It appears I decided to take the summer and now September off from blogging. In early July I packed up the kiddos and we jetted across the Atlantic to enjoy seven weeks in the great white north. And what seven great weeks they were. It is because of this that I never managed to sit still in front of a computer long enough to stitch a few words together here on my site. If I did, I probably would have written a quick haiku that went something like this:
Maple syrup and
mountains. Friends, family, the
great white north. Woo hoo!
In essence, that pretty much sums up my trip home. To justify and make myself feel better about neglecting my little blog niche of readers, I write about living overseas in Italy with the kids, so technically, going home to Canada with them and with Matlock does not qualify as an entry because I have nothing to report about Italy. Technically.
Either way, the trip home was short, but as the Albino Hulk says after every belch, ‘delicious’. For two of those weeks, Matlock joined us as well and we had a grand old time seeing family and leaving the kiddos in the blessed attention of the grandparents, allowing us also to catch up with friends in a civilized manner.
Now that we’re back in Milan, I am finally wiping off the dust and cobwebs off my virtual site and am prepping for the next season of life in this funky city. Leaving Canada was hard and as per usual, I always slip into my signature two or three days of feeling the blues. This always happens to me, whether someone is leaving our place after a stay, or I am leaving somewhere and heading home. I guess you can say that I get attached and for some reason I felt more attached to Canada this summer, even though I did miss it here as well. Coming back to Milan has been comical and this comedy has made it easier to bid Canada adieu. It’s like a magic trick/candid camera experience-I leave an organized and calm Canada, step into an airborne tube, and presto….out the other end, I land in Italy where I feel I should look over my shoulder and I will see a camera crew hiding behind some bushes, alerting me to the fact that I am in fact on tv and am the victim of a hearty practical joke. Within minutes of being within Italian borders, the chaos hits me. It literally started on the airplane-the flight attendant had to sternly tell the italian passenger to sit down seconds after we literally touched ground and were still decelerating on the runway at Linate airport-t’was definitely not the best time to start collecting his overhead luggage. Then, standing at the baggage claim area, I watched with empathy for a little girl as her mom scolded and threatened to spank her because her daughter didn’t want to put on a sweater in the suddenly colder weather that she was exposed to. They had just gotten off a flight from Sardegna where it was surely high 30s/low 40s, so I guess in Milan at 34 degrees it was technically cooler, but no where near requiring a sweater. The fear of the draft is still alive and thriving in Italy (and who am I kidding, in Poland too! Like pigeons, this fear of cooler wind will never be extinct). The non-stop clinking of spoons on espresso saucers at the coffee bar in the Arrivals area where italians perform their holy rituals of taking two or three gulps from their tiny coffee cups, the smell of cigarette smoke, the nail-biting taxi drive home, and re-witnessing all the graffiti on every inch of Milan’s street urban canvas drowns me in reality that summer is over. And in the end, it’s ok. I am back, and happy to be. Let the comical madness begin.
Matlock and I have settled back in our routines-I have happily reunited with mozzarella cheese balls, all my friends and familiar smiling faces, and he has resumed his hydrocarbon hunt. My italian needs a bit of brushing up because the other day our porter kept calling our flat to alert me that a package had arrived, while I was in the shower. Minutes later, as I was getting dressed, he rang our doorbell and I informed him that I couldn’t answer the door because I was kissing in the shower. He could see my kids were on the couch watching tv, and being that it was during the day, he knew my husband was at work. I’m just classy like that and apparently, ‘making out in the shower’ implies I have nothing to hide. Too nervous to to dig myself into a deeper hole, I didn’t try to explain or apologize for my mistake-this was my story and I was sticking to it. The expression on his face was almost as surprised and confused as the time I opened the door early in the morning wearing only my bathing suit, thinking it was Matlock coming back to get something that he forgot on his way to work. It was a Tuesday in January and I was getting ready for my early swim class with the Albino Hulk (who was 3) and I was in a hurry to get us all out the door in a flash. Instead of Matlock, it was my new neighbour coming to introduce himself. You can’t blame him for later striking up conversations and asking me general questions about pools around us. Clearly, I am in the know.
