We’re at the tail-end of my second week here, and this week has been very consistent. I’ve fallen into a light routine of wake-up, make breakfast for myself, study italian for a few hours, eat lunch, and then help with some of the chores. Today I was supposed to go for a walk with one of the neighbors but she never showed up. That’s fine with me, it’ll happen eventually. I was able to help my aunt in their little farm, I watered rows and rows of vegetables (vedura) and helped remove rocks from a planter. There were so many ants (formiche) in that planter I thought I was going to be eaten alive by them.
I washed up a bit before dinner and lounged for an hour or so then helped with dinner preparation. We don’t eat until almost 8 or 9 o’clock every night which is much later than I’m used to. But I enjoy it all the same.
I help clean up after dinner and enjoy my twice, sometimes thrice daily espresso.
I never understood the delight (delizia) of espressos until drinking them here. It’s not even a thought to have one or not because you’re never in a state where it’s a bad time for one.
All aside I mentioned yesterday that my italian is starting to string along. I’m able to reciprocate in mini-conversations with my aunt which is great for us bonding. I spend a lot of time helping her so it’s nice to have a little chat.
The wonderful (meraviglioso) thing about learning a new language is it forces you to think differently. Creatively. I can’t form all the sentences in the way I would normally do I have to find some interesting ways to construct them. The best way to describe it is viewing the world as a child again. Of course, a child would have a better grasp of the language them me, but some of the phrases that have spewed from my mouth have resulted in pretty poetic pairings.
In addition to the child-like wonderment of learning a new language, I’ve been trying to force myself to think in italian. It isn’t going so bad but it does take up a lot of energy. I think that’s why I’m so tired at times.
I can expect tomorrow to be pretty much the same, but we shall see. No pictures today, unless you want another version of the sunset (tramonto) I take a picture of every night.
Nothing out of the ordinary I’ve come to known for the time being occurred yesterday. I woke up early, 8:30 am, lounged around for a bit. There’s plenty of sunshine to soak in and fresh air to breathe. In the afternoon I helped with the chores (lavoretti) and helped my aunt bake a cake (which I wrote down the recipe). As I was helping my aunt prepare the cake I watched my uncle go into the barn empty-handed, and come back out with a less than alive chicken, he then proceeded to pluck the feathers in the backyard. All the cats and kittens were crying like crazy at his feet for a piece. He gave them the innards.
We had the cake after dinner when a neighbor came over to chat. It’s an apple-lemon cake and i was delicious. Watching my aunt cook is magical. The way she sweeps over the kitchen, nothing boils over, nothing burns, everything is cooked to perfection. She could lave a pot heating up on the stove and go run an errand in the backyard and come back with time to spare before the flame (fiamma) would need to be lowered. She doesn’t need to exactly measure ingredients. Everything comes together so naturally, and the food is delicious. The neighbor and I made plans to go for a walk tomorrow, which will be really nice because I need the exercise from having carbs three meals a day.
Today was spent similarly. I took my shower in the morning and spent several hours refining my italian. In the afternoon I once again aided with the chores. Their neighbor that lives in the house behind there’s came over and me and her went on a bike ride. We stopped at her house on the way and she gave me a slice of fresh, still warm, oozy-gooey delicious pizza rustica. Mouth-wateringly good.
It was so nice to bike around. The breeze in my hair, getting to look at the mountainside at a slow pace. I also got to practice some of my italian with her. When we got back to the house she made a fishtail braid in my hair and then we all went out to run a couple errands for my aunt. I then spent the next hour outside writing in my notebook and watching the sunset. The scribbles (scarabocchi) in my book you might get to see in the next couple of days if I decide to upload them.
We also looked at the weather forecast (previsione) and this weekend it is supposed to be almost 90 degrees. My cousin informed me on Sunday we are going to the beach. ANDIAMO!
I left for Italy from America on the States’ Memorial Day Holiday, a full week later and I am still here on an Italian holiday. Today was Festa della Repubblica in Italy. We celebrated by pretty much doing the same thing we did yesterday, so as far as recanting a magical experience in the bucolic countryside, well, none of that today. But as long as your concerned, it feels magical to be up here in the mountains, under the Azzurre sky, and enjoying the company of family and new friends.
