Saturday, July 5, 2008

So What?

For an unknow reason, this phrase triggers giggles and outright laughs from my Italian friends whenever I utter it. Thusly, I utter it often.

I feel that my writing has not been just to my time in Italy. Now I sit listening to muxtapes (on which I will post a choronological musical account of my travels when I return to the states) and reflecting on what might have been a perfect day to top off a near perfect previous three days.

Since arriving here on Wednesday, Paolo and I sleep until about 1 pm every day, make some sort of pasta meal and beer for lunch, then generally take a nap in the near 100 degree heat. I am sleeping in Paolo's room while he sleeps in his roommate's in her absence. Then when it begins to cool down, we shuffle off to the center of town, which I remember in snippits from my trip here ten years ago. We have eaten pizza every night for dinner, which makes me so happy I can hardly find the words to express my emotion. Then it's off to the Four Bears Pub to drink until we stumble home, ready to do it again.

However, last night was different in that it reunited me with another longtime friend of Alessandria, Tommaso. We met up after dinner at the pub (dinner was at the new pizza place owned by a co-worker of Paolo's who he refers to as the "Pizza Master", and it's true. If his pizza is lacking anything, it is the use of a seasoned oven as his place has been open a mere two weeks, and he was so excited to have an American present. I will dream of this place when I return stateside.) Seeing Tommaso again brought back a flood of emotions, as he is one of the kindest people I have ever met. We talked at the pub, drank too many beers and I smoked one of his hand-rolled cigarrettes, which made me feel like dying.

Today, Poalo, Tommaso, Chiara (Tommi's girlfriend) and two friends, one of which is an Italian actor and his French girlfriend Marion all went out to see another of my old friends Lucca, who lives in the country with his wife and new baby boy. Lucca's "new" house is what you would call a fixer-upper, and he has been fixin her upper for 2 years now, but it is still nowhere near ready to be inhabited. We sat outside on the grass, had a picnic of meats and bread and ice cream and beer for what seemed like hours that I drank in as preciously as the warming beer. I held a crying baby as Lucca looked ready to tear up, and talked with Marion about California as she manufactured a bracelet out of the weeds in the grass.

When you have no place you need to be, it becomes much easier to appreciate what is right in front of you. Friends, who emminate love regardless of language barriers, sunrays hiding behind an Italian villa, waiting for you to change the position of your looking so that they can jump out and blind you, the smell of the breeze, and a sense of belonging that cannot be explained by words. My conversations with Pielu ( "the actor") were precious. As we left the country to head into the nearest province for dinner, my conversations with Tommaso turned to the heavy sort of political\philosophical sort that make you appreciate people who can do so in a language not their own, and make me feel slightly embarrassed that I have such a poor grasp of any language save that of my mother country. My talks with Tommaso over the last two days have left me with the realization that my disdain towards my fellow countrymen and my reluctance to consider myself a tourist are perhaps overinflated and not as important as I believe them to be.

Dinner consists of: Pasta with truffles, white wine, salad with thin slices of meat, cheese and greens with lettuce and olive oil, bread, another cheese platter with fresh honey to dip the cheese into (never would have thought of this, but I could kiss whoever came up with it), thin slices of roast beef and a finisher of ice cream and coffee.

All of this occurred between Lucca and I telling each other how much we loved each other and how happy we were to see each other, with Tommaso as the translator. It sounds so silly, but was completely genuine. Each conversation with these people seems better than the last. We make plans for their visit to California, our for future business ventures that rely upon my relocating to Italy. While I enjoyed my time in Madrid more than I probably even realize, these last few days have been some of the most precious I can remember.

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