004. THE ADJUSTMENT PERIOD / by Cara Hines

The ol’ dollar has seen better days. For those of us wielding it, everything seems shockingly expensive over here. I didn’t prepare myself mentally for that, despite the budgeting I did. The days of $20 hotel rooms are a distant speck in the rearview mirror of my memory. In any case, the people I meet are extremely helpful as always. And if they aren’t, I just have to walk a few steps to find someone who is. Everyday people really are the same everywhere. Here, they just happen to wear a lot of black and speak Italian.

I’m new to this videography schtick. And I’m new to the website/blog thing. And beyond simply using Facebook to connect with friends and reconnect with a gal I was penpals with since 4th grade and that sort of thing, I have not used it for the purposes of linking Facebook with a website and sending lightning fast updates to people. I’m just learning how you can link a website to Facebook, but I’m not quite sure I have it yet. So let’s not even talk about Twitter. I associate it with the word twit; a term referring to someone who is seen as unthinking or silly. That’s how I’ve felt about that Twitter phenomenon. I thought it was a brilliant and apropos name for it. People tell me it’s something I must do. One thing at a time. I value being present in the moment and people who are. Twitter seems to be just one more thing that interrupts us, taking us away from the present moment. I’ll leave that for later.

So, since I’m new to all these things and was intent on learning how to use my video equipment and making sure I had all the right pieces for this trip, along with wrapping up loose ends on my design project, and all the goings-on of daily life before I left, I did not properly prepare my “web prescience”. That’s a long way to say, I’m unprepared to handle the update of my daily weblog and photo gallery. I’m finding it more difficult to get internet and Wi-Fi access than what I’d read and been told. I’ve spent a large portion of today in an internet café getting up to speed and doing my best to streamline the process now, so the rest of my time here it is a quick and simple thing to do. Unfortunately, I’m not going to have much interesting to tell you about beyond my adventures of improvisation in the wake of unpreparedness. Too bad I don't have a video camera following me around. I'd be quite a sight most of the time and you'd have the pleasure of many laughs at my expense, me schlepping around with all this stuff, getting lost, not knowing how to ask the questions I need to ask, etc. Ah, yes, the adjustment period.

I will tell you briefly now about the personal pilgrimage I mentioned in yesterday’s journal entry. On Wednesday I will begin a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Lutirano, Italy. The meditation is called Vipassana, and you can read about it on www.dhamma.org if it interests you. Lutirano is a tiny town in a secluded part of the Appenine mountain range. Vipassana is something I’ve wanted to attend for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve made the time for it. It’s a perfect thing to kick off this trip. I’m here in large part to learn about the Via Francigena pilgrimage trail. A pilgrimage is a long walk which, by it’s very nature, requires you to take one step at a time and allow what comes to come. It’s a perfect projection out into the world of the technique learned in Vipassana of being wholly present, living one moment at a time. Beginning Wednesday, I will be incommunicado for a minimum of 10 days, and assuming I’ve not evaporated into some other-worldly dimension or been carted off in a straight jacket after that much time with nothing to entertain me but my true nature, I will reconnect with you after November 1st. But I will have one or two more entries before I attend Vipassana.