Friday, August 29, 2003
I am in such a transition right now!!! oh my God. It is crazy. but so much fun. [God I talk, or at least type, like a fucking girl.] I really have no idea what I am doing here right now. I feel totally out of water. Its exhilarating. If not a bit stressful. But you know I just have this exhilarating feeling and this ability now to feel so confident and good about stuff. so I feel great about it even though I don't feel comfortable here anymore. But I am o.k. with feeling uncomfortable. You know?
[o.k. I've come from the future. This is where I would say Fishy has jumped completely off the deep end. He feels good. he feels bad. He feels good to feel bad. Just out of his fucking mind at this point.]
Noticing my Italian slowly getting sucked up by the Spanish you are forced to speak incessantly here in Miami. Even though I cannot remember any Spanish. Its crazy. I am speaking Spanish with tons of Italian thrown in and vice versa. Pretty soon no one will be able to understand a word I speak in any language. I will be this human monkey in a cage in a laboratory. Who is he? Any idea yet? no not yet. he is mumbling in what sounds like several languages all at once. Totally incoherent. We cannot make any sense of him. Right now it feels like a circus in my head.
It is impossible to watch the news or the TV here in America. It is just too much. What a different lifestyle. Watching the media of almost any kind makes me feel sick. I cannot articulate it well enough in words as to what exactly the problem is. I wish I could. It feels very uncomfortable doesn’t it? Like everyone is trying really hard but no one is really saying anything here. As if they are all just pretending. Pretending to know stuff, pretending to be reporting on something that is important. It really comes off very fake. There really is news happening in the world. I know because for the last two months I would hear about it. But here the first thing you see when you power up your PC is a picture of Madonna and Britney kissing. And this is America’s news now. It’s really amazing isn't it? [I'm not saying that two chicks kissing is a bad thing. In fact, it’s a pretty nice thing. But when its two heterosexual chicks doing it just to try to be controversial and hype themselves more and more like they are always doing in front of us—these are like the same kinds of antics we put up with from the same type of people in high school if you know what I mean—I mean its one thing if its two lesbians right? But when its just two greedy and desperate attention vampires trying to get more attention all the time by doing crazy stuff to try to freak people out, no matter what they exploit, then its just kind of nauseating. And I guess this is what it feels like a lot of the time now here in the states, at least as life is portrayed in the media. Like its just a free for all for people who are trying to attract attention to themselves no matter what they do or what they exploit and it is almost as if there is not much attention paid to the actual product anymore. (except of course that I am still a big fan of Madonna’s music—I still think she is making great albums—but why she still feels the need to pull these sophomoric stunts I don't know. its cheesy and it makes it hard to take her seriously.)
Thursday, August 28, 2003
the ambassador says:
he is waiting for you to send him the artwork for swy so he can post it. all of our other albums are already up on his site.
what about the merchandise?
the ambassador says:
right now the priority is to start selling swy. have you finished it? and just need to upload it? or is it not finished?
I need to link to the real audio snippets, ok I am emailing him the cover art right now.....done
did you see the vma?
the ambassador says:
I did not see much of it. I really am not ready yet to experience that stuff since coming back.
Britney Madonna and Christina made out
the ambassador says:
it is too much disgustingness
they tongue kissed on stage
the ambassador says:
after living in Europe for three months, it is very hard to be here. America is a cesspool, you are reaffirming what I have been feeling for four days
what's a cesspool?
the ambassador says:
dude they made out, I didn’t see it, but I saw the pix...I will watch it today on mtv, they always repeat it
the ambassador says:
it is too much, it is almost as if the soul has left this country, it is like Rome before it fell
it will fall, that’s for sure, you can feel it in the air
the ambassador says:
not that I mind intellectually but what happens is on a feel level it kind of makes me feel sick.
pack your bags, get out of there before the shit hits the fan
the ambassador says:
intellectually I think its fun, but inside I feel sick since I have been back, especially when I hear things like that. and if the only message is to just be a scum and make money. as if things like family or morality or just being a good person is not enough anymore. what next? live killings on the air because someone thinks that’s what the people want? I am going to look at office space for TMG -- I will return. please ask chica how she wants to get paid, and please post swy so we can start selling. I will log back on in an hour. I don’t even want to live here anymore. renting an office space feels like shit. I envy you. You made the move. You're out of here. I am envious and proud of you...
Huge conversation with Bas and Rosie at the house about God.
Current Spin: boys to men, Nathan, Michael, Shawn, Wayne. The boys are growing up.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Such bad jet lag. Due to the weather change and the time change and the food changes. I feel full all the time. I can’t remember names. I am still waking up at like 4 or 5 in the morning. And by nightfall I feel exhausted, like wiped out. Unable to stay awake. But on a mental or emotional level I just find it really hard to deal with the cultural change of being back in the US. I cannot believe how different it feels.
I am trying to find a barber so I can get a shave. I cannot find one here. I went to Arizona my brother educated me on the finer points of going to a barber now and then for a good shave. and I couldn’t believe how many barber shops they had there. I don’t even think I had seen a barber shop in years but boy did they have them there. here I haven’t seen one yet.
Current Spin: Robbie Williams, new one. escapology. Some of these songs are huge right now in Europe this summer and here everyone’s like Robbie who? Can anyone get through the stranglehold that urban music has on the American music scene right now? its fucking unbelievable. Talking one night at dinner a few nights ago a bunch of us. agreed: best decade for pop/rock music ever? 65 to 75. or better yet 67 to 77.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
So do you think that we were all created by the same God?
I mean the way that you are describing all in a very not very concrete way
Our earth I very concrete. So I don't think that when we die it is going to be very concrete as well and not all flowery the way you are describing it. like a dream as if you dream what you want to dream. Like you want to be reincarnated so you aren't reincarnated or if you don't believe in god so you won't ever find a God. If I decide I ant o I want be a mouse I'm not going to turn into one.
A few hours later, Bas comes in with two books under his arm. “should I give her the one-two punch?” he asks me. He whips out the two books under his arm and shows them to me. The Prophet by kahlil Gibran and Be Here Now by Ram Dass. “You think she’s ready?” he asks. “Excellent idea. Rosie, you need to read these books while you're here. Have fun. May you never be the same again”
Current Spin: Beyonce and jay z, crazy in love. I love this song.
In the airport yesterday was insane. Coming into Atlanta took forever. immigration no problem. Customs no problem. I declared two huge bottles of olive oil. But security on the other hand, holy shit. Thousands of us packed into this huge waiting room with miles and miles of winding lines WITH ALL OF OUR BAGGAGE. And so we’re all in this line, after twelve or more hour flights, just exhausted. Standing there blurry eyed and all scrapped out in this monstrous line so we can go through these four security lines.
