An Ending and a New Beginning
Today we finished 4 weeks of Italian classes at the Gaia Institute. It has been grueling at times, but mostly fun. It seemed so hard at first, we wondered whether we would be able to finish. I am so glad we did! For at least one of us it was a major accomplishment.
This last week was a good one. Our friend from Switzerland was back, after taking a week off and going to Olbia. He was as mysterious as ever about where he went and why. He says he “had things to do” in Olbia. One time this week he said his brother had a pass for the ferry, and when our teacher later asked him about his brother, he said he may or may not have a brother. He has a terrible reluctance to talk about himself, which of course makes us want to know even more.
I myself imagine he went to visit his “brother” George Clooney in Olbia (where George is filming this month), and he is sworn to secrecy! Ed thinks he is an international assassin or spy. Thank goodness he likes us and is friendly! He offered to use his car to help us move some of our stuff to our new place. It is maybe a half a mile away carrying stuff on foot, so his offer is appealing.
Tuesday night we went out to Sergent Pepper’s Pizzeria because it was our friend from the Czech Republic’s last day here on the island. She will return in September, so it won’t be the last we see of her. Only six of us went, because our teacher, Valeria, had a sick baby at home, and she was unable to go, and our Swiss friend had other places to go.
We had a great time. After the meal, Marcello, our present landlord, ordered a nutella pizza, which “shockingly” really isn’t a pizza at all, but more like a warm flat bread with nutella spread on top. I tried a slice and it was good. Nutella originated here in Italy in the 1950s, and amazing as it sounds, I had never tried it before. (By the way, I know what you are thinking, and nutella is spelled with a lower case “n”.) I also tried limoncello for the first time and liked that, too.
Then we got shots of mirto. That is an island specialty, as it is made from the berries and leaves of the mirto plant, a type of myrtle, that grows here on the island. It has a strong alcohol content, but tastes so much better than straight alcohol. It is sipped, the colder the better, as a digestivo or a way to finish off an evening meal so you can digest it better. Many people make their own mirto, Valeria says she will make some and let us try hers when the plants are ready, probably September.
One day we were talking about how Italians don’t walk and hold hands. In Italian, they call holding hands mano nella mano. Valeria said her grandmother went to Barcelona once, and was surprised that the couples there were holding hands, and how she thought it was really sweet.
Then a few days later we discussing how Italians always gesticulate with their hands. Even Ed can’t speak if you hold his hands down. That’s when it occurred to me the reason they don’t walk hand-in-hand. Of course! They wouldn’t be able to talk to each other!!
So we all got a good laugh about it.
On Wednesday morning we all went to the market again. There is something really nice about walking around, sampling cheeses and buying fresh fruits and vegetables. We bought more pecorino cheese, but one not quite so sharp, along with lots of veggies and also some plants and sheets for our new apartment.
I have always enjoyed the days when we leave the classroom and walk around. Sometimes we have just walked around the streets and Valeria would quiz us on what is this, or what color is that. Sometimes we went for caffe’ or like this week, we went to the market. It varied. But one thing was always the same: on Fridays we would watch a movie.
We saw some pretty good Italian movies, always with English subtitles. I noticed a theme. The main character/s always got themselves into a situation that took them away from their normal routine, such as being transferred from Milan to Naples for work, or being left behind when the tour bus that they were on with their family leaves while they are still in the bathroom. One thing I got from all the movies, the characters always go through some scary (and funny) stuff, but by the end of the film they have changed. The experience has made them different people altogether. I can relate to this. Life and experiences change you, and I have seen it first hand.
Friday was always my favorite day of the week, not only because of the movies, but also because we could celebrate completing another intense week of studies.
Our big move is tomorrow. Tonight is our last night in our old apartment. Tomorrow is another beginning. It is also the anniversary of when we first got together 39 years ago, so we have a big celebration planned, if we aren’t too tired to go out after the move. We will see.
That is mostly all I want to say for now, except I want to update a couple of things that I mentioned previously.
It finally rained on July 23rd, which was the first time since we got here on July 1st. I was happy to see it.
About the trampoline with the bungy cords that I wanted to try sometime… well, I asked. The nerve of the guy telling me I am “too big.” ha ha
So I guess that is one dream I have to forego. I don’t think I will magically get smaller!
And finally, there has been some activity around the house where the Italian president is going to be staying. They are painting the front of the house and have put up scaffolding on one part. We have seen some official-looking people outside, like the Secret Service type in the U.S. One day I think they were scrutinizing us when we walked by. I will keep you posted on any presidential sightings. I don’t know when he will be coming, only that it will be for a couple of weeks in August.
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Ciao for now!