The sun hits my porch every morning from 11:00 to about 12:30. I’ve been taking advantage of the glorious weather by bringing my laptop outside each day. It’s 80 degrees at this hour and I’m told (by Marinella and every other person in town) that this is hot for mid June. Talking about the weather comes right after every “buongiorno” or “ciao” here. Alberto calls it the national sport of Toscana. Despite my SPF 30 applications every hour or so when I’m outside, I am getting quite the tan. And in weird irregular ways, as I usually start writing and don’t change positions for a while. This has led to the aforementioned “laptop legs” and other strange markings. Cinder too takes advantage of the sunshiney porch by lying beside me for about thirty seconds before retreating to the cool tiles inside.
I’ve actually been very productive this week–not with homework, which I’m saving for next week when rain is forecast–but with writing and with exploring my town. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy writing in the mornings. With class every day for the past three weeks, I hadn’t developed a routine, and now that I have I will almost be sorry when it’s disrupted. It won’t be disrupted by class since we’re going to meet in the afternoons when Alberto returns, but I am hoping some work will come along soon and that I might actually have some place I need to go. Some days I like to fantasize that I’m on holiday in another era and that I have no money concerns, that I can wander the streets of my little town, browsing in shops, buying whatever I’d like, tasting new cheeses, having an aperitivo in the afternoon without a care in the world. Unfortunately, my limited resources makes the buying part of this difficile, so I’ve limited my indulgences to an afternoon shakerato. This is what Massimo made me when I described an American iced espresso. He makes it in a shaker, hence the name and then pours it into a martini glass. It’s quite delicious and feels much more extravagant than the two shots of espresso a couple of packs of sugar and ice that it actually is.
I’ve been stopping in to see my new friends regularly at their shops. Gabriella had to go to Romania to visit her dying grandfather, but Antonella and Caterina are hard at work. Antonella runs a small alimentari or grocery store, which doesn’t have a lot, but I buy my biscotti for breakfast (I gave up the brioche after week two; it was just too heavy), and usually I’ll get paper towels, yogurt and water. The paper towels are my secret shame because the women here don’t really use them much, preferring I guess to launder loads and loads of cloth dishtowels–this girl isn’t a fan of that approach. I know it isn’t ecologically friendly, but since I’m hoofing it around everywhere, I hope this excuses somewhat my obsessive compulsive need for sanitary clean up. I do notice that, after my time in New York where it’s taken for granted that you will recycle, I’m a much better recycler than some of my neighbors. Although the town provides humongous bins everywhere for bottles and plastic, a small fraction of the garbage I see outside houses each morning is actually separated.
I stopped in this morning to see Antonella and Caterina. Antonella’s mom just died a few weeks ago so after the store was closed for a few days “chiuso per lutto,” which means “closed for mourning,” she has been busy restocking shelves. She also posted my flyer for English lessons prominently, so I’m grateful! I bought a couple of things, and got a recipe for eggplant which I will try tonight. The eggplant and zucchini are plentiful now at the mercato. Marinella gave me an armful of zucchini and a simple recipe for a frittata with zucchini which I made the other night. I’ve posted the recipe for this as it’s only a few ingredients and was delicious.
My visit to see Caterina at the cheese shop ended with me dashing back to my house for Advil liqui-gels. Caterina had a bad headache, which she said the stuff she was taking couldn’t touch. Always one to convert another person to the wonders of Advil, I told her to try it and see if it worked. Thankfully, I brought a big bottle with me, but if this goes over I can see I might end up needing more so I can share. When I was leaving after the second visit, she insisted I take some pecoranzola with me as a thank you. I didn’t shout “Yippee,” but was thinking it. I’ll check back this afternoon, and see how she’s doing. Now I’m off to cook my new eggplant recipe and hope that it’s tasty.