...a story about migrating to Italy

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The San Marchese Sicilian Working Driving Australian in Bovolone, Verona

Firstly, I'd like to thank all who have been reading this. Is that OK, to start a blog with a thank you? Is there a blogger code?

It's almost midnight and I'm wide awake. Today, I set about trying to make myself super tired so that I would sleep well tonight.
I woke up at ten though. I intended to wake earlier. Oh well. I woke up, brought Valentino down to change his nappy and Giuseppe made cafè lattès. We had breakfast together and after, I made scones. From my mother's recipe. Then I peeled and sliced three eggplants, salted them and set them aside. Then I chopped up a kilo of beef, marinated it and refridgerated it. Then we had lunch. After lunch, I started making the pasta sauce. Long story short, tonight we had dinner with the whole family and I was the cook. We ate penne with beef napoli sauce, almost like my nonna Lucia used to make. Penne with pieces of beef in the pasta sauce reminds me of Thursday night dinners at my Nonna's house when I was small. We went every week until I was maybe ten years old.
I also made melanzane parmigana. I've never attempted to make it before, and I didn't work from a recipe. So, it was far from what my nonna Nella used to make... when she made it I nicknamed it 'Heaven in a dish'. Nonetheless, it all turned out pretty good. A combination of San Marchese, (nonna Lucia, my father's mother,) Sicilian, (nonna Nella, my mother's mother,) and good ol' English/Aussie scones with whipped cream and jam, (mum's recipe.) A nice triptych of dishes that, in a way, kind of make up who I am.
Now I am the Australian living in Verona... Bovolone, to be precise, as quaint and friendly as any small town. People know who I am. It's pretty much how I imagined it. People wave, say ciao and ask me how I like Italy. I reply 'si si, bene, mi piace,' or something to that effect.
Tomorrow, I will start my new job, my first work in Italy. How appropriate that it will be at a Montessori school, a school that was born here, some 100 years ago or so. I like the fact that I will be the English teacher, the English speaker, yet I will inevitably learn more Italian because perhaps one or two teachers speak English there, but their English is very limited. Giuseppe told me to call him if I get stuck in translation. I told him to install an English-Italian dictionary on my phone. I don't think he got around to it yet, so it will be an interesting day.
The school is approximately fifty minutes drive away or atleast two modes of transport. The first step to transporting my way there though would be to somehow get to the next town, Cerea, because the train does not pass through here, nor does a bus go from here to there. I suggested that I bike ride to Cerea... but everyone dramatically replied 'No!' (That doesn't need to be translated, it's the same word, only with an 'o' sound like in 'dog'...) Apparently, a bike ride to Cerea is very dangerous, as there is only one, narrow, winding road that cars hoon down. I wonder if there is a direct translation for 'hoon'? There better be, because I love that word. 'Hoon' ...and 'lout' is also a favourite.
So, Giuseppe will drive me tomorrow for my first day. When I finish work, he'll pick me up and then I will commence learning to drive in Italy. I have to get used to three main aspects: driving on the right side of the road, driving manual and coping with the general hoon-like way the majority of people seem to drive here. My father would always say 'Watch out for the dickheads on the road'. He would be pressing his lips tightly together and breathing loudly through his nose with the thought of any of us, (my sisters and I,) driving anywhere outside a 15km radius of home. It's as if home radiated some sort of invisible protective dome and anything beyond it's boundaries was fraught with perils.
Oh and the signs are white or blue here, no Melbourne greeness. Traffic lights are half of the Melbourne traffic light population, as they are situated only on one side of an intersection. Sometimes you have to slightly turn your head to check the colour. And there aren't any give-way signs, they are for the most part, painted on the road, just a big upside down triangle, white outline.
I've been driving for twelve years. I'm sure I can handle it. Though I was looking forward to a bike ride every day, a purposeful one. When exercise becomes a part of travel, you hardly think of it as exercise. And a daily train ride. I love the train. I have read the most books in the least amount of time during times in my life when I have caught the train daily.
Well, I better sign off, I have only about six hours to get some sleep. Wish me luck! Notte!

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