When Cinder and I arrived last month it was a Sunday morning. It was gray, drizzly, and cold. I was exhausted from the travel and from worrying over Cinder flying with the luggage. Our first few days were awkward and solitary, and I had more than a few moments where I looked at her and said, “What the hell are we doing here?”
Cut to today and we are in a much better place. The sky is blue and cloudless. Fields of deep red poppies make the hills surrounding our apartment look like they are blushing, and the temperatures are warm enough that I can walk barefoot in my apartment and not feel like the frigid tiles are sucking the life out of me. Gone are Cinder’s stomach issues as she is no longer stressed. Her biggest worry is whether the kitty Theo will get close enough so she can bark threateningly at him, and whether Angela will remember her prosciutto at the bar. Everyone here calls her Cenerentola, which is Cinderella in Italian. I used it once to explain her name and it stuck. She doesn’t seem to mind.
I too am no longer stressed and crazed. It actually feels like we’ve been here much longer than a month. But I think that’s a result of living in a place that in some ways is like going back in time. The pace is relaxed– lingering over a conversation or meal is normal and expected. Time is devoted each day to cooking, cleaning and other chores that are part of living simply. As I’m discovering, living a “simple” life requires a lot of work! Not sure how you accomplish everything when you actually have a job.
Yesterday, I finally got my last boxes from Laura and Marisa. They’ve been too busy with the agriturismo to bring them by, so my Italian professor Alberto offered to run me out there to get them. In class, I’d mentioned the boxes which I’d yet to retrieve and I think he felt bad that anyone could be without their kitchen utensils for so long! When we arrived at the farm, Laura and Marisa were cleaning guest rooms and getting ready for the next guests to descend. I only got to chat with them for a few minutes, but Laura called me last night and we will try to get together this week.
Unpacking my boxes was like Christmas. It had only been a month and a half since I’d seen the stuff inside, but just having those last few things made me feel all the more at home. Miranda’s ashes were in one of the boxes as well as my knives, my le creuset pans and all my framed photos of friends and family. I spent the afternoon making space for everything in my apartment.
While I was organizing, Marinella called up to my window (as they do here) and asked if I wanted to run over to the nursery nearby. She has a beautiful yard with tons of flowers and plants. I immediately set aside my boxes and went to get a few more plants for our porch. Two outings in one day in a car was quite exciting for me. (I really need to get a car, but just can’t rationalize the expense until I’m working.)
Now that my house is in order and I have some new friends and acquaintances in town, my fleeting doubts from a month ago have long since receded. Angelo and Massimo want to have me to dinner to meet a friend of theirs so that should be fun, and when I do get to see Laura and Marisa again I will be happy. There is of course the pesky matter of a job, but Alberto tells me “con calma,” and that I will find one soon. Actually he tells me “con calma” frequently since, as relaxed as I feel here, my impatient “New Yorker” keeps surfacing. Maybe after two months, it too will begin to recede. Speriamo!