I helped with chores, sat in the sun, changed my Facebook and phone language to Italian, and overall had another restful day.
One thing I really love about life here is the informality of it. A lot of Italian food is messy, and you know this if you’ve ever sat down to eat a bowl of spaghetti and slurped the strands of sauce covered yumminess so that half of it ended up on the corners of your mouth instead. No one judges you for using your hands to help grasp a piece of meat. It’s relaxing.
Anyway, that is all for tonight, I’m aiming to wake up at a decent time!
I love how in most countries Sunday is the day for ultimate relaxation. Sundays always have a quietness about them, the timid day of the week. And in Italy, a quiet Sunday after a late night Saturday was well received.
Few people who travel get to actually experience it like the locales. Travel guides will always tell you to check out the local spots and visit local places, but that is not the same as returning to a home filled with family. Oftentimes, we romanticized the places we dream about going to. We imagine them as fairytales and as we wander through the storybook streets we miss out on our individual experience.
This trip, thus far, has given me a great insight to the lives my family here live. It’s not always that romanticized version, it’s similar to my life at home, the house chores and errands. And that’s what mostly this Sunday was about.
I woke up late again since my cousin, his friends and I had a late night. We went bowling, which is something a tourist (especially from America) would never do in Italy. As explained to me, Italians do like to bowl, especially in the winter when there’s little else to do. I’ve noticed my family spends a lot of time outdoors, which makes perfect sense since it is ridiculously beautiful. The wonderful (meraviglioso) thing about going bowling is that there is no explanation needed and the universal enjoyment precedes the language barrier. After a game, we went upstairs to the arcade. I played foosball which is something I’ve maybe played twice in my life. My skills were pretty bad but I started to get a better grasp at the end of the second match. We moved on to air hockey and to be honest I am quite dope at it. I can handle an air hockey table like no one’s business.
My cousin and his friends played a few other arcade games, from a sorry attempt of a DDR-like game and also a shooting game. I noticed all the arcade games were in English. Take note Italian companies, create Italian-language arcade games could be an untapped market!!
We left the arcade/bowling alley and headed back to Sora which has quite an abundant nightlife for young people. We grabbed a table in a piazza, ordered beers, and people-watched. There was a lot of people-watching to do because there were, of course, a lot of people. If there’s any generalization I can make accurately about Italians it is that they are born with two things: natural impeccable fashion sense and a built-in GPS for traversing the multitude of narrow windy roads.
Our drive last night was lovely. It was a bit foggy (nebbioso) and the clouds masked the mountains, but you could still see the little villages (borghi) lights. They looked as if they were floating in the night sky. A little piece of heaven.
We got back to the house just after 2 in the morning and even though I tried to wake up early, I couldn’t.
Sunday was spent meandering around the house, helping with laundry and other small chores, and plenty of time playing with the kittens. I also Skyped with my dad to wish him a happy birthday. My aunt and uncle took me to visit some other family, their house was even higher on the mountain. I regret not taking a picture but I’ll probably be back there in the next few weeks anyways.
Two things about this Sunday: No church and we had 3 meals. Now, personally I’m not very religious and consider myself more spiritual, but I know religion is big in the family so I was surprised when we didn’t put on our Sunday best and be on our merry way. And also, I ate 3 meals today, which every Sunday of my life I’ve had 2 because “that’s what we Italians do.” Well, perhaps no. I had breakfast; cereal, yogurt, and of course an espresso. Lunch was fettucini with mushrooms (i fungi) and meat, and for dinner we ordered pizza.
I want to wrap this post up because it’s getting too long, but I did want to make a quick mention of a conversation I had at lunch. Now, at every meal it is insisted that I just keep piling food on my plate, so today when I tried and failed to communicate that I was full and I didn’t want to gain weight, my aunt told me not to worry. She told me no one is going to judge you if you gain weight. That was nice. Hand me over those seconds (and thirds!).