...a story about migrating to Italy

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm starting to pack...

OK firstly, I have NO idea what to pack! I want my books... which I have never counted so I'm about to do a sort of 'guess how many jelly beans in the jar' guess and say that perhaps I have 356 books. Nice number, one for each day. It costs approx. $150 to send a 20kg package that will arrive in three months. It costs $400 if you want it to arrive in one month.
So I'll start with 3, perhaps. One will be 'Eat right for your blood type,' because I'm sort of following that guide with some cheating involved. Cheating = I had some lemon and ginger tea when according to this book, I'm not supposed to have ginger.
I should bring my all time favourite novel, 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte. The book that eluded me into thinking that a handsome brute with the most extreme selfishness and behaviour problems is romantic. OK I won't bring it.
My astrology books? Giuseppe has already been read all his pages, as he sat quietly as a perfect gentleman and nodded and smiled, probably for the first time elated that he didn't understand some words. Not many other people that I'm going to instantly know in Italy speak or understand English.
I would usually pack something in my carry-on luggage to read on the plane. Though with Valentino, I don't think there'll be much reading time. There isn't any reading time at home, why would there be any reading time on the plane?
I have too much stuff. In the last ten years, I have not moved very far... still, I have moved ten times, back and forth. That and the fact that I am not very good with organising material stuff, I have accumulated boxes upon boxes of miscellaneous junk.
Now... I am going to leave it all behind, tucked away in corners of built-in robes and stacked neatly in the garage of my mother's house. If I don't feel the need to see or use any of it in 5 years, then I will have it thrown away and anything that may be useful to others can go to the Salvo's.
I have one box clearly labelled 'Sentimental Stuff,' or something to that effect, that has an odd assortment of letters, photos, drawings, old school diaries, trinkets, etc. that I just can't discard.
It makes me think of the character in the movie 'Amelie,' the man that she returns the metal box full of his trinkets and memories to. And it's true what he says - one day you are older and all of your memories can fit in one box... so you better be making the most of the time you have left before you end up in a box yourself.
And now we are going to live in Italy for who knows how long? We will send some of Valentino's toys, (especially toys that were gifts,) and I am simply going to re-order his collection of books in Italy because it will be cheaper that way. We have two nephews in Italy, the youngest is three years old so all of his clothes, toys, his cot, pram and anything else we may possibly need is there waiting for us.
I know what to do about packing. I will pack like we are going on an extended holiday, because that is all it may be, we don't have certaintly yet. I don't need all of my books. I'm not going to require any of the miscellaneous junk. I don't need to pack my life into a box. I certanily can't pack my family and friends into a box. People are my life. And Giuseppe and Valentino are my core.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Farfelle hanno comincato... (The butterflies have started...)

Two hours ago I was sitting in Brunetti's, Carlton, (very Italian,) sipping my soy latte (not very Italian,) and enjoying good company with mio amore Giuseppe, his parents Fernando and Teresa and my sister Lucia.
If you sit in the first, more restaurant-type left side of Brunetti's, (Oh I am so rusty with my word flow,) there are enlarged, beautiful black and white photos decorating the walls. One photo is of a man baking bread in the street, round crusty baked bread the size of car wheels. He is lifting one of the loaves on a giant shovel that you see being used in the wood-fire oven pizza restaurants. Another is of two elderly women straining freshly-cooked spagetti in an old-style kitchen. My gaze shifted back and forth between these images and the tranquil faces of Giuseppe's parents as I listened to their words and tried my best to understand them.
Tonight, it started. I thought it started a few days ago, but I can see now that was a false start. The realisation, that this time next month I will be LIVING in Italy has started to grow in my belly and the farfalle (butterflies) are beginning to flit about. Is flit a word? Who cares - I need to learn it in Italian before I start focusing too heavily on polishing my English. I'll ask Giuseppe... OK he said "I am not a butterflies expert" and then started listing five or more different ways I could say 'flit' or 'fly' about. Volare is 'to fly'. Like the song: VOLARE, O-OH! Ugh. Is flit a word? If anyone can help me out I'd appreciate it very much.

A part of Italy comes to Melbourne

Today I got my Visa for Italy and we received Valentino's Italian passport! A weight has been lifted off my shoulders - this was the most stressful aspect of it all. Not to say that it has been overly stressful. But paperwork and organising documents is not my preferred passtime - is it anyone's? Hermes from Futurama comes to mind.
On Saturday morning, Giuseppe's parents arrived. They have come straight from winter in northern Italy to Melbourne's scorching January heatwave. They actually prefer the heat here though - in the north of Italy it is extremely humid; probably more like the north of Australia.
I feel bad because we haven't taken them anywhere too exciting yet - but the heat and their jetlag coupled with Italian siestas limit big day trips at the moment and Valentino limits big nights out. Siesta? Wait I'll consult Giuseppe for Italian term rather than Spanish... 'pausa' - ah, like a pause in your day.
'Voglio una pausa' = I want to take a break.
Yes since Giuseppe's parents have arrived, I've been practising Italian more - since they don't speak a word of English. I even did 'spesa' (grocery shopping,) with his mum today and we got by with my limited Italian speaking skills.
I've just realised it has been so long since I sat down to write creativly - that I am very rusty and the words don't flow like they used to. That and the fact that for the past few years I have been both teaching ESL (English as a second language,) and supporting my partner to learn English. This has resulted in my vocabulary being condensed to basic words, eliminating phrases and needless complex language.
Anyway - I was actually writing this yesterday but Valentino woke up and I had to slam my notebook shut and run. Luckily, when I turned on my PC just now this page was still up and I could save my work. If I am going to get back into my writing, these are the things I need to be flexible about. Let's hope I warm up soon and de-rust and dust off my fluency and vocab.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I have always been, in a sense, 'The Italian Friend,' or colleague. Even though I was born and raised in Australia. My father was also born in Australia and raised here. He never saw Italy. My mother was born in Italy, but migrated here when she was six years old. That was in 1952.
Nonetheless, I am 'The Italian' living in Melbourne.

I was the girl at school who had melanzane sandwiches (eggplant parmigiana.) I talked about my Nonna rather than a Nana or Gran. I spoke of my Papa` and Mamma and Zias and Zios (uncles and aunts). Friendly discussions among the older generation of the family sounded like heated arguements. At Easter I ate crostoli and at Christmas I ate panetone. I wasn't allowed to sleep over my best friends house until 15 years of age. A boyfriend had to come in and meet my father, discuss cars over an espresso or beer and await approval from him. At weddings we danced the tarantella and the duck dance. These things are pretty typical for an Italian family living in Melbourne.

Today, I have a family of my own. My partner Giuseppe and our 8 month old son Valentino.
Valentino was born in Melbourne. Giuseppe was born in Verona, Italy.
We are about to leave Australia for Italy.
Soon I will be 'The Australian' living in Verona.