Journal entry 2009-03-15

Today is the Ides of March. March 15th 2009 – a moment in time which reaches back across ages and cultures. In Roman times, the Ides of March was a day dedicated to the Greek and Roman god and military parades were held in his honor. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated. I think that perhaps this day serves as a reminder of the risks of standing out against the accepted trend of politics, as it should. Ignorance seems to inevitably yield hatred for the unknown. Strikingly unfortunate.

Our world is a combination of all history written or otherwise. There is no action that can be taken in this world that is not reliant on past cultural influences. Each day, every moment we live, each word we speak, every building and edifice constructed has its history rooted across time, cultures and imagination.

Unfortunately for me this is the first time during my trip I am ill. I’ve got a nasty little head cold. Stuffy nose, roughed up throat, and some sinus pressure. Wonderful. Spent the weekend trying to recover as I don’t want to prolong being ill. Watched the marines try to re-felt their pool table – they had a pretty rough time, awfully sad but downright funny – everything that could go wrong did. The lining was too short, the old lining shrunk and wouldn’t re attach. We couldn’t find a store with replacement felt, and the marines have an inspection this week.

Parents have booked and are coming in late April – I can’t wait, it’s pretty exciting to know they’ll be here so soon. Time is flying by faster than I can imagine. I can only believe it will accelerate even more when I start on my walkabout.

I’m not sure what this week will hold regarding workload but I think it will be a wonderful chance for me to film one of the three introductory video’s and get it finalized. I’m hoping to use my Italian friends as real live Italian actors in these scenarios. We’ll see what I can pull together.

I had a lovely conversation with an Italian girl the other night. We discussed Italian cultural perceptions and the unbridled truth that northern Italians are far more materialistic than southern Italians. A harsh stereotype and it only applies to a set percentage, however it has proven accurate in my experience so far. Girls and guys from the south are much warmer and open minded to just hanging out, they give less importance to your appearance and more emphasis on the quality of time spent. Girls especially but also guys from the north are more concerned with what they are wearing, if your jeans cost over 300 euro and how you’re accessorizing… don’t get me confused here, this is both men and women. If you’re not dressed properly and don’t look like you make the right salary it’s quite a bit less likely that you will be approached. Disappointing.

Materialism reaches around the entire world. People put so much value on hard, cold cash. Some even willing to sacrifice their lives at the perceived loss of it. The stories of stock brokers and others who commit suicide after losing only a fraction of their fortunes is a sad indicator of our society’s emphasis on monetary success. I believe there are other considerations – a man or woman’s life is the sum of all its parts, not their bank account. Their experiences, growth, and what they contribute at the end of the day for example.

Enough discouraging thoughts. Italian television is just downright strange. They do however have their own version of America’s funniest home videos… most of the video’s are American, with Italian dubbing.

I’m hoping to find a time next week or the week after to run down to Rome and switch out with one of their interns, get an idea of the difference between a consulate and an embassy.