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Letter to Yampa

My dearest Yampa,
this short letter is for you … Do you remember when I was little and I couldn’t pronounce the word grandpa so I started to call you Yampa? Little did I know how much that word would mean to me over the years and will mean to me forever.
For children, grandparents are the symbol of wisdom but also the people that always give in to whatever request grandchildren make. But you were different. You were the Yampa that would take us to England on adventurous trips. You were the Yampa that would take us to public foot paths, watch cricket matches in Lancashire and get us to appreciate the English countryside. You were the Yampa that would drive for miles to take us to car boot sales but also to the places that had so profoundly marked the English roots of our family. Nothing could make us feel more special than sitting next to you in your ‘right handed’ Rover.
But you were also the Yampa that inspired us with love for music instilling in us the added value that music can give to a person’s life. There was never a dull moment when we came to your house – it was better that an amusement park! The piano, the organ, the billiard table, the darts , the jukebox or just writing on the blackboard with colored chalk eating liquorice allsorts. You managed to make us feel like adults when, together, we painted your room turning this simple gesture into a memory to treasure. Everything was magical in your study, the books and the newspapers you used to hold with both hands, turning the pages over as though they were made of gold and reading even the smallest footnote.
Summer also meant going to Jesolo and you would make even that special with the mini-golf, the traditional walk on 15th August to choose the flashiest hotel and the ‘I spy with my little eye’ game in the evenings. You used to love watching us run into the sea and we were so proud of our Yampa.
Growing up we started to see things with different eyes and the light-heartedness of childhood was replaced with the awareness that our family was different and that you were the origin of our uniqueness. We began to understand the immense advantage of having two cultures and of integrating the English mentality into our perception and understanding of reality.
With time some of your favorite quotes gained a different meaning and among them ‘live every day as though it was your last’ and ‘the best things in life are free’ encouraging us to appreciate beautiful landscapes became your most important teachings. You managed to live up to our expectations right until the end showing a degree of sweetness and ability to endure pain we will never forget.
The future is a big question mark now that you are no longer among us but we can assure you that we will do our best to make you as proud of us as we have always been of you. You brought England to Arzignano and we will make sure that we keep up the good work started by you.

With all our love

Marianna and Riccardo

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Lost finale in English

Yesterday morning I got up early to watch the season finale of Lost on Fox (SKY). For the first time ever in Italy an episode was broadcast at the same time as in the American West Coast. It wasn’t shown in Italian, but in English (with no subtitles either). The same decision was taken by TV stations in Canada, Spain, UK, Portugal, Israel and Turkey, which were also set to simulcast the programme. The decision was probably taken as an attempt to discourage people from dowloading the episode from the Net.

I don’t know how many people watched it on SKY yesterday, but this clearly could mark the beginning of a new era. American TV series have always been broadcast in Italy a few months, if not a year, later than their original air date because of dubbing. The expansion of internet, especially broadband connections, in the past few years prompted a lot of people to download episodes from p2p networks and watch them in English with Italian subtitles (the speed with which some people manage to prepare and add Italian subtitles is amazing!).

Lately Sky has been trying to stop this behaviour by airing the same episode just 24 hours later with Italian subtitles: this has been done for Lost and Flashforward. The official Italian version airs one week later. But by watching it with English audio people are starting to realise that dubbing is far from perfect and the original voice conveys a particular character better (just listen to Hugh Laurie on House or watch Desperate Housewives to understand what I mean). Now, could this last move of showing an episode at the same time as the USA and in English cast more doubts on the use of dubbing, especially on TV series? Is dubbing destined to last or will it be replaced by original audio with Italian subtitles and episodes aired earlier? Will other TV series be shown at the same time as the US? Weigh in below!

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Facebook vs Privacy

After much dithering I decided to abandon Facebook and have my account removed (Yes, it is possible! The procedure is illustrated – stangely enough – on a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16929680703). Tired of my privacy settings being ignored and of the amount of crap posted by people everyday, not to mention the amount of time spent in a day adding posts, adding “Like” to everything and reading the most absurd information people feel compelled to share, I quit.

