If I’m feeling a bit like I’m starring in my own version of the Sound of Music, there are a couple of reasons for it. Or rather, five. I spent last night and today with my new American friend Bonnie and her five kids. I’m booked for a couple of nights of babysitting next week (hooray first job) and so last night was an opportunity for me to get to know the kids a little. It was also the day that Montepulciano’s music festival, otherwise known as XXXIV Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte di Montepulciano, began it’s two week schedule of music and theatrical events. As I met Bonnie in front of her building for our walk up to Alberto’s restaurant for pizza, the band was gearing up for the trek up to Piazza Grande–if they weren’t playing Climb Every Mountain, I’m sure they were thinking it. The kids were beside themselves with excitement and as the band began parading up the street with townspeople following behind, the kids ran ahead to be right behind the music. Henry, one of the four-year-old triplets ran to me and asked to be picked up and so I burned some extra calories as we danced our way up the hill. Thankfully for the band they didn’t have to start at the town’s gate, which is at the bottom of the mountain, or no doubt they wouldn’t have had any breath left for their instruments.
When the band snaked up a side street, we made our way to the restaurant. The kids had already met Alberto and had eaten at the restaurant the week before. They sang the praises of both. Alberto was swamped and working the whole time we munched on delicious pizzas and drank a lovely Brunello (Bonnnie and me). I have no idea how he manages to run both the language school and a popular restaurant. He said he’d call me to set up a lesson this week, which is probably good since I’ve spent most of the past two days speaking in English. (Caterina and Antonella, my Italian friends as well as my best conversation partners, are both on vacation at the beach, leaving the stoop oddly bereft. Obviously they are the glue that holds the shopkeeper circle together!)
After a lovely dinner with everyone surprisingly well behaved, we trooped to the Gelateria for…well, for gelato of course. The kids were already well known there and the young guy behind the counter started spooning out everyone’s favorites. I definitely was feeling “Maria” like as I trailed behind the blond, rambunctious, ice cream-eating gang marching down the cobbled street on the way back to their house. I was given a tour of everyone’s rooms and Natalie told me she was happy to have some “girl time” because it’s not easy being the sister to four brothers. Henry the “Romeo” of the group, who’d showered me with attention through most of dinner, told me he loved me.
Cinder met the kids this morning and we paraded over to my place so we could bring her home before going to the park. Dogs aren’t allowed in the park which Cinder and I both think it’s a big bummer. It was a fun morning of swings, hide and seek and bubble blowing, and I had a great time getting to know each of them a little better. We’re going to continue our outings with more musical entertainment tomorrow–Do re mi fa so la ti do…. We’re taking a trip up to Piazza Grande to see a production of “Dedalus.”