Tag Archives: Random Musings

My family has trouble following directions. I’m not entirely sure if it’s a my family thing, or an Italian thing. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

 

Like their total disregard for warning signs. Is it a countrywide epidemic? Or is it just that my family is nuts?

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I wish I had taken more photos of the archaeologists in my aunt’s yard, but I was too busy marveling at the fact that there were archaeologists in my aunt’s yard. 

The archaeological site. Also pictured: my auntie’s dog.

She was completely used to it, of course.

Her village, my grandfather’s own, is ancient. I knew this. The area is full of artifacts and relics. Some 30 years ago, there was a major earthquake in the area, and the damage led to the discovery of even more treasures: a massive catacomb and a winding cistern underneath the village.

I’d been in them once, years ago.

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Me, talking to Marciano about his creations. Notice how much I use my hands when I speak Italian.

Yesterday, I may have exaggerated slightly when I said that I found my aunt’s home all by myself. I was caught up in the poetry of it, of the idea that I could wander the same ancient streets that my grandparents did, and find their loved ones’ homes without needing an ounce of help.

But that isn’t the entire story.

Marciano helped.

It was the morning after we’d arrived in Frigento. Marciano saw Rand and I walking outside our pensione and stopped us.

“Ma, voi a chi partiene?”

To whom do you belong?

In that question lies everything you need to know about life in this part of the world. That everyone here knows everyone else, and if a stranger wanders in, it is because they are connected. They belong to someone here.

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Not the green door we were looking for.

 

“What’s the address?” Rand asked.

I shrugged. “No idea.”

“Is it on this street?”

“I think so? The door is green.”

(I feel it pertinent to note that nearly half the doors in the village happened to also be green.)

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Our plane landed in Naples just as the sun started to set. Vesuvius loomed over the city as we sped out of town, the volcano turning deeper and deeper shades of purple in the fading light.

We were heading towards my grandfather’s village. I suppose it eventually became my grandmother’s village, too, after she married him and moved there. But I’d always regarded it as his. He was the one who was born there. He was the one who loved it there.

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I finished The Bartender’s Tale on the flight to Germany, at some nameless hour high above the North Pole. I decided to leave it with my dad, but there was one snippet I wanted to hang onto.

So I took a photo of it.

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Pretty easy to guess which part, I fell in love with, right?

My dad lives in a small Bavarian village about an hour outside of Munich. I usually don’t blog about it, even though it’s crazy adorable, because it’s also immensely sleepy and boring. The little hamlet shuts down after 6 or 7 pm on weekdays. And pretty much all day on weekends. And Mondays, too. It’s virtually closed whenever it rains, or if it’s chilly out, or when it’s too sunny to do anything. Also, on holidays dedicated to random saints you’ve never heard of (St. Klaus of Kartoffelsalat, St. Franz of Ausfahrts, and others*), which seem to happen every other day or so.

If someone could explain to me why St. Sigfried of Wochenender’s Day is celebrated on a Tuesday, that would be very helpful.

Also, the internet connection is very bad, so Rand has to work outside. Yes, his laptop is balanced on a stump.

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The point is, there isn’t very much to do. I doubt you’d find it all that interesting. But that’s kind of why we love it. Sometimes, when life is really overwhelming and crazy (and for Rand, it often is), there’s nothing better that being bored out of your skull, you know?

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I have trouble describing my dad. He’s not incredibly cheerful, but he isn’t melancholy, either. I don’t think anyone would call him warm, nor would it be accurate to say that he’s unfriendly.

If I were forced to put his demeanor into words, I’d say he’s rather serious, and often rather annoyed. His annoyance usually stems from the fact that everyone else around him is failing to be serious.

Yes. That sounds about right.

This makes it rather difficult to take a photo with my dad, because for the most part, photo-taking is not serious business. And the command to stand and smile while someone snaps picture after picture of you can annoy just about anybody.

Consequently, I’ve stopped asking him to pose for pictures, and just nab a few candid snapshots when I can.

But on this trip, he was uncharacteristically chipper.

It was kind of weird.

So Rand and I decided to press our luck. We made my dad take a few photos with us. And, well, they turned out quite nice.

Here’s my dad with Rand:

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