Saturday, June 30, 2012

Uncle :(

I just have to share this, today's heart-crushing web post from Juve's living legend:

30th JUNE 2012

It's over, my contract with the Juventus expires today.

It's old news, but still, to know that it's "official" has its effect. It's not a sad moment for me, I have no regrets or nostalgia. Not anymore. In these days I've had an opportunity to to think over everything what happened in my last black and white season, to go back in the memories and live once again the best dream I've ever had.

All the memories, all my joys and triumphs and to be honest  even some recent bitter moments...I clearly see all these images today and at a certain moment they grow dim and almost dispel in that wonderful hug during my last match in Turin. This picture has it all, a picture of the moment that I want to have with me forever, a picture taken on the 13th of May and printed in my heart. Indelible.

Some time ago, before taking off for holidays, I emptied my locker in Vinovo and leaving the training camp I stopped at the spot where for many months you waited for me to have an autograph, a picture or just to shake hands... no matter whether it was scorching hot, raining or snowing. But this time it's my turn to say good bye and to thank you all like you did it for me.

Players come and go, the Juventus remains. My team mates are still there and I wish them all the best: I will always be their biggest fan. You, my fans are still there and you are the Juventus. Remains my jersey that I have always loved and will continue to love forever, I have always wanted and respected it without any dispensation or discounts. I'm happy that others can wear it after me, also and above all because number "10" since the names were put on the jersey always had my name on it. I'm happy for the player who'll be wearing it next year, I'm happy because somewhere - in Italy or in the other part of the world - right now, someone is dreaming of wearing this jersey. And I will be proud if that someone would want to trace my story, like I traced the stories of other champions, other examples, other legends.

Starting from tomorrow I won't be a Juventus player anymore, but I will always remain one of you.

Now it's time to start my new adventure. I'm enthusiastic about it like 19 summers ago.

Good bye, guys. Thank you for all.



You will always be, a Juventus player. Wish you a great future, all the best!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TGIE Part 6: That Last (Italian) Conversation.

I am halfheartedly about to leave Italy.

Our bus is heading norther and norther, setting off for France, I'm sitting defenselessly on the back seat looking outside to the European highway, not ready to bid the country I had been dreaming to set foot on arrivederci. And it's like God giving me one last chance to breath the last air of Italia, we are apparently, stopping for lunch in a local restaurant in one of the small towns by the Mediterranean sea.

As the bus approaches the ledge of the island and sashays along the mighty, mediterranean cliff, the sea exhibits its magnitude and its one of a kind, shade of blue. Then my heart stops beating, I am in the Italian Riviera.

*     *     *

There I am speechlessly ogling at the kind of scene that made me weep couples of time just by looking at it –from outdated travel shows on Metro TV back in the early days of adolescence, and nights of begging The Creator to take me there someday. Apparently the day is today. I am gratefully brought here and not wanting to say goodbye.

*     *     *

It was Sestri Levante, a tiny town not far from the birthplace of Colombus, which was relatively unknown to the Equatorians, even to an accute Italophile like me. Remarkably charming indeed, the fundamental character possessed by any town laid along the riviera. Hans Christian Andersen lived here shortly, even one side of the town is called Baia delle favole, Bay of Fairy Tales. I wonder how did he picture Sestri Levante inside his bewitching mind? A castle on the cliff, princes and princesses strolling on the promenade, and a mermaid hiding behind the sea rock, who knows?

I guess I should name this post A Note from the Bay of Fairy Tale instead. Sounds pretty, eh?

The atmosphere gets merrier as we enter the restaurant, and I soon realize it is actually caused by me. I am wearing one of my favorite ITALIA t-shirt - that I specifically brought along for this trip, and the gentlemen from the restaurant seem to be very fascinated by this, probably to them, is a rare panorama: an Asian girl wearing T-shirt with pride. "LUCA TONI!"one of them shouts, probably thinking he is the hottest guy in the squad.

"No, no," I just smile, disagree. "del Piero"

Ah, I have passed the teenage phase of dreaming about meeting an Italian prince and live happily ever after in the land of the Salamis (huh?), because apparently the prince has fallen for another woman –Sonia Amoruso, and I have apparently, grown up, haha, realizing how impractical it is to marry an Italian with all the way of thinking and way of living differences. And as the consequence of watching The Godfather trilogy and serie A, I have accepted the fact that many of them, not all, are jerks, and definitely, for even a westernized and Italianized Southeast Asian girl, cannot be classified as marriage materials. But all finding a soulmate-related thoughts aside, whatever, what I see in front of me now, these guys I'm laughing with, are probably one of the warmest people I have ever met.

