Thursday, April 28, 2005

Buon Giorno da Italia

We survived the long trans-Atlantic flight and are enjoying our second day here in bella Italy. We had a 3+ hour layover in Atlanta thanks to our cancelled flight (since the weather was bellisima, Anthony suspects that Delta cancelled and rescheduled all of us to save money on an empty flight). Atlanta has a nice airport, and it is 1.7 miles from one end to the other, so we walked, to make our legs tired. They had a beautiful space with a large sunlight dome and restaurants all around, so we sat there and listened to a guy play piano a la Ray Charles, before we walked back to our plane. Then we ate a teeny tiny dinner off of doll-china plates. Hey, I thought alcohol was free on international flights?!? Well, not anymore. Believe me, there was one flight were we sat next to a group of inebriated Germans that made me wish there was something to dissuade them from imbibing more. Anyway, you can bet I did want to spend 5 of my vacation dollars on Vendage.

We got very little sleep, sitting upright, before it was time to land in Milano on a beautiful clear spring day. In the airport, I was more than a little pleased that I could buy tickets for the Malpensa Express (light rail) and ask (in Italian) where do we leave and understand the answer! Anthony was impressed, too. Our friend, Alberto, was to meet us at Cadorna Stazione,

but we had time for a cappucino before he arrived. The barista made the cappucini wordlessly, effortlessly, and brought the mugs topped with thick foam before us. Anth and I each had one sip, sighed, and said simultaneously, "That alone was worth the trip!" And the price of this perfection was 2.50 euros (less than $3)!

We found Alberto and he wisked us off in his car, immediately immersing us in Italian culture and traffic. He weaved in and out of the tiny Milan streets, speaking perfect English rapidly. At one point we were stuck in the middle of an intersection while the lights changed, so he changed the CD. "I punched a traffic cop last week," he said, to demonstrate how difficult it is to be put in Italian prison because they are so crowded. "He came up and grabbed me saying, 'Tu, tu!' Tu is for your sister; I am Mr Cassinelli. Give me 10 meters, please. No? Bap! (demonstrating punch) Blood everywhere. Everyone in Binasco (his little village) knows and thanks me. This guy has tried this before." A Ferrari pulled up behind us so Alberto and all the other drivers pulled to the right to make way for this beautiful, fast car, a symbol of Italian national pride. But if someone tries to take their right of way, they push their way in front of them.

Alberto took us to Romina's apartment, where we are staying. Her baby, Leonida, is just 5 1/2 weeks old.

Che bello bambino! He is angelic, fair with deep blue eyes.

It is touching to see Romina as a new mom, super attentive, a little unsure, and very in love with her baby. It is also adorable to hear Italian baby talk. "Piccolino," she calls him, "Che fai? No no no, e brutto, e brutto. Cose che fai?" Her boyfriend, Corrado, is very nice and, lucky for us, speaks good English.

Romina made un bello pranzo (lunch) for us all. Anthony thought he died and went to heaven! Spaghetti carbonara, plates of braseola and prosciutto (it was like buttah in your mouth), insalata with olive oil so vergine it was cloudy. You know its your vacanza when you have vino at lunch.

Romina and Corrado live in a large group of apartment buildings just outside the center of Milan. It is a 30 minute light rail ride into Milan. There is a small supermarket and gelateria there, and large supermarkets a short drive away. They have a balcony on either side and beautiful views of agricultural fields. They have a friendly cat, Spy, but they feel bad that she cannot live a natural life, outdoors and un-spayed.

Anthony and I have decided that parenthood has made us more impervious to the effects of jet lag, because even after lunch we felt good, not at all tired. We went on a walk with Romina. She put Leonida in my BabyBjorn that I brought her, which she was very pleased with, since their tiny elevator is too small to bring the pram (stroller) up and down, and she is using it as another bed in the living room. After our walk, we took the tram into the city and walked around. We stopped in a bakery, where they were doing a brisk business in foccacia and pastries. In the back was a bar (in the Italian sense of bar). I got un bicchiere di vino russo, and Anthony had to order another cappucino, drawing attention to his tourist status with his beverage as much as his shorts! The barista brought us free hot foccacia slices, with thin zucchini and mozzarella, tomato and anchovy, or just olive oil on top. We thought it would be best to head back after that.

