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Cherished:

Women talking as if they are fighting but who are really just having a friendly chat.

The smell of fresh laundry on the line.

Antonio, who also loves to see me.  He is still hard for me to understand because of lack of teeth, hearing loss or a speech impediment, and I have to watch constantly to keep his hands detached from me; still, he is friendly, helpful and exactly who he is!

 

Mosaic mural

Mosaic Mural of Papasidero (cave drawing)

 

Murals on the wall in the neighboring village of

 

Another unfortunate head treatment, Kellee

 

Diamante.

Andre…wherever I meet him.  He’s the young man who served me in my first Trattoria.  He is always wearing the same T Shirt in the colors of the Greek flag.  I don’t know if he has a million of them or if his mother just washes the same one over and over.  He is friendly, helpful and never fails to look pleased when he sees me.  What a gift.

The bird tree.  Down at the base of the steps by the flower wall and fountain, this tree is always ALIVE with birds.  They are visible, just chirping loudly and causing the leaves on the tree to quiver as if there is a breeze.

The little girl who sings on her balcony using a plastic bottle as a microphone.  She sings and sways and watches her reflection in the window.

The strange little buildings that resemble windmills in Greece  visible on an island off the coast of Praia a Mare.

The women of the Piazza de Torre Cimalonga.

 

Finding things I think Ron would enjoy.

The ability of women in Italy to speak paragraphs using only facial expressions and hand gestures.

Pomegranates growing on trees.

 

My friend, Jessica, at her favorite restaurant.

 

The mountains of antipasti served in the trattoria/ristorantes.

Public announcements of Funerals on the town bulletin boards.

Young couples hanging around the medieval Palacio at night not thinking of the history.

Seeing the umbrellas along expanses of beach.

The beautiful Madonna in La Chiesa .

The smell of jasmine everywhere in Centro Storico.

Going to the market daily.

Gelato with Lavinia.

The brilliance of the sea on a slightly cloudy day.

Pizza.

Hearing the mother next door calling her 4 year old son, “Guido, Guiiiido,  GUI-DO”, at least four times a day.

 

Roberto and Guido (on the right)

 

Mysteries:

Red lanterns along a block that has none of the Chinese owned clothing stores.

Why the bank has four people at windows and only one serves customers no matter how long the line.

Why of all the clocks in all the houses and businesses, only the one in the train station and the hotel work.  All the others seem to have dead batteries.

Who owns the dogs and cats in town?  They all seem well fed and content.  No one shoos or scolds.  But only one or two people in a month have been spotted walking dogs or paying attention.

How does the guy get his motorcycle up here?  I never hear it at night, but once in awhile early in the morning there is a clump, clump, clump as he goes down the stairs.

Interesting cultural experiences:

Hanging around for the passeggio on the Pedonale.  Women friends with linked arms.  Couples of all ages walking slowly together.  Young men and women (ragazzi) in small and large groups looking and acting the same as young people act all over the world; laughing, shoving, yelling, talking on cell phones.  Small groups of men and women perched on benches and retaining walls watching the passeggio.

Being served such huge portions of food in restaurants; being questioned as to whether you didn’t like it when you don’t eat all of it, and yet not being offered or encouraged to have a  “doggie bag”.  And another thing…everyone says that people eat late in Italy.  And it’s true.  You can scarcely be served in a restaurant before 8:30 p.m.  Yet all of the real people have already eaten between 6:30 and 7:30.  And they eat only a snack, perhaps a salad or fruit in the evening, having eaten their big meal at noon.  What’s up with that?

I decided that I must go to a soccer  game in Italy.  I walked about a mile to the stadio.  I could tell when I was approaching because of the chanting and singing. I sat in covered stadium seats with most of the fans (women and children have free entry). But across and outside the fence were about twenty men who reminded me of the Korean cheerleaders except that they were rowdy; once in awhile jumping at the chain link and hanging from it in their excitement.  Sometimes there were actual songs (with cheer lyrics, of course) like “Volare”, and other times they chanted to the beat of the snare drum set up in their midst.

The players weren’t students, they were obviously mature men whose families sat in the bleachers and cheered for them.  It was rough and tumble but they didn’t seem any better than Ashland High School.  (Yet there’s a poster out each week as if they are playing the World Cup.)  Well, the goalies were like miracle workers.  They worked the ball, catching it, batting it, heading it and generally letting very little by them.  I saw one goal during the half that I watched.  The goalie acted dejected, but the play was well executed and the two men who accomplished it did a lot of hugging and slapping in celebration before coming back to the field.

Things I would like to learn:

How to roll my “r’s”.

To remember always to greet people before asking questions, ordering or checking out.

How to stroll (as in walk slowly and without purpose other than to enjoy the moment).

How to set my fork down between bites and pay attention to chewing.