Today Cinder and I are celebrating six months here in Italy. I now feel settled, have some great friends, and am miraculously surviving with almost no income. It’s almost November and tonight we turn the clocks back. It’s been cold and rainy the last few days and I had to put the heat on a couple of times. I am also still without a proper jacket. Why oh why did I leave my LLBean barn jacket behind?! With highs barely reaching the 50s, it takes forever for the laundry to dry on the line , but even longer if you try to dry things inside. I washed Cinder’s blanket two days ago and it’s still damp. She’s not overly concerned as she is content to burrow under my duvet when she feels a chill.
With the shortening days, and the stores stocking their winter goods, it feels like the start of the holiday season. And, of course, inspires me to bake…a lot. I will definitely miss seeing my friends this year, baking everyone’s favorite cookies, and preparing for my annual Holiday party. I certainly don’t have the funds to attempt anything like that for my new friends here. While I’m looking forward to spending my first holidays in Italy, it will also be a little strange–especially since they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, which is my favorite! Bonnie and I are going to cook dinner together for the kids and when she goes to the States in a couple of weeks, she is charged with bringing back the pumpkin and evaporated milk for the pumpkin pie.
As much as I love the simplicity and peacefulness of life here, I’m definitely still an outsider and am always conscious of how small a town I live in. My friend Anna says it’s the favorite past time here to talk about everybody, and I have felt this keenly this week. Obviously the word is out that I’ve been on a few dates because when I went to the butcher the other day and asked for vitello for osso bucco, Silvano smiled knowingly when I said four pieces. These things are a little hard to adjust too, but I just try to remind myself that they are talking about everyone in the same way. I always end conversations with Antonella, Caterina or Angela with “Fra noi” which means this is between us, but then I’ll see their husbands the next day and realize they know everything we’ve just talked about. It’s also strange that everyone knows who I am and will say hello to me by name. I find this is especially disconcerting when it’s a person I’ve never met, or maybe was introduced to once. But the small town intimacy also can work in your favor because once you’ve been accepted into the group, your friends become loyal and are willing to share things about their lives. They also constantly try to help on the work front, which is REALLY appreciated.
My Italian is better now–still a struggle with people who speak quickly, but I can follow a conversation pretty well and only make about a thousand mistakes a day. This week brings Halloween and I’m making cookies for Bonnie’s kids who are upset that it’s not celebrated here. Also planning an evening out with the girls, which should be fun. Oh and a handsome friend of Antonella’s invited me for coffee yesterday and we had a really nice time. Of course, I wisely said nothing to anyone–let them talk about someone else this week!!!!