Sunday, March 30, 2008

General Life and Feelings.

Ok, some of my favorite stuff right now. Really, nothing exciting.

1. Davide. Who finally asked me to OFFICIALLY be his girlfriend last night. And OF COURSE I said yes. There have been so many times when I thought that he would, and then he would do something else. But it was really important to me not to pressure him into a relationship if he didn't want to. So I have stayed flexible and patient. But, I always wanted this.

You know, it's strange. I don't feel as totally elated and ecstatic as I thought I would...instead I just feel very calm and secure. I mean, really, nothing has changed about the everyday interactions that we have...but the title has been really significant to him (and not at all to me). And, so, I just feel really good that he has come naturally, on his own, without pressure from me, to this point. I don't know what I did right, but I just hope I don't mess it up.

I think about him sometimes, and I understand that I have somebody sooooo special. We get along so well, it's almost too easy. I can talk to him about everything. He's my best friend here. And I love him deeply. I want nothing but the best things for him. And I can't bear the idea of him hurting. And I have this urge to feed him. I've been cooking all week.

I wrote to my auntie Sal about him here:

I'm dating the effervescent and always clairvoyant Davide (say Dah-vee-day)...who is a MUCH better match for me than the Roman guy. He's always sunny, sociable, sensitive, a straight-shooter, and eerily perceptive. My mood changes the slightest bit and he's all over it and, GASP, wants to TALK about it. It freaks me out a little bit. I'm like: um, I don't understand. What do you mean by "talk" Like, about my feelings and stuff???? YEP.

He LOVES children, his whole face lights up and he plays with them like he is one. It's darling. I'm terrified of his mother, and I have an invitation to dinner at their house soon. I'm thinking about asking Silvia's parents to be proctor parents and come with me. He plays the guitar like a dream and sings English songs to me with a thick Italian accents. And he loves my chocolate-chip cookies (which he had never eaten before), and makes me pasta with tuna and mint. It's delicious. And he says I am becoming a Sicilian woman because I insist that he eat.

Good grief.

Have to mention that he has the most beautiful mouth and smile of any human being on earth...and a tongue like Mick Jaggars. What more could a girl want? [But the kicker is that he has hands like sculptures. And I have a terrible weakness for hands like his, they're just beautiful.]

And last night he told me that he was feeling very secure in his strong feelings for me. When was the last time you heard an American man talk about feeling secure with his feelings?

We watched MY FAVORITE MOVIE Under the Tuscan Sun last week together and laughed hysterically at the part when Frances and the beautiful Italian actor (that you LOVE so much I remember the pictures) are on the beach and he says, "Frances, your eyes are so beautiful, I could swim in them." And she laughs and says, "That's exactly what we American women think Italian men say." And then she essentially says, "I haven't had sex with someone in a long time, and I was wondering if you would like to sleep with me?" And he laughs and says, "That's exactly what we Italian men think American women say."

Doesn't seem to be a problem for either side though really :)

So, yeah, things with Davide are moving along, and I just feel very relaxed with this. And I hope he feels the same....

But it has been my experience with him that he won't do anything he doesn't want to under any circumstances. So, he must really want this....hmmm. :)

Cute picture of us from the other day (he joked it looked like our wedding picture):

2. Weekend Players. My new favorite group. I always get happy when I listen to them. The song "Jericho" is just plain sexy, but this one "Walking into the Sun" reminds me of Davide. And it makes me happy.

See Lyrics:
Will you always keep me warm?
Hold me safe and away from harm?
Keep day from night and as the day fades?
Burn a candle bright for me?........

Will you always keep me warm
Hold me safe and away from harm
Keep day from night and as the day fades
Burn a candle bright for me

Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun

Will you always keep me warm
Give me shelter from the wildest storm
When I'm glowing
Will you tend evergreen love without end

Will you always keep me warm
Hold me safe and away from harm
Keep day from nightand as the day fades
Burn a candle bright for me

Will you always keep me warm
Hold me safe and away from harm
Keep day from nightand as the day fades
Burn a candle bright for me

Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun

Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun
Walking into the sun

They go right up there with Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps, Everything But the Girl, Morcheeba, Faithless, Sia, and Dido. Good stuff.