The kiddos are back in school and Little Miss Stubborn is loving grade one. Her enthusiasm is brilliant and enticing. For me, I can’t believe the time has come where I do homework with her. It is something I have envisioned so many times. When I look at her beside me as her little hand grasps her perfectly sharpened pencil (and hence the title of this entry, borrowed from and brought to you by a tune from my new acoustic crush, Paolo Nutini), and her massive eyes look around as she ponders the answers to the questions in her homework, I swell up with pride and bewilderment. She really enjoys learning and is starting to try and read words every where she goes. Sometimes I have to rub my eyes and look at her again-is this really the same person who sat in front of me in an exer-saucer 54 months ago as a five-month old, babbled, drooled, giggled, and produced explosive diapers that required mid-day baths and a full change of clothes?! The Albino Hulk is still getting used to school and so far, hasn’t proven to be entirely in love with the idea of getting out of bed early. A few mornings he has sternly told me that he will only get out of bed to eat brekkie and then he is hopping back into bed. It is like he is a teenager, at age 4. The nice thing about having a kid with a bottom-less pit for a belly is that he can’t stay in bed for too long before he packs up his protest and comes to the table to eat, simply because his stomach just couldn’t stand the emptiness.
Anyways, this ‘welcome back entry’ to me is a quick one to kick-start my ability to organize my time and tasks. For starters, I have mentioned before how I wanted to find more time to read. A solution has finally landed in my lap-I was contacted to read and provide some feedback on a book by an Italian author. Netgalley contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading a book entitled One more day, by Fabio Volo. I read it on my iphone in just under 2 weeks which is astonishing on two accounts-1) I finally gave up my luddite tendencies and traded in my paperback medium for a digital format. Truth be told, I loved it. Sometimes I question why I am so foolishly stubborn-I would have really struggled in the industrial revolution. And, 2) I read a book from start to finish in relatively quick time. I can’t remember the last time I actually finished a book because my attention span reaches capacity faster than an italian growing impatient in traffic, and hence very seldom does the last page of a book get to be turned. I’m still in the fifth book of the Harry Potter series that I started reading in 2003 when I went back-packing through Europe with a spring-chicken Matlock, and David Bowie is eternally in his 20’s in the biography I am(!) reading, (it’s been a few months since I’ve touched the book, but I am determined to finish it). Anyways, if you’re in the market for a quick but enjoyable read about reflections on life that are comical but at times serious, romance, and the concept of following your gut to do something out of the ordinary, (Semi-spoiler alert: after some contemplation and reflection on the collective events of his life, the protagonist follows his gut to follow a particular lady he barely knows but who has visually struck his attention, from Italy to New York), then I would recommend this book. I enjoyed Volo’s light read about romantic comedy-I laughed out loud and was entertained by his style of story-telling. Living in Milan also allowed me to picture the scenes and streets he mentions in the novel and that element allowed me to resonate with the book that much more. Now that this book is finished, I am on the prowl for a new book to read. Suggestions are welcome.
Anyways, below, a few photos mainly from the summer, to warm up this little blogging fiesta that I am throwing myself. Feels nice to be back……stay tuned for some news as I go and battle some mosquitos in our house. They remind me of little zombies-Matlock has gotten into the foolish series Walking Dead and though that show gives me anxiety because I just can’t bear to witness the arrival of another gurgling, stumbling, drooling, stinky, contorted individual who has forgotten how to use their legs, (and yes, I do see the similarity in my description of zombies and drunk folk), I admit that sometimes when I am feeling especially brave, I do allow myself to catch glimpses of the show between my fingers that are covering my eyes. Like zombies, mosquitoes hunt your down, surround you and if you don’t whack them properly the first time, you are severely threatened and doomed. Mosquitos in October. Mamma Mia.
P.S. I have also become hooked on Words with Friends. Who knew I would enjoy D-I-G-I-T-A-L scrabble so much. I am out of control. I am fun to play scrabble with because I promise to never win. For someone who’s hobby/skills on her resume is ‘talking’, I truly run out of words in a controlled environment. Anyways, try me at ‘mf3000’ if you want to play.