I see her everywhere now. In the face of so many girls on the street. In a passing face of a woman driving by on the highway. I will see the back of a girl, her hair, and something will make me stop and stare. It is unconscious now. I am doing my best to stop this. it is a puzzling dichotomy inside of me. I long to meet her but I am desperately hoping to put it off for as long as I can. I know this sounds insane. After I haven't even met her yet, it could be years before we meet. So who cares? Why worry. But still I think about her all the time. i can feel her. It has been so hard to date other women. Other women, as if I have already met HER. I know again. insane. I am resistant to dating other women other that HER. But I have not met HER yet. so how do you know who she is, people ask me. You just know. You can feel it. You know how you feel that? you know how you hear that voice in your head? It may say NO very loudly. LOL. Well that's what I mean.
I think I am just trying to hang on to my youth as long as I can, and the whole rock and roll thing. you can’t really go backwards. Never thought I would ever be one of those kind of guys. Actually trying not to be settled down. But now it has become a kind of obsession. Trying to avoid it. and yet peering around every corner when you see long legs and a beautiful mane of hair walking by.
You know what it is? its that now, I know. before, perhaps I didn't know. when were young, were young. The reality isn't in there yet. when I proposed to Cleopatra we we’re young. Just kids. Looking back I don't think we agreed to get married as much as just agreed to run away together from all of our inner demons we were battling. I think we were just trying to escape together, escape poverty, escape traumatic childhoods.
But now, its different. I'm on top of the world. There's nothing to escape. And you start to realize that marriage is a forever type of a thing. crazy. forever. can you imagine? You mean forever in a metaphorical sort of storybook way? or do you mean forever like for the rest of my whole life? and granted I don't think most people mean forever these days going into it. I think they say forever at the altar, but of course what they mean is I really love you right now in this moment and lets see what happens. because now people are getting divorced so often and getting remarried like its no big deal. So maybe that's the way I should just look at it too. just open up and let it rip. But instead I'm like trying to avoid even going out with girls for fear I will meet some girl I will really like. I just started to realize this lately when I found myself unable to call girls back once I went out with for the first time.
But my other theory, I was thinking about this in the bathroom at the office, I was just standing there thinking, that maybe that its right there. I mean maybe she is right there---I'm talking about time here--- I mean maybe she is right there in front of me like anyday, any hour. that's what it feels like. And so when I feel this feeling like NOOOO about calling other girls, its in order to prevent getting involved with any other girls at this time. I used to not listen to that voice. Now I listen to it. I trust it.
Monday, August 25, 2003
To the beach all day in Ostia. About an hour outside of Rome. We took the metro first, then the train, and then the bus. Finally on the sand tired and hung over by 1pm. Went with the always bubbly and chatty Nicki from London and Montsie from Barcelona. I love going to these schools every year. You meet so many wonderful people who most of the time are always very smart and knowledgeable and nice. and you just immediately become friends because you are all attending the same school by choice so you know you have a lot in common. It is always so much fun and many of the friends I have made at language schools in foreign lands are still my friends to this day through emails and phone and seeing each other whenever we can.
Today I was talking to someone when the train stopped and the doors started to close and take me with it. Nicki reached in to grab me and the doors slammed on her arm and bruised it pretty bad. Despite our laughter, it seemed like a pretty serious situation as the train started rolling forward. But we managed to yank her arm out before it got too fast. We are all pretty wiped out from last night.
Sunday, August 24, 2003
I am in the Delta airlines lounge at the airport. James Carville is here with his wife and family. I told him to “keep kicking ass and that we need him now more than ever.” We shook hands and talked a bit. He told me “It will all be o.k. It’ll work out fine,” in that cool accent he has. Nice guy. Made me feel better about our current state of insanity in the states. As if maybe he knows something that the rest of us don't. I am exhausted. Stayed up all night again last night. I am filled with a deep sense of mourning right now which I will just ride out. I will miss cappuccino and stylish shoes and everyone looking so fashionable all the time, and beautiful Italian girls, and this easy life. I will miss all the friends I have made while I have been here. I will miss the beautiful and musical language of Italian. but one thing I will not miss is the smell of second hand smoke everywhere I go. This is one thing about Europe that is not so enjoyable. [When I used to smoke I never could understand the incessant pleas from those around me to not smoke around them. but now I understand. Perspective.] I will be happy to breathe in fresh clean air. Tomorrow is Monday. I am supposed to wake up and start working to market and promote the new cd. Its been a while. I have to build an entirely new empire starting tomorrow. Gotta start from scratch almost. Don't even want to think about it. For now I am going to sip this glass of Champaign and just chill and write.
I'm sitting with this middle aged business man and he makes some comment to me about James Carville after he sees me talking to him. At first I don't even acknowledge him or his comment. I just ignored him. He persists. I say ‘you must be one of those.’ “One of whats?” he asks. “One of the very few left on the other side,” I say and look back to my laptop screen. I didn't feel like hearing some crap from the right. Its too early in the morning. Finally we end up having a little debate about James. I say he's interesting and at least he’s saying something, unlike a lot of the no substance lip service we hear from the right these days. We have some fun. He's more interesting than I take him for at first. It turns out he used to own this huge two and half billion dollar company that included lens crafters, Jennifer convertibles, petit sophisticate, and a bunch of other companies. So the guy is just sickly wealthy. You just cannot beat the first class lounge for these kinds of experiences. You never know who you're talking to, so always be polite. Mom always says that. So we’re going back and forth. He tells me he’s 75 years old. He looks no more than fifty five. I ask him what the secret is. [Although being worth millions of dollars is obviously a good start] He holds up his bloody Mary and exclaims “alcohol!” I've been drinking it all my life. It preserves the organs in the body.” Mind you, its ten in the morning right now. This guy is funny. One of those ‘seen it all done it all super rich business man’ types. He asks me what the name of my group is. I tell him. he tells me he will force his kids and grandkids to buy our cds and not burn them or take the music from the Internet. He has been following the declining revenues in the music industry for the last few years in the wall street journal. Tells me all the companies are selling out as fast as they can. “No way to make money in a few years in your business they say.” He says he can only imagine if (one of the businesses he used to own) all of a sudden people could just go and steal a pair of shoes if they wanted to and no body could stop them. Tells me that frank Sinatra is the best artist in the world. All went downhill after him. He's been married for like forty five years. He recommends to me not to get married till I am in my mid fifties. Wait as long as you can,’ he says. I tell him after the experiences I had last night and on this trip I agreed with him for now, but I think about having a beautiful wife and kids all the time. I can’t stop it. He tells me “it can wait. Trust me. You're young. Enjoy it now while you can.”
Saturday, August 23, 2003
Reading history of Rome again. the franks, the Lombards, Byzantine, the guelfs, the giberdines, the Visigoths, the ortrogoths. Italy has been host to just about every other country in the world at some time or another. the southern part an Arab controlled state for over 200 years in the first millennium, which you can really see in the look of many of the Italians in the South still. Julius Cesar, Octavian, Tiberius, Caligula, Nero. I meet Giovanna after her work and we go to meet some friends from my school. We eat dinner in the piazza navona with a few thousand other people from all over the world. We drink three bottles of white wine. We are all buzzed. Beyond buzzed. Giovanna is the strange Italian in the group. The rest of us “stranieri” from other countries just visiting here from somewhere else to learn the language. You can perceive the differences in having her as part of the group. because she is Italian. She is much more bold and forward than everyone else. smokes twice as much. Speaks loudly and forcefully. Very social and outgoing. So very Italian. Drinks more. God she is sexy. Her belly showing. Low cut jeans. Amazing body. Dark dark features.