3. The fact I can feel the weather changing.

I am SOOOOO ready for the summer. I am ready to go to the beach with friends, get a tan, swim in the Mediterranean, go windsurfing, BBQ, stay out late, visit friends in different parts (have plans to go to Rome and Reggio, and hopefully London).

4. Mozzarella and Ricotta cheese, Sicilian oranges, and Oatmeal.

First, with Oatmeal thing. I liked oatmeal in the USA, but it wasn't a priority. Now, since I can't find it here, I can't get enough of it. My mother spent a fortune on sending me some last month and I am almost out...luckily Silvia is on her way back from California with a shipment of it.

I have another addiction...the mozzarella here, which is totally different from the crap we get. What we eat isn't mozzarella, it's just plain white tasteless cheese. I could live on caprese (mozzarella, tomatos, basil with olive oil).

But the thing to trump all is the ricotta. OMG. OMG. OMG. Silvia's mom took me to a home where they have huge vats of hot, steaming, fresh ricotta made the same way it has been done for two thousand years. And I got to have a spoonful from the pot. Oh my goddess it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. And so she bought a batch the size of my head and sent me home with it. I eat it by the spoonful, and it's absolutely divine.

Ok, that's about it for now. :)

See, told you nothing that interesting. Just general stuff.

Dancing Naked at Goddess Temples....

Ha ha. Tempting title, eh?

Well, I can't give you all the sacred details of what I did on the equinox that happened to coincide with a full moon and Good Friday...but what I can tell you is that I wasn't in Palermo.

So, I needed to get away from Palermo for a few days. Needed some space. Needed some time to think. Needed some distance so I could miss Davide. Needed some alone time. Needed a change of scenery. Needed to meet some new people.

This 4 day excursion was just what I needed.

OK, before we get started with the story, it's orientation time.

Palermo, northwest corner.
Catania, east side.
Sicacusa, southeast corner.

SIRACUSA has a mainland, and an island just off its coast called Ortigia. Siracusa is the main city, but all the good tourist stuff happens on Ortigia.

View Larger Map

On Thusday in Palermo at my house, Davide made me a wonderful pasta and then we watched Under the Tuscan Sun together...without the subtitles for the parts in Italian. It's the first time I watched that after learning Italian and I was like: holy crap, I can speak Italian!!! I understood what the Italians were saying! Yippeeeee.

So then (being the wonderful man that he is) helped take me and my luggage to the station. I took a late-afternoon bus from Palermo to Catania (because it's waaaay faster than the train) and met up with my host Gio and his good friend Iacapo. I instantly liked both of them. We headed to the house where I was introduced to other friends and the cats (Sfinfino and Anya). We went out that night to a restaurant that served copious amounts of horse meat (I declined) and then later to a bar that was essentially an anti-american, anti-capitalist watering hole with a load of fascist/communist propaganda and an equal amount of political comics. I liked the menu in particular. [Background for those not in the know...the Italian political system is a mess. It's corrupt and ridiculous and is always falling apart. There are many examples. The last two presidents were Berlusconi and Prodi] Sooo. the menu. It says: Prodi has left, and Berlusconi won't, let's enjoy this magic moment together.

That night I had a serious argument. With a mosquito. I swear to Goddess, never in my life have I been bitten on the eye by a mosquito until I came to Sicily, and the was the second time. So, I didn't sleep at all and when I finally resolved to give up the idea of sleep I went to the bathroom to discover my eye was swelling shut. Mosquito: 1. Laurel:0.

Bastard. See picture for proof.

Ok, so I took my hormonal, one-eyed self to the train station to catch the train to Siracusa where the Goddess temples are, and there is something wrong with the trains. So I do the sensible thing and go get a cappuccino and croissant and hang out for a while. I make back to the station just as an impromtu train arrives...and I think: oh my good luck, I can catch this one and not wait longer. Right. Well, we traveled for about ten minutes and then the train stops. For an hour. We just sat. The conductor came by to tell us that there was something wrong with the lines and we just had to be patient. Then the train starts to move. All 100 feet (30m). And it stops again.

