I’d like for this blog to be all intellect and poetry… but what comes out these days is logistics, simple observation and, sometimes, complaint. I’m in this temporary apartment. It’s in a gated community called Parco Maraini. It’s part vacation condo, part apartments, part rehab and assisted living… all with tropical hiking paths and an unbelievable view of the lake.
I haven’t received any mail in weeks, but this apartment gets CNN and the BBC, so I am watching footage from New Orleans and feeling so far away from it all. What can be done?
Instead, my days are now filled with cultural adventures in grocery and furniture shopping. I got these gnocchi at a department/ grocery store in downtown Lugano. It’s called Manor and is huge and fabulous… cheese, chocolate, bread, alarm clock, computer, souvenirs, clothes — all can be had under one roof accessed via cobblestone square. Anyway, there’s nothing in these gnocchi except potato, water and salt and they are the lightest, fluffiest, tastiest little balls of goodness I’ve ever had. I’ve actually been snacking on them (raw) instead of chocolate. If you know me, you get how good these little gems really are. Few things in life trump chocolate.
School is chaos, but fun. I’m going to take pictures of my students this week. Classes are great — students are from 55 countries all over the world, so we get a Jordanian perspective on ethics in the ethics class, and a German student explained to the Americans the other day that there’s public discourse in her culture about the exportation of Hollywood films as a form of imperialism. One young kid went to a Quaker high school and shares how disagreements were handled there, and an African-American woman from Washington, D.C. was laughing with a young Saudi Arabian woman about how differently they’d get treated if their families didn’t approve of their dating behavior.
On the other hand, logistics are a problem. I was just informed that the ethics textbook isn’t going to arrive for a month and another textbook arrived with a 100% markup over US prices, making it virtually impossible for the students to buy. Now I have to figure out what to do without my texts and we’re starting the second week of school tomorro
One day this week we didn’t have power. No book, no computer, no lights… the cute Italian guy who helped me translate at my rental agreement signing said, “Wanna come play cards in my office?” If you know how tricky joking is with people who don’t speak the same native language, you get what a breakthrough this was. He and I had been joking for a while, but we’d have to explain the joke, sometimes repeatedly. This one I got right away. “How are we supposed to work like this?” he was saying, with that sweet Italian grin that hides the notorious Latin lover thing lurking underneath.
I keep reminding myself to use my training, to not engage in the culture of complaint here. I haven’t succeeded very well at that — but tomorrow is another day. Adventures abound!