Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 51: Sbarro's Genius, My Letter to the Pope, and My 2015 Starbucks Planner

Allow me to express self-criticism, this is a delayed post.

The complimentary cheese pizza I got from Ate, faith-restored-in-humanity-moment after an "ordinary" day. Only purchased one, got two, nice right?
Me and my friend were discussing S&M in the Arab World, the hot European backpackers seated behind our table, the state of the world, her colleague's stupidity, when somewhere, somehow, the topic of the Pope's arrival arose in the most nebulous fashion. It was the traffic of the previous day that brought us there. "When the Pope's arrival is upon us, what will that be like, no?" Let me tell you why this is exciting for an Atheist Jew like moi. When you grow up in a society where the religion of the majority is a totalitarian force around you, the spill-over effect, makes you adjust in certain ways, to accommodate your existence in that society. In my case, studying in a Catholic institution brought with it a widely diverse experience, of various stimulus, across the board spectrum of humanly possible episodes within that chrono-spacial locus. In short, my interest in him stems from my general interest in the state of our world. 

The topic about him revolved around how the mainstream local media, subservient to the will of the masses enough, not to mention, vested with interests tantamount to crimes against humanity, would approach his presence, his experience, his will, and his action, here, in this country. That's when Eureka happened! 

I suddenly thought of me doing the reportage, or at least, me scoring an interview with the Pope. I mean why not? Relative to the quality of the majority of the mainstream journalists in this country, by all objective standards, I was more than qualified. Plus, unlike them, I was after the truth, and surely, I wouldn't ignore the reality around the Vatican, as they do, because unlike them, I don't intend on self-deprecating, and self-effacing myself to the Pope. Notwithstanding, the need to respect his status, and the needs of his profession. Kinda like interviewing a Royal, or Barbra Streisand (Difference?) Balancing act really. My admiration for him lies in his ability to lead and his well-though policies, his openness (relative to the Vatican hierarchy), his activeness, and his realistic approach. His courage to take on the bloated bureaucracy of Vatican-is definitely note-worthy. 

I then and there decided to take the plunge and write to the Pope himself, to solicit an interview, if not, then at least he knows, somewhere out there, a person who may not be his direct subject can still express gratitude and admiration towards him, above all wishes him all the best. Isn't that enough? Kinda like sending a Christmas card to the Dalai Lama. 


Got it. Very fortunate to have only needed to spend on half of the stickers, as the other half, was found on the floor on my way, with my colleague, to lunch. I thank the universe,  and my positive thinking.

That's what's inside.

First thing I did was, find out how I can reach the Pope, so I went to where all is. 

I got the address, the necessary information, and how the letter should appear to be.

I remember when I was in 4th grade, me and my sister (separately) wrote to Daniel Radcliffe, and after 11 months he replied with a standard reply to all fan mails. My sister still has her letter with an A4 -sized full body pic signed by Harry Potter himself!

While I was doing my usual stroll I decided to pick up some stuff to give as gifts to His Holiness Pope Francis. Postcards naturally, because seriously, who else would give him these? Simplicity right?

A tourist map, since he's of the people, I'm sure he'll love how an ordinary tourist would experience Manila. Again, who'd give that to a Pope? Only me, right? They're quirky, but makes sense, right? I'm sure he'll appreciate my gesture of appreciation towards his gesture of minting harmony with the people. Thanks to my map-gift, he'll see manila, not in the typical way a VIP experiences the city, detached, orchestrated, unnatural, almost theatrical, but in the most ordinary way there is. Simplicity, right?

The rosary's a gift from my Priest-friend way back in Elementary school.

A 1945 coin by the Americans during their occupation. This has a Joy Luck Club element  attached to it.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to include this in my package as it's "Cash & Coinage," DHL, FedEx, and the Post Office, didn't allow me.

Unexpectedly, got satisfied by the Philippine Postal System, they forced me to put Italy in it, even though Vatican is a city-state! (DHL and FedEx were insistent as well, when I inquired about the rates). People really need to learn their geo-political maps.

I made sure that my parcel wasn't a cookie cutter parcel just like from any other, I made sure I individualized it. I didn't want to miss an opportunity to express myself. Seriously, if you're going through 700,00 mails all identical, wouldn't you be curious with the one that stands out from the rest first? 

The result. "In 2-3 weeks it'll be in his possession already."

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