Ok, so three hours later (for a trip that should have been just over and hour) I arrive in Siracusa. But not where I was expecting to be, exactly. I don't know how to explain, but the Google map was wrong. Wait, I forgot the address and phone number of my hotel. Oooooh no!!! Totally screwed. Ok, it's cold, getting dark, and I have nowhere to stay. Not good not good.

Well, I figured I would find someplace so I started to walk. And, suddenly, I look up, and there is a sign for my hotel.

What are the odds? So, using the map I checked into the Sorella Luna (Sister Moon) hotel, and headed out to find something more substantiative to eat after the long day. And what do I discover to eat? A place called Coccodrillo Burgers. This means Crocodile Burgers. Now what is so amusing about this is that for about two months now I have renamed a classic Sicilian dish called Pane Con Croquette (essentially bread with tater tots) to Pane Con Coccodrillo. So, I found a place that really was bread with crocodile. I was sad that it was closed. So I ate somewhere else instead, but took a picture as proof to show Davide (who was with me when I made the original joke).

Slightly more full, but significantly colder, I headed back to my hotel and I sent a text message to this guy named Vincento (who Gio had recommended) who lived in Siracusa and agreed to show me around. I got dolled up and we met at six-thirty and went for an aperitivo (again so much food there wasn't really any need for dinner later). We chatted about art, history, politics, feminism, religion, traveling, love, the works. We spoke almost entirely in Italian for the first three hours, and almost entirely in English the second couple. I determined after he used the words "Mankind's quest to the moon" that he spoke the best English of any Italian I have met so far.

We ate one of the best dinner's ever:

Appetizers with different cheeses and veggies, etc.
Fresh ricotta with ground pistachio.
Orange and onion salad (something new, and I cannot explain how delicious this is).
Lamb and potatoes
Candied ginger and sesame cookies
An almond liqueur

I was so full and sleepy that I declined the invitation to go with Vince for some more drinks, and decided to head home instead. And after all that food, I was grateful for the 1/2 hour walk back to my hotel. I called Davide who was out with my roommate, and I went to sleep.

The next morning I got up early to meet Vince. He had told me that there was an original Caravaggio painting at one of the local churches and since I have a major Caravaggio fetish I jumped at the opportunity to go. So, I had my lovely complimentary breakfast, and met up with Vince to go art hawking. We went to the church, where I have to admit, I was feeling mutinous for the fact you had to A) pay to see the painting in a public church...and B) that the view was blocked by one of those hideous tacky ceramic Jesus statues clutching his heard and looking pathetic. I do have to say I felt smug because I looked at the painting and there was something about it that didn't fit with the understanding I have of most of Caravaggio's works. There was something just not polished about it. And, sure enough, when we read the history it turns out that he was actually terribly rushed in this particular painting and never got to finish it to his satisfaction. Va bene cosi.

So, we stopped at one more place--an unconsecrated church--took some pictures of me and headed back to the island of Ortigia.

We parted ways as friends, and I went to explore and find some links to the Goddess. I had a great day.

I wandered and found little nooks and crannies that I loved. It was windy and cold, but very beautiful. I felt like I knew deep in my cells this place. It is one of those places that resonates and you feel like you lived there a long time ago. I took a million pictures and drained my battery. I met a family with a bar and had a great lunch. And they sent me off with a jar of tart orange jam that was just delicious. I found the ancient places of the goddess, and new places of new goddesses. I found an art gallery that I loved, and a place to get a massage (read the community property entry). I fell in love with an island and I can't wait to go back. I have decided that this will be my place when I need to escape.

