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I knew it was going to be an interesting weekend when I woke up to an earthquake on Saturday morning. It has a rather biblical sounding quality doesn’t it? Waking up to an earthquake. Well, its not as biblical as it sounds. If anything its a little confusing because you lay there in bed trying to figure out why on earth your bed is shaking at such and ungodly hour, and who has the nerve to be shaking it. Then within fractions of a second your tried and true public school training kicks in and you run to the door jam for your sleepy brain has just put together the equation: shaking = earthquake.
So what else happened that day? Well, everything I touched turned to dust (metaphorically speaking of course). I wanted to visit this beautiful castle out in a town near Rome, Bracciano to be exact. Of course of all days that it had to close early, Saturday was the day. But no worries, I told myself, there is still an amazing restaurant here, I’ll drown my woes and those of my friends (they were troopers too) in a home-cooked Italian meal of huge proportions. But it was not to be, the restaurant had decided to close that day. And I messed up the times for the train back, so we had to wait an hour.
But despite all this gloom and doom, it was a great day! It was beautiful, I got to leave Rome and enjoy the countryside. I was able to see a real live castle, something lots of people will never, ever do. And I was able to spend a lot of quality time with my friends. What more could I want?
Which makes me think, isn’t that what it all comes down to in the end? Its not the things we see or the number of countries we visit. It is the friends we make and the conversations we have that will make a memory. We cannot even enjoy our own memories until we can share them with someone else. And how much better are those memories when we are able to create them with other people! Granted I still wish that the castle had been open, but I will treasure those conversations I had that afternoon more than seeing the inside of any castle!
The other day I found a bum doing an incredibly odd thing. He was reading. That’s right, he was sitting at a fountain in Trastevere reading a newspaper. His white hair looked like a mess of cotton batting tied down with a band of ribbon. His clothes were worn beyond repair. And despite the whiteness of his hair, he was definitely far from clean; the half-moons of his fingernails were blackened with dirt and his skin was almost grey with grim. But in his hands he held the morning’s news and on his nose were a pair of elegant glasses. His action of reading seemed entirely contrary to his appearance.
Yet, I guess that just goes to show again that you cannot judge a book by its cover. We don’t tend to think of homeless people as educated Perhpas we hope to supress our own guilty feelings by hoping that an education has not made them aware to what lengths they have fallen in society.