Tuesday, August 25

first day of my life, bright eyes

table for three

These days it's "siamo in tre"
I stand silently as they play
Silently seeing these two
One with eyes brown, the other blue

I love my punks.

Punkette has wild eyes, full of sharpness and fire. Her excitement burns through. Everything is intense and full of LIFE! And as much as I know it will make my life more difficult, I can't help fuel that fire, embrace that spirit. The power that demands fairness and craves MORE!

And Punkone loves like no other. Deeply and achingly. Dramatically as the mood strikes him. Granting a simple request for a glass of water in bed is met with a sweet "you're the best mom a boy could have" after which I indulge in a nibble on his neck. My growing boy that wants to know too much about war and slavery. So we discuss and wander together through all his why's and what if's. He's thinking hard about ways to bring peace in the world and I'm trying my best to show him that even tiny little bits count for a lot.

And I'm just Mamma. I feed and clothe. And read bedtime stories (really great ones). I scrape together all the bits of patience I can find and turn down the volume in my brain in order to just be. Who knew it could be so simple? Not me.

Monday, August 24

one more week

My posts have been picture free for some time now, primarily because I'm posting from a computer that has no memory to spare and all my pics are stuck on the camera. Hundreds taken since the end of June. In just another week, I'll be back home and downloading then uploading pictures to accompany my thoughts again. My apologies.

I've got some plans brewing for our third year abroad in Italy... tackling the language, getting my son's schooling on track, getting our family's heath on track (we're all slightly to very overweight), cleaning out the flat, fung shuing the crap out of the place... hey, I guess I can mean that literally!

Anyway, it should be an interesting year now that I've committed to it. It has been stressful not knowing for sure if we will stay another year or not. It still could all change tomorrow, but at least I've mentally geared myself in for staying at this point. In some ways I think it's exciting to feel like the end is near because it pushes me to not let opportunities pass by. And I'll try my best to continue writing about it. I hope you find it interesting.

xx- Christine

Friday, August 21


ashes floated lightly
down on Amalfi tonight
leaving black smudges
on table cloths and awnings

and the air stinks of a fire burning somewhere in the mountain
and the city sleeps... I guess we'll find out tomorrow where it was

Wednesday, August 19

watermelon shrapnel

These words floated into my thoughts today, as I turned to wipe down the table. The splatter of red, scattered remnants on the floor. Mateo commented that Punkette eats watermelon like it was her last meal. I countered that it looked more like her first. Her first after a weeks passage through the desert, starving, desperate, hollow with crippling pangs of hunger rippling through her body. And the sight of the fat red slices just too much, tearing into them, not able to consume the flesh fast enough. I also thought that if it were her last meal, she'd surely get more of it in her mouth.

For Think Green Thursday, starve yourself of your favorite foods until you can buy them in season. They'll taste even better and they'll be better for you and the earth! (albeit a bit messier)

Tuesday, August 18

as the old saying goes...

What was that saying?

I'm faced with the contrast of opinions, even within my marriage, about the pros and cons of life in Italy vs. the US. I smile at the inane waste management system, the noise in the piazza warms my heart, soft prices, loud mothers, the crumbling walls... somehow it's all part of the charm. All the wonderful things about this place pull these idocycracies out of the gutter for me and arrive well within a level I am comfortable with. It does not disturb my peace of mind. It might even add to it.

My dear husband, on the other hand, saw a photo of a jammed highway during rush hour and was swept away by a wave of nostalgia. He misses his air conditioned car with comfy leather seats and lumbar support, his radio program and CD changer. The tranquility of his own personal space within that cabin during his daily commute. The passing miles of rolling hills intermixed with suburban sprawl. He misses his two hour commute.

And despite all the problems of being married to someone who comes from such a different perspective, one benefit is this contrast of how we see each other's relative annoyances, in a bright new light. I still hate a long highway commute, but can see how one could enjoy that time of solitude. He no longer groans at the millionth time the band strikes up the same tune, but lets the sounds brighten our home.

Not sure what saying applies... but I could be getting to a very good place, well, at least this stretch of the road is nice. ;)

Sunday, August 16

Cantare!!! OH OH OH...

Oh how I wish I could record the sounds for you and play them here! Joy! Bliss! Peace!

Friday, August 14

Dear So and So...

Dear Neighbor with the Horse,
As you sprint down the alley in a desperate attempt to get your horse/dog to shit do his business over the drain cover, I wonder if you've reconsidered your decision to bring an animal of this size, who craps this much, to live in a city that has no grass, no open space, where we are all essentially living on top of each other. Thank you for taking the responsibility to scour our street periodically... bleach does in fact smell better than piss.
Watching where I walk,

P.S. What the hell are you feeding that animal?
P.S.S. Join the fun at 3 Bedroom Bungalow

Thursday, August 13

like he needs a hole in the head

It's a bit of a lie, this adventure, seeking, experiencing life, thing that I do. Who am I lying to? You, as it makes for wonderful, "seize the day" blog posts. But mostly myself. A defense mechanism to convince myself that I can leave all the people I know and love on the other side of the world, and live in a completely new place. A lie as I say "see you soon" and head into the international airport. A lie as I stroll out to lunch with my coworkers when I am in town for a few weeks, like I would on any day if I'd never moved, and work like I'd never been gone, stop by offices, play some hoops, and fill out a timecard. A lie when I tell myself that there's only what I will gain and nothing to loose.

