Wednesday arrived with wind blowing off the sea. It is chilly but not bone chilling cold. Today at least I can sit without a 3rd layer of clothing. The sun came out for a visit too! There are blue skies, so later today it will picture taking time. My cousins, Lucia and Ilaria, and I will walk over to the sea (about 2 blocks) to take photographs.
This morning I woke and sat with Zio Corrado. For breakfast we had toast and jelly. He had his expresso and I had my water. Typical. Here you purchase toast already made in a package wrapped similar to our crackers at home. These are mini toast or bread toasted. I would say slighty larger than a saltine cracker. Signora Giovanna (the neighbor lady)came by for a short visit. Then Ilaria and her son Nico were here to pick up Zio's grocery list. Later in the morning, Alessandro, the bread man arrived. He comes by in a van with breads and breakfast items like danish (but not as sweet). He brings your order to the door. I was amazed that he recognized me and told my Zio that he remembered the neice from the USA.
Around 11, my other Zio, Zio Mario arrived with his daughter, Sylvia and her daughter Ylenia. We visited together. Mostly Sylvia and I talked together. It is difficult because she speaks no English and my Italian is that of a small baby or child. But we always manage to chat well. Zio Mario spent his time showing me that he carries my photograph (an old one at that from maybe the early 1990's and one I do like) in his wallet and "guarda" (look at or stare) at me. He is difficult for me to understand simply because he speaks too softly. It is almost a whisper. Ylenia played with my wigs and then Zio Corrado wanted one of my wigs. We put it on him, and of course the joker had to have his photo taken in my curly wig.... made me laugh. I can't wait to share this photo with you. You too, will laugh at the model and his antics.
Then Ilaria returned with the groceries. She did not stay because Nico had fallen asleep in the car. Sylvia and Zio Mario left shortly afterwards, promising to return to visit again next week. Lucia called to say she would be late arriving, and not to expect her until the afternoon. So we went to have lunch.
I am not sure exactly what the meat was, except to say it was a type of sausage I am not familiar with at all. It was okay, not one of my favorites but okay. I had parmasean cheese, grapes and hard crusty bread with mine. Zio had pecerino cheese (a softer cheese) and bread with his sausage. He tells me for supper he is making carbonara, which is a pasta speciality of his. I also like this very much. Yummy!!!!!!
I am surprised how much Italian I have remembered. I am not fluent by any means, but I am following the conversations pretty well. The news was on earlier and I was actually able to translate alot of it to follow along and understand. I have to focus on some conversations because of the speed of the speaker. Those are the most difficult. If they speak slowly, then I understand much. Now do not ask me to answer in Italian. LOL That is the hardest thing.
Yesterday, Ilaria took me to the bank and the grocery store. I forgot to tell you about the bank this time. I find the bank interesting; it is so different from USA banks. First only one person at a time can enter the bank. The door is like a vacuum tube (makes me think of George Jetson). You have to touch the green light button and a door swings open. Then you step into this area. The door closes behind you. A few seconds later, the door in front of you opens and you enter the bank. Several customers can come into the bank and stand in line, but only enter the door one by one.
One of the things I love to see in the bank is that God is recognized. There is always a crucifux on the wall. Why can't we be that open in the USA, especially when our money even states IN GOD WE TRUST. Strange huh?
The grocery store is very similar with produce sections and meat sections and canned and frozen food sections. What I like is in the produce section. You must put on a glove to touch the fruits and vegetables. Ilaria purchased the grapes I requested. First she put on the glove, then opened a plastic bag, then selected a bunch of grapes and placed them in the bag. You take the bag to the scales and enter the code for the food (it is listed above the produce) and weigh it. The scale prints off a price tag that you adhere to the bag. Viola! Ready for the checkout.
I also notice most people bring their own bags to the supermarket. Ilaria had a large blue plastic bag that had hanging clips on both sides that snapped to the grocery cart. She filled her bag with the groceries and then at the checkout, she put them on the counter for the clerk. She moved the grocery cart to the end of the counter and packed her items back in the blue bag to carry home.
Also here the grocery carts are rented. You have to pay some coins to unlock them to enter the store with them. Or you get a large plastic bin with a handle (like our hand held baskets at home) but these have a long handle like a wagon handle and wheels on the basket. You pull it behind you as you shop. When finished with the shopping cart, you lock it back in the row of carts. Interesting idea. No shopping carts are taken away or loose in the parking lot this way.
I remembered many places from my last trip. It is different to see the area without the abundance of flowers and sunflowers everywhere. Winter is not a beautiful season anywhere, I suspect. But it is a part of life. The winter is the dying and the spring is the rebirth (or that is how I always have viewed it).
I got my tailed whipped last night playing Scopa with Zio Corrado. He is a cardshark. LOL Scopa is an interesting game that has cards Ace (1) thru 7 and then the Queen (worth 8), Jack (worth 9), and King (worth 10). The object of the game is to capture the 7's, especially the Bella Diamonte (the beautiful 7 of diamonds) and to clear the table creating a Scopa. At least this time I am remembering that the Jack is worth more than the Queen. That mistake cost me alot last time we played. LOL....
Right now, Zio Corrado via a letto (he has gone to take a nap in bed). This is common here. A short nap of 30 minutes to an hour after lunch. He says respoto (I think I spelled that correctly it means to rest). I am here instead fighting with the keys of the laptop. My hands are too big I think for a laptop. I prefer my regular keyboard.
Ilaria brought me gift wrapping paper so I can wrap my presents. On Christmas Day, I go with Zio Corrado to Zio Claudio's home. This is the father of Ilaria and Lucia. There will be also Lucia and her husband Stefano; Ilaria, her husband Gas (Gus in English) and their son Nico; their brother Fabio, his wife Analia and their son Gioelle (Joel) and their baby daughter Maila. So I want their gifts wrapped from Babbo Natale (Father Christmas).
Cousin Paolo, if you are reading this, I want you to know I am glad I did not fly into Milan or Bologna. My goodness the amount of snow and ice you got! Over 18 inches is wayyyyy tooooo much for me. I hope you get a chance to come to Marina di Pisa where there is NO SNOW (no Nieve!).
I have given you a short book to read for the moment. For now, I think I too will go rest a bit. First I go check for Tex (Zio's cat) who went outside, and then I rest.