Sunday, October 30, 2011

Me and the T -- NYT, that is.
Won't you be my neighbor?
Flash mob Italian Style
Today we flash mobbed Uncle Laurence and all of Lucca. T's friend Caoimhe attends a dance school called Arabesque which along with put on a spontaneous display of dancing in a massive crowd of costumed lovers of humanity for the Lucca 2011 Comics and Games festival. It was hella fun.

(That last coment was for you MJ of, since you are internet-less and we love you always wherever you are.)

No comment.

Here is what the scene looked like 2 seconds before we burst out in dance.

Mary Poppins eat your heart out!

Jack Sparrow on strings

It was blazin' hot today.

This is a lamborghini painted as a police car . . . btw
 (I wore my snakeskin converse which makes me write as if I am originally from Brooklyn instead of originally from Flushing, Queens. Forgive me for I cannot contain myself.) T is wearing a gray top and bright pink leggings and I am about four rows back in black with a pony tail and a pink top.  Here is how it went down:

I'm not implying any Smurf similarities, but the shirt, I think, speaks volumes.
Pretty Smurfy
Ahh Comix! It is like a land of fairy Disney princesses who all woke up on the wrong side of the bed. "Welcome the F$$K to Lucca Disney," they seem to say.  Plus, as I have previously mentioned, there is the time warp around the walls of Lucca so that it is somehow cool/ganzo if you are 24 years of age to dress up as Harry Potter, Evil Spider Man, or a Smurf/Puffi (pronounced puffy). Aside from the grumpy Snow Whites and Cinderellas, everyone is pretty cheery --except for the guy who routinely throws me out of San Frediano church whenever I want to show a house guest Santa Zita's remains.

Today we sprung T out of school early since she was supposed to sit around doing nothing for the last two hours while her art professor went on strike. She studied for her grammar test, packed up her costume, and went with friend Natasha and her mom Melissa to decorate Jessica's house in Capannori for the Halloween party tonight. We took Uncle Laurence prisoner, after having been rejected by one of Lucca's most beautiful churches, forced him to march through the vineyards of Colleverde in Matraia, drink a thumbful of wine at a local establishment, beat us in gin rummy, and then go to said Halloween party where Jessica and Melissa threw down one pretty fabulous par-tay.

Behold my favorite chicken costume ever.

Some of the dads were way into this event . .

but they had to keep up with the moms . . .

mmmn . . .eyeballs!

the better to see you with, my dear

T had the time of her life jumping on the trampoline reaching into intestines (porridge) and eye balls (mozzarella) and something else gross and pinning the tail on the skeleton or some-such. I fell into friendship with this cool woman Paola and her daughter Tatiana from South Africa who had been living in Belgrade and now is running her father's newly constructed guest homes in San Ginese.

lady fingers

Arrivederci, Brooklyn!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not Uncle Laurence

Yup, that there is Uncle Laurence
No school for three days, Halloween, and Comix? Are we dreaming?
Twizzle me happy
So today was pretty momentous. It is the first day of Comix and my big brother is here. Unfortunately both gyms called on me to substitute teach. So  F went and got Laurence at the cute, little Pisa airport. They had to go by train because of the whole Italian driver's license issue. We won't talk about that in front of F. Anyway, Uncle Laurence brought us loads of goodies: all of the Missoni kids' clothes that I ordered when they were on sale at Target, a pair of Levis for me (saving more than 100 euro) three pairs of Victoria's Secret black velour sweat pants (my faves), a pair of fancy-studded- snakeskin-platform-fake-Converse kicks (saving us another 100 euros), and most importantly three, count them, two pound bags of Twizzlers.
Not the chocolate ones, but still . . .
This won't hurt a bit. . .

Acceptable kicks even by Lucchese standards
135,000 people, most of them wearing wigs or fluorescent hair dye, came to Lucca last year for the Comics and Games festival in the rain. This year it is crisp and sunny and the festivities have been extended for an extra two days.  It is the only week in Lucca when more people wear sneakers than wear stilettos. Here are my new $29 American sneakers; I'm so glad I didn't buy the studded leather version for 175 euros. 

When you see crazy coming . . . cross the street.

I lost my sheep.

Did you hear about the crazy American who teaches Metamorfosi?

You're x-box and I'm more atari

Nice costume!

Excellent costume!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ninja pigeon killers, hustling, and time travel
T says that lots of kids in her class are complaining about how much harder second year of middle school is compared to the first. For her it is just the opposite. Of course last year she was doing almost six hours of homework with me a day, three in English and three in Italian. Now she gets the job done by herself in one or two hours and life is good. It is mind blowing that I was begging her to try to speak in complete sentences in Italian this time last year and now the only help she wants from me for her history essay is to help her recopy it into nicer script for her bella copia.

Plus Natasha and T got to live out their babysitting dreams. They hit the motherload in the form of thirty kids whose parents were attending a meeting at the Foro on homeschooling. Up drove the VW vans and out came their surely-braver-than-I parents. The girls, apparently, did a magnificent job.

Some things, however, don't change. Last year we begged the office building next to our house not to use the electric pigeon killer because, among other things, whenever it rains it makes a constant electrical shocking sound every time a rain drop rolls down the gutters of the roof. They fixed the problem. Then this year as soon as we got our first big rain, the pinging noise was back. Anyway, as annoying as the pigeons can be, I think zapping them to death is perhaps a bit harsh.

Last year I wasn't working. (If you call doing six hours of homework a day with a furious eleven year old not working.) This year, I am always hustling. "Giuseppe" asked me to give private exercise classes to his wife, despite the fact that she payed the membership already for the fancy Ego gym.  I don't have time to take the bus out to where they live, but if she is willing to come to me and pay me 25 euro for a private lesson, then I will carve out the time for her. I am still waiting to find out how the negotiations go. After his Bioenergy treatments, he can now move his finger that was not mobile due to a motorcycle accident which broke a bone and shortened a tendon in his hand. But he still doesn't believe that his results came from the treatments.  He doesn't want to believe I helped him even though he was in full back spasm when he came to me and he left showing me all kinds of moves to demonstrate how athletic he is. He's a hoot, that Giuseppe.

I am also now teaching English once a week to my friend Claudia and she insists on paying me. I am making her read Eat, Pray, Love in both languages at once and she is just thrilled. It is the easiest money I've ever made, although during the course of an hour I have to ask her about seven hundred times to speak in English. I love her but she is una donna testarda.

Another example of how change is good is T's new hair color that came just in time for the Comics and Games festival (which attracts over 135 thousand manga outfitted teenagers to Lucca) and also Halloween (which does not really exist here). Check out the photo. So cool, right? She said the kids in her class asked what I did when I found out. They didn't wrap their brains around the fact that she had my full permission to dye some strands of her hair shocking pink. In many ways living in Lucca is like going back in time to the 1950s with 1980s fashion choices. Imagine Weird Al Yankovic on Happy Days. Or people who color coordinate their sweat suits with their hair ribbons, leg warmers and earrings. T is not amused.