Uptick in Antics

Ah, so here I am again skipping days with my posts! We shall begin the catch-up where I left off last time: the World Cup!

We gathered for a big dinner around 10 p.m. on Saturday for the match between England v. Italy. We had pizza, cured meats, vegetables, and plenty of Moretti beer. When we were stuffed, we were joined by more guests where we each took a seat in the living room. We were supposed to watch the game outside, with the projector, but my cousins couldn’t get the audio to work.

It was exhilarating to have people around me so invested in this match. I have always enjoyed the sport, and have been a fan of the Azzurri team ever since I could remember, but it was a special moment for me in that room. I was surrounded by electricity, the intrinsic passion for the team. It was intoxicating. If you watched the match you know that it was a nail-biter. But the Azzurri came out on top for their first 2014 World Cup victory.

The game ended at 2 in the morning here, and although very tired I stayed up until 3, which made for a very sleepy Sunday.

Monday morning my cousin took me to the Abbey in Casamari. Casamari is a neighboring town and the abbey there is almost a thousand years old. It was built in 1035. The church was preparing for some festival this weekend. Gorgeous church, vastly different from the ornate churches that sprinkle Italy’s big cities. I enjoyed seeing it.

After visiting the Abbey, I asked my cousin if we could stop at a bookstore. I am a big Harry Potter fan and the idea occurred to me that it might help me learn Italian faster/better if I read the first book in Italian. I know Harry Potter so well that I could add context to the words and focus on the grammar and technique of the translation. The first bookstore we tried didn’t have the first book, so we went over to neighboring Carnello (the town my dad was born in) and I found the first book there. From there we stopped at the school my aunt teaches at. The school year just finished so the elementary school was being cleaned out. It was so tiny! What an interesting thing to see in a foreign country.

I then spent most of my afternoon translating words from the Harry Potter book. It’s taking longer than i thought because when books are written in Italian they use a special tense, and I’m not too familiar with the rules of the tense. I hope to complete the first chapter and then reread the first chapter fluidly. It’s still enjoyable and that air of whimsy that J.K. Rowling is perfect at seeps through even in the translation.

In the late afternoon we brought the white kitten who I’ve posted plenty of pictures about, to the vet. Another place you wouldn’t find yourself as a tourist going to. There was no receptionist, and the office just had dogs hanging about in corners and whatnot. The wait was quite long. We brought the kitten to the vet because he has a cold. The vet examined him, took his temperature, gave him a shot, and told us to come back on Wednesday for a second shot and check-up on his condition.

Later in the evening we watched the Ghana v. USA game. I was so tired that I decided to get ready for bed 15 minutes before the game finished, so essentially I missed most of the action. At least I kept checking Twitter for the updates. USA won 2-1.

As today is Tuesday, in the morning my cousin and I visited the market again. I bought some souvenirs¬†for my friends and because I’ve accumulated so much change I offered to pay for the ciambella. I still have plenty of change.

After lunch I helped my cousins wrangle the other set of kittens, the smaller ones. I believe they were giving them away.

So that’s it for now. I heard talk that I may be going to Monte Cassino soon, but I am uncertain. Enjoy the pictures as always!

The front of the Abbey
The front of the Abbey
Inside the Abbey
Inside the Abbey
The sky outside of the vet clinic
The sky outside of the vet clinic
Where we got the ciambelle from! You can see one in the left corner.
Where we got the ciambelle from! You can see one in the left corner.

Autumn

I’m writing this a few minutes before midnight while it’s still 9/22, so forgive me if I use the word ‘today’ and this is posted on 9/23.

 

I woke up early to a beautiful Sunday morning which I haven’t done in quite some time. I nibbled on cookies for breakfast and than ventured out into the sunshine. I filled up my gas tank, witnessed two car crashes, and got my first massage. It was a present from my sister for my birthday a few weeks ago and I just got around to making the appointment for today.

Since I’ve never been to a masseuse I didn’t know what proper etiquette was.¬† My masseuse was named Bree and after a few minutes of feeling vulnerable nearly naked in front of a stranger I came to a relaxed state. I had begun the session worrying what she was thinking about all my imperfections. But her hands were reading the knotted lines on my body. I could feel through her gentle hands a grimace. Maybe she was sad that I had all these knots and scars that could not be seen. I am young but not young in the mind. She could tell.Her hands were warm and I trusted them.

Amanda Palmer is a musician, and she recently had a TED talk. In that talk, she spoke about her time as a living statue performing on the street. When she would hand someone a flower, she connected with them. She saw them.

I think Bree read me the same way Palmer saw people. I stopped caring whether she thought I had bad skin or not. Her ultimate goal was to make me feel empowered again, physically and spiritually. She turned back the years on a mind that was beginning to wither away.

The rest of my day was nothing out of the normal. I returned home and had some lunch and then visited Barnes and Noble. I bought A Casual Vacancy and The Lovely Bones after two hours of meandering the stacks of books. I came close to buying The Gravity of Birds but I think I’ll save that for next time. There’s a pile of books that beckon me to read them already.

The next few hours I enjoyed a pumpkin spice latte and the company of a really good book, American Gods by Neil Gaiman. There’s a part in the book I just reached about the Holocaust and slave trade that really rattled me and I didn’t get too far after that. But I enjoyed the crisp fall air, the tough pages of a book, and hours to reflect on the impact the words had on my life.

After dinner I went out to get drinks with a few friends. One of my best friends just came back from a work trip in Europe. I am so proud of her accomplishments, it is so hard to be successful in our chosen career paths (she’s a photographer).

When I got home, my dad was in from work. He seemed tired but it ended up being grief. A coworker of his passed way in a car accident earlier that morning. His coworker had just got off shift and was leaving work, and not even a block away from the parking lot he was hit by a truck. My dad was very upset and started to ramble off about his coworkers wife and children. It was very heartbreaking.

For the better part of the day I felt uplifted and spirited. And even though today was generally no different from my other Sundays, it was beautiful.