Saturday, December 21, 2013

If on a winter's night a traveler

It's been a long day of cleaning house, preparing presents, last minute shopping, and finally, my dad arrived at our house, a weary drive down from Bologna to Macerata, just in time for dinner. My brother and his family made it safely to Rome as well, and we are all now very much in Italy, at last! Sitting in my living room with the tree all lit up, drinking tea and coffee, we spoke to my brother on speaker phone, listened to stories of his wanderings through Rome, the kids tired after endless walking through the eternal city. And despite the fact that it will be another couple of days before they arrive here in Le Marche, for a moment we were all together, gathered around a telephone line, an entire family somewhat joined in one room, laughing, as only family does, over what little Sam did or how William behaved or Miriam's surprise at learning that "ciao" means both hello AND goodbye. It's good to know that we are all here, tucked away, maybe, each in a corner of the country, but all here in Italy just the same.

Goodnight, finally. It's late, and we've been busy. Tomorrow, up early for Urbino.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Thursday Before Christmas

I have been busily finishing up my lessons before Christmas, and today, once I got home after a particularly long day of lessons, it hit me. This week is almost over. My dad gets here on Saturday. My brother and his family on Monday. And then there's Christmas, of course, just a few days after. How it has all crept up on me, I don't know, but somehow Christmas is right around the bend.

And yet family has been on my mind all day. Reading Corrie's blog post about family and Italy and good food, good company, and good cheer (yes, that was a wonderful Christmas together, bella!) and then later discussing gift ideas for my niece with my brother-in-law. Then, this evening, during one of my private lessons, I found myself proudly showing off family photos, talking about what we'll all be doing the next week, aglow with thoughts of this first Christmas together in years.

But even throughout all of those moments, I don't think I realized. It's just days away. I can't wait to be part of this, to participate with family in celebrating together, for some the first Christmas in Italy, for others of us, a tradition that finally brings both my family and my husband's family together. I can just see us all, gathered around a dinner table, talking and communicating and gesturing and laughing. The more I see it, the more clearly it all develops, the more excited I get. Yes, there are still gifts to be bought. There are still errands to be run and last minute this and thats. Somehow all of those little things will come together though. They always do.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hungry for Christmas

Talk of Christmas dinner is the center plate these days. Sasha, Mom, and I are hatching a plan for the family's holiday meal, but even working days are focused on the roast beast for the feast, feast, feast, feast!

Very fortunately (job security!), lots of whos down in IndiaWhopolis come to the market where I work to pick up whatever version of sugarplums has been dancing in their heads. It's fun to help the folks who know exactly what they want, but it's even more fun to help inspire the cooks who aren't quite sure yet.

One gent called with questions about our Cotechino, an Italian winter sausage seasoned with Parmigiano Reggiano and nutmeg. Just like that, I was back on the boot, stirring a big pot of lentils and nestling thick, steaming wedges of the sausage on top. He didn't know it, but this customer's questions were whisking me away from a fuzzy-headed drift among turkeys, hams, chestnuts and onto a crystal clear tour of Natale in Italia. 

Many holidays ago, while I was in grad school, Jackie and Antonello invited me to spend Christmas with them in Macerata. Not everything was exactly familiar -- gladiator lights, "carols," quality family time -- but it was so merry and festive and lovely. Even though we feasted on delicious holiday treats, I'm absolutely certain it was the company that made the moment (this coming from a gal who's hungry all the time). Such good memories, Bella Jack -- tante grazie!

So, I'm so happy for Jackie and her stateside family who'll get to experience Natale insieme a Macerata this year! There are sure to be some old traditions and new adventures meeting under the tree (er, arbole?) and it's bellissimo that they'll get to celebrate together. 

Buon Viaggio, Goyettes! Safe travels (and try the cotechino for me). :-)

- Corrie

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Things Past

So I've noticed that it isn't easy to get back into blogging. Yesterday, I took time to peruse old posts that Corrie and I had written over the years, and I was sort of amazed by the things that we had written. It seemed like these little snapshots of our time in Italy, or Corrie's time in Indy and mine in Macerata (as the years went by), were the perfect collection of memories, and now, it's rather daunting thinking of writing like that again. I flipped through the pages of the blog as if leafing through years of my life, and little details were clear once again, thoughts I had forgotten, in time.

It is nice to have this diary of moments, shared so willingly, for all to see. I hope that new posts will emerge in the same light, with the same potential: to one day look back and see details, like Corrie's pictures of elephants marching through downtown Indy, and have those details build the forest through the trees.

For now, though, Christmas shopping is in full swing, and I am trying to enjoy the last few moments of December, see friends, meet up with colleagues, finish baking Christmas cookies, before time starts to really fly by. My family begins arriving on Saturday, and it will be a full, eventful week. It will be a Christmas all together, at last.

More posts to come :).

- Jackie

Making note

Yay! I love the feeling of blogging again! Even though it too often gets pushed to the bottom of the list, writing here makes friends seem closer (missing you, Jack!) and seems to highlight the shiny parts of the everyday tarnish. Or at least, it's helping me look for the brilliant bits--to seek them out and pay more attention and make note.

In the circus of the daily drugery, sometimes these moments reveal themselves pretty obviously. 

Last week, these beauties stopped traffic in the snow to make their way under the big top that is Conseco fieldhouse...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Five Years

Well, it's been a while. If there is a statute of limitations on apologies for blogging, I hope I haven't reached it yet! Yes, sorry for these absent years which, in fact, have not been absent at all, but instead have been very busy and filled with lots of new stelle to discover and chart, both for Corrie in Indy and me in Italy. After seeing Corrie's blog posts, I thought it would be nice if we both gave it a shot and tried to get back into the swing of things (with Porcupine Dawg always ready to lend a helping hand, or bark? wait, is he a porcupine or a dog? very confusing).

To start with, here's a photo from Corrie and my summer trip to Louisville while I was stateside--yes we always manage to meet up in the summer! Here's hoping we can spend a winter (and a Christmas!) together soon...

Happy Holidays a bit early! Hope to post some photos from Macerata and the Christmas lights soon! Corrie, it's nice to be blogging again! I will think of more things to say soon.

Off to watch a "Christmas" movie (Bridget Jones? Christmas? that works, doesn't it?)


In Louisville, in August, after trying to figure out all of the fleur de lis.