Saturday, April 10, 2004

Buona Pasqua!

Sorry about the blog break--here in Macerata every internet lab is closed due to Easter vacation, something that has caused the whole town to die down. Quiet streets (albeit rain-covered) are a nice change of pace. The arrival of Easter is visible throughout the city--chocolate shops have their windows filled with candy-colored wrapped eggs, some two feet tall, each holding a surprise inside (the equivilent to American easter baskets). Churches are decorated, and every day during holy week means something special--Holy Thursday had all of the churches open with flowers and candles around the altars. On Good Friday there was a procession through town following the cross, priests, and a band, the fog lowering itself slowly upon the city.

Buona Pasqua! For us, this week means days off and some time spent reflecting. Yesterday, as we walked the procession, it was a good reminder of the signficance of Easter. Above us, in those narrow medieval streets, apartments had put out banners marking the pathway Christ took. People stood along the streets watching everyone pass. It was amazing to see how many people made it out there, despite the cold and rain.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Lessons from last summer: "Switch!"

First, sorry for the long blog break I've taken. Didn't fall off the end of the Earth, didn't meet a tragic end in a gelato overdose (could such a thing even exist?), didn't end a love affair with Bell'Italia...just ended up trying to cram too much into too few days. As always, the struggle continues to get priorities in the right order.

The sweetest points of the "too much" from the last month of "too few" days have been...(a list to remind me of the important stuff)...
-ten days of Italian dirt under my heels and Italian sun (or clouds, or a little drizzle...le americane erano fuore!) over my head
-big hugs, long talks, and lots of laughs with mia carissima amica Jackie
-walking out of a grocery in Domodossola to snow-capped mountains
-Bologna reds (okay, and the city's university)
-feeling my ears pop on the climbing road from Civitanova to Macerata (casa nostra)
-an invitation to return to the Pozzo this summer
-our Roman Holiday: late night walks on the Tiber, dinner and other D cities, three poppies in the forum, "forgetting" the guidebook
-Lucca: its flag, its towers, it's (the second) most beautiful city in Italia
-seeing The Last Supper, then sharing it (and dancing lessons) with good friends
-spumante while my airplane seat FULLY reclined

And then there was the list I came back to...full of e-mails to write, conference stuff to plan, financials to review. It was as if I was playing some life-size version of elbow tag, one of our (handkerchief) games from last year's summer camp on the Italian coast...I heard the only word I could understand: "Switch!" and frantically changed lives - from la bella vita to back to business.

Sweet reminders bring a proper focus back into view. Developed pictures show smiling faces with dozens of different backgrounds. A package from Jackie promises "ferie" (break time), a reminder to keep laughing (I always push the pull door!), and so many bei ricordi of Bell'Italia. A new menu at the restaurant where I work brims with dishes that look like spring, taste like spring, make me remember that seasons switch, too.

Thank you, Jackie, for a wonderful time in Italia! Assisi with Lori and the picnic lunch with your folks and Antonello sound wonderful! Enjoy a well-deserved rest - "Jackie's Tours of Italy" has had a booked month! :-) Miss you.