A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Why are people so f’d up? June 5, 2009

Filed under: Opinion — italicana kitchen @ 6:22 pm
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I just read the most disturbing news article, so horribly wrong that it literally moved me to tears. In summary, this article addresses a horrible myth perpetuated by Zimbabwe’s traditional healers: that a man raping a virgin can cure him of HIV or AIDS.

The theory is so completely impractical and absurd, it almost makes me wonder if these traditional healer’s are joking–but, alas, there is no punchline. Instead, in it’s place are thousands of girls some not even barely able to walk yet that are raped each year, leaving many infected with HIV or AIDS themselves. The worst report was of a day-old baby being raped.

My eyes now are filled again with tears. I seriously don’t understand. ….HOW…HOW…HOW…regardless of who tells you to do these acts, could one possibly rape a day old baby? Image a little baby girl right now. She is tiny, can’t even open her eyes, looks like a sweet little angel….

I don’t understand. I don’t understand. I am left completely speechless.

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Love>A Great Word January 6, 2009

Building on my last post, it is no surprise that I love saying the word love. In fact, I use it constantly in my daily speech to describe things that I have a strong passion for or are very fond of. However, when I say this phrase in Italian, I get corrected on my grammar. Believe it or not, in the country known for their candid expression of love Italians don’t use this term like we Americans do. Instead of I love Florence, I love coffee, I love wine, they more often say either mi piace (I like) or adoro (I adore).

But I do love Florence I try to explain. I really really love coffee I contest. And, seriously, I not only love, but am in love with wine.

So, I apologize Italy. I love love….mi amo amore. So instead of correcting my grammar, can’t we just update the dictionary?

 

Daily Challenge: Appreciate your Freedom of Speech November 12, 2008

I am from the U.S. I live in Italy, a western country. I can choose how I want to wear my hair, what kind of car to buy, what church to attend and most importantly I can choose the words I want to speak. I can shout these words from a rooftop, I can use them in conversation with friends.  I can write about them on my blog or create them into a piece of art.

I often take for granted that I have this choice, this freedom of expression. It has become part of me like my eyes, my legs or the skin that envelopes my body.  If someone were to take away my freedom of speech, it would feel as though someone where dismembering me, leaving me handicapped….leaving me in a state that is not my own. 

Hundreds of millions of people in the world are handicapped in this way, their tongue more or less removed as they can’t use them to speak anyways. In Myanmar (Burma), a blogger was sentenced to 20 years in jail for posting anti-government sentiments, and a 2 year sentence was given to a poet who wrote a hidden message in his 8 line Valentine’s poem–the first word from each sentence spelled out “Senior General Than Shwe is crazy with power.”  (http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/11/myanmar.blogger/index.html)

Two years in jail, just for saying their leader “is crazy”.  Our jails would be overflowing if the Bush administration locked away each person that said that, “Bush was crazy.” Moreover, there would probably only be a small percentage of citizens still living in society if this was the case–the rest of us would be locked away. I mean, who hasn’t made a verbal comment about one leader or another (which is often times far worse than, “so and so is crazy”.)

So, while I am writing this post right now, I feel lucky. I feel appreciative. I will not be living in a 8×12 box or eating soggy jail food for the next 20 years. I encourage you all to take today to appreciate the words that come so freely  out of your mouths. To think about how fortunate you are to have the freedom and right to speak what is on your mind.

 

It’s About Time. November 5, 2008

I remember in 2002, when I backpacked throughout Europe and studied abroad in Rome, Italy, giant PACE (peace) flags, the color of a rainbow, hung from almost every apartment window. In 2004, I lived in Perth, Australia for a year long exchange, and watched from abroad as Bush was re-elected for a second term, the weeks after which, I felt more heat and ridicule of “being an American”. In 2005, I travelled in South America for two months; my mom wanted me to sew a Canadian flag to my backpack and tell people I was from Vancouver. For the past six years that I have been travelling abroad, being an American has not been a comfortable or exciting identity to hold. Usually I get the “I’m sorry for you” look, or the “I hate Bush” comment, which for me has been okay since I agree.

This year, however, as I spent 8 months travelling around the world, there was a new feel to being an American. In fact, it was exciting to say that I was from the USA. My thoughts about the upcoming election was the first thing asked by foreigners and locals once they found out I was American. Instead of the “boo, another stupid American” glance, it was a look of excitement, “What do you think about Obama and McCain? Who do you want to win!”

“OBAMA!” I would exclaim. 98% of whom I talked to would smile back at me, their eyes lit up as they shouted, “Yes! Me too!”

It was refreshing that foreigners weren’t trying to talk to me about the war in Iraq or the IQ level of my President, instead they were looking to the future of America and the changes that would hopefully take place witha new president. Obama has quite the feat of obstacles ahead of him. He is only one man. He is not perfect. But, he is a change. He is hope for America and the international community alike.

With Barack Obama being elected as the United State’s 44th President, I finally feel great about proclaiming to the international community that, “I am American!”

And thank goodness…it’s about time.