Loneliness ....

I wrote a post, over on Facebook, about Loneliness ... 

But things have a habit of disappearing there.  It's the nature of FB.  Life scrolls on.  Perhaps it reappears at a memory in a year, or two but I wanted to keep this post because it seemed to really strike a cord in people.  

I wrote from the heart, and people responded from that place too.

It was this:

I have mostly been part of a tribe...
1 of 4 children, twice a wife, a mother, a stepmother, and a nonna too. And then I have had lovely circles of friends where ever I have lived. 
ribes', made up of family & friends, are things that I appreciate so much, simply because I know I should never take them forgranted.

Out here, sometimes, the loneliness makes me leave the house, with my camera, and walk these ancient city streets. It has always been my way, since I was small, in New Zealand I sought out the beaches and rivers.  In Istanbul, I would cross the city on foot.  And anyway, out walking opens me up to seeing things I wouldn't see if I wasn't alone. It's double-edged sword perhaps.

But if I'm honest, I believe that even being part of a tribe can still leave a person feeling lonely sometimes.  Loneliness is interesting. I've been trying to just let it be ... knowing there are so many lonely people in the world. In or out of relationships, surrounded by family or completely alone. 

It makes me kinder. It makes me admire the older people I see, with their walking sticks and their slow shuffles, out shopping alone. I admire their courage. It makes me offer to help because I know I would appreciate it. And sometimes, like this morning, this lovely older woman and I ended up chatting ... about her sciatica.

But in Italy, in Genova, the people who perhaps understand most of all, are the barista's. I adore the ones I adore. Sometimes they save my day, after a night of bad dreams, when I wake alone in this life I am pursuing. Today, a lovely man gifted me a free espresso and gave me back my courage. It's that simple sometimes. It's that simple to be kind.

We don't talk of our loneliness. But we should. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is familiar with it. 

I dislike being this honest :-) but I suspect it is needed in this world where we all prefer to seem like we're doing okay. And we are ... we are.
Buona giornata.

a stairway, lit.jpg

In Memory of Fulvio Currò

I captured Lino Marmorato in the image above.   A truly delightful subject for my camera, and a retired Genovese referee too. 

I was attending the 19° Trofeo Fulvio Currò, up in the mountains near Genova, in a place called Torriglia.  The football competition is an annual event, organised as a memorial to Fulvio, son, brother, and friend of those attending.

It felt like a privilege to be there.  And as I photographed the day unfolding, I realised the thing I most wanted to capture was the deep sense of friendship and affection on display.

It was a sweet afternoon of old friends greeting one another, with quite some mocking, and so much laughter.  And some football too.

And then came the evening, a dinner in Ostaia Becassa ... a place where my football team is honoured.  You get an idea of it here ... note the rossoblù mementos, Genoa mementos, all over the walls, in this clip not related to Fulvio's evening

I hadn't imagined such a place existed but it does The food was good, and the company ... even better.

Some more from the day ...

Clare and Chris ...

They booked their visit months ago.  It was written into 'the book' and then time passed, in its usual haphazard manner.  Being me, I lost track but suddenly, despite this non-participation with regard to time, it was 25 August and voila, they were here.

I met Clare in Istanbul and adored her there.  She left, we stayed in contact and Gert and I had the joy of photographing her British wedding to the lovely Chris ...  

This friendship,  it's been lovely so far.

Yesterday we wandered the city ending our day at Taverne Ter Rivierenhof, with unlimited exceptionally exquisite Mosselen a Velonte, Scampi in Lookboter, and Stoverij.  Bliss!

This morning a traditional Belgian breakfast was enjoyed by all, conversations too, and then afternoon saw them disappear on our bikes, exploring this city Clare has only visited during colder months.  Chris has never been here ... it was therefore imperative that he went wandering.

Last heard of, they were leaving the Open Air Sculpture Park called Middelheim, heading for the famous Het Elfde Gebod - a pub full of religious statues, bought when the Catholic Church entered its minimalist phase.

There have been a couple of serious downpours but we're thinking they're fine.  She's an intrepid soul, as is he ... and we're looking forward to the stories that will surely be told over Shepherd's Pie and Pavlova tonight.

Oh ... and red wine too. Belgian beers for the boys we're thinking - in the style of an anthropological-style ethnography.  Gert's been introducing all the blokes to the new beer by Duvel Tripel Hop.  So far, everyone he has introduced to this new limited edition beer to, has looked like they have partaken of a miracle upon supping from their Duvel glass.

Even Clare toyed with not returning Chris's glass to him after a taste of the Duvel, despite the fact that we in the midst of our own red wine religious experience.  That, my friends, is how good the Duvel Tripel Hop is ... 