I must say I feel much better. Internet has become the internet again and I have more free time. If I want to get in touch with somebody I simply mail them. Do I want to share my pictures with only some people? I can still do that thanks to Kodak Gallery, Snapfish or Photobucket (with better picture quality, too!). Do I want to chat or call someone? There’s Skype. Is it really that bad? I don’t think so!

But yesterday I found out that more and more people are growing tired of Facebook. A new movement appeared on the scene. Its purpose? Invite people to cancel their accounts due to privacy concerns on May 31st. You should check out their website: http://www.quitfacebookday.com/

More interestingly, Graham Cluley, an award-winning blogger and security expert at Sophos has recently posted the results of a shocking research: 60% of Facebook users would consider quitting over privacy issues. Check out his blog here: http://www.sophos.com/blogs/gc/g/2010/05/19/60-facebook-users-quitting-privacy/

Are people becoming more aware of privacy and realise that showing off is not always that good? Sound off below!

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Lana, my little angel

I met her 7 years ago but it wasn’t love at first sight… I never would have imagined she’d become so important for me, a real part of me…

Every dog owner has funny stories about their dog and considers their dog as unique… but as far as I’m concerned she wasn’t just unique, she was and will always be my little angel. Little, curly, as awift as a gazelle… a person told me on the very same day she left us: “It’s unbelievable… you’re so similar, even physically.” When our paths crossed I already had two fantastic dogs but I didn’t feel they were really mine or, let’s say, I didn’t feel they were such a big part of me as I would have liked. So I decided to adopt her, driven by my missionary spirit and supported by my mother.

The beginning wasn’t simple… she was ill, frail and needed too much attention to give some back. Then everything changed. Three months later we saw a rebirth: she would trot proudly wearing her pink coat and with a thankful expression for her saviour. She fit in perfectly with our family, found an ally in one of our dogs and showed awe towards the other… and she conquered my heart. I knew I could take her everywhere and she knew how to behave, because she was intelligent and felt I would have done everything for her.

She accompanied me during my university years coming to Padua every week and patiently waiting for us in the flat while we were attending our lessons. But she would then grant us some singular moments of entertainment. She also sat during my dissertation unconcerned by the horrified expression on my professors’ faces and loudly yawned when I was proclaimed doctor. She was there when I had to choose my working career and was always ready to make me feel important even when doors would shut and I would feel demoralized.

When I first met Nicolas she helped me understand I had finally met the right person for me. She patiently waited for my brother to come back from the other side of the world giving him that sense of security and peacefulness he needed. She went to Pantelleria, the wind island, four times conquering the heart of those she met there.

I was convinced she would always be there because I always considered her ageless… but she had a big problem: her heart was too big… so big it stopped beating only after having taught me that the most precious moments don’t require words because loyalty, real loyalty, can only be built with infinite love

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Meeting foreign tourists in Montecchio

This morning we met some foreign tourists at Romeo and Juliet’s castles in Montecchio.

We first met three Iranians and then a Japanese couple. I noticed many differences between them: for example the Iranians were wearing dark and formal clothes, whereas the couple was wearing light and unformal clothes and it seems like if the Japanese people wanted to show a unity between their souls. The Japanese girl covered her head with an umbrella because she didn’t want to get tanned because in Japan white skin means richness.

The two groups were both very kind and friendly, in fact they willingly answered all our questions and we were very pleased with this experience.


This morning we went to the Romeo and Juliet castles. There we met 2 groups of foreign people. The first one was an Iranian group of 3 people who are in Montecchio for work. They told as that it is difficult here to find people who speak English. They have found a lot of difficulties communicating in supermarkets and companies.

As a matter of fact while we were leaving the first castle we noticed that the information about the castle in the panels were written only in Italian. Then we went to the second castle and we found the panels and they were only in Italian too.

During our visit around the second castle we found a couple which came from Japan. One of them was a globetrotter and he told us his experiences. We noticed a lot of differences between these 2 groups. The main one was the way they were dressed. The Iranians wore dark clothes which were formal and Western. The Japanese were dressed with light colours like yellow and white and they were more sporty.

Today I discovered that Iranians and Japanese are open minded and in my opinion Italians should become like them. First we should write panels and tags also in English to help foreigners understand what they are looking for, because despite the fact that there are many foreigners we find things only in Italian. Then I suggest to the companies to take on people who speak English to be able to communicate with people who don’t speak Italian.


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