When I was sweating the details of moving abroad a friend told me not to worry. I would go off and live abroad for a couple of years and when I came back, things would pretty much be the same. The same people would be in their offices, dealing with the same kind of problems. I guess, in many ways, that's absolutely true. But, I have to remember not to count on that so much. Things do change. And sometimes, in very big scary ways. That friend of mine has been dealing with a big fat brain tumor while my back was turned.

Is it going to make me dig in somewhere? Probably not. That would be a lie too. It's just not who I am. But I need to start letting myself feel (and feed) the pull from my loved ones a bit more. If you're a wander, a seeker... you might agree that this is a difficult thing to do.

Sunday, August 9

buon giorno

The way you greet everyone in Italy. With a smile and a robust "buon giorno." And learn those names. That's a hard part for me, remembering names. Mario sees us a few times every summer and always falls over himself when we arrive for dinner. He ruffles Punkone's hair and proclaims how beautiful Punkette is, how much she's grown. Vincenzo and Giovanna hug and kiss us as we pass by the bar on our way home and tell us of any new babies that have been born. Tonino loves to heave Punkone up into his arms (he's the only one on the beach who can accomplish this feat) and Ciro sends Punkette running for threats of tossing her into the sea. I stop to talk with Rossa when she returns from the University for the season and find out how a year's studies have gone by. And Marta, Antonella, Andrea, Enzo, Anna, Allesandro...

It all starts with a smile and "buon giorno."

Thursday, August 6

neighbors on the edge

As far as I'm concerned, we live in a little slice of heaven. Amalfi is alive. People bustle from morning long into the night, working to make those tourist dollars. Droves of young adults have returned for August and sit and catch up at the beach and in all the squares, every alley and doorway. The drone of the sea is drowned by the buzz of scooters, kids lamenting, girls squealing at boys. I could record Amalfi's noise and meditate to it during my long quite winters in northern Italy.

My enthusiasm is not shared by all...

In this square, a small, off the beaten path square, there are shops that have been here for over sixty years, and families who have lived here much longer. Aging buildings and people all stacked right on top of each other. We have a basket that sits in our kitchen that my mother-in-law used to use to lift up bread from the balcony, filled by the young boy who now runs his father's bakery with his own children across the square. Many from her time, who were once children in this square, still live behind the shutters that open up to it.

But, like I said, they do not share my love for the sounds.

There used to be an older gentleman who played guitar and sang at one of the restaurants in the square. He played both the lunchtime and dinner crowds and he had one set that he did during lunch and then repeated later in the day. He repeated the same set the next day. And the next. And the next. Except when they were closed on Mondays, you could be expected to be serenaded by the exact same playlist twice a day for the entire duration of the summer.

Despite the repetition, I liked hearing this old fellow. He was part of our home, our day. Mondays always seemed off without him.

I found out that the mother of a local friend lives next door and I asked her what she thought about the guitarist. She launched into a rage about how he is driving everyone insane with the same songs, day after day, year after year. She complained that people cannot take their siesta, and don't want to be bombarded with his racket. What a perspective that I hadn't expected!

Besides the man singing, there are people talking, carts making deliveries. After the restaurants close for the night some of the locals like to come and hang out on the tables. They play cards or just chat. I don't even notice the noise... although that may be because of the language (it's very easy for me to not hear people speaking Italian)... but last night I heard something much louder, that then became screaming out in the square.

"Shut up! Go home! Why do you idiots have to hang outside my window and keep me awake all night! I can't sleep! We are
all trying to sleep!

Since they were speaking in dialect, that's a very rough translation... the actual words were probably much more colorful. The teenagers at the table started arguing with the guy screaming from the balcony which resulted in a pot being thrown at them, which resulted in the pot being thrown back at the old man, which turned into a threat of a larger pot being thrown, which resulted in a very angry old woman scream, I think both at the old man and the young adults in the square. A bit of advice. Never piss off an Italian woman. My god. She didn't stop berating them for a good twenty minutes.

I smile and still soak it up. And laugh at it too. But it makes me wonder, if I stay here long enough, will I end up pissed off and throwing pottery at the local youth?

Wednesday, August 5


I'm eating a pile of them right now. I'd previously not been too enthusiastic about figs because of the mess and waste involved in peeling and eating them. Deliciously drippy sweet but all over your fingers and face. I'm a big fan of getting it all in my mouth (remember we're talking about figs, sicko).

Then the bright brilliant light was shown to me recently by a friend of mine. She'd grown up eating the delicious fruit. She hails from India, but has been transplanted to suburbia US. On her recent stay with me here in Italy, she swooned at the sight of the plump juciy figs at the market. We bought them up and she commenced to devour them, bypassing completely any of the messy prep work I'd witnessed by other fig lovers.

I feel liberated. And am joyously stuffing my belly full of figs.

Sunday, August 2

the deep blue sea

It's so hard to describe the way I feel when I swim in the sea.
I feel it's weight, it's push and pull... and it's a calm gentle day
Like sitting in the grooves of the earth's fingerprints, trying to grasp really how vast it is
And feeling that "one whole world" pull as, wading way out deep, Punkone asks:
And what comes next? Capri
And next? Sardegina
And then? Francia
And then? Spangna? Morocco?
And then? Well, the whole Atlantico.
And then? The Americas
And then? Well, north or south? Or would you like to cut through Panama and go on to the Galapagos, Or Hawaii (Aloha Cloudia), or hop about the French Polenesia, and on to Australia or Asia??? Yea, the whole wide world is all part of that soup, the turning pot of the deep blue sea...

And then we start to talk about salt...
How much is there?
How did it get there? (Fishermen?)

Ahhh my fellow pilgrims in this life... get yourself a punk or two and watch the world open. Perhaps cracked a top your head, but opened nonetheless.