We go to another bar. Drink more. rambling through the plaza amongst hundreds maybe thousands of other people. me and tom, another student from New York talk about how much we will miss Italy. The food. Tonight I had a mixed meat and veggies grilled on skewers and spinach sautéed in olive oil. Last night I had beef tips smothered in gorgonzola and spinach and of course lots of tomatoes. Every day for lunch and dinner tomatoes. Why can’t we have this in America we mourn over our twentieth glass of wine. Ten dollar bottles of delicious wine and any kind of gourmet food we want for ten bucks a plate. Made with love and honor not just the quick buck mentality of the states. Tom from new York is much more cynical than I am about our food in the states. Telling the others that in the states the people don't care about good food. They just care about making money and survival so we can invade another fucking country like Iraq. Americans are down right now. especially the ones who have run away to places like Italy, or Spain, or Greece, etc. here you eat a plate of tomatoes drowned in olive oil and onions and basil and you feel this really groovy vibe of love and health coming from within. In the states if you can find something like this out on the street you just feel ripped off that you had to pay eight or nine dollars for it to pay for all the fancy fucking furniture they installed in the restaurant to try to make it look cooler than the restaurant next door. Its all bullshit in the states. Fancy this and that. maybe not in all the states but in the big cities now. everyone is always trying to out do each other and people have forgotten about the simple things like good food made with love and offered at an affordable price. God will I miss the food here.
The breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner.
I am supposed to come back to the states tomorrow or Sunday. I keep telling myself this. but Giovanna's body is so beautiful. and I have so many friends here from all over the world. So instead of thinking about it I just down another glass of wine. I want to pick her up and kiss her and make love to her all night.
Friday, August 22, 2003
Everyday in class or in the street you hear that Italy is still not unified. Still no sense of patriotism in the country. Today was no different. Our teacher Francesco was explaining the reasons to us. he being a northerner, a Florentine, had all the reasons memorized. The economic situation in the South is very poor so they depend on the people in the north for everything. and of course the northerners resent this fact a bit. In the South they lean a lot more towards socialism—they call the left. They are extreme leftists obviously since they have no money. And in the north they lean much more toward conservatism. In the South they are very traditional and religious and in the north they are much more modern etc. in the South their language is totally different, kind of a hybrid between Spanish, Arabic, and Greek. In the north more of a French and German thing happening. People from the deep South cannot understand people from the north when they speak etc. I guess its like what we have in America say if a person from Wisconsin was to go to Louisiana, but just a lot more pronounced.
I listened today like I have for the past two months to everyone talking about how Italy has only been a unified for a hundred years or so. And they are all very competitive against each other. Each region thinking that they are a separate state all on their own. no one wanting to be part of a country. Everyone very protective about their own region and their own dialect and their own customs. I cannot help but wonder why don't these people just come together. I mean rather than acknowledge the problems and the lack of unity and complain that oh we’ll never be unified, why not let all that go and just start taking action for some serious unification. I asked my teacher this question and he said it was impossible. O.k. well there's the answer. They just don't want to work together for some reason. In Brasil there is such a sense of patriotism for example. They just love their country. Its nice. like in America. It doesn’t matter where you live, you love your country. I pondered this question all day. what can they do about the South also? I mean, it’s a tough call. Its kind of a barren region. Not much going on. They have no money. No industry. Not much of value. So the people of the north definitely have a point. The South isn't bringing any money in. Why should the people of the north support them. hey that's the free enterprise system baby. If you cant make money in the South, get your ass to the north or starve. But regardless of the problem of the South at least the regions of the north should all get together and really do something to unify themselves. Like their glory days. But these are not a “unify” type of people in Italy right now. not even neighbors living in the same town. They are a very “cold shoulder” people right now in their evolution. Not like Americans at all. Francesco tells us that it is because of their long history. That they have gotten like this. not to trust. Not to look forward to things. not to be too friendly for fear of being taken advantage of.
In the new world of course we don't have this yet because we’re just too new of a people. last night me and Giovanna were sitting on these really ancient stairs while she rolled a joint and I'm starting to catch this buzz and I look up at this plaque that is on the wall of this mammoth building that is in front of us. and I'm like in slow motion reading it, “ Augustus Cesar ...” and I'm like “what is this place where we are right now?” and she drags from the joint and then says “it’s the tomb of our first emperor, Augustus.” And I'm like “holy shit. We’re sitting here on the tomb of Octavian? The nephew of Julius Cesar? Augustus? The first emperor of Rome?” and she's like “yeah. You know about him?” and I'm like “uh yeah, a fucking little!!! The whole fucking world knows about him. That's where we got a lot of our ideas for America. From the roman pseudo-republic of Augustus Cesar and the Greeks.”
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Tonight I have a date with an Italian girl. There are two girls now that I have been hanging out with. I am trying hard to change this shyness thing I have. So I have been trying to talk to girls a lot more. I just figured it won't kill me so I will try. And now look. Cool. But the problem is that when I do date a girl who I don't immediately think is “the one” I start to feel uncomfortable. I don't know why exactly. But maybe this is limiting me because I don't go out with that many girls because I figure why bother if she isn't the one. maybe its just that my desire for finding a wife and having a children is stronger than anything else, stronger for instance than my desire to hang out with someone just for fun. And the worst part is that lately I started thinking that I wanted to kind of save myself for the woman that I will totally love and worship. Again, this is crazy thinking. there are still a few things sexually that I want to do before I settle down. I want to do it with like two three four girls at the same time. and more than once. I want to be in a few massive orgies with tons of hot girls. And also with some fat girls too. that would be tons of fun. I've never done that. and I think I should probably do this stuff before I get married I would think. Yes definitely. Maybe I should head to Amsterdam from here and go off a bit. Get it out of my system.
I went out last night with these other two girls. Students from school. One is from England and one is from Ukraine. And it was so much fun. I really enjoy hanging with the Ukraine girl because we are just totally different. Different cultures. And I'm old enough to remember life during the cold war times so I feel so lucky that we can hang out now, whereas before we could not. She is very stylish. And she teaches me a lot about Russia and the Ukraine. She speaks no English. Our communication is in Italian. Things are not totally cool there yet. she cannot travel to America yet because she is young and she is a girl and they are very afraid to let people travel to America because they think they will stay there and never come back home. So they aren't as free as they want to be yet. But they are on their way. its really quite beautiful.
