I woke up this morning with a sense of disorientation when I saw the trees outside my window covered with snow. For a few seconds, I thought I was back in Toronto. A good few inches of snow fell during the night bringing the city to a halt. Schools in several neighbourhoods are closed today and tomorrow, buses and trains are not operating on a normal schedule, and many of the major tourist sites like the Colosseum and the Foro Romano are closed. It’s nothing from a Canadian perspective but the city isn’t prepared for snow at all. Furthermore, hardly anyone (including myself!) has appropriate footwear so it actually is quite treacherous out there with the cobblestones covered in ice and snow. I hear that it is 12C in Toronto compared to -5C here. I never thought I would see the day when winter temperatures in Rome would be lower than in Toronto! Hard to believe that Mimosa and other flowers were in bloom in the middle of January. The reason for this is that a wind called the buran has blown down from Siberia bringing snow and blizzards. We’re lucky in Rome compared to northern Italy where it has been snowing much more heavily.
Some of you have sent me messages wondering why I haven’t posted anything for so long, my apologies. The truth is that I’ve never been as busy in Rome as I am now. I agreed to teach an English course to a small group of priests at the Polish Pontifical Institute which requires hours of preparation. Luckily, my sister Florinda has been a teacher of English as a second language for her whole career and has provided me with resources and advice. I find it very interesting and have learned a lot myself. My students are relatively young, intelligent and eager to learn so it’s a pleasure teaching them.
Despite my busy schedule, I have been able to squeeze in an outing or two. Last Saturday, a friend wanted to see an interactive Pink Floyd exhibition. Interactive in the sense that you were provided with earphones and could hear the related music and interviews as you viewed the exhibits. I always thought their album covers were amazing and one of the most interesting things about the exhibition was seeing how the company Hipgnosis under the direction of Storm Thorgerson did the designs for these as well as the stage sets.The theme of the ‘Wish You Were Here’ lyrics is absence. The cover shows a record salesman who is faceless and therefore absent and is a reference to the faceless bowler hatted man done by the surrealist artist Rene Magritte who himself often wore a bowler hat. There was a photo of Magritte holding up his painting. A jewel to behold.
I was taken by one large exhibit based on a geometric design by a 1960s artist, Bridget Riley. There is some esoteric connection between Alice in Wonderland and one or two of Pink Floyd’s albums. Apparently the music of The Dark Side of the Moon syncs with the Alice in Wonderland Movie. I wouldn’t know but I liked the exhibit which showed a black and white video of Alice running through empty corridors surrounded by Bridget Riley’s psychedelic design. It personifies my life in the last couple of weeks where I seem to be running through endless corridors of grammar searching for how to present it. My sister must be laughing!