Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tears for Africa

Goodness gracious* I was so homesick the last couple of days that almost any situation could push the tears to burst out in a frenzy. The thing that I’ve now discovered is when one experiences these emotions it is best if not entertained too much. In fact it is probably better to just adopt a zero tolerance policy too such feelings.  Because once you start it can completely get out of hand, you end up doubting your decision of coming to this place, and feel guilty all at the same time for being so ungrateful for such a great opportunity. The next thing you know is that you are walking in the street crying shamelessly. These tears seems to come in great big drops which could fill up the Naviglio **, and its random break out can be triggered by almost anything.

Yesterday was just such a day and I’ve been trying my best to just hold it all together. The fact that my internet has not been functioning properly -  thus leaving  me without skype and my weekly dossage of Big Bang Theory and  Gossip Girl***-  contributed greatly to my disposition.  To top of all of it, yesterday we had once again the intense lecture of a certain professor who is originally from Naples****.   His lectures always have a strong political undertone and he gets terribly passionate about what he is saying so that he starts speaking faster and faster.  This of course ends up that apart from it requiring the most intense concentration to understand him, it requires an even deeper level of energy to digest some of the heavy stuff he is uttering and of course ignoring the completely insulting things he sometimes say about religous people (albeit more directed to the Cathololic christians of Italy, I still am a christian and feel it quite a rude way stereotyping).  At some points I don’t understand a thing.  His voice raises an octave higher and the words role out fast sounding more like the coins falling from one those gambling machines then words. This professor has very strong ideas about the importance of democracy and seems to completely glorify these revolutions. He also has strong tendency to seem lean towards the ideas of conspiracies of power, and shows great interest in ideas such as surveilance etc. 

 It was intense and I was already pretty out of it, but I needed to speak to him about our project we need to do. Our project has the theme “La fine del mondo (the end of the world)” which on itself is pretty heavy, but with what I have gathered leans more towards a political inclination of representing the end of control systems such as the revolutions going on in Tunisie at the moment.  I had to tell him that I’ve have not yet send him a text (we had to send a text / book that we read that represents the  end of the world to us) as I seem to be in general a little overwhelmed with all the information, and secondly that I generally don’t have an inclination to make political art, and that if I were to send him for example a text such as Animal farm or Chinua Achebe’s  Things fall apart, that it would fall in his ideas but would be for me completely pretentious and trendy of me, since I come from the background of the other side of having never been oppressed in anyway  really.  Well, now on screen it sounds perfect but in this moment with my head clouded with emotions and my general inability to talk to authoritive figures it came out more in the line like this: “Political art is pretentious”. Him being a political photographer took immediate offence to this, and then felt nothing to offend me.  Then it continued with him constantly putting words in my mouth, telling me that I cannot be a good artist if I have no interest in politics (which is not what I said), asking me questions of the history of things and my country in specific, then putting more words in my mouth, making me look like an idiot and then  telling me that if people have to die for democracy then that is what it takes.Democracy comes with cost which is necesary, blaming me for promoting dictatorship and somewhere he ended up by saying that the white people who die in South Africa should just deal with it as it is one of those things, we have to pay for the sins of our fathers.

Well after that of course I could barely hold my tears in front of him, I walked away feeling slightly sick and swearing at him (to my friends of course) using words my mother would be very ashamed of. The last hour of this class before lunch was so overbearing for me that I left and did not return for the afternoon class. I walked home from school crying shamelessly and by the time my friend Carlo who missed the morning’s class called me to hear what happened, the tap opened again, and when he came to see me, once again. All of a sudden the fact that this has been the longest time I have ever been away from home, the fact that my head wants to explode from all the italian that I do not understand, the fact that I have no idea for my projects yet and my desire for chutney all came at once and the emotions were just too much for me to handle. It took soaking my dear friends shirt in tears, a cup of tea and a long endearing hug for me to finally come to my senses.  

Today I am much better, and this weekend I am escaping Milano for the carnival in Venice. I also finally got my permit of stay yesterday. One thing I’ve realised though, good friends are an absolute neccesity, thank God for the friends I found here in Italy.  Thanks Leah (also for the regular dossage of chocolate), Edith, Wei-Ning and Carlo (oh and also Stefano, who has cooked many a meal for me with my regular visits and sending me regular links on facebook) oh and Sibi and all the rest.

* Aparently I say this a lot and it has now become a joke between Carlo and his roommate Stefano to say “Goodness gracious” for everything.
** Naviglio the canal which I walk past everyday to school.
*** I know what you are thinking, watching series and trash like Gossip Girl while I am in Milan, well a girl is allowed a moment of indulgence in superficial and less intelligent love, sex ,fashion and drama.
****Here in Italy there seems to be a preoccupation with where you originally come from, in fact Di dove sei? (Where are you from?) is one the first sentences I've learnt when I started to learn Italian.


Nadine Engelbrecht said...

Wow! My heart cries for you...

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