I love learning other languages. I feel like it really helps tear down the separation that exists between us all as humans. We are all so similar. I feel more and more connected the more languages I learn. And the more I learn about the different countries and cultures of the world. When I get back to the states I will re-enter life as a gringo in Miami [the word gringo actually means “foreigner” --- usually refers to the white man—the invading white people who conquered the America’s---so this is funny that in Miami we are referred to as “gringos.” But it is the just the nature of what the city has turned into now. and really that is kind of a beautiful thing. I mean, that's America—the penultimate melting pot.] I will take some more classes in Spanish at a local school to really nail it when I return. its not fair of me to live there and still speak Spanish so poorly. Some people complain about Miami and how everyone speaks Spanish there now. they think that English should be the official language of the United States. I think this is truly a hilarious concept. Imagine the ignorance of this. America was “discovered” (conquered really) by an Italian (who spoke Italian not English) who was sponsored by the Spanish (who spoke Spanish of course), not the English. And the country is made up of people from all over the world---think Little Haiti, China Town, Little Italy, Little Havana. I don't like this idea of America having an official language... if we’re really going to try to force an official language on America then let it be the official language that was already here for thousands of years before we conquered it---the various native American languages. I will learn French next. I Next summer I will do the whole live in France thing just like I did here. Although I have heard from everyone here that they aren't so nice over there. especially not to Americans. They don't care if we are trying to speak their language or not. But we shall see. I do pretty well. after that, i will have french down enough hopefully to be able to travel through northern Africa and be able to communicate with them and get by. This will enable me to be able to study the music and culture of the north western countries of Mali and Ghana. This is a music I am very passionate about. After that I will have the Latin languages studied and then I would like to move into an Asian one.... I think that would be really awesome. Their culture is so different. I think we have a lot to learn from them. china is the next big thing. in our lifetime we will see it I believe. So Chinese it will probably be.
[when I see old people all hunched over I wonder what the hell happened to them? did they see it coming? Did they notice it as it started? Could exercise have helped? Chiropractic? Massage? Martial arts? Stretching? How can we stop this? I don't want this to happen to me. I do not want to get old.]
O.k. so today in class the conversation for some reason led to talking about Bush and the Iraq thing and the power outages in America this weekend. I just listened. There are ten different countries represented in my class and they all had the same opinion. They were against the invasion of Iraq by America. They are against Bush, and they think we need to follow the UN like everyone else is supposed to. I listened and tried to understand as much as I could what everyone was saying. they all compared notes as to how many American military bases each of their countries had. Italy has the most. Which is funny because they are the most “America resistant” next to the French and then Germany. Here in Italy you see anti-America graffiti everywhere. In every city. things like “Bush is a pig” to “No more support the Americans” to “No war” etc.... this is really an amazing thing when you think about it. how quickly that technology has unified humanity all over the world.
The war is for oil
No more service or support of the Americans
Make love, don't make war, we want peace, for the whole world
I wondered as I rode through the streets if people back home had any idea how bad the world sentiment had become against us in America. you think we had it bad before, when the rest of the world was just jealous of us and everything that we have over there. now they actually have a reason for their hostility. We’re giving them ammunition....
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
I am done here. Cannot wait to go home. Or just get out of Rome. I really don't know where home is now. I've been done with Miami for a while now too. Home has been wherever Cleopatra is for so long. Now home needs to change. Maybe home is where ever I am? A few more days left of school. I haven't even been going to school on time. So my question to myself is ‘have I done it?’ have I found anything? Did I find what I was looking for? Have I found a bit more of myself? Do I feel more whole? Do I feel a bit more like me?
The new CD arrived today. I had them FedEx it to me here in Rome. Such an exciting feeling opening that baby up and listening to it for the first time. Wwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I was listening to the song keep moving on and thinking about when I wrote it. last year or the year before. Cleo and I had just broken up. I was single for the first time in my life really. Since high school had always had a grlfre. I was dating girls. I lived in this big house by myself. It was crazy. I felt great. But I also felt lonely and a little confused. I cried at night a lot because I missed Cleo so much. I wondered really how I would ever live without her. I still do sometimes. God who am I kidding. Most of the time. she was the only person who was ever able to take care of me. no not really. Maddie did too. but I'm great at taking care of other people. as long as someone else is taking care of me. man that's weird. ???
But I was listening to this song today and I felt so good about where I am now. I realize now that I can make it through anything. I can do anything. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am going through, I will make it. those were hard times. But they are over. I kept moving on. G2 told me that he cried when he heard the song for the first time. me too.
Monday, August 18, 2003
I have finally reached that next big step with the language. Last night. it is one of those milestones when you are learning a foreign language. I now understand most of what I hear, but cannot speak as well I would like to. Whereas up until this point I spoke much better than I could understand. For truly anyone can take a few weeks and learn to sound good speaking in a foreign tongue. Actors do it all the time for films. but this doesn’t mean that you can understand or really communicate in the language. So normally because I have such a good ear I can learn to speak in a few weeks and because I speak so well everyone thinks I understand what they are saying and really I don't understand a damn word they are saying. but now its switched and I understand what's going on but I just can’t communicate like I want to. I still form my sentences wrong almost every time. It is very frustrating. We have six verb tenses in English. There are fourteen to learn in Italian. And with each verb and each tense there are six different conjugations of that verb. So you want to learn how to say “learn” you have 84 different words for it depending on who is learning and when they are learning. Ridiculous. But true. you have to remember all of them. So yes I still sound like Tarzan. I told my teacher ‘wait till you learn English. The verbs are easy. In fact it can’t get easier. But wait till you try learning to read, spell, or pronounce. You’re fucked in English if you aren't raised speaking it. Take the word ‘foreign’ or ‘tongue’ or ‘garage’ off the top of my head for instance, and there are millions of them. Impossible to sound out phonetically. That's the hardest part to learning English. Luckily in the Latin languages we don't have that problem. You don't need flash cards or anything. You just say it like it looks.
Don't know why I am so shy still. I really fucking hate it. Especially when I am in a foreign country when I don't speak so well. I find it very hard to speak up and say hello to people. I really hate this and want to change it about myself. I have to start with baby steps and just start trying to start more conversations with people or at least say hello. I spend so much time alone because of this shyness. People think I am outgoing, which is funny. Because I am not. Too serious all the time. need to loosen up and lighten up and open up more.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
Train back to Rome.
We just passed the little town of chieti. Where they found evidence of the oldest civilization of Italy. From 13,000 years ago. talking about anthropology. One of my favorite subjects. Very passionate about it. we discussed how rewarding it is to discuss it, like eating an ice cream. know we just recently found a new sub-species a few weeks or months ago. they call it homo sapiens adoltus or something like this. larger skulls than us. longer faces. Still no link though. But we will get there. and what is next? I said teleportation. That is our next unchartered frontier. Just like the fax machine I say. Use the fax machine as our model. Just use our DNA and transpose it from genetic data into binary data. Teleport one’s image or personality anywhere you want to. like a holograph or something but more data. maybe not the actual person. “well then I could be in more than one place at the same time if I wanted to with that method. Kind of.” Steph says. “yes you could. And that's when the real fun begins.”
Is there anything better than a brother? Or a sister? (I don't actually have a sister, but I assume the pleasure is the same.) talking about our brothers. I don't think you get closer to anyone more than to your brother or your sister. To your spouse of course but in a different way. I don't even need to speak with my brother. Because we are so close. It is like they are a part of you in some weird way. you feel so at home with them. talking about Beav and how different we are. “is your brother interested in tracing your family like you are? Will he come here?” “No. he’s not like this. He will pat his wife on the back and point to his little babies and say “This is my family right here man. I don't need to look for our family. My family is right here in my house.” That's Beav. We are completely different. Living vicariously through each other’s very different lives.