Anyway, meet Chris and Clare.



Old Friends, Amazing People ...

I have people in my life that I have loved and adored just about forever ...

I met my friend Fiona when we were 13, first year in High School.  She was a Fairfield girl ... a bus girl, and I lived just down the road from the school.  We were both a bit nervous about that first year at this enormous high school and, I was so lucky, we became friends.

I would drag her home for lunch at my place sometimes.  Back then, she was a Cadbury's Peppy Chew addict, and introduced me to the whole range ... caramel and, I think, spearmint chews too.  They were great days though.  Phone conversations and laughter in class. 

And then ... she couldn't shake me off.  Where ever I've wandered and lived since then, the story of my friend Fiona usually comes up.  She remains the friend I would I most like to be like when I grow up.

Later, after quite some moves around the country as my first husband climbed his career ladder, I arrived at Base Woodbourne, as an officer's wife.  Oh I was wide-eyed back then, in those days on the base, as I learned the etiquette of that military life there.

Again, I met an amazing woman who went on to become another one of the big loves in my life.

Christine had been an officer's wife for a while by then. and she contacted me, even before I arrived on base.  Her husband, the lovely Peter, had recruited my husband as an education officer.  He thought I might need some support as Chris went off to train for 6 months.

We had so much fun there on the base.  I remember a million cups of tea in her sun-filled kitchen, her fabulous baking, the treasures she sewed, and much laughter.  We soon had a gang of like-minded women who did things like taking me off to the secondhand shop in town, on a sherry glass hunting expedition. We never really took anything really seriously though.

Actually, we 4 almost drowned in the base swimming pool one day.  We got the giggles at the deep end.  It was worrisome ... trying to stop laughing long enough to reach one of the sides.  We made it.

I can't remember who moved first.  We only did 4 years on that base, surrounded by some of New Zealand's top wineries ... Cloudy Bay, Alan Scott and Montana, to name a few.  I didn't drink wine back then.  I was happy to be 'the driver'.  But Christine and I stayed in touch.

I spent some time with them on the base at Ohakea.   They spent  some time with us down in Fiordland.

I'm rarely on skype but today, while catching up with Christine and Peter, Fiona and Barry came online and I went from an hour with one much-loved friend, straight into an hour with another much-loved friend.

I'm exhausted.  It was amazing.  We all laughed often, caught up on news ... my cup runneth over. It's 10.42am and here I am, exhausted.

We have made plans for when Gert and I go home in December.  Small plans, to be enlarged upon when I have our dates.  But expect to laugh a lot, talk more and probably, when I see everyone again ... I think there will be tears. 

Forza 2012! 

My Friend, Judy

It has to be said, I have the loveliest friends ...

Today, Judy was coming to town.  We had plans, that changed, and were all the better for changing I’m thinking. 

We immediately wandered from the train station to Caffenation, for some really good coffee.  Much talking later, we left, heading for my most favourite bookshop in Belgium ... De Slegte, in Antwerpen.  We both love books.

Lunch, and Judy introduced me to a cafe she knew once.  It was lovely and I recommend it so highly ... Moments, on the Meir at number 47.  Second floor, for those like me who have never noticed it before.

We walked on, finding delicious boots at Torfs (that were not purchased), my new favourite shoe brand, also found on the Meir at number 14-16.  Then to the Grand Bazaar ... which is nothing like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul but still, place of some favourite stores of mine. 

There, she bought me a birthday gift that made me smile.  I have never known anyone quite so convincing in the ... ‘well-it’s-better-if-you-choose-what-you-would-like-rather-than-me-guessing’ line of gift giving.  I do adore her.  And so, after quite some sweating, I chose a favourite author’s latest book.  I have all of Joe Simpson’s non-fiction and I have to confess, his work of fiction had me totally in its grip by the time I reached the supermarket, via the tram home.

Then, I took her to Lojola.  This youtube takes you to the cafe ...  it’s the cutest little cupcake and coffee or tea place in the city.

From there, after much laughter, we wandered back to the train station where ... after running for the wrong train, she decided to walk me to my tram, as she had time to spare.  The most commonly used sentence during the long walk to my tram was variations on ‘Yes Di, I can find my way back to my train, as I did Cuba alone’.  But there was so much more humour that doesn’t quite come through in that sentence.  Both Judy and I are terribly amusing.  Modest though.

So yes ... it was a magical day.  Unexpected really but all the more lovely for it.  As I write this, I’m listening to the Chan Chan Compay Segundo cd that she slipped into that birthday package for me. 

Dank u wel, Judy.  Today was truly delicious.