Archive for August, 2007

Sweden is good

August 30, 2007

Trip to museum, coffee break

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I have been around the block enough times to know that one cannot judge a place or a people on two weeks alone, but I had such a weekend! Saturday I biked to the outdoor market and bought local produce and sausage- the sausage guy was great and told em winter’s not so bad, it’s really just an excuse to stay curled up in front of a fire all the time and drink… I didn’t have the heart to tell him my apartment didn’t come equipped with a fireplace, and the guy I want to curl up and drink with is in Italy. Then I went to a thrift store- I know, seems like peanuts, but it was like balm on my tortured soul. I’ve been two years without a thrift store, you see.

Sunday a fellow teacher took me, along with his dad and another teacher, by car to a watercolor museum about an hour and a half away. We stopped for coffee from a thermos and muffins- a THERMOS. It was great. The museum was great, too, with a special exhibit of British watercolors from 1650-1880. They didn’ make my heart beat fast, but the film explaining how watercolor revolutionized painting because of its ability to capture the light of a place and the parallel turn toward a Romantic interpretation of landscape, etc etc sure did. I suppose I have a tendency to intellectulaize everything and enjoy thing in an adulturated, contextualized way… poor me.

About school later.


First week of school

August 25, 2007

weaving project, part 2

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

So the first week went really well. After the first day, the giggles lessened and attempts to communicate increased, though some are very hesitant to use what they have. In addition to swimming in a daily sea of the native language, I have weathered a two and a half hour parent meeting in Swedish, and managed to keep from yawning until the last half hour, but my eyes glazed over after the first… so its been challenging linguistically.

Part one of the weaving project involved reading a story from Africa about a man learning to weave with vines from watching a spider, looking at the Montessori Timeline of Human Beings to identify when people began wearing clothes, and then why they may have needed to learn to weave baskets (development of agriculture and accumulation of possessions), then going outside to collect likely materials for weaving, and completely unknowledgable attempts to weave back at the school… went well, and the school ended up decorated with bits of twisted, if not exacly woven, bits of willow and grass hanging from door frames.

Part two involved talking about the development of string (I need to improve this part), and finger weaving friendship bracelets, which was way harder than I thought it would be. No one so far has wanted to do a second one! It prepares well, I think, for what I hope will eb part three, making a warp-weighted loom, because its so obvious that it would be easier if there was some was a difference between warp and weft, and a way to keep the warp fixed. I’ll let you know how that goes.

57 Degrees North

August 23, 2007

Here I am, farther north than I´ve ever been before:

Bronze Age graveyard

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana
First lightening hit our apartment building in Italy, burning out the elevator control box, Ilario´s computer and our modem, and then I moved to Sweden and a cottage with no phone, let alone internet… I have had a quite an abrubt and prolonged withdrawal from the internet, and am suffering from the lack of NPR and my other web-related drugs.

Sweden suits me well, and reminds me a lot of Southeast Alaska, except it´s flat here and the fishing life is completely overwhelmed by professional commuter types and summer vacationers who have decided to stay. So why does it remind me of Sitka? Let it suffice to say it´s raining.

I started school on Monday. More on that later. I have a parent meeting right now I have to rush off to…


August 8, 2007

first bag ever

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

This week has been strange so far- On Monday I went to the local hospital to have some bumps on my head removed. A really simple procedure, but I absolutely loathe the place and have to work hard to stay calm while there. I know that doctors all over the world are similar, and that it’s not only in Italy that the surgeon discusses his various vacations with the intern while slicing into a patient’s body, but still I end up feeling hostile anyway. Because of that and also being told to sign a form that says I have been informed about the operation procedure and possible complications, when no one has even spoken to me except to say “sign.”

The rest of the day and all yesterday were spent doped up on ibuprofen and sewing. Mostly mundane sewing (hemming curtains and pants, mending) but I also made this tote bag and 4 placemats, mostly from scraps of cloth I bought at Ikea. You can’t look too closely at it, but from a distance it looks great and I am pleased to have a new tote to carry my yarn about.