Saturday, August 16, 2003
Riding scooters through The countryside on our way to the tiny town of Penne. Hours and hours in the hot baking sun.
This is it. The entrance to the great city of Penne. Hometown to my great-grandfather’s family. The morelli family. Town of 13,000 people. an ancient town dating from 213 AD. The whole town made of brick. All the roads are paved in brick. Everything is built on these hills. And everything is connected. All just one gigantic building housing thousands of people and churches and businesses. All made of this old brick. Climbing up the hills on our scooter, climbing up and up The cold ride back. looking for Carla. The beautiful people. what a feeling it was to sit in a 1500 year old café in the hometown of my great grandfather.... long before I was ever even conceived of or imagined...
Stopped at these family’s home because they make olive oil right there in their house. Sat down and got to know them a little. Eating bread and cheese and oil. I bought jugs and jugs of this olive oil to bring back with me.
Such a contrast to the big city of Pescara. Pescara is like Detroit or something. It is just a sprawling city. highways everywhere. a lot of industry. The ugliest place I have seen in Italy so far. it is actually hard for me to drive through due to the overwhelming lack of real beauty anywhere in the town. Which is funny because so far it is the nicest collection of beautiful girls I have seen in the country. We are truly in awe of what we have seen the last two days. So many beautiful girls and boys it is hard to fathom at first. The Italian girls try to talk with us but we do not speak well enough. And they speak no English except, ‘what is your name. my name is ...’
Friday, August 15, 2003
Eating this amazing breakfast with a view of the ocean. Hey its not Miami, but its pretty nice. seeing that the “lindenberger” cheese that is supposedly German we are eating has a little Kraft label on it makes me feel very good. everytime I see an Italian smoking Marlboros or some other American brand it makes me feel good. you don't think about that until you leave America and head abroad and then all you think about is how many of our products are other countries purchasing, how we can increase this, and how we can develop more products in our own country for our own country to purchase. It becomes a little obsession. Thinking about our economy in comparison to other countries. Seeing on TV how Libya now is trying to kiss our ass and finally stand up of that bombing they did. and now we are supposed to authorize the lifting of the sanctions. You don't realize what power it is to be an American till you start traveling. Then you know. we are immune to it back home. Take it for granted. Libya can fuck off. They killed over two hundred of our people for what? Sorry. Yes we will take your 217 million dollars and no we will not lift the sanctions.
The longer I stay away the more proud I am to be an American. the more I talk to people here and hear what they go through. The red tape and the beaurocracy. Lack of this or that. “how do so many of you have your own companies over there” Stephano from Germany asks me. “shit dude. At one time I had five going. now I only have three.” “This is amazing,” he says. “is it true that anyone can just start a business of their own?” “yes. We can get the idea today and start it tomorrow if we want to. we’re used to this.” “this is why America has such a great economy. You are all so free. Everyone wants money. Everyone wants to consume. So you all work hard to consume more and this keeps your economy growing. In Germany it is not this way. people want security first. They don't think about consuming like you do. if you make a certain amount of money you find a way to live according to that. in America you just look for another job or work two jobs or start your own company. This is amazing.” I looked at him talking about this so passionately while I ate my breakfast. I explained to him how I had been in business since I was nine years old, on and off of course. Starting with my shoe shine business, then my own car wash business, then my own lawn mowing business. then my own term paper writing business in college. Then I started taking the SATs and other tests for people at 2 to 3 hundred dollars a pop. (I know I shouldn’t admit to this) and then my own recording studio, then of course my band was a business, record label, health food store, juice bars, vitamin companies, real estate investment company, on and on. He couldn’t believe it. he has always studied about American entrepreneurs and the free enterprise system in university but now he was sharing a weekend with a very typically passionate American entrepreneur. And I was as much surprised and inspired by his awe and enthusiasm. And I'm not even a very successful entrepreneur at that. I go in and out of being rich. I've made millions and still don't have millions. The good ones, they get rich and they stay rich. That's my goal I tell him. I recount to him how Tony Robbins went from one hundred thousand a year to one million a year in a few years and then from one to six million a year a year or two later. This is what I'm working at. He looks at me with wide eyes. “six million dollars a year?” he exclaims. “sure, that's nothing. A lot of CEOs make forty million a year, easy.” It is very easy to do this in America. It is inbred in us. we grow up seeing and hearing about it everyday.”
We are on the train bound for Pescara on the coast of the Adriatic sea in the region of Abruzzo. We are crossing by train from one coast to the other, all the way across the country. Beautiful scenery. My great grandfather’s family is from here—a little town called Penne. I brought Stephano from Germany with me. I have gotten used to this now. packing a little bag and just running to the station and going somewhere far away for the weekend. This time we didn't even buy a ticket. We just looked at the train schedule, found a town close to Penne which doesn’t have station it is so small and just jumped on the train. How much fun. Eventually some guy comes on and asks you for your ticket and you give him some money and all is well. We’ll get to the town and find a hotel and rent some scooters and just explore the whole region for a few days and be back for school by Monday morning in Rome.
Abruzzo is the country. This is deep country of Italy in the Apennine mountains we are up over 9000 feet above sea level on this rickety train. Beautiful green rolling hills contrasting with rough rocky terrain here and there. this is old country. Farmland.
Me and stephano discussing the difference between Europe and America and the opportunity you are afforded. The difference between the beaurocratic systems and how in Europe the beaurocracy really impedes your ability to achieve the “American dream.” How envious and how much they admire the united states in Germany he tells me because of our opportunity for anyone to be successful regardless of their upbringing.
There is a couple on the train just behind me from Marco Island, close to where I grew up. we are reminded of what a small world it is once again.
We are in the middle of nowhere it looks like here. The town we are going to Pescara and none of the other ones in the vicinity
I am doing all the talking for us here. stephano does not communicate as well in Italian as I do. which is funny.
O.k. we are here now. the end of the earth. Pescara actually appears to be a very large industrial city. we are staying right on the beach at this very nice hotel. Checking into the hotel we had a big problem. They refused to let stephano stay here because he didn't have a passport. They were adamant about it. of course as an American I just ignored the managers and demanded to get what I want. And as an American you can do that. but if you from some other country it is a different story.
We just saw the blackouts in north America on television here. I haven't watched television in about 8 weeks. Wow. Is it terrorism? We are watching the crowds of people walk the streets and the people playing in the fire hydrants and we are laughing at the spirit and resilience of the Americans. God I love us so much. We are wonderful people. stephano agrees. But he says Germany thinks we are fools in some ways because we have the greatest country in the world but we let our presidents and politicians do things that cause great damage to us in the long term. he uses the blackouts as a perfect example of how we spend billions of dollars for weapons to pay back the companies that subsidize the political campaigns of the men who become president and congressmen instead of spending our hard earned money on things that could have prevented the blackouts. He says that the whole world is talking about what a ticking time bomb America is because our leaders have misappropriated hundreds of trillions of our money.