I caught an early-evening train back to Catania and met up with Gio again. We ate a pizza at home and then went out. Let me first say that the nightlife in Catania is awesome and there are about a hundred billion youngsters running around the center with an equal amount of bars. We met up with two American girls I have met earlier in the week in Palermo, and we all headed to a bar that has a secret cave underneath with a stream. There is a special table for one small group to sit about the water. I found the place I want to be proposed to. Never gave it much thought before...but now I know. When my to-be husband asks me to marry him, I want it to be there. Couldn't take a picture without ruining the dinner of the people there, so no pic. Sorry.

But, me with the friends.....(and the elephant symbol of catania)

We hung out and had a couple drinks and then trudged the long way back to the car and went back to the house. This time, however, Gio was ready for the mosquito (which I could hear but didn't see) and we plugged in an electronic citronella candle and some bug spray. I slept like a baby. Take THAT, stupid mosquito!!!

The next morning (EASTER) Gio and I went to a place where they make beautiful pastries and we walked around the city for a while and enjoyed the market and the sun. He left around noon to go to a lunch and I took a long, hot shower and packed my things. When he returned around three we took off on a cruise around this city on a 1982 vespa. It was a perfect day because the streets were empty...everybody was with family eating, apparently. The weather was so gorgeous that we went to the water for a little while, where people were hanging out in their bathing suits!

Since I had a Pasqueta (Easter with friends) to go to the next day, I needed to head back to Palermo, so I grabbed my things, caught the bus back to Palermo and Davide and my roommates picked me up at the station. All-in-all, a really great little trip, and I plan on going back again soon.

Ciao tutti!


There are 4 donkeys in the kitchen...and other translation mistakes.

OK, recent things I made funny mistakes with (my roommates and friends are keeping a list):


But I thought you wanted to eat a croissant (cornetto) with your coffee.


But I thought you wanted to eat a fool (cornutto) with your coffee.


Can you give me the peach juice (succo di pesca)? I want to make a Bellini with champagne.


Can you give me the fish juice (succo di pesce)? I want to make a Bellini….


The name of those trees? I think they are called Ficus trees.


The name of those trees? I think they are called Fica trees (the rudest word for female anatomy in Italian) trees.


Excuse me waiter, but which sandwich (calzone) is the tastiest?


Excuse me waiter, but which cazzone (rudest word for male anatomy) is the tastiest?


The stupid mosquito is on the wall (mura) in the kitchen.


The stupid mosquito is on the donkey (mula) in the kitchen.

[I should add my roommate then exclaimed: there's a donkey in the kitchen? And I replied (thinking she meant walls and using the incorrect word again): no, in fact there are 4 donkeys in the kitchen.


Excuse me, but you are wrong (hai torto).


Excuse me, but you have a tortoise (hai tortugo).


My roommate Giova is a very generous person (magnanimo)


My roommate Giova is a very good pimp (magnaccio).


Put yourself in my clothes [shoes] (panni).


Put yourself in my sandwiches (panini).

And things I didn't understand...the name of the political party in Italy is Forza Italia (meaning Powerful Italy). I thought people were saying Forse Italia (meaning Maybe or Perhaps Italy). And I just couldn't understand what kind of stupid slogan that was for a political party. Good grief.

Community Property.....Erotic Massages and Drag Queen Makeup.

My body is community property. The Italians have a very different concept of privacy, and while it's strange to me, it makes for a good story....


At about 3pm on a Saturday in January, the telltale odor and strange feeling after going pee told me that I was about an hour away from a very nasty and painful experience of a UTI. I've had these since I hit puberty, and they usually come when I am upset or stressed out. I will point out now that this one eventually lasted for two weeks and would get better and ten worse...and on a Monday night I was brushing my teeth and I looked at myself in the mirror and I thought: I can quit my job. And the thought of not having to work for the crazy Frenchman lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. And, the next morning when I was supposed to go back to the doctor, I felt completely fine. And the UTI disappeared. Like my mother says: I was quite literally pissed off. Psychosomatic, hmph.

