This morning I pulled my sleepy, hardworking body out of bed early with the intention of being productive. The last few days I have felt a bit stuck. I am exhausted, and rightfully so. However, I don’t like the feeling that the day just got away from me. And the last few have. By the end of the day, all I have managed is a workout and a whole lot of cooking. While those are important, I have other things I need to be more proactive with.
Awake, I headed to our favorite cafe for my cappuccino and their wifi. There are a few loose ends I have been trying to tie up, and our internet has been intermittent at best lately. Upon arrival I ordered, found my place and opened my laptop… I wasn’t the only one with downed internet. Not how I wanted my day to start. Alas, after my cafe I headed back home to festively wrap up the goodies I had made for my landlords and neighbors.
With loaves of bread & cookies in hand I climbed the four flights of stairs to my landlords flat. Mind you these two 75 year olds do this every day, several times a day. Impressive as I was winded by floor 2! I knocked on the door to deliver my gift and be on my way, but that is never the way Italians do it. I was quickly ushered in, told to sit and offered espresso, cakes, and chocolate. According to them, I am too skinny for being 7 1/2 months pregnant. Haha! I gracefully declined, but to no avail. Food was placed in front of me. Darn.
I later peeked into the kitchen to see what she was up to and there it was… my first true Italian old lady and her homemade pasta, moment! A true stereotypical moment that I imagined before we moved here. She was making tiny pastas by hand, Struffoli, for a holiday treat on Saturday that we are now having at my house. She will be over at 11am so that we can all enjoy together. As you wish Carmella. I will not turn you down and am at your service.
What a crazy life we lead! It never ceases to amaze me that people, who do not speak the same language in any way can manage to communicate so well and even share meals together. I was just sitting there listening to her go on and on about, well, I have no idea what. She just loves to talk. I was fascinated by her aged and arthritis-ridden hands as she cut and folded each little piece of pasta. I could have stayed longer, but productivity was the order of the day right? So regretfully, I left and walked back home to deliver the other bread to my neighbors, who live behind me. Every morning when I open the balcony shutters, there is Monica, out on her balcony hanging linens to dry in the sunshine, or mopping her floors. She always waves and says “Ciao!” with a smile on her face. Last year, we brought them some wine, but that really was the extent of our interactions and it didn’t seem to go over too well. We later learned that most Italians make their own wine at home and thus this gift wasn’t particularly thoughtful. But bring an Italian family food, the result is night and day! I spent the next hour or so chatting about family, children and looking at photos of grandma (who also lives there). Monica is a retired teacher, and is very patient with my Italian. It was a lovely visit with her and her mother. Again I was plied with cafe and sweets as we chatted.
I was about to leave when grandma decided, as well, that I am too skinny. So she told me to wait, and naturally, I listened to her. While she was away I peeked in her kitchen, because I am nosy, to find a freshly plucked chicken in its entirety laying on a cutting board waiting to be cooked. Moment number two for me today! I have so much respect and appreciation for food and the plants and animals that give up their life for our nourishment. I have even more respect for people who know where their food comes from and aren’t shying away from it.
Monica immediately apologized for the display when she caught me peering over the rooster. No need, of course! I tried to explain how much I appreciate that they use the whole animal. I asked if they used the bones as well for broth, she said no, but that since I liked chicken so much that they would bring it over Saturday after they had prepared it… I am floored by the simply generosity of people some times. All of the hard work, done by hand that these people do, just to give it away because lets face it, for Italians, food is love. It is family and it is life. Grandma returned from her garden and chicken coop in the yard and came back with an abundance of fresh fruit, eggs, homemade wine, spaghetti sauce and macaroni sauce for me to take home.
I headed home, with a full heart and my arms full of natures candies. As I put them away, I thought to myself, life is good. People are good and I am one lucky lady. I hope that I can be as unintentionally influential on people in my life as these ladies undoubtedly are in theirs. I will sleep a very content woman tonight after a very full and wonderful day spent amongst lovely women taking care of everyone around them. I headed to the nursery-in-progress to reflect on my blessings, wonder what kind of family we are about to become, and to read to the squisher for a bit before carrying on with my to do list. Feeling good today.