We were watching MTV and stephano says, I think it’s a good thing that we don't understand your lyrics too much. One time we translated some songs that were very popular from Britney spears in your country and it was such shit. We thought this would never be popular in Germany. The people would never listen to such shitty lyrics. We wonder how you can listen to tings like this. i explained to him that not all of our music is that bad. But it does make you wonder. What strikes me the most from hanging out with Europeans the last two months and hearing all their ideas and opinions and stories about America is that they think we are such idiots and yet they think we are so smart and wonderful at the same time. its this amazing dichotomy they say in our country because it so large and has so many people. I think this is very enlightened of them to realize that.
Watching TV here is really funny. We are going back and forth between the Italian, German, and American channels and noticing the differences. Wow. What a handful TV is huh? After not having watched for so long. People freaking out over the openly gay bishop that was elected in Belgium. We have decided that these are people who are not happy in their lives and so they look to other people—kind of get in their business—and look for faults in others. Someone called in CNN really and said that everyone who voted for this bishop is demonically possessed. And she was completely serious. Can you imagine? “demonically possessed.” What is this the fucking dark ages?
Thursday, August 14, 2003
The heat wave in Europe is like something they have never seen. Over a hundred people have died in Paris so far. I don't know if people have died in Italy. But in Germany as well. Now I will take extra precaution. For the other day I felt so sick from the heat that I thought as though I was going to pass out. I didn't realize you could die from it. you do not want to eat here. it is too hot for food. Only drink. In less than five minutes you can guzzle down two or three cans of soda or Gatorade and not even blink. Your body craves liquids. And you do spend a considerable amount of time feeling sick or just tired from the heat.
I will miss the street cafes very much here in Italy. They are everywhere. there is a café or a bar every few yards. In the states we do not have this, because we do not have a lot of public places as they do here. we need more of that in America.
Today at lunch speaking of the difference between languages. High context languages—where the meaning is slightly hidden versus low context where what is meant is what is spoken. Very interesting. German or Dutch being low context. The people very direct. Say what they mean. French or English from England being very high context, where if you aren't from a certain region or town you may not even know what someone meant by what they said, meanings are more hidden within riddles and ideas. The French are good at it. the English perhaps even better. Of course the Asians are the best at this.
O.k. what an adventure. I had to call a cab from the apartment and have him take all my luggage to the new hotel. And then I had to follow him. We’re talking like ten or more miles, maybe more. about a half hour drive right through the center of Rome from the bottom all the way to the top of it. I was following him on my scooter. He was driving very fast. through all these little streets, huge squares, and mammoth highways. Traffic everywhere. it was right out of a movie. Me following as close behind him as possible, sometimes driving up to 80 kms. If all that wasn't enough he takes me right into piazza di spagna (what we call the very famous “Spanish Steps”) which is where my new abode is, and this is a pedestrian only area and I'm whizzing through it on their motorcycle trying to follow him and these cops are chasing me. but I'm thinking ‘I'll just keep going and act like I don't see them, how much farther can this hotel be?’ they finally catch up to me blowing their whistles and everything and by now all the tourists are watching this. because of all the ruckus in this huge square. This lady cop starts shouting at me and pointing for me to pull over, thinking I'm Italian. and I'm like, (in Italian of course) I'm sorry I don't speak Italian. What are you saying?” and she's screaming back, “you don't speak Italian?! you speak Italian just fine! What the hell is wrong with you?! why didn't you stop?! Blah blah blah.” Finally the taxi cab driver comes running back to us shouting “he's an American. he's trying to follow me. i have all his luggage in my cab.” And she's like, “I don't give a shit. He's in a pedestrian only area and you know it. why did you let him come whizzing through here on that scooter like that?! you know better.” It went on and on. I continued to plead that I knew nothing about this and was simply following a cab. She was getting very angry at me and told me I had to walk this scooter like a mile in the opposite direction. At which I said very politely, ‘no way. I'm too tired. My hotel is that way. please let me walk it to my hotel.’ and miraculously she said yes. What a mess. It was one of those comedies from the seventies. Me and the lady cop, who was very hot and sexy by the way, and the cabby all arguing in front of thousands of tourists. And her waving this ticket book like it was life or death if she gave us a ticket. And I'm thinking I hope she does give me a ticket. I will fucking rip it up right in her face, hop on my scooter and take off down some alley. Then it will turn into a woody Allen movie. Classic.
So. I woke up this morning and I just knew I needed to move. You live in one of these tenement buildings like this old one and you share a common courtyard with maybe fifty other apartments. Which is fin except in Italy where there is no AC. So everyone leaves all their windows open. All day and all night. so by 6 am you are wide awake to every conceivable sound from everyone else who is waking up. its really gross but you hear every person burp, use the bathroom, cough sneeze, talk to their spouses or kids, walking their dogs, making their breakfast, etc, etc. so by 6 am I was laying awake in their sweaty old disgusting bed listening to all these strange people do their thing. And I didn't get to sleep until maybe 2 or 3 because I was so hot. And I was just like o.k. now I know what the lesson is. get the fuck out of situations that don't serve you. and next time don't take so long. I made it school. Groggy as hell and late as always because I got way lost and drove miles out of the city of Rome cause I got caught on some stupid expressway driving way faster than I had any right to be, but just to keep up with traffic so I didn’t get run over. By the time I got to class I was angry and grumpy and stressed.
After a while I cooled into what is turning into a very good class. Better than the one in Florence. This class is all adults rather than teenagers. We have a Ukrainian, two Slovakians, two Germans, a French man, me from the States, a Brasilian, a lady from Congo in Africa, a lady from Chile, and an Argentina. So lots of different languages floating around the room. Very little English, which sucks for me. But maybe that is a good thing in the long run. I am forced to speak italian or Spanish or Portuguese. or mumble in English while everyone laughs at me for trying to speak English to a teacher who doesn’t speak it.
