Archive for June, 2008

Terno d’Isola

June 19, 2008

waiting. . .

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I have lived in this little village for exactly two years.

This is something of a record for me.

Last night, after a three day delay because of the heavy rain, we held the 24th annual Palio, or race. Siena has theirs, with horses, and we have ours, with donkeys. I have only missed one in the last four years, and that’s because I was in the states.

It was evening, after dinner, and a good crowd showed up despite the time and it being a work day and all. And it was fabulous, as usual, with the neighborhoods parading in their “medieval” costumes, and the donkeys showing their natural dignity, and the piazza was full afterwards with folks visiting, drinking, eating ice cream, playing. . .

What is happening to me? Am I actually developing a relationship with this tiny place and its people? I’ll let you know next year. . .


Tough cookie

June 18, 2008

20 weeks

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I have been feeling something of a tough cookie these last couple of weeks. I mean, I feel generally VERY pleased with life, full of love for the folks around me (ahem, that would be Ilario, with a few others mixed in), and just sort of at peace.

And yet in a very short time I have had three altercations with Italians where I not only stood my ground but defended myself rather aggressively:

1. the lady on that stairs of the apartment building in Milan when I got lost looking for the midwifery office. She was visibly disgusted, making eyes at her companion, and talking to me in a very condescending way. I responded in kind, telling her I hadn’t gotten lost to annoy her.

2. the ticket guy on the train home from Monza (see previous photo). He tried to make a quick 5 euros off of me because I forgot to stamp my ticket the second time for the return trip. I got very frustrated with him and refused to pay. Then I stormed off the train with him and his colleague helplessly following, because I had to change trains. Finally he agreed to give me a receipt and I coughed up the five euros.

3. a group of adolescents at the Bergamo train station. I walked into the waiting room and they threw an umbrella at me. I ignored it and sat down, and pulled out my knitting. Two came over and started teasing me about the knitting, while a third snuck up and put his radio in my ear, really loud. I turned around and snapped at the whole lot of them, asking if they had a problem with me being there and when they said no, I told them to leave me in peace, etc. Man, they backed off fast, and didn’t bother me again (though they did bother some others, but nobody like they did me).

I would be tempted to say it’s hormones, but then today we got the announcement of our condominium meeting, mailed ONE MONTH in advance. This may seem a small thing, but last year the manager mailed it 3 DAYS in advance and we didn’t receive it and obviously missed the meeting. I had Ilario call him on the phone to complain, and when I thought he was being too nice, I took the phone and let the guy know that I didn’t care what the law was (he is only required by law to mail it 3 days in advance), he knows the mail system here is totally undependable and he has an obligation to us- we PAY him to do his job, for pete’s sake! We had quite an argument and I was sure nothing would change. . .

I’ve had plenty of really nice interactions with strangers, too, several ladies on the train, and other random things, it’s just that I seem to have come out of my shell that being a foreigner put me in for a long time. I have the confidence to defend myself, and snotty ladies, petty bureaucrats and punk teenagers don’t scare me anymore.

But maybe the belly doesn’t hurt my image, either.


June 5, 2008


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana


June 4, 2008


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

It may be that the most expensive aspect of this pregnancy will end up being the cost of fruit. Veg is rather reasonable, and certainly there are fruits available which carry a modest price tag, but who wants to eat bananas, apples and oranges all the time? Certainly not me. My tastes range into the peaches and cherries field, after having gotten sick of strawberries.

At least four times a week I have to stop at either the green grocer in Bergamo or the one here in Terno piazza. My average consumption seems to be two peaches and a half kilo of cherries, plus whatever odds and ends of other fruit is lying about. And it would be more.

If I didn’t have the money, I think I would steal the fruit.

Ten things

June 1, 2008

Brembo river stones

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Ten of the things I have learned from my own life in northern Italy:

1. You can go just about anywhere on a road bike, just long as you adjust your attitude accordingly: on the roads you can go really fast, and off-road you have to let the bike lead you, slowly picking the way of least resistance.

2. You can go just about anywhere on an old, heavy city bike, just so long as you adjust your attitude accordingly: you can’t EVER go really fast and sometimes you have to lead the bike on foot, which enables you to more fully experience whatever it is you are moving through.

3. Speed and efficiency are not to be valued over patience and appreciation.

4. Anybody can ride a bike, including old ladies with pumps and handbags.

5. Anybody can ride a scooter, including old ladies with pumps and handbags.

6. The smaller your space, the more inclined you are to live fully in it; that is, to know its nooks and crannies, its idiosyncrasies, and to appreciate them, exploit them, and therefore benefit from them.

7. It doesn’t matter whether what you have is beautiful, be it your house, your car, your garden, your clothes, your body, your mind or your soul; what matters is how much you love what you have and how well you care for it.

8. Being in love is not about the attraction and compatibility of mind and body, but rather the easy combination of these factors with the conviction that a life built together is a process which will give great satisfaction and gentle happiness.

9. Church is not about belief; it is about culture and community.

10. Belief is not about church; it is about culture and community.