Naples:Part I

I dont know what is this with Naples. I mean the Naples in Italy. I had talked about cities affecting me instantly and that I feel connected in a special way. Naples is one of those, and then some. I have been wanting to write about it for a long time. Now that I actually set down to do that, I see that I will not be finished so quickly. I have much to tell. So, this is Part I. First time I went there was two years ago. I have always been curious about this city as I had heard and read so much about it. On how beautiful it is, but even more on how dangerous it is. Including the opinions of my Italian friends (northern Italian as you may guess). Anyway, two years ago I made up my mind that I was gonna go there.  And I did. That was it. I fell for it. Point of no return.

I flew to Rome, jumped on the fast train and continued to Naples straight on. By the time I had arrived, it was evening. Not so much more sunlight. When I came out of the metro station, the first thing I saw was garbage. All over the place. Lots of garbage. Just like it was described in the newspapers. The narrow street where I was, was so full of garbage that you could barely walk. I told myself Pinar you asked for it, so now you have it.

I tried to find the B&B that I had booked. It was supposed to be just around the corner, and it was supposed to be a typical Neapolitan house in a nice neighborhood. I calmed myself with the picture of a nice warm shower in my authentic room in a historical building. I kept walking and passed by a hospital. It looked strangely familiar and yet so so different. That hospital could be anywhere in Turkey, anywhere in Istanbul. Filled with people, not necessarily all patients. Not particularly clean either….I would not want to be a patient there, neither in its twin sister in Istanbul. But it was familiar. And yet so much different than all the hospitals I know in Germany, Switzerland, US, northern Italy…. There you would almost feel special to be a patient. Definitely privileged.

I walked more, passed a lot of lively food stalls, cafes, bars, little grocery stores and I finally found the number I was looking for. Great! It really looked like the authentic Neopolitan building I was hoping for. I rang the bell, and a nice friendly Neopolitan girl shouted all the way from the third floor. She told me she was going to throw down a rope. A rope? To pull me upstairs or what? No, she really wanted to pull my luggage upstairs as there was no lift. It worked out amazingly well. I myself took the stairs.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember her name. Chiara maybe? But we became friends. She run that lovely authentic, cosy, homelike B&B with her brother. She prepared the best of breakfasts every morning for me. She called here and there whenever I needed something. She gave me tips on what to do each and everyday. She noticed my taste and tailored her suggestions accordingly. She even called me on my phone to share additional useful information. She checked if everything was safe with me. She wanted to listen to how my day has been. For four days she has been a true friend to me.

Next morning when I went out to explore the immediate surroundings, I realized that last evening I had taken the back exit, i.e. the wrong exit, from the metro station. This B&B was indeed in the heart of the historical center of Napoli. So lively, so old,  a little run down and therefore so beautiful. It felt that much at home, while being that far away from all my homes.

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Lollipop Moments

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it

Yet another great TED talk; this time it is about leadership. Most enthusiastically and entertainingly delivered by Drew Dudley.

He tells us his story about changing a girl’s life entirely without even having recognized it. Just through a simple lollipop. Much later he understands that  he has been this girl’s hero ever since.
Drew’s story is that he hands out some lollipops to the prospective students at the university campus on the day of enrollment. However, this one girl is scared to death, and she thinks she is not good enough to study. She is just about to turn back and run away. At that moment Drew pops up with his lollipops, jokes around and makes her feel at home. He even manages (without any intentions) that she meets her future husband on that occasion. And then Drew goes home and forgets about everything. Until 4 years later on one day the girl finds him and tells him all about it. It is a nice little story to listen to.
What touched me, though was not Drew’s story by itself, but the questions he asked: How many of us have made a huge change in  someone’s life and don’t even know about it? How many of us do think that leadership is all about money, power and influence?  Isn’t it about making a little change that makes the difference? How many of us think leadership is something so big and huge that it is beyond our reach?  Doesn’t it start right now, right here with a small moment when you reach out to a person? Doesn’t it start with that moment when you tell a person he or she made the difference?
We have to leave behind our fears about what leadership is.
We have to get over it. Each one of us have made an impact in someone’s life. We made a difference. We just haven’t realized it, because nobody told it to us. Once we have acknowledged this, Drew says, we will have the power to make the world a better place: a place of lollipop moments.So why not reach out to that person, today,  and tell him or her that he has been the one who made the difference in your lives?