Rome. What is it like? Not as a tourist. If you’ve been here or you do come here someday as a tourist, stay three or four days to see the sites, casually walking the streets while you eat your gelato, shut up because you have no idea what its like. I'm talking what is it like if you are living here and driving around all over the place on a scooter or in a car, trying to find your way around and find a grocery store and drycleaners etc. totally different thing. For one thing, yes it is very hot, as one recent Navy guy from the states I met said, ‘you spend a lot of the day just thinking about how hot you are and trying to find places with ac.’ For another thing. The city is every bit as big as New York. Rome is huge. Its like Sao Paulo or Tokyo. But there is no grid system here like in New York. After all the city is twenty-five hundred years old. So its just a big jumble of streets and highways and plazas and squares and alleys and whatever else you can imagine. They go straight, crooked, diagonal. They cut off after only a block sometimes. And of course they are all one way. so you may be driving one way and then the street just cuts off and you can’t go anymore. You have to turn or turn around. Its just crazy. And there a very few traffic lights. So everyone just drives however they want to. the fastest and the bravest one wins. This is the only rule of the roads here from what I can tell. There are even fewer street signs. A lot of times you have to drive really far looking everywhere just to see what street you are driving on. This is all stuff that is hard to get used to if you live in the United States of perfection. Where everything is in its right place.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Today I went to lunch with the French guy and the two German guys from class. Good times. Three of us are in the same age group. They are all very surprised by my being here etc. as if Americans don't come to other countries etc. They are all here for their jobs. When I explained to them that I had a little Italian in my blood, it made more sense. But there was this feeling in the air about us. they told me that I was not like an American. That America is all puppets and circuses with nothing of substance. That Americans don't speak other languages, either English or Spanish if they are from South America. That most of them don't even know that other countries exist. Etc, etc. I told them they were stereotyping. Walking home one of the Germans Stephano asked me if it is hard for me in the states being an intellectual and being surrounded by dumb people. and If I planned on moving here to Europe so I could be around smarter people. I'm serious. He just came out and asked me this. My first reaction was how does he know if I am intellectual or not. Cause I don't think I am. I think there are plenty of intellectuals in the states and I'm not one of them. I explained to them that I'm a creator. We know a little bit about a lot of things, just enough to keep us constantly stimulated and inspired, but we certainly aren't intellectuals. I have some friends who are intellectuals and they bore the hell out of me. Give me the big picture baby! But I did know what he meant. I told them that in fact yes by the time I had left America I was so bored with the lack of intellectual stimulation I was getting and so disgusted by the constant barrage of crass commercialism in our arts and entertainment—its as if it is a sin to have a brain now in America, one gets the impression that you are better off if you hide the fact that you are smart. Just try to act cool instead.
Yes I knew what he meant. But I explained to them that I didn't necessarily find it anymore intellectual or intelligent here and I had been to the four largest cities in the country. It is true that most Europeans do speak 2 or 3 foreign languages. And this is impressive. And most Americans only speak English. This is a fact. And it is also a fact that most Americans don't know where or even what Belgium is for example. They kept explaining to me how dumb we were because people like eminem and Britney spears and J lo are like cultural heroes in America, and everything is about being cool and sexy, but that we offer the world nothing of substance. And in America no one cares about being smart. They were really nailing into me with some serious prejudice against Americans. They resent the fact that now their countries are being polluted with crappy American R&B music about sex all the time, and cheesy American movies about sex all the time. they said they are afraid it is going to bring their countries down. I'm not kidding. They nailed into about this for hours. I felt totally discriminated against by these other three guys...
Of course they mentioned GW Bush, and asked me what I thought about him etc, which I get asked by everyone. I told them that on behalf of most Americans we are really sorry for Bush and that although he is a typical American, his administration and his questionable policies are not necessarily representative of most American people. I told them that all of this may be true about a lot of the stupid stuff that is in the mainstream in America. But there is something about the new world that is very special, very stimulating in a different way. it is as if in Europe there is this “we can’t” or “lets wait” mentality. And in the states we have this “we can” or “lets do it” attitude. So yea we’re pretty dumb sometimes, but if I were sick I wouldn’t want to go to a hospital anywhere other than in America. In fact I told them I think really we are the best at everything. I was as shocked to hear this come out of my mouth as they were, but I told them that yes I drive a German car, but that's America, were smart enough to know to drive a German car if we want performance or an Italian or English car if we want luxury and style, or a Japanese car if we want a good deal and a reliable car that will last forever. that's us. maybe we aren't so intellectual, but I just think we are the smartest people. maybe as a whole we aren't, I mean our lowest common denominator is lower than most of the rest of civilization, as evidenced by the inane music in our top forty (for example in America we get our Sting and our Peter Gabriel from the UK (we just think they’re ours)) and of course our very low test scores show the same thing.
But still I think that the best of us are the best anywhere. And I think our achievements over the last 200 years have shown this. cars, flight, electricity, space program, medicine, government, the list goes on and on, and of course what is an American but someone who came from somewhere else. why are we the best at everything? (I laughed at myself here). it is the fact that all of us came from somewhere else so there is this wide variety of minds and spirits in the states. We have the best of the entire world in our country. Also the innovative spirit that dominates our thinking. Innovation and entrepreneurism are our most prized possessions in our free enterprise system. And the spirit of freedom and liberty that we enjoy is like no where else. I also think that there is a sense of safety in America that other countries don't experience as much. All of these things have lead to and continue to lead to America being a world leader in innovation and achievement in any field we want to undertake. Lets hope we keep it that way. I think by the time we all separated after lunch they were convinced that I was just another egotistical flag waving American like anyone else over there. but I don't care. I have been away long enough now to appreciate more than I ever could before how wonderful America is. and wonderful the American people are. I think we are the smartest coolest most friendly open-minded and spirited polite helpful innovative and motivated people in the world. Every time I meet another American on the street here I am amazed at how sweet and nice AND how knowledgeable they are in this funny kind of American way. like they may not know anything about Rome, but they are pulling in 75 thou a year at home at their job and they are the top at whatever they do. so there is something to be said about that.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Tonight I left the Internet café at 10:45 for my hotel which is about a five minute drive away. I got to my hotel at 1:00 AM. Two hours of just driving around totally lost in this God forsaken crazy fucking city.
Mom called tonight while I was lost. About midnight. On my cell phone. Seriously. I'm on a motorcycle miles and miles from my hotel, totally lost at one o'clock in the morning on some desolate street in Rome. And I'm having a fucking nervous breakdown. And my cell phone rings and its my mom calling from America. Thank God for this miracle. This is what I mean by angels or spirits that help us out. “Honey are you sleeping? I just had a feeling I should call you...” “No I'm not sleeping mom.” “wahts wrong with you? You sound upset honey.” “I'm fucking lost. I have no idea where I am and I've been driving for two hours.” “Honey why are you always lost? Everytime I talk to you, you are lost. Even in Miami...” “I don't know. I just don't like driving. I hate driving. Its so boring. I can’t believe I don't have someone to drive me around everywhere all the time....” “Well you don't right now. so you are going to have to discreate this belief of yours that you can’t drive and that you get lost all the time. you can’t go around your whole life getting lost.” “Mom. I know that. fuck. God. I am just so fucking lost. I hate this.” “Well don't you see any police men you can ask for directions?” “mom this is Rome. Its one o'clock in the morning. There are no police officers. The streets are empty. I'm going to have to sleep in the street here. I'm just going to lie and down and sleep. And get run over in the morning.” “Fishy you’re so dramatic. Now c'mon pick yourself up and go find someone to ask for directions.” “I hate asking people for directions.” “Well you may want to discreate that too. then maybe you wouldn’t be getting lsot so much. Now c'mon, don't make me worry like this. go find someone to help you and I will stay on the phone...” I was literally on the verge of total panic being lost for almost two hours at that point. When she called I was just sitting on my bike on a corner pissed off, not knowing where I was. I could not find my way home. I was miles and miles from my hotel, even though where I started from was only a few blocks away. and here my mom calls... things like this.... just make you believe....
