Moving from Australia to London in 1979 wasn’t as great as I’d expected it to be. In fact, it turned out to be an enormous culture shock. The roads weren’t paved with gold at all; society wasn’t as sophisticated as people made it out to be, the weather didn’t agree with me one bit, and above all, the people weren’t as friendly as the people in Australia. England seemed so backward to me, that for all I knew, I could just as well have landed on the moon.
In the days following his attempts at contacting the man called Dave, Giuseppe found himself recalling moments from his childhood in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin. They were memories triggered by what he saw around him, and the feelings that came with them were often mixed.
I stopped eating meat about a year ago. Why? Because I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror any longer without feeling bad about the abuse and exploitation of farm animals. I had already cut down on meat consumption years ago, and now I felt it was time to stop eating meat altogether. Not long after that, I stopped eating nearly all dairy products – I only eat butter, and occasionally cheese – which, basically, means I have a vegan diet. However, this still doesn’t make me animal friendly. And, on top of this, I don’t feel the need to associate with other vegans.
“Don’t take it seriously, dad,” my eldest son said to me, when we were playing Monopoly along with my girlfriend a while ago. Every time my sons make remarks like that, I become alert. Sure, I knew he meant it literally, he was telling me not to be absorbed by the game. Still, this remark had a deeper meaning to it, and a few days later it dawned on me what he really meant. Whether or not he was aware of this, he meant that I could simply enjoy the game and our get-together.
Photo: ‘Marina Ginestà’ by Hans Gutmann
Last week I finished reading the Dutch version of the novel El lector de Julio Verne by Almudena Grandes. This is the third, touching story, after The Shadow of the Wind and For a Sack of Bones, about the Spanish Civil War I have read. But then the subject fascinates me. As a ten year old boy I often read a book of my Dad’s about this war, of which the scars are still visible in Spanish society. And besides reading, I regularly see images before me, especially when I am in a meditative state. Meanwhile, I know I was involved in this war in a past life, yet I don’t have a clue as to what role I played.