We of course feel incredibly fortunate at the prospect of living here for a year and I left the hallowed hallways (which were strewn hapharzardly with pieces of Roman columns, frescoes, mozaics, funerary monuments and the like) feeling a little like those people who waltzed past security to crash Obama's first state dinner. The "AAR" extends over 11 acres at the top of the Janiculum Hill and includes an assortment of imposing palazzos within the ancient Aurelian walls as well as gardens, orchards, bocci courts, library, and seven cats who patrol the grounds bequethed by Carnegie, Frick, JP Morgan, Rockefeller, and an assortment of other monocled industrialists who lived back in the days before there were symposiums on the value of a Liberal Arts education. Gio and I have agreed that the best way to get used to the idea of residing in such a rarefied atmosphere is to ask ourselves "Why not us?" whenever the imposter feeling becomes overwhelming.
The efficacy of this approach proved itself on Wednesday when we visited Maxxi, Rome's 21st Century Art Museum and newest monument. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in architecture, the building is all curves and light created by ribbons of cement and resulting in a variety of interior spaces from intimate and intriguing to elaborately imposing. I especially liked the suspended staircases lit from below. Unfortunately, the most impressive interior installation by far was the air conditioning after we negotiated two stifling bus rides to get there. The various art exhibits were distinctly underwhelming - excepting the huge prone skeleton of a giant bird man outside the main entrance which thrilled the kids.
Video art predominated over other mediums, much to my chagrin. Yet the presence of several tents decorated with flags and rubber gloves and a sun hat suspended in a corner over a pair of espadrilles passing as sculpture served to remind us that the artists presumably didn't consider themselves to be imposters when they submitted these works for consideration before Maxxi's illustrous board .
Later that afternoon Gio brought my attention to an ad posted on the "Wanted in Rome" website for an Online Marketing Coordinator for the United Nations World Food Programme located here. They're the first responders every time there's a major disaster (i.e. the earthquake in Haiti last January) and also work with a variety of governments and NGOs to address malnutrition worldwide (in Gaza, Somalia, Tanzania, etc.). I shot off an email that night with a link to my LinkedIn profile online and they requested an interview this morning. I wasn't really expecting to hear back so quickly (or to put on eyeliner so soon in the 100-degree heat) but made my way to their high security building on the outskirts of town and had a pleasant chat with Abby, their communications coordinator. She said the position was somewhat flexible and that she wanted to keep me in mind for their publications division as well if this opportunity doesn't pan out. We shall see. It's quite an impressive operation and it would be great if I could assist them on a part time basis.
Tomorrow we look forward to hosting Shari Duscenne and her girls Giada and Valentina and their cugina for the weekend.