Su Francesco

This morning I asked Francesco (my roommate) if he felt older because of yesterday being his birthday. He said that being older did not bother him, and he does not feel any different. What bothered him was making decisions. Especially career decisions. He is a doctor and does not have a full time job (actually, he works full time, but his job is not permanent). The job he has is new in Italy. He is doing research to establishing a system or procedures for emergency room evaluations. That is new in Italy.

In order for Italy to join the European Union, the country must have this procedure complete, or, as I understand, a good working method of the process underway. He was hired on a two year contract to coordinate putting this together at a hospital in Modena, a small town north and west of Bologna.

Our discussion this morning centered around the idea of decisions about careers. Those decisions that we make effect the rest of our lives. How do we know what to decide? This is business at its finest and truest art form. Those decisions make huge differences in the outcome of our lives. His having many years of training at the University of Bologna earning a specialization in neurology have given him an advanced degree in an area that does not offer the variety of choices as would a more available job such as a business person.

Part way through his university studies he fell in love with photography. His passion for the medium is as respectable or more than in many I have ever met. There is virtually no photography schools in Italy, where as, almost every college in the states offers courses as do almost all high schools. He is self taught, and a fine photographer with good ideas.

As a worker, be it in medicine or photography, he always seems to be doing something. I admire his work ethic. It actually seems sometimes to be exhausting. That, to me, is a good trait to have. If I were his employer I would be grateful for that kind of worker.

In his photography, he seems to be at it when he is not at work as Dr. Nonino. I have always felt that to be a successful photographer you must do something about it every day. Even if it is just small things like organizing stuff or looking through contacts or what ever. The idea is be active every day. And he is!

He is fluent in English and writes it very well. He has helped me with my work here in terms of finding the right connections when I can find none. He is also a people person. His ability to talk with well known photographers and students is an ability admired by many including me.

He was raised in Unine, a mid-sized city in the north and east part of the country. It is about 25 kilometers from Croatia. His family consists of his parents and him. I went to visit them with him and I could tell immediately that the love they have for him is like many Italian parents have for their son. Especially because he is an only child. They are proud of him and his career in Medicine and in Photography.

They have a wonderful house on the edge of the mountains. From the guest room I could see the mountains rising like a wall about 10 kilometers away. They are in a straight line running directly from east to west. The house is located on the last part of the flat lands that runs from Bologna north to the 'pre-Alps' as I heard them referred to.

His father worked hard all his life as an engineer. He is now retired and enjoys researching history. He was amazed by my computer camera that could immediately show you the picture.

Mrs. Nonino is the ultimate Italian Mother. A sweet, warm, caring, wonderful person who's entire life seems to be centered around her family. She is an amazing cook making pasta, soup, breads and other outstanding taste delights. She seems to be very aware and curious of the world. I wonder if she, as in traditional America, housewives are taken for granted more than, I feel, they should be. Surely women like these keep any country together. They seem too often under appreciated, are always present and happy, and in a situation that calls for it, show incredible leadership.

When I am in a situation like that with a close friend and his parents, I often want to tell him how lucky he is to have both parents alive at his age of 38. Having lost my father when I was 18, I never got to know him man to man. Also his parents have a long life together. I can only hope for that when I grow old. I hope Michele and I are together and healthy in our golden years.

Francesco is a fortunate man. I am glad to be sharing an apartment with him. It is like having a center or a base and a friendship with a brother. I call him my brother of the 'image'.