Not All Doctors Are Italian, but All Italians Are Doctors

I just came back from a recent trip in Europe. I have spent two weeks in the Netherlands amongst friends and a little more than a week in Italy with my family. Coming from the warmth of the tropics it was to be expected that I would catch a cold once I set foot in a temperate climate in full winter mode. What I did not expect was that I would be sick for the entire time.

First I had a sore throat and a small fever. Than came the hopeless cough, especially at night. Finally, a cold that made me ‘tasteproof’, right when I needed my taste the most (i.e. in Italy if any of you were wondering). Although I admit I take pleasure in talking about my sickness, I suspect you might find it more interesting to know how I came to the conclusion that all Italians are doctors. Continue reading

Departure

“She vanished around the corner of a street whose corner is eternal.”

Fernando Pessoa, With a Smile and Without Haste.

Featured Image: Salvador Dalì. Figure at a Window. 1925.

 

Sage and Lemon Sorbet for Christmas

Tradition is what I miss the most of my Italian years. The Christmas feast with my family, for example, it was one of those events that was very hard to give up when I left. Nevertheless, traditions were created in my years in the Netherlands too and I am not ready to change them quite yet.

That is why my first Christmas eve in the Caribbean included 4 hours straight of Skype with my friends living in Rotterdam. They were having dinner, we were having lunch, but everyone had to bring a main course and a spoon. No worries, the idea of the spoon wasn’t clear to anyone. The only person who actually brought something on a spoon on the table was Derrick. The rest of us just made whatever they wanted to make, but in a small portion. Well, relatively small… Continue reading

A Philosophy of Gardening

“A ‘weed’ is not a kind of plant, only the wrong kind in the wrong place. Eliminating weed is obviously a ‘problem in gardening’, but defining weeds in the first place requires a cultural, not horticultural, analysis.” G. Garrard. Ecocriticism.

Fifty Shades of Efficiency – at the Grocery Store

In the Caribbean I’ve learned that the concept of efficiency is a relative one. Or perhaps I should say that the relation between this concept and work of any kind is different from other countries I’ve been to. Here two examples of common situations at the grocery store.

A customer asks a clerk an information:

In the Netherlands:

A: Good morning, may I ask you a question?

B: Yes, of course. (while filling the shelf with some new products).

A: Where can I find olives?

B: My colleague there will show it to you (while getting the attention of a clerk who is currently not occupied with other things).

In Italy:

A: Good morning, do you know where I can find olive?

B: Yes, I walk with you (interrupting what she/he is doing).

In Sint Maarten:

A: Good morning, may I ask you a question?

B: What? (Continuing talking to C and D)

A: I’m looking for olives.

B: Ah, olives. They should be there (while pointing her finger in a very indefinite direction).

(Meanwhile, C walks away. B continue talking to D. A is still there looking perplexed).

A: Sorry, I did not understand where exactly I can find olives.

B: C went to ask someone. She/he’ll be back.

(B continues talking to D while A waits for C to come back with info about the position of the olives).


Two people doing shopping.

In the Netherlands:

A: We have to buy milk, bread and cheese.

B: Ok, I get milk and cheese. You get bread.

A: Fine. I meet you at the counter.

In Italy:

A: Bla bla bla.

B: Bla bla bla.

(While walking through all the aisles of the grocery shop getting what they need).

In Sint Maarten:

A: Bla bla bla.

B: Bla bla bla.

(A and B meet C).

C: Bla bla bla.

(A and B put bread and bananas at the counter and talk to D the lady at the counter).

(A and B walk back to the aisles of the grocery store to continue shopping).


Christmas in the Caribbean

Christmas is getting dangerously close, also here in the Caribbean. The warm weather doesn’t prepare you for a nostalgic and traditional gathering with your friends and family, especially when these friends and family are at thousands kilometres away. Nevertheless, I feel the urge of lighting red candles, faking snow and hanging balls in my living room.

This is very weird for me. I was never a big fan of Christmas. I don’t believe in God and I function better when it is warm outside, therefore I always looked forward to this holiday to end, together with winter. However, with time and countries passing by, I was forced to acknowledge a part of myself that I ignored for too long. A part of myself that this year, for the first time, started to forcefully prepare itself for Christmas although the other parts did not agree.

I’d like to think of my body as a democracy or, even better, an oligarchy where only the most enlighten parts of me would take full command of my decisions. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it did not go that way this time. There was no vote. The Christmas party inside me did not win fairly. There was a coupe that dressed up my living room with yellow lights, felt snowflakes, a reindeer candle and red, shiny balls. I know it because I look at it everyday asking myself: what have I done? This year in the Caribbean, far from my friends and family, Christmas won.


The featured photo is not mine. It was taken from the Internet.