|"Gondola, Moored Along the Grand Canal." Oil on board|
One of the most satisfying aspects of travel is being
introduced to people and sometimes becoming friends. All it requires
is being open and willing. For instance, when I arrived in Venice, I
was immediately introduced to the woman in the apartment next door.
She works for the owner. Originally from Columbia, she has lived in
Venice about thirty years and does professional work as a translator
of Spanish and Italian. She speaks hardly a word of English and the
same goes for me with Italian, but we smile at each other and our
eyes meet in friendship. She has brought me hot food several times,
and we have shared photographs on our computers and become Facebook
friends. Thanks to an app called Google Translate, we can speak into
my iPhone and have instant translation.
Last night I went to her place for dinner. She had invited me and
had a friend of hers, and I brought my friend Cristiana who is good
with English. Everyone was comfortable and we sat together and ate
the delicious food. For two hours of conversation, I must say I
could not understand most of it and a few times I became a bit tired. But mostly, I
picked up what I could understand, shared our presence, and simply enjoyed the animation
and intent. Throughout, we all had plenty of eye contact and felt at
ease, and happy to be meeting.
At the end, everyone came to my flat to see my paintings and
admire. I was given a big plate of leftovers, and my friendships have
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