Monday, 24 March 2008

What I learned in Italy, Part 1

I suppose I knew most of these already, but they got hammered home in new ways.

People grow oblivious to the beauty around them. We were soaking up the beauty of my husband's birthplace: rolling green hills topped with historic little towns, fields full of gnarled, silvery olive trees, almond and mimosa trees in full glorious bloom of white and yellow, peach trees inflating their pink buds almost to popping point. The relatives were astonished when we said they were lucky to live surrounded by so much beauty. They hadn't noticed.

If you want to torment people in a small town, walk into the local cafe, look around, greet people in Italian, and leave without telling them who you are. (Come back later and make up.)

Teaching graffiti as a form of artistic expression in university is a really, really bad idea. The only good thing to be said of Italy's graffitti artists is that they seem to restrict their efforts to stucco and concrete surfaces. Historic buildings are mostly unscathed. But some parts of town, particularly around railroad tracks, are nothing but a blur of graffiti.

Speaking of concrete surfaces, I never knew there was such a thing as concrete picket fences.

Starbucks should roll over and die. Seriously. Where did they get the crazy idea they know how to make espresso or cappuccino?

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Fern said...

People grow oblivious to the beauty around them.

I bet this is just as true for those of us living in less beautiful locales than the Italian countryside. I walk through the garden at my apartment and rarely stop to notice anything.

Janet said...

Fern, you are absolutely right. It seems to be part of human nature. Familiarity breeds contempt. I try to make a point of just looking around me with fresh eyes as often as I can, and it's amazing what it adds to my life.

Jared said...

We were flabbergasted last year when we found not one but two Starbucks in Seville. Less than a mile apart.

I imagine it felt much the same as it would finding an Olive Garden in Italy.

Janet said...

Jared, we found McDonald's all over Rome and a shawarma place within a half hour of arriving. My son took months to find one in LA; he is going to be so jealous. Except, of course, we didn't eat there. We can get shawarmas a block away from home...

We could really see the effects of globalization, both on the corporate and the personal levels.


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