February 26, 2012

Italian Passion

There is something special about Italy.  I was there recently for 5 days which you probably know makes me an expert.

If I had to sum up Italy in one word it would be: PASSION.

I just find that Italy does nothing ordinary.  Eating is an extraordinary experience. (Even the pizza at the airport was better than most I´ve had my whole life!)  The people are inordinately loud, vivacious and expressive. Creative geniuses of all kinds have emerged from Italy.  There is incredible passion for art, music, and natural beauty both in the countryside and the coast.  There is mind-blowing passion for fútbol.  There is obvious, historical passion for religion.  There is world-renown, exquisite passion for fashion.  But most surprising to me is passion for even the ordinary.

Let´s take a cup of coffee.  As you can see in the image above, coffee is taken seriously.  Coffee with a friend is taken passionately.  Everyday conversations at cafés around Italy can be romantic, business-sealing,  mafia-producing, war-inducing or "just" pure friendship.  But it´s all done with dramatic gesturing - and yes, passion.

I saw another add that I failed to get a picture of.  The first photo was a shot of a beautiful steaming espresso on a nice table.  The caption was:  This is NOT an Italian espresso.  The second photo was a picture of a beautiful girl on a rooftop with an amazing view.  A gorgeous guy with no shirt on (!) was next to her.  There were some kind of white, billowing curtain-like things blowing gently in the wind.  And on a small mosaic table in front of them, two steaming espressos.  The caption?  THIS is an Italian espresso.

Yup.  That about sums up all of Italy.

The coolest part of my trip? I got to meet some Italians who direct their passion at Jesus.  Italian disciples of my Savior who pour out their natural, culturally passionate selves into loving Him scandalously, unreservedly, with excellence and relevance and creativity.  It was such an inspiring experience to be among them.

Need more passion?  Take a trip....to Italy.

The Italians do passion right!

P.S.  Did I tell you that I felt like I was back in my beloved Buenos Aires again?  All that gesturing, the intonation of Italian, the expressions & volume were so very familiar to me.  It was almost like going home somehow...

February 6, 2012

Super Bowl vs. World Cup

People are actually touting the Super Bowl as "the most watched sporting event ever".

Do we really need to debate this?!

More people tune into the World Cup final than any other one game simply because soccer is a worldwide sport.  This international event attracts a billion viewers (an understandably debatable figure depending on if your source is FIFA or not). Yet somehow every four years it passes by virtually unnoticed in the US.  It´s time  for America to "wake up and smell the coffee".  Soccer is simply and indisputably the happening sport around the world!

Didn´t grow up with it?  I didn´t either.  But if we want to be more global we must pay attention to the World Cup Phenomenon.

I must admit that probably only those who have experienced the World Cup outside of the borders of the US can begin to capture its pervasive, passionate hold on a country. There is nothing else quite like it in furor, emotion, following or power to unify. It is ageless and oblivious to class status or political leanings. It has the power to cancel school, close shops, delay trips and bring work days to a halt. It can even stop a war. It surpasses borders and frontiers, unlike the Super Bowl which, despite its large following, doesn´t go beyond US borders except for American expats watching around the world.

Want to Go Global?  Get ready for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil!

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