Saturday, July 31

new ground

It's been a rough two weeks.

What can I say? First I guess a little background. I moved back to where I was living before Italy after 3 years. There were many reasons, I'm not sure any of it important for my purposes here. What is my purpose here? This has always been the place where I marvel at the world around me. Share that oblivion that swirls up in my head as I try to take it in. I think I can still do that. Well, at any rate, I would like to still do that.

A big chunk of these two weeks has been filled up with homecoming. A strange one though. The joy at seeing great friends again has been riding a wave of distaste for the culture. I hate the traffic. I hyperventilate when I enter the massive supermarkets. Hell, even the aisles of products at the pharmacy send my head spinning. I can't stand it, so I shield my eyes and run out of the store empty handed. I'm hiding in the cocoon of things I can accept. My friend's apartment, my office at work, old project notebooks. I can't stand to look at the world outside, so find myself at a loss for words on the "pilgram" experience.

It's shocking how lost I feel here. Not only in my head, but I have been literally getting lost. I don't remember how to drive through towns that I used to drive through daily. Streets are unfamiliar and memories of where they go are hazy.

And I'm not fully here yet. I have no family, no phone (for the love of all that is good and evil!!!), no furniture, no damn warm clothes... yea, what Steinbeck said about summer in San Francisco is true... making it even harder to acclimate. And easier to alienate myself. This can only lead to darkness.

So, after a distressing two weeks, I found myself driving my commute home. Cursing the rotation of the already boring same four songs on the radio. The tired classics and shallow new releases. But as I topped the pass from the bay into the valley, the red evening light caught my eye from the tops of distant hills. And for the first time since I've been back I saw my home the way I used to round the curves in Northern Italy. For it's amazing beauty. The rolling golden hills, the green scrub, the cool blanket of air. And my pilgram head latched on to this thread of hope. That maybe, once I get over myself, I'll start to see the wonder in the world again. YEA!!! Tiny dances of celebration erupting inside. This can work. All is not lost.

Monday, July 12

Lying on a floating mat, gazing at the sun through my hat.

The waves cause a gentle sway
Of an inflated mat
And my body lying flat
As I stare up into my hat

Blue sky and waves are bright
But just an inch from my face
Is a dark and rainbowed space
And I am glad to be in this place

**ha... sometimes the titles end up longer than the verse

Saturday, July 10

after all, he's a foreigner!

I'm not sure why it is, but I have a tendency to do things the hard way. I always reasoned that it made life more interesting. Beh... maybe I'm finally getting too old for that.

Maybe this tendency can be attributed to being a bit too spontaneous or naive. And it's not that I don't weigh the pros and cons of the situation... it's just that when opportunities come along, "life is short" weighs heavily in the "go for it" column.

That said, I didn't make pros and cons columns when I married a foreigner. And even if I had, I'm sure "immigration services might prevent his reentry into the US" wouldn't have occurred to me.

When we lived in the US, my alien spouse had a green card. We showed up at our interview with our two proofs of legitimate marriage (the punks) and in literally less than 5 minutes we were out the door, green card approval in hand. Since he's already been living in the US for many years on various student and working visas, it almost seemed like a matter of semantics.

Then, as you know, we moved to Italy. And since we lived outside of the US for more than two years, we have to apply for a new green card. There are enough rules and regulations about green cards and I really don't want to give any further explanation than that as I'm far from an expert on the subject. But it all boils down to that.

I will say though, that don't you think there should be some sort of permanent green card for married couples? Wouldn't that save everyone, including immigration services a ton of work? They're just going to give it right back to him. I know, it's a permanent resident card... but couldn't I be the little piece of America that stays with him... sort of like stepping onto American soil when you enter an embassy abroad (ok, this could degenerate quickly). Maybe just a simple interview at the border to verify that the marriage is still valid. That would be easy. Marriage license and spouse and kids in tow... easy peasy!

Anyway, I head off the the embassy to apply. Like, a month ago. See, when we were in the US and we applied for the green card, he got permission to reside in the US while it was processing. We assumed that we'd get a similar permit this time around.

