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April 21st, 2013

Survived to blog another day...

I'm back from Rome; an hour's bus ride, but a million miles different from my usual life. (No, we didn't get a special place at the Papal Mass so rather than face the crowds I came home early.)

The TEDx talk went well, I am told; oddly, I don't remember a thing about it. I am not even sure what I said. I think I deviated quite a bit from my script, which was probably good; after I had gone over that script for the 50th time it began to sound like utter gibberish to me. I read someplace that 800,000 people tuned into the livestream, but I don't really believe it. 800, I believe. They say that the videos will be posted sometime this coming week.

The speakers had a pizza dinner that night, and I wound up sitting next to Mohammed Ali -- no, not the one you're thinking of, but an artist from Birmingham (UK). I didn't try explaining that I had grown up in Birmingham, too... Birmingham, Michigan. Rather a different atmosphere. (Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, is the home of auto company executives; I grew up two miles from Cranbrook, the prep school that Mitt Romney went to.)

Anyway, he and his assistant Kyle (sp?) were fascinating guys, and we had a great discussion of comparative religions and the similarities of the children-of-immigrants experience in the US and the UK. ("So, when your ancestors arrived in the US, did they wind up working in restaurants?" Yup. And construction labor. And then the next generation gets an education, and the generation after that gets to be the scientists and the artists. And of course, every Italian was obviously assumed to be a terrorist gangster.)

My other big accomplishment was finally picking up my Permesso di Soggiorno, the Italian equivalent of a Green Card. Yes, I live in the Vatican City State, technically, but every time I step out the front door I am in Italy and they have every right to want to keep track of people like me. I'm an immigrant, you know...

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