The past few weeks have been tremendously busy for me, and it looks like the next couple will be hectic too. I’m enjoying my new full-time position, and I am still writing on the weekends and nights because I physically need to write. If I don’t write… my brain feels sick. I don’t feel validated. It’s a feeling I could never show you and my explanation does not do it justice.
I took my family out to dinner last night, it felt wonderful to do something like that for my parents who have been super-supportive the past couple of weeks. They have done so much to help me reach my goals.
It’s finally starting to warm up here in New York. Despite the little snow flurry we had yesterday, our temperatures are beginning to level off in the 50’s. I am so anxious to spend time in the sun. Just sitting reading or writing at a park or even on my porch would be perfect.
I hope everyone has been having a wonderful spring, the time of year to start afresh. May all my fellow writers feel rejuvenated!
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!).
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.