Yea, that was wrong. And he has to stay in Italy until he gets the green card. We've been assured that the process is much faster from outside the US and an entry visa isn't necessary. But the fact is that school starts in a few weeks and even faster (4-6 months) just isn't fast enough.

Maybe if I tell them that our 10 year anniversary is in September....

**I'll send you a postcard if you can name the movie I took my title from. The actual quote is "After all,
she's a foreigner!"

Monday, July 5

touristy mix

So hello, strangers. Hello from brilliantly beautiful southern Italy. Ever wonder if it's universally true that people in warmer climates are warmer socially? I adore Amalfi. It's a damn lucky to be married to someone with roots here.

How's summer in Amalfi this year? Well, the World Cup has everyone in a buzz. Even with Italy having performed so dismally, they still find someone to get behind. In latest matches the bulk of spectators seem to be supporting Spain, Ghana, Argentina and then Uruguay last night. My son has become a die hard Germany fan. Personally I don't feel the same passion about who wins or looses at this point, but I love watching the game. My twisted mind is usually hoping for whoever is behind to even it up and for the game to go into penalty kicks.

This is our beach, looks like towards the end of the day since I see the beds are being put away. It's a public beach but the beds and umbrellas can be rented from "Tonino-o-beach"... it's become our place to go over the years, mostly because of Tonino and his family. It's also one of the more relaxed beaches and full of kids being crazy. It's funny when you're with kids, it's almost better to go to the more crazy places because they have fun and don't bug the hell out of you so much. Punks.

We get here around lunch time, swim, relax, eat some fruit and crackers, swim, kayak, snorkle, and relax some more. Yea, it's a rough life.

When we've had too much beach we take an open bus (this is key, open bus = no vomiting) to Ravello. We're always impressed with what is going on in Ravello and makes us wish Amalfi would get it's cultural act together. The picture above is from the gorgeous Villa Cimbrone and there is a concert society that organizes concerts with Villa Rufolo. Our latest form of torture is to head to Ravello for the afternoon and return to Amalfi by foot. Not to be advised in flip-flops!

Friday, July 2

octopus brains

I woke with one of my infamous claustrophobic dreams tonight. Something about defending an alien species of octopus brains from the human race. The humans wanted to enslave or kill them all and I negotiated an agreement that they would only go to war if they were given some way to defend themselves. I woke to a desperate bloody battle scene of fleshy octopus brains trying to squeeze themselves into armor.

And I haven't even been watching Doctor Who.

I suppose it's the nearing date of my departure from Italy. Another American family holiday missed. A windowless bedroom compounded with sleeping with my bed-hog son... I'm carrying a whole lot of unexpressed anxiety around in my chest, so I guess I deserve octopus brains.

Plus I saw a sack of dying octopi on the beach today. Yea, that probably didn't help either.

So what does a pilgram do when she has a claustrophobic dream? First she gets the hell out of the cave/bedroom. The balcony is a good place to breathe. She switches beds with her husband. She listens to the "Stranger than Fiction" soundtrack. And when she still feels restless, she escapes into the blogsphere for a bit.

Hi there!

Yep, feeling much better now.

Thursday, July 1

paradise has a leak

My toilet leaks because the gasket dries out
It takes a few weeks, but it eventually stops
As the rubber gasps and cracks its back
Waking from its slumber

I can relate
We sleep in deep comas unable to resist the plunge
The sun shreds the treads of our control, the lucidity
And squeaky beds, aged sheets cradle us to our rest

And I wake from that sleep with a clear head
but with a body that feels like it's been tenderized.
Hammered limp by the volcanic earth and salt.
Blue sky, bells, and clatter in the square
Birds that call "you who" all morning to the clatter of the square...
I guess it's time to wake up.

And we stumble out of our hospice like drunken babies
Sweet milk drooling from our mouths, the perfect image of contentment
Letting pickle jars catch our leaks...
Just give us a few weeks