Category Archives: Thoughts

Plaza de Cairasco

Memory is a funny thing. There have been specific moments in my life when I thought, “I’ll never forget this” — and yet, I forgot. But it is all coming back to me now, in a blurred motion. The chronology cannot be right; I am sure some things happened before some others, but in the biographic records we keep of our journey through life, the pieces are sometimes rearranged to build a more coherent story. Continue reading


I May Have Lied

I may have lied. Well, it was not really a lie — call it an omission. But I didn’t do it deliberately, so it must not be a big sin. Nonetheless, now that I have realised I had forgotten something as dramatically important as this, I need to come clean. Continue reading

Why We Travel

I used to teach at university until fairly recently. Part of my role consisted of teaching first-year ESL students how to read fiction and non-fiction. Before diving into the heart of the matter, I would invariably ask them the same question: why do we read? And I would invariably get the same answers. Most students would come up with individual observations, all along the lines of entertainment and edification, which is interesting on two counts. First, their answers showed that they had personal reasons to read (which always reassured me) and second, that they were missing the bigger picture. Continue reading

The Angels of Mons

Silence has fallen on Saint-Symphorien’s military cemetery as the sun goes down in the West. The grey Commonwealth-issued tombstones cast long shadows over the manicured lawns, and the roses have started shedding their petals one by one. I cannot help but wonder whether they are military-issued too. Previous visitors have left a handful of stones on a Jewish soldier’s grave. I do the same and walk on between the narrow alleys. The cemetery is not the largest in the region; only 513 of the 3,700 British and German soldiers who died in Mons in late August 1914 are buried here. In the aftermath of the slaughter, many of them were hurriedly inhumed in local cemeteries, or their bodies were simply accounted as missing. Continue reading

Looking for Bernini

For the past twelve years, I have been in a beautiful – though challenging – relationship with a brilliant Italian man. We have had our ups and downs, like in any relationship, but our ups have been peaks and our downs, abysses. To be fair, I have known from the beginning that our story was doomed, as it has been plagued by further complications, namely:

Continue reading