Halfway point between Milan and a Funeral

October 13th, 2014, 2pm

Hi. Taking an inventory of photographs from the year, as one phone gets replaced with another. Images which have shaped the year for me (and had I discovered hi sooner, would have been featured here anyway).

What’s common in the ‘defining’ shots?


Points in time capturing the brief pause where I realize I have absorbed enough of a place, the point I realize it won’t last. Presence may be the better term. Presence.


But back to this sketch. 6 months in Milan, we (3x classmates and I) were driving back to Croatia from my uncle’s funeral. 10 hours of keep-the-driver-focused conversation amid Motown and Gloria Gaynor (the only decent CD at the gas station, and in tribute to our recent viewing of Priscilla and subsequent in-jokes). Rental cars need Bluetooth and/or we need better batteries for our portable speakers.

In Trieste, this cup reminded us of our adopted homebase, with the upcoming EXPO promoted by Illy (incidentally, Illy’s origins are in Trieste). EXPO should prove to be a reviving time for the Italian design hub. Looking forward to the return.

In Croatia, it was my father’s brother who had left this earthly plane. I love my uncle Bojan (which incidentally means colorful). He lived in Australia and PNG for a while in the 70s. He always spoke the English he remembered with me. Tomorrow was a word he used a lot. I recall him my first visit at 11, no paternity test needed here; He and my dad were brothers. He also lived with the drink and died of the same cancer as Humphrey Bogart. His esophagus squashed down by the growing tumors to the point swallowing was near impossible. Toward the end, he wasted away physically but his mind remained lucid.

He wanted to come home a few days the weekend he died.

It’s a small village they’re from. About 800 people living within stony mountains among the barren Dalmatian landscape (of stone and thorny bush) but fertile farmland. I had only been to one funeral there, earlier in the year. What happens is, everyone convenes at the house of the dead, usually with an open coffin viewing. Depending on the distance, the townsfolk then go by foot to the cemetery, following the coffin, wheeled on a trolley about the dimensions (and probably a modified version) of a hospital bed. A group of men break out occasionally into an a capella farewell hymn while we walk and inside the chapel. Outside, a solo bugler plays. Burial is in a family plot. Military service warrants a flag over the coffin and gun salute. My friend from Honduras stood with iPad to film it as a favor for family who couldn’t make it over in time.

Funerals are one of those rituals which bring it all full circle for me… and realize why I respect a party just as much as savasana pose in yoga asana practice.

Celebration. Stillness. And everything in between.

And yes, it’s a cup of Twinings green tea going on. Took it per portare viato go. A bit like most experiences…

David Wade and Christine said thanks.

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Tanja P

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