First of all let me say that my ITouch has been worth its lack of weight in gold. I have never really used it at home, but here it’s a godsend. When I am feeling disconnected from home and family in the morning (after you’ve all gone to bed), I can zip down to the park and connect with everything that is happening there. Notes from home and on FaceBook mean a lot.
I connected today on my way to the weekly market. There are a few vegetable stand and one cheese stand in the marketplace every morning, but Monday is the big day. If I need any household supplies I can walk about a half mile further to the GIANT market for which they close a large boulevard and one side street. I find that all very confusing but I did have to buy a purse last week. 5 Euro for a summer purse from Italy; that beats TJ Maxx! I still have one that bought in Alba many years ago and I love it.
I digress. I was enjoying the walk to the mercato, smiling to myself as I wended my way through a tour of Italians. They come here in busloads from Sicily and Abruzzo. Like being in Barra de Potosí and having the tours from Mexico City. It makes me feel so damn LOCAL (smug).
When I was buying my peaches and nectarines a woman actually looked over at me and smiled. She mentioned Centro Storico and said she had seen me there. I was thrilled. Someone knows me. She an the vendor asked where I was from and I did the standard, “Sono Americana”. The vendor went on show, then, “Good Morning. How are you? I am fine. What time is it? No Woman No Cry”, with a huge smile. What a fun market day!
I like to think of myself as Vanessa Redgrave in that last movie where she was looking for her old Italian lover (just identifyting the movie, folks). She walked from the market with a basket of rosy fruit and an armload of flowers, looking elegant in her draping silk and linen and floppy hat. The truth is that I wear my exercise clothes to market (short sweats and T shirt) because I am so sweaty by the time I get back up all the steps with bags and backpacks full that I don’t want to ruin my wearabout clothers. I don’t walk along blithely swinging my basket; I stop ever 10 steps, switch arms, switch positions, and soldier on! So much for the movies.
I am trying to be like the romance novels today (I just re-read The Shell Seekers) and be one of those experienced laid-back women who make a charming lunch from nothing in a place lacking amenities but reeking of casual elegance. Since my dining room table is in my bedroom and it’s pretty big to drag to the balcony, I have put flowers and fruit in the kitchen window, moved the little round table close to it for natural light and will close the bathroom door so we can’t hear the toilet constantly running. It doesn’t really sound like a fountain, it sounds like a toilet. Sigh.
My friends Jeni and Peter came for lunch after market. We have agreed that when we entertain each other, cooking is out, so I am just served prosciutto, Calabrese salami, Taleggio and Pecorino cheeses, tomatoes, cucumbers and rolls; with grapes, apples and nectarine for dessert. Sounds like a feast with a coffee or glass of wine, doesn’t it? I feel very Italian except that the REAL people have their big lunch for Il Pranzo and more of a snack dinner. Oh well, I call this big enough. I’ll just have to eat my greens for dinner.
We had our after lunch coffee on my balcony. It was a bit of a squeeze, but perfect.
Ah…life in Italy.