Anyways, on that Saturday afternoon, I went to my roommate Silvia's room to tell her that I needed to get to a doctor ASAP. She had several of her classmates with her, and once we got the translation worked Italian it's Cistitis...all three of them sprang into action. They were delighted it seemed to have an excuse not to study anymore, and within ten minutes we were in the car on the way to the hospital. However, this is where I should point out the difference in the approach. While we were in the house, in the elevator, and the entire way in the car to the hospital, the three of them were calling virtually everybody they knew to explain that the Americana has cistitis, and to discuss my symptoms in graphic detail, and to remember the time when their sister's best-friend's boyfriend's niece's mom had a UTI...and maybe you should call her to ask, yadda yadda yadda.

So, by the time we reached the hospital, approximately 1/3 of Sicily had heard the Americana was sick with a UTI.

Then, when we actually got to the hospital, it was then announced it to everyone at the hospital (and those people explained their relatives sicknesses at length and lamented over when their great-nephew's best-friend's sister-in-law's daughter had a UTI this one time.....) So, by the time we left the hospital, and went to the pharmacy, another 1/3 of Sicily had heard about the Americana with the UTI.

Over the next couple of weeks as the weak medicine that they use (they don't use the powerful-like-clorox antibiotics we use) helped a little bit, (but basically I was on my own with my own immune system to fight the infection), the girls would check in, and then inform me they had a conversation with so-and-so they met at the espresso bar on Monday and THAT person knew about this woman who was a distant relative of....

You get the point. By the end of the ordeal, the entire Island knew, and it had been on the 10pm news. But, the upside is that I had a LOT of people checking in on me, and concerned and offering to help. I learned that the concept of shame about sickness and weakness that we Americans have doesn't exist here in the same way.


Last week I got a massage, Italian style. When I got home I called Davide to tell him that I had a semi-erotic lesbian massage in Siracusa. I think he thought he wasn't translating what I was saying correctly, but I assured him that he was. I was as surprised as he was....

Ok, in the USA a massage consists of one person, a warm room, and a sheet to cover all your private areas (like butt, breast, and genital region). The masseuses are very careful not to touch any of these areas so as to not cause discomfort or embarrassment. It's a little different here....

First of all, you are TOTALLY naked, and NOT covered by the modesty sheet. So, there I was in all my glory. Originally, I was lying on my stomach, because I could deal with the masseuse seeing my butt. I was thinking that she had just forgotten the modesty sheet.

The first thing she did was make me turn over. So, now I am laying on the bed, bare side up, like a corpse on the autopsy sheet. She started on my feet and legs, but didn't stop at the midthigh like they do at home. Oh no, she aggressively went after my entire legs, inside and out...they masseuse doesn't tiptoe around your private areas. They may accidentally get touched in the process and it's not a big deal. Ok, so I am keeping my composure as best as I can. Then she goes for my stomach (which was also new, but rather nice). But the killer was when she got to my chest region....You can imaging my surprise when the masseuse started oiling up my nipples. I had to bite my lip from totally cracking up.

Ok, so I guess they don't call it a full-body massage for nothing. Oh, but wait, there's more...I forgot to mention that during the process THE ASSISTANT IS THERE WATCHING, and taking obvious mental notes. Ok, so I am trying not to squirm with one person who is a total stranger knowing every inch of my body...but now I have somebody else in the room doing the same thing. Oh, but wait...we're not done... because occasionally the chain-smoking-old Sicilian woman owner pops her head in and out as well to make comments. Again, community property.

OK, my first erotic massage. In traditional, conservative Sicily. Go figure.


And yesterday, I went to the hair salon to get myself dolled up, and I wrote this to my mother:

we are now a strawberry blonde with curls. oh so cute. and silvia's mom had a talk with the fabulous gay federico the hairdresser who said the palermo water was ruining my color and i needed better shampoo........ so she bought me really good shampoo and conditioner.S which is perfect because i just ran out. and i would like to point out that a weave here is 1/2 the cost. And again, it's community property. Basically the entire hen house at the salon comes and clucks and pecks and argues over what would be better. By the time i was done i had been in the hands of at least 7 people. one to initially inspect. one to consult with me. one to put the first color on. one to shampoo. one to do the cutting. two to blowdry. and one more to curl. And all 7 to argue constantly until a consensus was made (and offer me espresso).

