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!
So I’ve just woken up from a nap and feel a bit refreshed and able to think a tad more straight. A tad.
My journey started yesterday when I left for the airport in New York- Monday at noon. My plane took off almost an hour late due to a mechanical problem. I was fortunate to snag a seat in business class which was very comfy for traveling. I wish I slept more on the plane but my excitement had a better grasp of my brain then my practicality did. I watched The Wolverine and The Amazing Spider-Man. I was served dinner and breakfast as well, but I probably only got three hours tops of sleep. Silly girl.
I arrived in Rome about 8:30 in the morning on Tuesday. Customs went smoothly and I didn’t have to wait long for my checked luggage. Unfortunately my phone isn’t working right even though I opted for an international plan and I couldn’t call my cousin to let him know where I was. He eventually found me and we trekked our way to Castelliri.
I got situated in and after a while we had a filling lunch and enjoyed some sunshine. I had two espressos. We then went for a drive all around Castelliri, Isola di Liri, Carnello, Sora and the surrounding area. I saw the famous waterfall in Isola del Liri, known for being the only centered waterfall in the world. Then we ventured on to find a place that was on my must-see list. It was really important for me visit the house where my dad was born and lived. It is abandoned but the moment for me was intense. I couldn’t help but think that this is where it started for me. This is a hallowed ground in my history.
After, we stopped in Sora which is the larger city in the area and enjoyed a beer in the town square. There weren’t many people around but they were setting up for a feast of their Padronale for later in the day. Their was something so heavenly about the juxtaposition of palm trees bristling in the wind with an old church in the back drop. In another life I could have been here on a daily basis. Sipping cappuccinos and truly being apart of la dolce vita.
We then headed back to the house where I soon took a little nap because my lack of sleep began to grind me down. Tomorrow I think we’re going to Rome for a bit. On Friday I leave for Viterbo and start my three-week WWOOF program.
My italian is a little bit rusty, I haven’t taken a class in it in almost five years and I don’t have much opportunity to speak it at home (despite it being my father’s first tongue, but it’s hard to understand him at times). My cousin and I had a whole conversation using Google translate, it’s pretty miraculous how much that little piece of technology can help people get by.
I still really need to figure out my phone business, I don’t feel safe not having the capability to make a phone call. I can’t even make a phone call when I have WiFi. At least I can go on Facebook, check email, and straighten out some plans.
As I sat in the terminal yesterday awaiting departure, I had a silly thought that maybe after my stay in Viterbo I could travel down the coast and visit L’Isola di Ponza, where my mother’s family is. My father was uneasy about this idea because it is a bit difficult to travel to, but I’ll start looking deeper into. Otherwise I may want to stay a few days in Roma and focus on writing and sightseeing and just blending in with my surroundings. It should be an exciting time to be in Rome with the World Cup starting in a few weeks.
And so concludes my first day in Italy, or at least for now. I’ve taken a couple of pictures of my big D-SLR and only two on the camera in my phone. I don’t feel like uploading my D-LR pictures yet, so for now enjoy the two shots I took in transit somewhere in the Sora region.
If you’re still reading, congrats! Now I’m going to amble on about the little things that interest me. Growing up in an Italian-American household, I’ve always been surrounded by a rich culture. My family is big on speaking, eating, and keeping traditions alive from when they lived here. And now a part of me that has made me unique my entire life has found its connection. I always wondered where my ability to drive fast but not rush anything different from most of my fellow Americans. Driving down l’autostrada you realize everyone is zipping in and out of lanes, texting and speaking on their phone with fervent hand gestures. A lot of rules that are strict in America aren’t as tight here. Heck, I saw a passenger holding a baby in their lap. That would definitely warrant public outcry for negligence and such back in the states. But here it seems that people have a respect for each other that is just dying elsewhere. We’re all distracted in our lives, but Italians watch out for each other, almost bearing the sentiment that ‘we may not do everything perfect, but we know what we do effects others.’ I suppose I see that in my dad everyday, he always says ‘it’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice.’
I am absolutely loving it here in Italy. It is a dream, tranquil and bustling in its own small way. I cannot wait to share with you the rest of my adventure!
NaNoWriMo [National Novel Writing Month] is changing my life. I expected it to be hard, exhausting, and consuming; and it has definitely lived up to those descriptions. But, for me, it is also cleansing and a journey of discovery. With a week under the belt I have over 21,000 words and my expected date of completion is November 19 currently.
On Thursday I churned out 6,000 words alone, my best to date. The task drained me and yesterday I reached a minimum. The important thing is that I wrote. And I am continuing to write.
The most interesting part is my personal interaction with the characters I’ve created. They surprise me. We have discussions and arguments about their lives. I can see a reflection of me in each of them, even the antagonist (which isn’t a person but more of the ideology of society).
‘Tortured writer,’ has a new meaning for me. It’s not just sitting at a desk, coffee or drink in hand barreling out words until one sheet of paper doesn’t become a makeshift basketball for the garbage. ‘Tortured writer’ is the emotional connection I have to my characters, to write their story with integrity, justice, continuity. For those I want to suffer, I make their suffering real, and with the hopes that the situation they are in garners the appropriate reaction of sympathy. If I’m off doing something else other than writing I’ll often have to stop to jot down a new idea or a phrase that really brings in the story to its crucial points.
The support of my friends has been fantastic. I’ve told them a bit about my story and they all have voiced their support that I can write this story. My family is a little more apprehensive, but I believe their concern is about the constant cries of back pain from me sitting at a chair all day (and night).
I can’t believe it has only been eight days in.
If I feel this much different, I wonder who I will be on December 1, when all the writing has stopped and hopefully I will have surpassed the 50,000 word minimum.
I’ll try and check in with my observations every week.
Today I was assigned to cover the court sentencing in the next county over. I was excited to go because a) It’s over an hour drive and I’ve never driven that far. B) This was a pretty big/interesting case.
Now, I can’t really say I’ve covered a court case. I’ve tried. I tried my last semester in New Paltz with the case of the student hostage situation. The defendant didn’t show up to court.
So that flopped.
Well, something similar happened today. The case was adjourned. But, I did learn a lot and am interested more in court proceedings. It’s very spectacle-like. I put out a message to see if I can find books about court reporting. I want to learn. (And never stop!)