I carefully opened the paper package that Francesca brought to me while I chatted with both my sister, mia sorellina, and Manny, the Ex Fidenzata, at the Bar. I wanted to make sure that Manny’s perspective on our parting was at least within the realm of mine and did not want to leave him without any say now that he was seemingly back to the sensible man that had always been so protective of me. I could not publish to my blog anything that he did not see as true. In between 2 Facebook conversations, I found myself, receiving yet another gift of kindness from Francesca, who had already taken me to the market today in Teramo.
It is not easy to match schedules with my family because of the 9 hour time difference. You see my only internet connection is at Francesca’s Bar, and to use it means that I am by my nature not going to be there until much later then 8 o’ clock when the Bar sort of turns more into a Bar and less of a coffee bar. It still is a clean cut classy place but I can’t comfortably cross that line and hang out there until too late without feeling a little out of things. This relates to a difficulty in finding the right time to Skype with family or chit chat in general. My afternoon is early morning back there. This precious conversation with mia sorrelina is about the most connected I feel since getting to this small Italian counryside town, and I have to say it is really important to me.
This package that Francesca brought though had the tastiest caramel wrapped almonds still warm from being made. I was amazed! How very tasty! I woofed down half and only then tracked down Spencer to share some. Apparently tomorrow is a communion day for some and the traditional thing to do is to have the mothers, in this case a mom who is also an elementary school teacher and a relative, spend an entire Saturday creating 2 huge cats of this almond caramel candy and a large grail with initials.
Francesca took me over to the house where her daughter had made these lovely treats. They were incredible. And just 2 women worked in a cheery cool kitchen all day to create these, needing the door to stay open to prevent the heat from getting overheated. She showed me an album of pictures with photos going back decades with different combinations of the same family faces holding 2 candy cats and different combinations of grails. Such a rich and lovely tradition. Such a rich and lovely community. Such a deep connection. Such a tradtion.
At the end of my conversations I felt happy and connected. Manny gave his permission and his approval of what I wrote while my sister politely listened to my excitement over more possibilities that I am working on. She understood my thrill over a cheery table cloth. She understood my need to sew for the church. My sisters and mom always do understand. Mia Sorellina promised to update mom and dad tomorrow when she sees them.
I learned from the Welsh relatives that Sunday afternoon dinner was very important. They had the whole family together eating a nice meal and that was that. No excuses. I was awestruck by how much this connected them all. We all enjoyed an intricate and happy meal that felt like it had all the camaraderie of Thanksgiving back in the states.
Since I cannot have my sisters, parents, exes and kids over for dinner here, I can at least invite Gabriele who is our family here to Sunday dinner. He can be part of our new tradtions, our new community and connections. Our house is clean. The table is set. I bought meat at the market yesterday so in a few hours, we are having Sunday dinner and a new Sunday tradition starts, complete with candy for dessert. I can bring this home Welsh tradition home with me. I won’t make everyone come to dinner every Sunday when I get back, but maybe I will try to make sure that Sundays are my family days for hanging out and having fun.
I can create my own connections and community, just like I am doing here.