Archive for March, 2011
And no I’m not talking about Betty White. The signora in question is Italy and she’s 150 years young. Today the entire country (except those mean green Leghisti) is waving the green white and red to celebrate Italian unification.
Patriotism has never been an easy sentiment for Italians. They feel more kinship to their own town or region than to their country. This is natural for a relatively new nation with such a fractured past. And these days, most Italians weren’t even in the mood to celebrate the anniversary, what with all the political, economic and cultural turmoil. Up until recently, everyone from politicians to business leaders were debating whether or not March 17 should be declared a national holiday. This was a bit shocking to me even if chronic existential crises over national unity is nothing new to a Canadian.
But in the end hatchets were buried and schools and offices will be closed all over Italy. I tried to get my kids interested in the occasion and taught my daughter the national anthem (as I’m pretty sure they don’t do it at school anymore). The kids also came home with tricolore flags and were very proud when I hung them outside. We also inadvertently celebrated over dinner this evening. Bellie and Diggy insisted on having both tomato sauce and pesto with their gnocchi, because tomato sauce alone would have been just too healthy an option. After I finished serving I noticed that their dishes were in keeping with the patriotic theme.
Then I asked my husband to briefly explain the Risorgimento to the kids but they were more interested in wolfing down taleggio cheese and singing, or rather, screaming the national anthem than hearing about Garibaldi and Mazzini.
Perhaps I’ll let them watch Roberto Benigni’s subdued rendition of the Inno di Mameli from this year’s San Remo festival. It conveys all the strength, elegance and emotion that unites all the citizens of this maddeningly wonderful country.
Crap!! It’s five to four! Late… AGAIN. The baby is always so fussy before I have to pick Diggy up. Impossibile dressing Miss Charlie in her winter clothes without her screaming at the top of her lungs. Or leaving a last-minute present in her diaper. Anyway, she’s in the carriage now so off we go to preschool. Only a few minutes before it closes so I run like an insane mommy jogger. Ah, there’s a mother I’ve seen a few times before on her way back home with her son. I don’t really know her. Do I say hi? Smile? Nod in acknowledgement? Ok, I smile. She pretends to look at her watch. Nice! I haven’t yet deciphered the housewife code here in this small town. Or maybe it’s my smile. I try to look approachable but I’m afraid the effect is quite similar as to what Stephen Fry described in his autobiography: “Every time I pose for a photograph I try and smile a friendly smile, a sort of ‘Hello there! Gosh! Crumbs! Isn’t this jolly!’ sort of smile. Every time the photograph comes out I see a silken smirk on my face that makes me want to wail and shriek.” Rush past the parking lot. Oh the stink of funky fish! Market day today. Ok, quick look at the clock tower ( I, conveniently, don’t wear a watch). It’s already four!! And, yep, there go the church bells. I am officially in ritardissimo. Double crap!!
Sorry for that scatological interlude. It’s just an excerpt from “A Day in the Life of a Desperate Scarberian in Small Town Italy”. Don’t worry, it’s just a working title.
Baby miraculously went to bed early!! Cue Aretha: “Freedom, freedom, freeeeeedoooom!!!” So I finally have time to write after all these months. But to be honest, I didn’t really feel like blogging lately. I’ve been lethargic and comfortably numb when it came to my cyber world. I only turned on my computer to check emails, to waste time on FB or just relax. And I desperately needed to wind down lately. It’s been really busy the past few months, what with the various family commitments, travelling, and just keeping our life in working order. We were in Canada over the Christmas holidays where I spent time with family, friends and donuts (not necessarily in that order). It was great. So great that here’s a list of the highlights:
– the transcontinental flight with three kids. If you’ve never done it, I sincerely urge you to put it on your bucket list.
– Oh, I almost forgot how much fun it was to pack now that we can travel to North America with only ONE SUITCASE PER PERSON!
– ketchup chips. Nuff said. Hmmm, now I’m hungry. I think I’m going downstairs for a midnight snack. To be continued domani.
In the meantime, it’s Carnevale in Italy (except for the Milan area, where we celebrate on Saturday). I found this festive clip of Raffaella Carrà to get you in the carnival spirit. She was my hubster’s favourite back in the day. Yes, she was a very hard act to follow.