How I met the Pope

Tea with Strangers. Open-air Chinese tea ceremonies with strangers around the world.

“In 2012, I was participating in a youth program, so I lived in a small village in Italy for two years with students from conflicting countries. We all lived together, studied, did various projects. And so, one day our delegation received an invitation to attend the annual audience with the Pope. Our group, 30 people, traveled to Vatican, and we were sitting 10 meters away from the Pope, who was greeting many famous people. When the official part was over, we came closer to the Pope. My phone at that time didn’t have a camera, so I asked our photographer, Cristiano, to take a photo of me so that the Pope is visible in the background, too. And he says, “No, I can’t!” “Please, just one photo,” I ask, but he refuses again. “But why? What’s the problem?” And he says, “Do you see there’s Miroslav Klose behind him?” Miroslav Klose is a renowned German footballer, a devoted Catholic, he was shaking hands with the Pope at that moment. And Cristiano says, “I can’t take a photo of you when he’s there. That Klose plays for the Italian club “Lazio”, and I’m a fan of “Roma”. “Lazio” sucks! No photos, no!” And then somehow everyone leaves, and I don’t get a single shot with the Pope from a close distance.”

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