But then Federico decided that i needed makeup (and I didn't have a choice or say in the matter since the other 7 had already agreed upon this next step). And so he took his stuff to me. Let me just put it this you remember the movie To Wong Foo... with Patrick Swayze and crew as drag queens? I looked a lot like that. Federico has a Marilyn Monroe fetish and this was his drag queen ode to her. But, when he was done he clasped his hands together and exclaimed "fantastica! Sei una bambola (you're a dolly)". Can't argue with that, eh?


Community Property. Good grief.

Ways of the Wind....Venice

Went to Venice from the 4th-7th of March.

Love Venice.

Hate pigeons.

Love Murano (small island off of Venice).

Hate the weather in early March.

What can I say about this trip? We had been planning it for two months and it finally arrived. There had been several times when I didn't think I was going to go...and, in the end, sticking through the rough spots paid off.

It was everything that I had hoped for. Romantic, poignant, loads of fun, and not that expensive. And it really reaffirmed to me how easy it is to get along with Davide. But, again, like everything between feels bittersweet. Because I know some day that will come sooner than I want, I will leave. And I'll be heartbroken.

So, Davide and I got up at 4am to catch a train to the airport for our 7am flight. We rode the train, and checked in at the airport. I have to say, it felt like the most normal, natural thing in the world to be traveling with him. In my little heart I felt like us traveling together as a couple, being able to fuss over each other, made so much sense. Something small like that seems so RIGHT.

We arrived in Venice on time, where the baggage trolley was like a roulette wheel. Davide was so interested in this that he forgot we were actually supposed to be getting our baggage...and so I ended up having to drag luggage around while he called his parents to tell them we had arrived the how cool the trolley was. Good grief. :)

Our host, Tomasso, who I had been speaking to on a regular basic via IM, came and met us. We drove through the mainland, and arrived at the house. Since Davide and I had only gotten a couple hours of sleep the night before, we crashed out and took a nap. In the afternoon, we decided to head to the island but the weather was so terrible--cold to the bone, howling wind, and sideways sleet rain--that it was basically too much just to get to the island, walk the 50 meters to the grocery market and hurry back to the bus. So...first day was spent inside. See me freezing and miserable outside in Venice:

We had a relaxed evening at home and managed to get to bed early. The next morning we headed out mid-morning to explore the island of Venice with some sunshine. What a great place. We wandered, and found little corners, unexpected places, saw a wedding, ate sandwiches, found Saint Mark's Piazza, went inside the cathedral, and generally did the tourist thing. Although I have to say I was really grossed out by the pigeons, which Davide thought they were pretty great.

I say a Sicilian word in this video for the Pigeons: Fa schifo. This means: totally disgusting (in this sense).

I think really, the pictures are more valuable here than anything else.

So, as the sun set and the cold came back, we headed back towards the mainland. I'm lucky to have inherited a great sense of direction from my father, and so I managed to navigate us back through the maze that is the group of islands of Venice and only stopping to look at the map once (which I didn't need to do, but wanted to be sure).

We met up with Tomasso and friends for an aperitivo at a place where you buy a drink, they ring a bell, and enough free food comes out to serve as dinner. We made it back to the house and I did something that I will never forget after walking around all day in the FREEZING cold....I took a very hot, very long bubble bath. Ohhhh, heaven. Simple pleasures.

The next day we went to Murano, a small island off of the main part of Venice, which is where they make the famous Murano glass. I bought a few things for friends and family. I just loved this little island. It was very quaint, and intimate, and it felt like somewhere I could live. Old men played cards in one of the bars, and the pace of life was slower than on Venice. The canals were straighter, and legend has it that the wives of fisherman would paint their houses a different color so their husbands could find their way home after a long trip, or a long night of drinking. Works for me!