Rome sucks in this respect. Their streets aren't marked. Their highways aren't marked. They seriously don't have highway or street signs like we do in the states. Every now and then you will see a tiny sign on a the side of a building to tell you what street you are on but not often. You can get to an intersection in this town and look at all four corners and not see one sign to indicate where you are. Half the time I throw my hands up in the air and scream. Can you just give me one fucking sign per intersection?! That would be a good start to join the rest of civilization people. the other thing is the way they have it mapped out here where every street is a one way. so you may want to go five yards ahead of you but you cannot because the street won't let you. so you have to go around. And then around and then around and on and on. One minute you are driving one direction on a street and the next minute the street has big do not enter signs on it even though you are driving that direction. The street just literally dead ends into another street that is headed in the opposite direction. All of this with almost no stop lights. So you have to turn off the street you are on and turn onto some other street. But of course they don't have any signs on that street so you don't know where you just turned onto and then all the streets might be one way for two or three streets in a row so by the time you make the turn you think you need to you could be in an entirely different neighborhood and of course you are totally lost. They have highways that come out of nowhere with no exits for miles. So you get stuck on these highways and you end up all the way across town. Two hours of this. maddening. I felt as though I was going crazy. I have never seen city streets so completely without order or sense or logic. And I'm comparing this city to Sao Paulo or Rio or New York. Much bigger cities. But at least in Sao Paulo the streets make sense. (of course the people there drive worse than any city in the world—so at least give Rome this much—they drive better here) Here it is just tons of curves and twists and turns everywhere. Next time I am just going to drive the wrong way down the one way if I have to. Again, if you are here to be a tourist and walk around just in the historic center and see the sites, it is very romantic and beautiful, and more than that, it is very interesting. After all it is Rome. But if you are here to live and work and drive around like in any other city it is a little confusing at first. I have been assured that I will get used to it. and also advised that most newcomers don't start out by renting a motorbike their first week. they usually learn the city first. So I know that this is some of my own doing.
All of this could be due to the general stress I am experiencing now. Sometimes I think I am becoming malnourished from living here. I don't get enough vegetables, that's for sure. All I eat is pizza and pasta and cheese and tomatoes. I think that's all they have. A major transition obviously, and often times they are difficult for us—these ‘what now?’ moments. I miss Cleo very much. I have never been on my own before. I have always had girlfriends. I have always had a staff to do everything, at least since my adult years. I am learning so much from being on my own and not being around her or having her call me ten times a day. I hate this actually. I find it very difficult to be without her to advise me what to do about things. I hate being away from her and I hate not having her to ask for advice. Having no girlfriend. No job. Not enough money from my music. When will we ever stop being a local band. If I fucking hear that again I'm going to punch the person in the face and break their nose. We've been working so hard for so long. No major record label. No big deal. I figure if you can’t make it on your own you have no business making it anyway. But it’s the no assistant right now that makes me feel totally lost—I just can’t handle it. and no income, barely a band because they are all so busy with a hundred other projects. It is just a complete start over for me. What am I doing riding around Europe on a motorbike attending a school every day to learn Italian? seriously what the fuck am I doing? Who the hell knows. Welcome to my world. Actually I think it is good. I think it helps me get much needed separation from Cleo and my house and the business and the staff and everything I had going there. I was floundering.
Monday, August 11, 2003
Lunch with one of the Germans. He is about 60 or so. A wealthy retired attorney for some large company there. he knows all these senators in the states. Speaks a few languages. Well spoken man. Interesting. He shared much with me. told me not to wait too long to get married, that the longer you wait, the more faults you find in the person, and the pickier you are, and the less you are willing or able to change of yourself. I thought this was interesting. He thinks it is really awesome what I am doing all on my own going to all these different towns where my family is from and hanging out there. I told him I could feel the places, as if I had a memory in my body of being there before. He said he agreed. It is possible. Probably DNA in our bodies that we share with our grandparents etc. Told me not to forget to go their graves to see them. A good idea. I really like the German people. They are always very nice and intelligent.
In our afternoon conversation class we have five students. A Korean nun, a Brasilian nun, the retired German lawyer, a Ukrainian college student, a French student, and of course me, an American dilitant. It is so amazing to sit in this class and watch and listen to all of us from such different countries and backgrounds speak a new language. It is frustrating because no one can speak the other person’s native language, so this is rather difficult. We can only speak the Italian. but we find other creative ways of communicating. For example I may know some of the words in Portuguese that I can then tell the teacher what the Brasilian nun is talking about, because she uses like half Italian and half Portuguese when she speaks because they are so similar and it sounds very confusing. Or I can tell the German guy something in English and he can tell the teacher what I am trying to say because he speaks a little English etc. although we are all so different, we are all the same when we are in this class speaking Italian. it is a truly amazing experience to realize. How similar we are. Tomorrow I will talk to the Korean nun about eating cats. I would like to try cat one day.
Difficult day today. total funk kind of after speaking with Cleopatra last night and just realizing how much I am still dependent on her for things. Sometimes I sit in the shower and let the water run on me and pretend I'm dead. Then I snap out of it and pump myself back up. but it is interesting to see how sad or immobile one can get just from not hanging out with another person. But I must find ME. who am I? Without anyone else. who am I? I feel like I have spent so much of my life pretending to be something I am not. I just want to find ME. and depend on ME. and be in love with ME.
On the screen: my big fat Greek wedding. But it was in Italian. so maybe I got about a third of it. cute movie.
Sunday, August 10, 2003
Woke up this morning at 8:03 what a glorious morning. Stayed in bed the sun pouring in slowly in this meditation. Recanting over and over again in and out of a soft sleep, “I am at one with God. I am at one with myself.” This is how I felt this morning upon awakening. The sun shining through the window and the smell of fresh sea air.
This is nicest hotel I have stayed at yet. Not the fanciest for surely the one in Venice was that. all marble and ... but the nicest, the coziest the warmest. I just feel so at home.
One thing I will miss very much is that there is a bar in every corner and in every business etc.
But one thing I will not miss is the complete lack of bathtubs. I have not seen one bath tub in the country yet. I still sit down every morning as if I were taking a bath and just let the shower fall one me. for some reason this is an important ritual I have been doing since I was born I think. it is a meditative time for me first thing in the morning to just sit with the water running on my head and think and plan and sort of just be me. I wish I could find a bath tub. In the strange ladies house in Rome I cannot sit down because the shower is so dirty so I think that is part of what is throwing me off in Rome too. it is just so gross.
It is 10 o'clock at night. I am so stressed. What a day. traveling all day by scooter. Then the bus and then the train to back Rome and then a long hike through the streets with my luggage trying to find the scooter place again. crazy. five hours of just traveling from one city to another which is only an hour away. would have been better if I would have rented a car. Now I am back in Rome at the strange lady’s house. Why the fuck I am here I do not know. driving here is treacherous. I have to drive up and down all these super busy highways on this little scooter. I had two big bags with me from my trip to the sea. And trying to drive with them on a scooter is stupid but I did it anyway. and this place is so far away from fucking Rome. I don't care what they say. If its off the map, which it is—I need two maps to get here every day, then its not in Rome. So that sucks that I don't get the Rome experience from driving to and from school every day and the worst part is that it is just so dirty and three there is all this stuff every where of this whole family that I don't even know. their toys and their pictures and their vhs tapes etc. its really weird.