The girls and I are in Rome! The city is so achingly beautiful with ancient crumbling walls, monuments, domed churches and arched bridges. But then it surprises you with a bit of garishness - as if the Queen decided to put on a pair of pink fishnet stockings.
Heartbreakingly and frustratingly - racism - like voyeurism, is openly expressed here. Men look you up and down and even nod in approval. But then, they also ignore you when you ask for directions on the bus. Women stare at you too as if to say, I double dare you. I think, they think I'm a refugee or migrant and just maybe it would be better for everyone if I go home?
Fortunately, kindness is just as open and it talks fast and emotionally with its hands. There are those who go out of their way to make sure you are are well on yours. They move away from pizza ovens and smile you into calmness.
During one Q&A of my week-long conference, someone asked what happened to children of asylum seekers who do not have status? Where is their home? The home of the parents no longer exists, or nobody can return because it has been rendered to rubble. The home they know does not accept them - in the legal sense, in the social sense, in the senses that matter to build roots and grow wings.
Today's ideas and foundation of legal frameworks were dense but good....the people even better. I am pleased to be here with them, to know them a bit.
I am also pleased by my new lilac shoes that, after bringing them to eccentric Italian lady's house (more on that later), I realize they have a kind of three musketeers thing going on. I still love them.
A piccolo update - the girls have a partner in crime! Greta, who is smart, sassy and a brilliant mum, when told about the Unofficial List at Fred's surprise birthday party on Sunday, began to chime off adventures I had not even thought of. Have they been felt up by a girl? she asked. Well, um..no.
When in Rome....