Despite the horrific wind, I thought this day with Davide was one of the best in memory. We cuddled, and laughed, and explored. We managed to not freeze to death, and we rode the boat back, stopping randomly for an espresso and some chocolate.

THIS VIDEO IS ON can hear how LOUD the wind is! And Davide thought it was a great idea to stand on the wet rocks, in the wind, while carrying the delicate glass things we had. Silly men.... :)

That night we went to the Casino.

We watched a performance by a guy called Pupo. He is a famous Italian comic/singer who does a melee of a show...with a crazy demonic dwarf inner voice, a sappy romantic, an arrogant bastard, and a gambling addict. It was, uh, different. Honestly, I didn't understand a lot of it though. It went to fast and was too strange for me to follow completely. I mostly hung out in a lounge while the boys played. Tomasso came and found me, while Davide lost 50 Euro quickly. We had a Bellini downstairs, and on a whim on the way out (because I HATE gambling), I decided to just try one of the video machines which has sparked that little voice inside that I have learned to listen to. So, Tomasso provided 5 Euro, (even though I only wanted to play 1)...and I just started pushing random buttons. The entire time I was saying things like: this is the stupidest thing in the entire world, why does anybody enjoy this dumb gambling thins...and BING BING BING BING!!!!!!!! Congratulations, you just won the maximum amount!!!!!

I won 53 Euro. Gave Tomasso 1/2 plus his 5, which he then gave to Davide so everybody walked away a winner.

We were leaving but I decided I needed to use the restroom...and so I made us miss one boat. As we were getting the next boat to go back to the mainland, a group of older, very elegantly dressed Italians got on the same private boat as us. Turns out, it was the owner of the Casino, his wife, and their associates. I was completely fascinated with the wife, because her face and bone structure was so similar to mine--but she was in her 50's or 60's. She had the most beautiful fur coat...and I was having a moment where I realized that how she looked and her social status is something that I can have in 40 years. It just WORKS.

So, the boys decided that I officially have the best luck--winning the money and then getting us in the same boat as the owner of the Casino (who is jolly and fat like Santa Clause). Good fun.

Unfortunately, that was my last night in Venice. The next morning, Davide took me to the airport to return to Palermo. He would go on to Slovenia for his birthday. When we had originally booked the trip, I had to work, so I couldn't continue the trip there with him. So, I lived for the next five days with heartache, and then Davide came home (I surprised him by meeting him at the airport).

And that, my friends, basically concludes the Venice trip. So, wind, romance, luck, and so on. That's just how the breezes of life blow.....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Virgin and Sleeping With Others: Valentine's Day,

I think I need to write about this just to get over it.

I'm still mad about Valentine's Day. And it's March. The 29th of March.

So, at one pm on Valentine's Day Davide called me to tell me he couldn't make our date, and he needed to study. While I tried to be understanding, my heart was sinking, and I was running through the dialog in my head of: why am I doing this?

OUCH #1.

So, while I was on the phone with him, the doorbell rings. Carmelo went to answer it, and I was still talking to Davide, when his phone cut out. I was trying to say: Pronto??? PRONTO???? (basically, hey are you there?). And Davide walks into my kitchen and starts to laugh because he had tricked me. While I was happy that he hadn't canceled our date, I started the day with terribly hurt feelings....and I should have known then that it would be indicative of the way it would end.

So, we ate some lunch, I got dressed (I wasn't expecting to go out until 4pm), and we headed off to Mondello...a beautiful beach town not too far from Palermo. It's a lot like a southern california town--except there are 500-year-old villas. :) We walked along the waterfront, kissed on the beach, took pictures, and then ate a fantastic gelato. So far, so good. See pictures.

We then headed to Montepelligrino, which is a huge mountain with a castle that looks over all of Palermo. I hadn't gone there yet, but I wanted to. We drove up an impossibly steep road that twisted and turned and ended up at the Church of the Patron Saintess of Palermo, who supposedly saved the people and city from the black plague a 800 years ago. What is so cool about this church is that it is built into the mountain, so essentially you are in a cave (the one where the famously reclusive Saint supposedly lived and died). And there is the sarcophagus thingy for this wonderful Virgin Saint. Meanwhile, the Goddess in me was feeling defiant as I basically always do when I am in a church. Utter contempt. But, I couldn't ignore how cool the setting was. Way creepier and more interesting than a normal church.

