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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

15 To Town

     Today Spencer and I ambled out of bed early which is not an easy task in a place that serves dinner at 8,30 pm the night before.

     My friend, the bar owner in town, Francesca, (who looks like yet another Sofia Loren sibling!), took it upon herself to get me into Teramo on market day to shop for the altar cloth I am making for the church here in our Italian hometown.

     Now if you will, let me wander off for a moment to point out that the bevy of men here are not brutally handsome 40 somethings and I am not in a Sex and the City episode. Someone who has been reading this blog thought that this is the life I am leading here and that would be a fun life but it is the wrong impression. I am spending the bulk of my time with older handsome men who remind me of my dad’s lodge brothers. They are funny and engaging as well as safe, kind and clean cut gentlemen. Even the ones my age are could be described the same way here. I have yet to meet any of the oily Casanovas that inhabit 1960’s films and represent Italian males of the olden days.

    With Francesca as my guide, I am safe. There isn’t a man here that she would not know the entire history of and let me know about it immediately. So far she has not seen any of the local men as being good enough for me and I am pretty sure all of them are taken anyway.

     Really I am in the perfect place to heal. I am reminded of the Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet movie called The Holiday.  Cameron Diaz’s character sends an email query to Kate’s asking a pointed question since she just had a messy breakup.
     “Are there any men in your town?”
      “No,” Kate’s response was quick.
       “Is tomorrow too soon?” Cameron’s desperation was obvious.

     Being here is a balm to my injuries from yet another broadside from romance. I wish these things had more to do with timing I control overtly. I hate being unconscious of what is about to happen. I feel like Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote  the book, “Eat, Pray, Love,” who perpetually falls in love with a man’s potential. I am like her, a victim of my own optimism. Instead breakups feel for me as if they are instigated by other worldly forces that seem to ignore my input.

     Here I am far away from the painful realities and free to just enjoy this very different environment full tilt. What have I got to lose here? What better way to remove myself from old crippling ways of thought then to find myself suddenly living a new life?

     Hence the adventure I find myself in today. Spenchere and I are riding without seatbelts in a Fiat and I can’t help but feel so Italian. Spencer keeps nervously fidgeting with his seatbelt wishing he had something to plug it in to while I ramble on in messy cobbled together Italian about how lush Italy is compared to my beloved California.


     “Our plants are green for fewer than a couple of months. The rest of the year our grass is yellow. All of our plants are dead and dry on the ground. We call that Golden in California.”

     My mind wandered back to conversations with my Welsh relatives (who we miss terribly!), and our conversation along these lines. When I asked them how long the grass stays green, they eyed me with concerned Welsh eyes, “You mean your grass doesn’t stay green?”

     Our Welsh Miss Kimberley’s best try at figuring out when she had seen grass that was not green was to explain that if you pick something heavy up that has been on the grass for awhile, the grass underneath gets yellow or white.

     Finally we found ourselves walking, or  strolling,  through the long winding market place. I had lots that I wanted, especially the cheerful tablecloths that come in bright colors. Everywhere I have been in Italy, The Cinque Terre, Roma, Siena, Bologna and Pisa….and all the train rides in between seem to have many different moments where I found myself appreciating the lovely laundry drying outside in the fresh air. Always there was at least one cheerful and bright table cloth waving gently in the breeze. You would crave a tavolina too if they seemed as attractive as they do here. They bring up images of families gathered around tables enjoying the noise of the children and drinking loads of wine…a regular sight here. My other big craving is clothes pins. If you were hanging all your clothes out on the line…you would understand the need for a multitude of clothespins.

     I still was not aware of whether I was paying for the material or how much something like that costs here in the land of fancy cloth. The idea of buying a treat right now seemed a bit silly. It was easy to remember that last week, I had no idea what money was in my account and literally I closed my eyes at each ATM, Bancomat, stop hoping that money would again magically pop out of the opening.

     Now at least I know there is money in there to take at all. At least enough to eat for a few more weeks.

     The first material vendor was under a make shift tent and wanted 20 Euros a meter. I know I need 4 meters, and this piece is half as wide as I was hoping so my gut reaction was a clear “Nope!” I couldn’t picture me paying 80 Euros before I even got thread and possibly lace.

    Luckily Francesca said no first and pulled us away.  We bounded to a fancy store that focused on Home linens with expensive looking sheets and colorful towels. The brand that seemed happiest was Happy People and my favorite said in Italian “Everyday with you is a party!”

     Francesca led me upstairs to the material section where we found better prices and nicer clerks who spoke to me in careful Italian.

     Before I knew it I was paying 52 Euros for a fabric that felt like the altar cloth the church already has and it was as wide as I am accustomed to, so there was some room to do this right.

     Since I cannot remember my last tithing, now while I am desperately poor in a foreign country seems as good a time as any to share with the church of my choice. I decided to go the extra mile and buy lace too so it would look like the altar cloth I already saw.

     Francesca splurges on some pork for us and gets me one of the tablecloths I have been drooling over after our true errand is done.

     I have to say that I had not even made it home yet and I felt truly satisfied…what a fun experience it is to shop at a market in a small town in the Abruzzo.     

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