Last Thursday I took the bus from Grosseto to Florence and the train from Florence to Bologna to speak at 4:00 pm at the Lions International Europe Forum.
I escaped from Grosseto to live another Italian town, share the work I love and learn from others' perspectives. The Lions Club is internationally active in providing assistance to families- and families needing hearing aids, for example, are often referred to programs sponsored by Lions Clubs by the American on-line support groups. It was an honor for me to speak at this Forum.
Here are some pix. The slides I posted, I chose because they reminded me of people who have commented this blog. (Kim, I often thought of you). Adult hearing screening was performed during the event.
Writing blogs and monitoring a forum provides you with a chance to help people who you may really touch, but never meet. This type of interaction is totally surreal, and I oftentimes feel totally disconnected and kind of hanging in the air. Because while you may read the heartfelt comments of a person and know that you make a difference, you can't physically reach out and touch them.
Sometimes surreal relationships are more powerful than reality. Has to do with the power of the mind, creativity and imagination. Empathy is a powerful connection, powerful enough to create international networks via computer. Powerful enough to transmit enough strength to motivate a person to make a decision that a family member you can reach out and touch was not able to inspire.
In Bologna, I shook hands, kissed cheeks, ate tagliata di Angus, and drank Morellino di Scansano with real people in front of me, real conversations, real interaction. I need a little of that every now and then.
Next stop Rome - International Cochlear Implant Congress with the participation of Parent Associations and many parents from the Italian Forum that I will finally meet face to face.