And it's like God is playing with me, just when I am about to leave, He reveals to me the friendlier side of this nation (and by the way, with all the impeccable al dente pasta and what? A saucer full of - free flow - best parmesan cheese in the world!), my hearts falls again.

Here in this side of the world, I smell the passion to live. And to repeat, I don't want to leave. TI AMO, ITALIA.

*     *     *

While the rest of us are out to take a little after lunch walk on the beach, I decide to take few minutes to sit inside the restaurant, to contemplate at the highlight of my life - in the summer of 2006. I can only marvel at how God works. I may not have backpacked across Italy nor have I spent years in this country that I love dearly, but the fact that He has brought me to the highly illustrious Rome, Florence and so on, and here I am looking at the skyline of an Italian town I had never heard before, it has truly made me feel like I have dived into the depth of Italy. Seriously, thank You.

Well I guess I have to move on. I look around, inside and outside, finding an opportunity to have one last conversation with an Italian, I just don't want the 4 years of on/off struggle with self-learning Italian books to go in vain. There's a stack of free city map near the restaurant bar, so...

"Signore, posso prendere questo?"

That guy didn't seem to understand, shoot. Is it my pronounciation, or I don't shout loud enough, is my grammar wrong, should I use English instead. So I tried again, "Posso prendere questo?"

"Ah, si, si" His hand gesture tells me that I can indeed. Duh. Free maps.

I was like, alright, it was short but enough, remembering my anyhow grammar and super limited vocabulary I don't think I can to handle much longer one anyway. As I walk outside to join those on the beach, I realize that hospitable Italian is walking outside too. Then I try elongating the chat. With important stuff.

"bella spiaggia," nice beach - the first phrase I can think of.

That guy just nods and smiles. Such a quiet guy, I'm trying to have a conversation here.

"e bella giornata" and it's a nice day - I haven't given up.

Suddenly he's not that quiet anymore, an army of words burtsing from his mouth, "&a#;%;£$^&#;#);&*;*;(£@$%^......cattivo...@$^&#;*;@£%&*;#;*.....caldo....¶•ยช$^£@**,"

So I know he was basically saying he disagrees, it's not a pretty day, and it is freaking hot.

I can only smile."si d'accordo, e molto caldo."

He then walks away after throwing me a kiss-bye (You, Italians). I am actually glad he's not that cute, so it's not easier for me to say addio.

*     *     *

Well I guess that's really it, my last Italian conversation. So I walk towards the beach to join my comrades and pray that the conversation I just had is not gonnabe my last.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

To the Depth of Rowling's Magical World!

This is just something one should not miss.

I guess this is every fantasy author's dream: seeing the world you created in your head comes alive

and that world, might turn out to be better than you imagine actually, credit to the world's most experienced people with a liiitle extra imagination and superb craftmanships who are ready to work hand in hand to make every detail happens. And it is as well a dream comes true for us avid readers of course: to dive into it.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition features authentic (that's a powerful word) costumes, sets, and props used for filming the whole 7 movies. It wasn't as grand as I imagined honestly (I expected to see the whole Hogwarts' grand hall which on second thought, is almost impossible to be flown or shipped here), but it is enough make you feel like you are in a whole new world. 

The exhibition is divided into few sections, you know like sections for the villains, the Quidditch athletes, the plants, the Yule ball and so on. And once again, you'll be blown away by the details, the craftmanship, and the depth of the story. In Gilderoy Lockhart's booth for example, the quality of Rowling and the team's imagination is displayed. I have never realized the character is that funny (Hermione's test paper is hysterical) - it is amazing how even a supporting character is profoundly fabricated and developed, beyond mere names or costumes.

Guess what's my favorite part of the exhibition? Lockhart's duelling costume! I think it's gallant! 

And the epic, magical journey ends in a shop. The Harry Potter shops, full of jaw-droppingly overpriced items the diehard fans would still buy anyway. I wanted to buy that ultra-awesome Marauder's map but I found out it's selling on six-ty not six-teen SGD. Ngyah.

< Warning! > By the way, since taking pics isn't allowed inside that whole new world, this post contains only non-informative cellphone photos of the exhibition's promotional items just to tell my fellow Potterfans in Indonesia that I've been there hahah! And of course, to encourage everyone, muggle or not, who happens to be in Singapore between June 2nd to September 30th to drop by for the experience.

Weasley's flying Ford Anglia