Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Raincoats and Big Umbrellas

Like Corrie, it's taken me a bit to realize everything that's planned for this week. While Corrie and Cassie arrive tomorrow morning early in Rome, it didn't really sink in until today how close they are, and how soon this week of vacation, family, friends, and celebration will arrive.

With a week and a half behind me of constant English lessons, website design, and frantic cleaning of the house in preparation for a Sunday wedding lunch and many guests (that's right--Antonello and I are celebrating our wedding for the 3rd time back in Italy), it's been hard to focus on what exactly all of this prep work means. It means my family and friends will be here, that home will be all of the sudden complete. It will be a true week of Thanksgiving--for friends and family, for a life in Italy and America all at once. But, as I cleaned and shopped and booked hotels and taught English, the idea of all of these wonderful aspects of a week off had little time to occur to me.

And so it was today, with the afternoon thunderstorms, that it all clicked.

Walking home, with rain pouring down, everyone carrying colorful umbrellas in the dark, I thought, "Why all of the sudden has the temperature changed like this? Why has the weather made a complete turn around?" I watched a man with his dog walk by, both dressed in rain coats. I watched lightning brighten the sky.

And then it dawned on me. I smiled. Rain pounded on my umbrella and soaked my shoes, but I smiled anyway. I remembered what the rain meant in Italy.

It meant that the Americans are coming. In fact, I thought--smiling bigger now as the dog in the raincoat looking at me funny--they are almost here.

Corrie and Cassie--you're almost in Rome! I can't wait! Mom and dad, I will see you on Saturday! Have a safe trip!


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thanksgiving means...Italia!

Last night I donned the bonnet for one more supper at the 1840s farmhouse museum where I moonlight as a hearth cook. The turkey was golden on the rotisserie and root vegetables from the kitchen garden were mixing with the last of the rosemary, parsley, and thyme. (Indiana expects a frost, and maybe flurries, this week.) My folks came to dinner for the first time - so with family and the smoky aromas and the gravy stains on my apron, it felt like a practice Thanksgiving.

Even our conversation hovered around the upcoming holiday. With volunteers and drop in tourists through the day we talked about recipes and traditions and family members and plans. Even though Cassie and I bought our tickets for Italia weeks and weeks ago, the trip became real for me over the last 24 hours. When folks at work and folks at the museum ask about holiday plans, it's like a little sweet surprise each time I get to answer. "We're going to Italy!"

Two days and vediamo presto, Jackie!