Davide also has a fair amount of contempt for Catholicism, so this works well for both of us. Ok, so happy beach, and creepy church. We'd laughed and talked and kissed and generally had a good time. And so then he pulls out the big guns...the VIEW from the top of the mountain. Mamma mia.

He took me to what would be the Sicilian Lookout Point. My favorite graffiti ever was there, and the view over the Bay and the city was amazing. He did his favorite Leondardo DiCaprio impression and the Top of the World thing over the railing that keeps idiots from falling down the sheer cliffs to their deaths. We modeled on the patron saint requium, and felt very romantic. Well, at least I did. More cute pictures.

Graffiti says: "It's incredible that in a world full of people it can seem so empty when you miss somebody." Ahhh, the Italians. Who else would graffiti poetry???

It was dark and cold at this point so we went back to Palermo to go get a pizza. But, on the way down the hill he says: oh, by the way, after dinner I am going out with Guido and these two girls from the Hospitality Club. (And you're not invited).

OUCH #2.

This was the one and only time that I ever asked if I could go along. And as soon as the words came out of my mouth I regretted it. But, honestly, I was pissed. Basically, he would rather hang out with perfect strangers than his "best friend" on Valentine's Day evening. Cool. Whatever.

So, as I digested that and decided not to care (because I'm stubborn), I chatted with my Mom, who I missed terribly at that moment.

After some searching and walking we ended up at the same restaurant where he had originally asked me if I thought something had changed between the two of us and I said there certainly was something. We cuddled in a back corner, and were all cute. We shared french-fries, and waited for pizza. As we were finishing our pizza he says: can I ask you something? Of course, my dear....what?

And he says: Do you consider me to be your boyfriend?
And I say: well, almost. I mean, you basically are. [Meanwhile thinking, YAY!!! He's going to ask me to be his girlfriend!!!! About damn time].
And he says: well, I don't consider you to be my girlfriend, and I just want you to know that I want you to be happy and have your freedom, and if you want to say, see or sleep with somebody else, it's ok.

Ummmmm, EXCUSE ME????? So, basically, you're saying I can be a slut and sleep with other people and you don't care enough about me to be bothered by this. And, moreover, essentially what you're saying is that YOU want to be able to sleep with other people and have me be ok with that. Hahaha, yeah right. Bastard.

OUCH #3 (but multiply times 1000 on hurt factor).

I lost my appetite and my ability to speak I was so upset and so so so hurt. For the month before we had been having such a sweet, romantic time, and everything was beautiful, and I was falling in love, and this was just such a slap in the face. And something that an American man would pull...I didn't see it coming from an Italian.

So, at this point I am having a Valentine's Day Dinner with somebody I am supposed to be in love with, but who wants to go out with other people after dinner, and is ok with me sleeping with others.

He knew I was upset, and I didn't want to talk about it. So, he took me home and by the time he had talked to me and determined basically that I was profoundly unhappy with him at that moment the two girls had gone to bed and his friend had lost the motivation to go out. But, I went to bed sad.

And, for the next three weeks things went from bad to worse. His exam was really messing with him, he was grumpy. And then he had this dumb girl from Estonia here for a few days, and I was so pissed I left Palermo for three days and wouldn't talk to him. I was really close to not going to Venice and telling him basically to buzz off. But after the Estonian girl left, we had a long talk and I pretty much told him he had been a complete jerk and I was really disappointed in his behavior.

And then we were ok. We started being cute again and I felt happy again. Things got better and better and then we went to Venice. And it was lovely...............

UPDATE: as of March 30... Davide has now asked me to be his girlfriend. And he didn't know I was so upset about this. And, he's basically totally wonderful and I completely forgive him and don't care about this day anymore. :)