Friday, July 11, 2003

Every Thought's a Possibility

Listening to Carly Simon on the radio as we, a bus filled with Italian 10-year olds and one American (often mistaken for Chinese), drove through Le Marche countryside--past olive groves, bails of hay in long golden fields, crumbling farmhouses, a wide green-eyed lake--I felt the feeling one gets when one realizes for the first time that it is, finally, summertime. It was a breathable calm feeling, but it was tinged with a sense that time is already passing away, that the summer won't hang on much longer.

On the bus the kids talked and played gameboy and stood up in their seats. The other counselors chatted, watched their watches. In fifteen minutes time we would arrive at a water park, spend the whole afternoon in swimming pools, sliding down water slides, jumping from diving boards.

But I will remember always this--having stopped a moment and feeling that the summer is coming to an end. Having heard music, kids laughing, and having been reminded of this summer, and summers past. In a month's time I will be on a plane back to America. The summer is ending. I can feel it already.


Daily Quote

"What I say is that if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow."

-A. A. Milne

Castles and Carmels

Our gig as token English-speaking camp councelors is half over...only two more weeks of handkerchief games.

The familiar routine was broken today when my camp's director announced a "garra dei castelli." Pales and shovels in hand, we marched 103 kids to the waterfront for a sandcastle-building contest. With £12 worth of candy as the prize, even I was tempted to grab a pale and create a little American competition for the youngsters. Instead, I meandered between the groups of junior architects, some working together as a team to create complex sand-villas and others having more fun passionately arguing and gesticulating over who'd be the best foreman for the project.

Yesterday's "Daily Quote" came to mind as we councelors/judges looked over the finished projects. As children of a country renowned for its architecture, as kids who wake up every day in buildings centuries old, the passion they put into the construction of such temporary castles was even more impressive. The perspective of this token English-speaker is valued little by the junior Medicis and Bruneleschis covered in sand this morning, but I think they did their ancestors proud. Like so many generations before them, they built on sand as if it were stone.

Kind of puts handkerchief games into perspective...


Thursday, July 10, 2003

Daily Quote

"Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand, but we must build as if sand were stone."

-Jorge Luis Borges

Jackie's Links

Just a quick note--I updated my links to include a list of other weblogs that I have been visiting. Most of them have to do with travel or living in another country, but I hope to find some with broader interests as well. I am also looking for some about Italy. I am sure they are out there, I just have yet to find them.

Anyway, enjoy the blogs.


Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Quote of the Day

"She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit."

-W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

And Not A Drop To Drink

I search to find the perks to my beach job in Civitanova, and some days they just suddenly reveal themselves to me, like I should've seen them all along.

This morning, before the kids got to the beach, Linda (the other English language teacher) and I hit a volleyball back and forth in the water. It was some of the clearest water I've seen there--cold and crisp; empty. You could see the tiny waves disrupt the layered steps of wet sand--water coming in and awaking sand clouds soft as dandelion seeds.

In the morning is the only time you can really feel water like this--when it is still an empty beach and the sun has been up for just a couple of hours. It wakes you up, but gently: placing your feet into cold clear water with the feel of the sun, drenching in its heat, on your skin--all of this on a blue sky, perfect morning, before the rest of the world can see.

You think, maybe--just maybe--it will be a good day.


Daily Quote

"Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, and don't put up with people who are reckless with yours."

- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Today's Quote

" 'Tut, tut, child,' said the Duchess. 'Everything's got a moral if only you can find it.' "

-Lewis Carroll, from Alice in Wonderland

Inside The Well

The culinary gods must have been in good humor this weekend. For Friday, when I popped into the hot kitchen of Il Pozzo (The Well - an established bar and restaurant here in Macerata) to beg the opportunity of taking up the chef's offer of observing a night of prep in his kitchen, he nodded and said, "Yes, see you tomorrow."

I arrived Saturday night just as the kitchen was beginning to heat up. While the pizza chef taught me to make dough, I chopped eggplant and zucchini for Tagliatta, one of the night's specials, and then sliced tripe for a simple Maceratese dish.

After helping portion and roll the dough for pizza, it was time for the staff to eat. Without asking, they set an extra place for me. We ate good food and talked of good food (a delicious combination) as the owner uncorked a second bottle of wine.

From various corners of the kitchen, I got to observe all three chefs at work, cooking cassually but attentively. Just by watching their movements and their pace, it was easy to realize that the main emphasis of their dishes was flavor, not frilly presentations or shocking breaks from tradition or even the burden of serving an entire table's food at the same time.

At the end of the night, as I untied my apron and thanked the kitchen staff again and again, the head waiter pulled me and the pizza maestro aside. A few quick words and it was decided. "Come back Monday," they said.

It was an incredible night, to be sure! Just the memory of it makes me hungry. A rolling stomach...perhaps the best offering to the culinary gods.