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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, July 4, 2012

33 Savoring Our Friends In Italy

 33 Savoring Our Friends In Italy

     My last week in our town seems to have passed in a blur. I ran out of food and money, but Spencer was used to just eating pasta without any sauce at meals by this point. Then my Italian friends figured out we were eating scraps and we suddenly were invited to everything. Everything we ate from that point on was stupendous. The women here cook with such effort and love that you can feel it coming from the heartfelt food that was served. It reminded me of my mom’s cooking. They kept it up all the time. Every day, 3 times a day or more, the women just made the best food. Even being hungry turned out to be a blessing here.  

     We ran out of gas energy so we suddenly no longer had hot water or our stove for cooking. That was sort of a last straw. I kind of NEED to take a shower daily and I took two cold ones but I was not going to subject Spencer to more then 2 days of that so when I got 60 euros from Gordon via many days worth of waiting for it to show up at the ATM, I bought gas that afternoon and was delighted to take a hot shower and be late when going over to the Bar.

    Spencer and I had taken to not using the computer much during our last week at the Bar…we wanted to talk to our friends and appreciate them instead. It was especially nice since the last week we were there the kids were out of school and they could play all the time.

     Our time became precious since there was so little left. I was excited when I was given the treat of getting to look at my friend’s wedding pictures. I got to look at family wedding photo albums with all the lushness that the area has to offer in its splendor. There were green rich meadows for the bridal couple to be photographed while walking, kissing and loving each other. It was amazingly romantic. I have to admit. This countryside would be the most perfect place to be with a romantic partner. I thought my older son, who proposed to his girlfriend while I was gone, should bring her here and just explore the countryside and roam around in this land of extremes. It is both wild and  civilized terrain.  I knew that the people here seemed to actually be quite caring of the English speakers who wandered through their midst, and they would take care of any couple who wandered through but I know my son would be amongst friends that would take care of them both here.

     It reminded me of how patient they had been with me this whole 5 weeks. Almost every day I said something wrong, insensitive or plain stupid. The nice thing is that the Abruzzo folk were so easy going and classy, nothing seemed to phase them. As an example, I stupidly cut in front of my friend at the post office, and she did not say a word. It wasn’t until I was leaving that I figured out that no one stepped into the inner office until the previous person was done at the Poste. I apologized as I realized what I had done but the people here do not seem as tied up in protocol and exactitudes as I was. There was definitely a protocol to follow and I am sure there was much more going on then I understood, but overall, my friends were not overly concerned about my stupidity.

     That hit me strangely. I have lived my whole adult life feeling that everyone else had a playbook and I was running behind without one, but the level of my errors in comprehension and understanding was tantamount to a Mount Everest here. I just gave up worrying about doing things wrong since I would be afraid to say or do anything if I held onto that fear. I just tried really hard to pay close attention to everything that was said. All the time. I heard gossip and I heard politics going on but for the life of me, I had no idea who or what was going on even with all this Italian education I opted for.

    That created a very freeing environment for me. Since no one expected anything of me, I really did well. I did everything I was told to do obediently and I was repaid for it EVERY day. Nearly every interaction with my friends, brought me rewards that made me feel happy and wonderful all the time. When my barkeep friend told me to get up and follow her, I dropped what I was writing on the computer and even left my purse in front of the Bar to do as she said. I was rewarded with the best homemade pork sausage I have had in my left and a bottle of Giovanni’s homemade wine. Even retieving these things with her was a treat, since they were located in the bottom floor of one of their houses. I found myself looking at the most beautiful wine barrels and bottles of wine lining one whole wall. It certainly paid here to do as I was told!

     I loved to hear everyone talk. Especially one man. I have no idea why he made me feel so good. I knew nothing about him, even though someone carefully tried to explain something to me that was important about him, it was also clear to me that everyone really liked the guy. Well, he was really nice to everyone. He talked to the kids, men and women all the same. He was sort of the well liked guy around town. I had no idea what he did for a living or why I was attracted to his voice and smile so much but it was fun just to be in the Bar and with my friends. During the last week I tried to be around him as much as possible knowing that I would be satisfied with the memory of his voice.

    Also during the last week, Spencer and I stayed up really late and went back to the Bar even after dinner, (which for the CA version of me was REALLY late, REALLY late!!). Remember dinner started at 8,30 at night, so after dinner meant that I was leaving the house at 9,30 and staying out until after 11 o’ clock at night! I loved seeing my friend's face, listening to her sister's explanations of life in the area and their mother  always made me laugh.  I loved how classy one of my lady friends was as she sauntered in like a beautiful queen, always elegantly wearing a sundress. I loved the way grown women here wore sundresses almost every day, with extra pleats on the bottom or flourishes of ruffle near the neck. My sundresses in CA are not so detailed. Gosh I have to say that I really loved these people and the life I lived here. I even told my widow friend that I loved her more then once. I kind of wish now I had told her grown daughters the same. I simply adored all of them. I just hope they come out to California and I get to show them our life in California.