look at each other, shrug, and head towards the ship entrance.

We maneuver our way up to the deck, feeling like we are in a more modern and smaller budgeted re-make of the titanic, complete with a grand entrance hall and winding staircases. We are met by the gentleman (Harry) and quickly realise that he is most definately old enough to be our grandfather. We politely decline his repeated offer for free drinks (the thought of accepting alcohol from a man who has several grandchildren left us feeling queezy) but accept his invitation to tour the boat.

Harry asks us where we are originally from and is overly delighted when the answer is Russia. With a wistful look in his eyes and speech not slightly slurred by alcohol, he says "I met a Russian girl, Ludmila, on the internet once". Ten minutes later, we are acquainted with all the dramatic details of the online union and its sad conclusion (Ludmila is now dating a German man). Fifteen minutes after that, when he has asked us the same questions at least three times and begins to ramble about Ludmila again, we decide that alcohol is the only thing that will get us through another five minutes and take Harry up on his offer to buy us a drink.

An hour and two Stellas later, we walk off the ship. "Well, at least we went on a ship", I say. We walk in silence for a minute, then she says "Perhaps I should have clarified. I would like a young, handsome man to buy us a drink".

Universe, take note.

Selasa, 04 November 2008

Ce n'était qu'un rêve



Dans un grand jardin enchanté
Tout a coup je me suis retrouvée
Une harpe des violons jouaient
Des anges au ciel me souriaient
Le vent faisait chanter l'été




Ce n'était qu'un reve
Mais si beau qu'il était vrai
Comme un jour qui se leve
Ce n'était qu'un reve
Un sourire sur mes levres
Un sourire que j'ai gardé
Au-dela de mon reve

Jumat, 31 Oktober 2008

Sweet Dreams

You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

Kamis, 30 Oktober 2008

Baby Steps


“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” - Lao Tzu


After much going back and forth about where I want to move in September (Rome? Paris? London? Barcelona?), I've finally decided on Paris. As much as I love all the other cities, they'll all be a short plane ride away.

My heart belongs to Paris.



Selasa, 28 Oktober 2008

Taking Clues From Nature

Vorrei imparare dal vento a respirare,
dalla pioggia a cadere,
dalla corrente a portare le cose dove non vogliono andare
e avere la pazienza delle onde di andare e venire,
ricominciare a fluire.

Un aereo passa veloce e io mi fermo a pensare
a tutti quelli che partono, scappano o sono sospesi
per giorni, mesi, anni
in cui ti senti come uno che si è perso tra obbiettivi ogni volta più grandi.

Succede perché,
in un instante tutto il resto diventa invisibile,
privo di senso e irraggiungibile per me,
succede perché fingo che va sempre tutto bene ma non lo penso in fondo.

Torneremo ad avere più tempo,
e a camminare per le strade che abbiamo scelto,
che a volte fanno male,
per avere la pazienza delle onde di andare e venire,
e non riesci a capire .

Selasa, 21 Oktober 2008

L'amour

Un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie ? Qui ne se rappelle pas avoir effeuillé la marguerite cherchant à vaincre l'affreux doute quant à l'amour du ou de la bien-aimée ? Qui ne se rappelle pas les émotions du premier amour naissant à 14, 16 ou 18 ans ? Comment la proximité de l'élu(e) pouvait nous faire chavirer et rêver pendant des heures... avant même de lui avoir adresser la parole ? Nous étions en amour avec l'Amour.
La première sortie, le premier baiser, la première promesse, la première caresse, le premier projet rêvé à deux. Il était tellement merveilleux ; elle était tellement belle ; rien n'existait plus sans lui ; l'avenir n'était pas possible sans elle. Notre amour était pur et éternel. Nous transformions le monde, avions les plus beaux enfants et nous vivions heureux. Rien ne pouvait nous arrêter. Sauf...


La première peine d'amour. Que de pleurs et de sanglots ! Comment a-t-il pu me faire cela ? Jamais je n'aurais imaginé qu'elle puisse être comme ça. Quel grand vide crée la première peine d'amour ! Que de mal au ventre et à l'estomac la perte de l'être aimé peut susciter. Quelle déprime ! Et juste avant de sombrer complètement, voilà qu'arrive... un nouvel amour.

Nous nous rappelons toujours avec nostalgie nos premières amours d'adolescence. Et comment l'apprentissage de l'amour a pu être parsemé d'embûches, mais aussi de plaisirs et de joies indescriptibles. Jusqu'au moment où enfin la perle rare arrive et qu'on fasse le grand saut : on se promet de s'aimer toujours, pour le meilleur et pour le pire

Taking Chances

Se un uomo non è disposto a correre qualche rischio per le sue idee, o le sue idee non valgono nulla o non vale niente lui.

I've printed out my applications, am meeting with professors for references and filling out financial aid forms....Europe, here I come!!

Jumat, 17 Oktober 2008

Wishful Thinking

If Thursday is the new Friday, today must be Saturday.



