August 25, 2015

AFTERNOONS IN PENNADOMO

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On a cloudy afternoon, we made our way to the little town of Pennadomo. I brought my camera, and Gianluca wanted nothing more than to be the photographer for the afternoon. I kept telling him we were going to take turns sharing the camera, which made him whine. I told him he couldn't have the camera if we was going to whine, which made him whine more. He will learn ;) In the next post, I'll show you the photos Gianluca took. He's a natural!

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Look at that little face! Gianluca is super hard to photograph. He is constantly on the run (and always wanting to be the one taking the pictures). He is incredibly curious and makes comments about every detail he finds interesting, posing questions I often can't answer. There are so many things that are hard to explain to a three-year-old! In Pennadomo, he was super happy to photograph the dog in the window, as you can see in the next-to-last picture. I wish I had more pictures of the landscapes surrounding Pennadomo. Breathtaking. 

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San Pio, I saw that statue and had to take a picture for my mom!

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August 22, 2015

SUMMER TRIP TO ABRUZZO [PART II]

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“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

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In the mornings, we went to the beach. Almost every day for a week, I swam and read and worked on my tan. Worked on my tan, there's something I hardly ever say. I have lived with a parent who loves nothing more than to bake in the sun, and I finally wanted to know what it felt like, what I would look like. It felt fine, I looked fine, but was it worth it? No. I'd rather not get skin cancer. By the time I got to Ireland, my tan had significantly faded. I'd rather not get dramatic wrinkles by the time I'm 35. Besides, what's the fun in a tan with no story? While I was in Dublin, Stevie and I spent time on a friend's barge. Stevie was all over the place, helping open all the locks as we traveled the canal. The sun was bright and by the end of the day, he had some color on the back of his neck and the sides of his arms. If someone were to ask him how he got, well, sunburnt, not tan — but it still works for the story — he could tell them about the days on the barge, and all the fun and the work and the peanut sauce (I made peanut sauce). If someone asked me, all I could say is "I was at the beach for 3 hours every day doing nothing." That's boring. A tan should have a good story. 

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“No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.” 

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I had the afternoons to myself most days. I read Just Kids by Patti Smith in three days. It was the only book I brought so after that I did sudoku and listened to podcasts until I ran out of podcasts and had to find wifi in town to download more. I do love podcasts, but like TV shows, they keep my mind busy. Listening to something, paying attention. It's nice but not always healthy. These days, I'm trying to enjoy more silence. It's peaceful once I get over the fear of nothing. It was easy there. There was no wifi, which gave me a much needed break. It would be nice to have a summer house in Italy. Maybe one day, who knows. Wouldn't that be nice? 

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August 21, 2015

SUMMER TRIP TO ABRUZZO [PART I]

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"I'm clear enough in the head, he thought. Too clear. I am as clear as the stars that are my brothers. Still I must sleep. They sleep and the moon and the sun sleep and even the ocean sleeps sometimes on certain days when there is no current and a flat calm."

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The world needs people who want to live. This little boy is so alive. Gianluca loves the ocean and the water and running around naked in the countryside because he can. He looks for roly-poly insects and makes up weird songs in the car. He often refuses his nap, not realizing that sleep is a good thing. Sleep keeps you from feeling half-dead all those hours you are awake. So after an afternoon with no nap, you feel the tiredness in his voice and his manner, and his sudden inability to go up small hills with his bike and the frustration that brings. Gianluca is a strong boy, with so much energy. During my time with him, he walked a lot while we discovered small villages and castles, he spent hours in the water, swimming around looking for little fish, and drove his bike everywhere, often with me or his mom running behind making sure he didn't drive into the street (scaring the crap out of me a few times). He was obsessed with my camera, always wanting to be the photographer, but not having the patience to let everyone have a turn taking pictures (patience wasn't my forte when I was a child either) and I can't wait to share the pictures he took. 

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"He put his two hands together and felt the palms. They were not dead and he could bring the pain of life by simply opening and closing them. He leaned his back against the stern and knew he was not dead. His shoulders told him."

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Every night after dinner, he wanted to read about volcanoes. Some day he'll take me to Mount Etna, he said. Gianluca eats a lot of good stuff. He likes meatballs, and chicken, and salmon. He likes certain vegetables, and even entered a "carrot crunch contest" with me (what I'll come up with to get him to eat veggies...), but refuses to eat other things. I told him what I was told as a child: Just try it. If you don't like it, you don't have to eat it, but try it. I'm older now, old enough to pass on advice I was given as a child. That's wild. I ate a lot of good stuff during the trip, too. A man from the area around Naples drove three hours every Wednesday to deliver mozzarella to restaurants and Gianluca's nonna made sure we bought some as well. Twice, she made the simplest, most delicious salad of arugula, bresaola and parmigiano. On my last day, we went to a fish shop and I ate squid and octopus and shrimp and I was the happiest for it. Abruzzo heat was brutal in the afternoons, so after nap time, around 5pm we would sometimes go into town and stop in a café for some ghiacciolo (Gianluca) and crema di cafe (me). It was nothing fancy, but it was my favorite thing to have in the afternoon. (continued in Part II)

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"Now they have beaten me, he thought. I am too old to club sharks to death. But I will try it as long as I have the oars and the short club and the tiller." 

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