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Naked Leader Week – 304 – Monday 20 April 2009
The Italian Guy
(Follow up to – Where do you go, to form your opinions?)
Thank you for the feedback to recent NL Weeks, this was sent by David Hollis from
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With my best wishes, over to David…
The thing that strikes me is how easily we make opinions of people in particular through the media, without even knowing them.
Even in our personal lives we do the same thing with people we pass in the street.
I cannot preach, and say that I’m above it, I see a man walk past in run down clothing, but for all I know he could be a millionaire who doesn’t need to care about how he looks.
One example of this always sticks with me, and has inspired me whenever I’ve been low.
I was having a meal with some friends once, and one of my oldest friends had a new boyfriend with her, Italian guy, really loud, in your face type, instantly in my head this opinion formed of him, rather like an itch that you couldn’t scratch.
The ladies left the table for various reasons, leaving me and this “gentleman” on the table together.
I told him I was looking into going travelling, to which he informed me he’d done a bit of himself. Interested I asked him of his experiences, the story he told me I will never forget.
He left his home in Italy from a relatively wealthy background and headed for Spain, ending up just outside of Seville. Where after a while of exploring on his own, he decided that he had to start talking to people as he was on his own, and wasn’t the sort of person to be on his own.
He met a group of Canadians also travelling, after a celebration of life shall we say, he awoke with one of the group, a girl who he had taken a shine too, waking him up to tell him to get on his gear as they were going up a nearby peak to go rock climbing.
Foolishly, he explained, he had told the girl (to fit in of course) that he could rock climb. To cut a long story short, his stubbornness got the better of him and he fell 20 ft, breaking his leg in two places, and was told there was a very slim chance he would walk again.
Trying to remain strong, he told the Canadian girl who had taken him climbing, to go on ahead with her friends, even though inside he wanted her to stay. He remained just as stubborn when his parents arrived to see how he was, telling them that he was fine and that he would return home when he was ready or out of money, the latter looking like it would come first.
His reasoning for leaving Italy was that he needed to be alone, to be at peace with himself as he didn’t like the way he was treating those closest to him.
And now he truly was alone, something he did not enjoy, to such an extent he freely admits that he cried himself to sleep for a week.
One day after coming back from the hospital canteen, he noticed he had ice in his drink again (he can’t stand ice sensitive teeth or something), but could not speak Spanish so therefore had difficulty communicating this.
In the hospital library he picked up a number of audio tapes and books on Spanish, and amazingly within 2 weeks of near round the clock learning he could not only say “no ice please” he could speak the language fluently!
This inspired him to see if he could learn other languages, places he would love to go when he was discharged from hospital.
Amazingly – he learned…French 2 1/2 weeks, German 3 weeks, Dutch 2 weeks, Portuguese 1 1/2 (only because it was so much like Spanish he says!!). Of course I didn’t believe him, to which he replied “most don’t” but then he started speaking in a combination of these languages and my jaw hit the ground.
To meet someone with such an affinity for languages, unbelievable.
He carried on, telling me that he would amuse himself by mocking a particularly nasty nurse, in a number of different languages (hoping at the same time she wasn’t as knowledgeable as him!).
During the time in which he had learned a multitude of languages, his leg had healed to the point where not only it astounded doctor’s, but also to the point where he could begin rehabilitation, giving further credence that one half of recovery is mental.
Within 2 months he was on crutches, another month he was walking again, (he showed me the scars just as further proof), during the rehabilitation he had picked up another language …English!
I laughed, “3 months it took you? Bit slow for you” I joked. He said it was down to the fact that there were so many different accents, it fascinated him, so much so he came over here to try and study as many, hence how he met my friend.
Looking back, he told me that breaking his leg was the best thing to happen to him, as it not only revealed a gift, it revealed how strong he could be mentally to pull himself through and answered a lot of questions within himself.
It inspired me as it was the epitome of the phrase “making the best out of a bad situation”.
But more in line with the topic of opinions, it made me realise that my opinion of him was completely wrong, he was talkative not because he was being annoying or in your face, but because its the way he is, for someone who spent 6 months recovering in somewhat self imposed and somewhat circumstantial isolation, you can’t begrudge the guy for wanting to talk to as many people as possible.