So why am I sitting at work trying to avoid the urge to stab myself with a ball point pen and not luxuriously lounging around in my pajamas and composing long letters to friends with said pen? (Okay, maybe not that last part)

Jumat, 10 Oktober 2008

Villa la Madonnina





I think I've found where I'm staying on my next trip to Positano....


Now, if only I could grow a money tree :)

Reinventing the Mundane

I've been lucky to have traveled and lived all over the world. Chicago is now the city I've spent the most time in, and I've been feeling incredibly restless for the past few years. The wanderlust is really getting to me!

When I first started looking at law/graduate schools, my choices were all over the map-- Paris, Rome, London, Montreal, Sweden, Germany. Anywhere but the United States.

One night, my parents sat me down to go over my choices. They, more than anyone, understand my wanderlust. They paid for all my language lessons, bought me foreign CD's, encouraged me to develop a diverse group of friends and instilled in me the passion for culture and travel. So when we sat down at the dinner table that night and my dad asked me why I was applying to out-of-country schools, I was surprised. I wasn't expecting having to defend my choices. To me, it was obvious. How could I spend another year here? There's no culture here, I said. No warmth from people, no passion for life. It's a 9-5 existence where people look forward to their measly two weeks of vacation during which they aren't even able to tear themselves away from their blackberrys. How could I spend another year here when I felt like my soul was being stiffled?

It was then that my dad said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said, eventually, you will feel like that no matter where you go. The grass is always greener on the other side and no matter where you live, the mundane will always catch up with you. Even if you are surrounded by beautiful buildings and interesting people, you will still feel lonely sometimes. They key, he said, is to surround yourself with good people who have the same love of culture and passion for life that you do. That way, no matter where you are, you will never feel alone or stiffled.

At the time, I didn't believe him. I thought, no matter who I surround myself with I will always hate it here. It's been a year since that conversation, and I have to say, my father was right. I've surrounded myself with people who love what I love, and I've made numerous new friends who are travelers at heart, like me. Instead of constantly planning the future and my move to Europe, I began to enjoy my time here--I've explored the city, found small cafes that remind me of those in Paris, joined language groups and stocked up on foreign reading material.

The past year has flown by and, while I still feel in my heart that I belong in Europe, and am still hell-bent on moving there next fall, I realize that I no longer feel stiffled. Sure, I still browse dozens of expat blogs a day, my ipod is devoid of any songs in English, and I'm constantly on cheaptickets.com browsing airfare deals to Europe. But I'm realizing that I need to enjoy, really enjoy, the time I have left here because although I may not miss Chicago, I will miss all my family and friends.

“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” - Dagobert D. Runes

Kamis, 09 Oktober 2008

Positano, Mi Manchi


Sembra perfetto...
il cielo che ho lasciato è lo stesso che ritrovo tutto l'anno qua, tornare...
tutto era al suo posto quasi ad aspettare che me ne tornassi qua, da solo...
quasi a ritardare il momento di lanciarmi nella mischia
ma so che la sera tutto funziona,
che se cerchi una risposta forse ti arriva
è l'atmosfera che ti trasporta verso la voglia che ti torna un'altra volta,
meglio la sera fuori dal mondo,
mentre il mondo mi gira tutto intorno tra me e me che penso a quello che mi aspetta in questa sera che mi gusto senza fretta.

So che prima o poi passerà stasera...
e che tutto ritornerà com'era...
sarebbe bello durasse almeno mezz'ora...
comunque andrà dovrà tornare com'era...
sarebbe bello che durasse almeno mezz'ora...

Prometto a me stesso la felicità
senza limiti gustare tutto quello che dà, come si fa,
ora so come si fa,
è un impegno che ti prende e vale quello che dà

Guarda come si sta
quando tutto gira,
quando niente non va,
quando parlano i fatti,
quando inizi e non la smetti,
quando vedi che ti prende e non ti fermi...

So che prima o poi passerà stasera...
e che tutto ritornerà com'era...
sarebbe bello durasse almeno mezz'ora...
comunque andrà dovrà tornare com'era

Bastasse almeno mezz'ora

Cap ou pas?

Une vie entière pour se dire "je t'aime". 80 ans pour démarrer une histoire d'amour.

Et tout ça à cause d'un jeu. Ou peut-être grâce à un jeu.

"Cap ou pas cap ?" "Cap ! Bien sûr ! "

Cap de tout : du meilleur comme du pire. Bafouer tous les tabous, défier tous les interdits, braver toutes les autorités, rire, se faire mal.

Cap de tout !? sauf, peut-être de s'avouer qu'ils s'aiment.

Ils jouent, ils s'aiment ? Le jeu, l'amour ? L'amour, le jeu : finalement c'est tellement plus simple d'être ami.

Et ainsi la vie passe, le jeu reste, de plus en plus intense, comme la passion.

Et chaque fois qu'ils se répondent "Cap !", ils se disent "Je t'aime plus que ma propre vie".

"Plus que ma propre vie ?" "Cap !"