Perspective of living — abroad and otherwise

As an American and a runner I am shocked and horrified by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. As a student living abroad, I’m even more shocked and horrified by the subsequent reactions and am struggling to find perspective. And peace.

War and war-like actions are the worst mankind has to offer this world. Violence begets violence. It always has been a self replicating and escalating cycle and it, I fear, always will be.

View from the DuomoI am by no means the most erudite student of history on the planet but I grew up in a news-aware home as the daughter of two Peace Activists. Some of my earliest memories are of holding a candle outside the White House and Pentagon. I remember vividly trying to wrap my young mind around the concept of a hunger strike. I celebrated my 8th birthday around a bonfire while participating in the Great American-Soviet Peace March in the Soviet Union in 1987.

In this light — my own perspective — I look at current events.

Perspective, let us share some

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A Lover in Firenze

Arno Sunset 2Those first days of being smitten are intoxicating.

A little extra jiggle in your step, hint of smile at the corners of your mouth, mind abuzz with the possibilities.

This is how Florence has been making me feel.

I was on the hunt for a “secret” late-night bakery a few mornings ago with a student-friend. We wandered over cobblestones and through a few wrong alleys before we discovered the correct back door — no “hot doughnuts now” announcement here and so much better for it.

Walking away from the unmarked door, under an ink sky punctuated with barks of laughter and hum of activity even at 3am, we enjoyed the most fresh, warm, delicious chocolate-filled doughnuts ever made. No guilt, just pure unadulterated pleasure.

This nicely sums Florence for me.

What is the word?

AlleyIt was on the purposeful wander that my companion asked what I thought of Florence so far. More specifically he asked what I thought the feeling or mode of the place and it’s citizens are? Does the city agree with me.

I related that my initial impression still held but my experience was deepening and expanding. Somehow it feels more exciting then even during those first days.

I paraphrased Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea of “one word” for a city and searched for the right one to describe Firenze.

It is fitting that I could only come up with French. I still struggle to overcome my default pronunciation and responses en Francais.

The feeling I get from fair Firenze and Florentines is: Bon Vivant

The city, she is a playgirl. She is a muse, a pixie, a lounging nymph of Baccus… perhaps even a succubus.

Florence, she calls in the night, luring you out when you should know better. She makes you feel young, spontaneous, and carefree. “There are possibilities here” she whispers.

Minx-like, she makes you work for it — just enough so that you enjoy the chase.

There are so many pleasures to be shared, secrets to be unlocked, delicious morsels to be devoured. Perche non?

“But relax Cara,” she coos, “all in good time…”

The sweetness of doing nothing

Florentine Locks Il dolce far niente

This is an actual phrase to be found in my Rick Steves guide. These Florentines, they enjoy their expansive time.

See you cannot force Florence (and Italia) to present her best to you. You simply must allow for kismet to happen on her timetable. Not to be rushed, she is worth the wait.

It is quite surprising that this NYC Gal embraces the relaxed flow of lingers and wanders. But alas, love makes us do crazy things.

On one of my first days, I overheard one of the professors tell a student, “anyone can find and fall in love in Florence.” It is true.

If you don’t find a person to fall for, Firenze will be your lover instead.

I understand why people lock themselves here.

I’m enjoying the discovery phase. Learning the history, topography, and secret spots with hidden meanings while creating new inside jokes and special places.

I have the spark in my eye, bounce in my step and sly smirk of pleasures recalled of a girl newly in love.

It isn’t a flesh and blood lover that has me so smitten, tis the bon vivant lover of fresh flesh that is this city. She who infuses her energy into our blood and beckons us into the night.

Go.

 

Always BeIN,

Jo

Linkage, the Family Edition (3_4_12)

My two little– well, younger– brothers came up this weekend so I’ve been sidetracked by games of scrabble and talk of life and adventures. It seems entirely crazy to go out and have a beer with them. They are no longer the little boys that I remember but charming, handsome men, one of which just starting to get a touch of grey at the temples. Little Miss is incredibly taken with her uncles and the visit was all too short.

20:32:52

As much as we are connected by various technologies, nothing replaces being in the same room and sharing a meal together.

That is all to say, links are late. I know I was doing what I ought and would choose to do again but I’m sorry to best the deadline. I am trying to get better at the scheduling thing. Hope you had a pleasant Saturday and are enjoying your Sunday.

Here is what I enjoyed this week when not hangin wit my bros…

Inspiration

I don’t know how I missed including this last week but it is so good it can lead us off this week: A rant on loving photography – all kinds.

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