rI'm interested in how people live their day-to-day life. I've traveled enough to know that it's different everywhere and not to be freaked out by what other people consider fun or weird. Just nod and enjoy the experience of their world.
Here are some of the latest Italian knowings I've noticed.
Waiting for the Gurgle - La Santa Caffettiera. Italian's favorite way to make coffee comes with extremely fervent instructions. I've been through the lesson twice. One extra-expressive, gay landlord I had in Bologna held it above his head with both hands and spit out a series of statements like, "E santissima! E sagrada! E la piu buona del mondo." Now that I'm actually using the sacred coffee maker in the morning, I've learned that you must wait for the gurgle sound when the water's boiled through the grounds. There's no stepping away and burning your coffee. So, I stay and wait for the gurgle.
I Have a Bikini - The other fervent message (there are so many in Italy) that I must get a bikini resulted in a tour through about seven of them yesterday until we landed on a turquoise number with little fabric flowers on the hip. It's both sporty and sweet, and it's a major upgrade in my Italiana-ness. Hooray! We go to the coast on Friday for the weekend. Sto pronta! (I'm ready!)
Burraco, Anche Santissima - Another sacred item, the card game Burraco. I cannot believe it but I got to sit with three 60+ Italian women, and my friend Tiziana, and play a game much like gin rummy. I witnessed intermittent arguing about Diana and Charles and if she was unwittingly trapped or made her own bad choice. I learned the suits: quadri (diamonds), fiori (clubs), picche (spades), and cuori (hearts). We play again tomorrow afternoon (domani pomerrigio) and I'm feeling so excited and social.
Parties at Castles - We have Hearst Castle in California, and maybe a few others sprinkled throughout the States. Italy has 45,000+ castles, towers, and villas. And, they use them to have fun. We went to an outdoor Ennio Morricone tribute concert at the castle in Milan, then went to an outdoor movie in Vigevano's castle (Visconti-Sforza Castle) by the famous director Gabriele Salvatore. "Il Ritorno di Cassanova" (I understood about 10 - 15% of the dialogue - pretty good!) Hanging out in a castle feels rich and exciting, in a historic sense. Good work, Italians! Open hearts with lots of arts.
Now I'm taking my cramping calf (hot night last night) to the gym for a workout. "Piano, piano" means little by little or slowly. I'll give my calf the piano, piano treatment today. Much love to all of you!