...a story about migrating to Italy

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This isn't really a proper post. I don't know how to start.
I have a list building up on things I want to write about.
Such as:
1.The time I stayed awake all night making melanzane in the jar with Giuseppe's mum, Teresa. It's a long process, a very southern method of salting the melanzane (eggplant,) letting it sit in vinegar and then finally layering it in jars with olive oil, garlic and oregano. The salting and the vinegar is four hours waiting time each, plus an hour each time for preparation, depending on how much you make. I made it once alone and Teresa was interested in learning how to make it. So, I found myself at 3am in the industrial kitchen with Teresa, the aroma of vinegar and garlic weighing heavily in the air as we patted slices of melanzane with paper towels. And we talked. A lot. My Italian, however improved, is still at basic level but I got by with animated expressions, gestures and a great deal of theatrical storytelling. We learnt a lot about each other.
2. Nella, my sister, came to stay with us for a week and ended up staying for two weeks because of an Icelandic volcano. I felt very strange with her being here - stoked, wrapped to see her, (for people living out of Australia, stoked and wrapped means really happy,) but it was like a George Costanza 'worlds collide'... because up until when she arrived, being here felt like a dream. Post Nell, it really hit me how far away I really am, more so... and how long it may be until we see each other again. Even if I only stay in Italy until the end of this year, it's still longer than we have ever stayed apart. Prior to this, it was a seven month stretch when she travelled through South East Asia. But then I think about when Lucia, my oldest sister, lived in Florence for three years. The time seemed to go by so quickly and Skype and the like always makes the world seem that bit smaller.
3. Valentino turned one year old on May 2nd. One year. He's really not a baby anymore. Here comes toddler time, already. He's been through eating solids, growing first teeth, walking - what's next... potty training? Talking? He says Mama, Papa, almost distinctively... and a word 'yowie' which I think is his way of saying 'I'm having lots of fun right now!'. Sometimes he seems to be speaking in a sort of Star Wars dialect. I really don't see how he can get any cuter but he seems to be increasing in cuteness every day. Sometimes we have to count back from twenty just to compose ourselves when he is just too wonderful. How did we make such a boy? We often ask each other. My dear friend Anna reminded me of a question she once asked me, a few years ago: "Who are you most inspired by?" And my reply was "I haven't met them yet.." When she approached me with a follow-up question, (which she almost always does, the natural journo that she is,) I expressed something along the lines of that my future child will be my inspiration. That's the best thing I've ever said.

I'm trying to make a pact with myself to stop whinging and moping. I know we all have to whinge and mope to a degree, probably a small dose is somewhat healthy for venting purposes, like a car with exhaust, but I am attempting to kick my arse if I do it excessively. Born in the year of the goat, I am prone to excess. Makes sense.

I've been playing video games. When I get into that mode, parts of my brain go into standby. But I think because they've been working overtime, they need to rest a little. Even when in standby, they are collating, analysing, doing stuff, (the part of my brain that holds the word I needed is in standby so I had to use 'stuff'.) When I go into gamer mode, it's because my brain is sorting stuff out. It needs extra resources to do so.
My point being, I have a lot of things that I want to do, but I just can't function well enough lately to do them. And I know why. When we arrived here, I made a big, long list for myself and set on a road steep and winding. Get a job teaching at an English school, tutor English at home, write a novel, co-pilot a creative project, learn Italian, learn to cook, become an athlete, learn tennis and write a blog. See Italy. On top of trying to maintain a small world by sending text messages, emails and calling in any spare moment. On top of being a mum.
That's first. And whether we stay here or not, if I don't learn Italian properly then our time here seems... well I did always say that I could only learn a second language by living it. In other words, bisogno parlare Italiano con Giuseppe ogni giorno. Perchè adesso, parla solo inglese con lui, e poi, non impari tanto.
It's all OK, tutto posto... I have to reshuffle.
Stand by.

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