I went grocery shopping yesterday and was distressed that the butcher was also helping folks who needed things from the bakery, cheese and coldcuts area… without washing his hands. On top of it, when I first walked up he was washing the glass cases, which one might think was a good thing, until some fake ivy fell out onto the floor and he threw it back in on top of the raw meat… and then walked behind the counter to help me, all without any inclination to clean the hands. So I asked for cheese that was already wrapped up, made sure we cooked the heck out of the meat, and I’m scared to eat the prosciutto. What am I going to do now? I’ve been dedicated to going to this place, trying to support my local business and not use the car on the weekends for shopping, but how can I continue? And the guy is so nice- went down into the storage room to find shishkebab skewers for me when the other two women working had told me there weren’t any. But then I think of all the dirt and dust he must have encountered in the storage room… it’s an awful quandry, really.

Fossil of ?!?!

August 5, 2007

fossil from the trail to Mount Grem

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

The best part of the weekend was finding this fossil on the trail Saturday morning. I really didn’t want to go hiking at all- I’m seriously pooped in this area and wanted to spend the day propped up somewhere either knitting or reading about knitting. I was bullied into going, and ended up stumbling upon this. I was immediately seized with a greedy possesive feeling, craddling it and crooning and exclaiming over how lucky I was. It’s kind of big, though, and so I decided to set it aside and pick it up on the way back down… which led to all kinds of anxiety for the rest of the walk, but it ended up safely (or not so safely, depending on your point of view) in my bag and now in our apartment on the balcony. I won’t go into detail about the soaking of it in hot water, scrubbing it with a toothbrush…

I have two ideas of what it might be: some kind of horsetail, or a sea lilly. We are talking two seriously different time periods and my ideas are kind of wild guesses, so anyone else know?

The rest of the time I whiled away the hours with my needles and yarn, hanging around the church (which is the best place to sit), eating ice cream, hanging out with the Zambla crew (which consists entirely of ladies, apart fom Ilario and his dad), and watching “Columbo,” “Jurassic Park 3,” and “Gone With the Wind,” on tv. Not bad overall.


August 3, 2007

new knitting project

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Lots of rage today regarding our apartment building and the administrator and the differing values of our neighbors… so it turns out I’m glad to head off again this evening.

List for the weekend:
clothes, of course!
pyjamas (forgot them last time)
“Faster: the acceleration of just about everything”
“Mary Thomas’s Knitting Book”
“The Redundancy of Courage”
“Guida Practica all’Ornithologia” (Bird guide I just bought two weeks ago)
crochet project
new knitting project (yey!)
digital camera
empty egg container
empty wine bottles used for spring water
Francesco’s carved walking stick (a gift for my dad, but he wants to show it off a bit)
Anna’s filet crochet thread (she is making angel)
cloth hankies
tooth brush
sun block
sun hat (because I burn even with the block)
mp3s to play on our new car radio

i think that’s it…

Crocheting in the mountains

August 2, 2007

Rachel crocheting

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

The summer I turned 15, I spent two weeks working with a volunteer trail crew in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Not long after I decided the good life would include hiking in mountains on a regular basis.

So count that goal of mine accomplished- we have been hiking so much that I am finally satiated, maybe for the first time in my life. I am perhaps also close to my limit of crochet-ability. I’ve got to hang in there for another weekend, as we are headed out tomorrow to stay with my in-laws again for two days.

I am nearing the end of my summer vacation. On the 11th we fly to Sweden, and on the 13th I begin work. Ilario will be with me for the first week, and then I am on my own… for six weeks. I am trying to cover up my anxiety with project-planning. Some books I ordered from Amazon UK (I can avoid the terribly troublesome Italian customs by ordering within the EU) arrived today and I am full of plans for my physics-chemistry and weaving projects… more on those another time.

I am feeling really homesick. Awfully homesick. Then I talked to my neighbor who told me he is going home to Africa (he didn’t say which country) this month for the first time in 2 years… he looked like he might cry at one point while we chatted, so I’ve told myself to buck up and be grateful. And I am.