Wanting to Spread My Wings… Again

Sarah and I were watching my hero, Anthony Bourdain, Sunday morning.  That morning we had given into defeat, officially staying up after tossing and turning all night long.  We’re blaming it on the wine, attending the chocolate-themed events at various wineries along Senaca Lake.  Taking the most proper route and overall direction, we ended our Saturday with a few of our favorites; unfortunately, we were unable to enjoy them to the fullest due to unintentional rushing.  Aside the uneasiness of our bodies, the two of us relaxed in down blankets coated with a glaze of soft filtering light, blue, tricking the brain into thinking the weather being cooler than it really was.

Mr. Bourdain visits Shanghai, China in the episode.  Every time hear and see anything China-related, I get nostalgic.  Where China was not my first place abroad, it was my first real experience.  While giong with a group with the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, my being alone and in my mid-twenties, I was able to meet a lot of people, a few who I have met before when I was in my middle school years, and many who were close friends with people I knew.  I brought out the young in many people, but am not taking the credit.  I was more of a catalyst.

The greatest part, in my opinion, was how a group of strangers can become so close over nine days; this beginning with the awkward silence on the bus rides and questioning what we were to do next, developing into blatant joking around and accepting the anticipating the mystery of what was around the corner, and finishing with the acceptance of our small community and accepting our not wanting to leave.  This really makes a great vacation.

Trying to decide what to watch this morning, the news has been kind of depressing lately, the option for watching either The Karate Kid (2010) or Undercover Brother (2002) was given consideration.  I just wanted some noise in the background while I wrote.  Upon choosing the remake, I have found myself watching it more than utilizing it as noise.  Aside the story line paralleling the original, taking a few turns here and there, the movie is entertaining.  Little Jaden Smith already has a career going for him, potentially following in his father’s footsteps.  Will Smith has been a positive influence of American pop culture for years with music, and has made it to the top of Hollywood.  Although he is the original Fresh Prince and he now may be considered a king, Jayden is the next heir and technically a prince.

Jackie Chan has redeemed himself from making these crappy, over-produced films.  He’s always been a great martial artist whose films and abilities have been watered down by obnoxious plots and special effects.  Where Jaden’s abilities had a digital effect to them, Chan’s did not, proving he still has it.

On the topic of it, why don’t they make martial arts movies anymore?  Those old, subtitled movies had great story lines and messages.  Plus, with the history involved, the movies provided a learning experience.

Either Bejing or Shanghai, both cities being half of those visited, both dragged me back to that trip a little over two years ago.  I was not kicking and screaming. The other great aspect, in regard to memories, you don’t have to travel 13 hours on a plane, but simply pull out your pictures, or close your eyes and, well, think.

China is a remarkable country.  I don’t care if people look at my decision to go to China was a poor choice in comparison to Puerto Rico or the Bahamas.  I can only stay at the beach for so long:  my brother got my mom’s skin and has the ability to tan, and I have my father’s Irish complexion; secondly, the beach is too restrictive.  Going back to Mr. Bourdain, I am wherever to learn.  It could be at the local museum, a tea garden in rural China, on a diner’s bar stool waiting for breakfast, a cafe in Italy, or at a bar learning the different variations of tequila.  If there is good atmosphere with good people, good food, and good drinks:  I am there and ready to take in everything around me.

The culture shock is one thing, but the ongoings of China are what they are.  You can look down at them, criticize the poverty, or complain how you’ll be eating Chinese food everyday.  I’m not limiting it to China, but it’s the same everywhere.  Why would you be traveling to satisfy your expectations for I-told-you-so assumptions and disgust?  It’s not just to say you’ve been there…

I stood on the great wall, walked in the Forbidden City, explored a Buddhist temple, looked out over Shanghai 87 stories in the air in the then tallest building, and wandered the streets of Shanghai by myself.  Those are to say the least.  Who cares if the skies are ashen.  We knew that going in and it’s not best to harp on it, lingering on an unfortunate aspect of China

I’m not going to stray too far off the topic, describing China and all of the country’s wonderful aspects; doing this could take up to a few entries. I’ll have to figure out how to go about this.

Although I am American by birth, learning and adopting traits of American culture, I am at heart European and “old school.”  America was official in the year 1776.  No one from either side of my family was in America at time.  If I am correct, my great grandparents were all born abroad:  Italy, Ireland, and Czechoslovakia.  That makes me the third generation to be born in America.  That’s only a short amount of time.  In the time slot of the American programming, we were able to tune in and catch the roaring twenties and Great Depression.

I had a dream of Italy again, Maderno, that place I hold near and dear.  I miss my distant relatives, hanging out with my cousin, Adriano, and his friends.  Italian life is the life for me.  In the dream, everyone was trying to get me to stay, but I kept declining.  I couldn’t stay because of living here, in Syracuse, and probably for job purposes.

With promises to return, promises to Sarah we’d go, the anticipation to go back to the Old Country cannot be measured.  The places, the people, the food, and the wine (we cannot leave that out):  the entire aspect of European culture is everlasting and tangible, but it is nowhere predictable and there is still room for imagination.

I cannot wait to take another trip.  Unfortunately, I am restricting myself until I find a job.  I understand, when a job is acquired, time off will come around a year deep into the position.  I can wait until then.  It’ll make the experience that much more enjoyable.

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