After a shower we enjoyed a dead-like 12 hour sleep. Romina made us another great lunch, then dared to visit the city with the baby in the Bjorn, with us as reinforcements. "Do you think it is bad to have him out here, with all the sights and sounds?" she asked. We reassured her it was good for her and the baby to get out. After a couple of hours, however, she was ready to head back, so I found this internet cafe and wrote my update!

We are so enjoying the Milanese pomeriggio, and the beautifully dressed Milan residents, and the incredible fresh food. We miss the children but are not paralyzed by it! We had gelato today, I had torta de mele (apple pie) and cioccolato, Anth had caffe and licorizia. I tried it and even thought it was good (just like Anth enjoyed the anchovy foccacia).

Hey, leave a comment, because I miss you all, even my internet friends, and I'd like to know that you heard me and what you are doing.

Ciao ciao, ci vidiamo alla prossima tempo!


Grandad said...

Hi Jenn
Looks like I'll be the 1st commenter.
I know that domed area in ATL and have spent hours there myself.
Also I could relate to your dis at the $5 for cheap wine o/b DL. I knew that and shoulda told you to take a coupla 1/2 bottles of decent stuff in your carry-on.
Sounds like you got started on a nice VC and are doing OK with Romina and Alberto. Imagine punching a cop. He would still be away in most countries...
Piccolino? What is that, an instrument?
Doing well after my deal Tuesday and couldn't have been much better findings... Have fun on the cruise. I look fwd to mine next week.

EdamameMommy said...

OMG I didn't realize her baby was that new. Wow. Great idea taking her the baby bjorn.

My wallet was stollen yesterday at my favorite kids fashions store. Just a friendly reminder to be vigilant. Of course, I have a giant "easy target" sign on my back with the twin toddlers roaming free at the mall. I know, I know, it was so silly of me. Luckily, the turds will be disappointed, I was able to cancel my cards, there was no cash, and I already went to the DMV and got my mugshot taken again.

You know me, I go ALL OUT for those license photos (after all, people look at it every day, you might as well make an effort) so I actually blew my hair dry today AND put on makeup. Wuhoooo. Hell, I was on a roll, so I shaved my legs, too.

Here I am, hijacking your blog with my jibberjabber. I just can't help it, I already miss you!

Paige tried and tried to tell me she wanted something yesterday. Finally, exasperated, she said in a raised voice, "Mommy, BE NICE!" I cracked up.

Graham has been diligently watering my 'maters. He also is really hung up on puppies and kitties. "Puppy?" when repeated 200 times, can cause migraines. He is undeterred by my replies, "I don't see any puppies. Let's keep looking." or "Yes, Graham, we love puppies." or "uh huh" or "nnnnnnnnnn" or "lalalala laaaaaaaaaaa" :) Finally, Paige chimes in, musically, "Puppy whe'aaaaah you?"

Love you. Eat pastries and more bread for me.

Emily said...

Oh, it sounds so wonderful, even though I don't understand all the Italian words. I wish I was there with you!
I am looking forward to leaving work for a week to spend with your loving kids. It's been really rough here lately, and I desperately need a break.
I have one green tomato growing in my garden, and the jalapeno plants are beginning to bud, too. My jasmine, which curls around the patio cover posts, is in bloom, and the weather has been perfect for sitting out there in the evening and enjoying the sweet perfume.
Keep posting when you can! Love and miss you lots.

messymama said...

OMG I'm SO jealous. Your post was delicious to read, and I can't believe you managed it so soon after getting there! It all sounds wonderful, and aren't you proud of yourself for remembering how to speak Italian?! I know you have to bustle around like Americans for awhile, but don't forget to enjoy La Dolce Far Niente. Slow down and breathe...of course, while holding un bicchiere de vino russo. Eat some speck for me, if you see any.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, last night Lyra tried really hard to take off her head. Like, lift it off her shoulders with her hands. She kept saying "head off!" She was naked. Can you picture it?