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

Monday, May 14, 2012

Che Bel Sole!! 12 Maggio, 2012

    Spencer’s name, Spenchere means “Happy Go Lucky” here. I think that is how we feel as a team.  I have many reasons to be insecure but tonight is the Big Bean Festival. I just heard a rendition of Joan Baez’s song “Blowing in the Wind” with an Italian accent, while Spencer, Stefano and I linger about the house. We just figured out that we had the days wrong or perhaps we lost something in translation and the big party is over 2 nights and not just one. We have been invited to both but Spenchere and I are tired. Stefano has kindly made sure we have many connections amongst his friends in case of a problem to make sure we are safe and sound while here.

     We had planned to go to the Bean Festival, and could hear the dancing and laughter as the merriment seems to be spilling through the whole valley via microphone. Somehow though we feel content. My skin is “pellirosso” (red) since we spent a few hours today swimming in the Adriatic Sea at a lush beach near Giulianova. Stefano’s friend has a beach house there that we were able to lunch at after our luxurious swim in the exotic mare nearby. The house we were at was the home of the man from Castelli whose mama is said to be the finest cook in all the Abruzzo. Today I ate her lovely fare and have to agree, she really is an amazing cook! I don’t think I was told an exaggeration!

     I have been thinking of Brandn, my daughter’s boyfriend and how much fun it would be to have his mom here since her family is from the Abruzzo area….these peeps are hers by blood and they are simply amazing!

     The beach here is very different from my beloved Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which I last saw in March when the river was eating away at it from the side.

     In our natural environment, Spenchere and I ran happily out to the water of a private beach. We didn’t know that at first of course. I found out by asking, “publicco o private?”
The hunky young Italian men, (I really wished my Welsh Ms. Kimberley were here to at least gawk at them…they were just her age…), were very kind and patient as they patiently pieced together that I was not an English person but from California. In the end I got one of those ridiculously cool movie umbrellas that I have never even seen at my beaches much less luxuriated under…we don’t have that sort of thing in Northern California. I also paid for a lounge chair and a regular chair too to make the movie moment complete for my belongings. I was delighted a the ridiculously cheap price in Euros.

     Spencer and I swam in the strange and foreign waters and loved EVERYTHING about it! La spiaggia was to different here! I don’t even know where to start! The sea was as clear as drinking water and you could see the wildlife at your feet….crabs, urchins, fish and tadpoles…well, the tadpoles were creepy, they inked all over if you stepped on one by accident.

     It was so shallow and free of waves that I felt as if I was swimming in a very different kind of sea….definitely not my “oceano” that I am used to. It was ike swimming in a pool and boy, was it warm.

     When I dipped my head in, I came up with a mouthful of the yummiest tasting salt water I have ever tasted before! I actually wanted to cook with it!
     It was strange for Spenchere andI to explain to our amico, Gabriel that our o-chay-ano  Pa-chee-fee-coe is not at all clear. It is filled with life of all kinds, plant and animal. All bringing their own colors to the mix. Spencer rattled off some of the colors we are used to aside from “blue” describing our ocean….black, red, green brown yellow…Gabriel looked as if he thought we were making it up.

     We luxuriated, (there is no other word to properly describe the feeling!), in our chairs under our large overdone umbrella, and sunbathed for a lengthy period of time, just relishing the sun of the Adriatic. Che bel sole!

     The highlight of visiting Benedito was not his mother’s simply amazing food but the awe inspiring art of this incredible teacher. He had a marvelous award winning book that told us much about the heart and history of the area. I kept imagining my brother-in-law, who studied film direction in school, making a film of this award winning, multi-pictured story of the Abruzzo men who had to leave for several months of the year to keep the sheep fed, leaving the wives and children behind until winter was over and they could return. What a marvelous independent film this work could become. It was an amazing history that began with a poem.

     It started out as an incredible poem by famous local poet from the Abruzzo, G D’ Annunzio. His poem was called, “I Pastori.” The poem was so alive, that I was amazed at my comprehension as he read it in Italian carefully and full of purpose. He went into detail, in Italian, over each line.

     Now I thought I had lived before…but on this part of the trip I have now had 2 learned Italian men quoting Italian poetry to me in 2 days!! I did not know yet that another Italian man would christen me “Teresa” and sing an Italian song to me in front of his adoring wife, the very next day…there are no words to describe the experience of Italian song and poetry being said in Italian to me…it is like I woke up in heaven and everyone here, the angels all around, speaks only in Italian….instead of the boring English I have always had around.

    The day before the Adriatic adventure, I had found myself being introduced to a charming  Italian Literature professore who lived in the tiny village near mine. It also was perched precariously on the top of a hill. He seemed happy to have a reason to discuss Dante, Boccacio and my beloved Petrarch with someone from America who not only knew who they were but had frittered away hours of my life translating their works. Petrarch is my favorite and the professor pegged me right away as a humanista.

     His eyes lit up as he quoted by heart, enunciating every detail of Petrarca’s adoration of Laura. I was glad I passed his verbal tests and that I guessed correctly which woman was being discussed by either Dante, (his beloved Beatrice) or Petrarca (his perfect Laura).

    But hearing his enthusiasm and seeing his eyes as he carefully said aloud Italian poetry filled with love and humanism set my soul into a new category of delight.  Here an Italiano was quoting Italian poetry to me in a charming town with an incredible view of the Gran Sasso all around!! I was listening to a man’s adoration of a woman he would never really know, being said aloud 600 years after the writer and his object of affection were long dead.

     Today’s adventure was in the lovely Giulianove area and we were noticeably tired as we found out the big dance and party was tonight not tomorrow.

     From our terrace we opted for a quiet dinner with Stefano, Spenchere, Gabriel and I instead of joining the partying going on virtually next door. But in a way since we were outside…we were really being serenaded by the songs wafting over our way. Che belle sole…che bella giornata!!


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