Sunday, December 30, 2012

Catch us if you can
We have to play catch up because as lovely as the bed and breakfast in Rome is, the internet connection is sketchy. It was an astoundingly good Christmas and we think it is all thanks to that adorkable ginormous tree that F brought home. T was thrilled with her fashion forward collection under the tree. T wrote me the best letters in a little journal that will be my favorite thing for as long as I live and F made me a kind of scarf collar and he  sewed T a fuchsia houndstooth pencil skirt that fits her like a dream. We made him Kpop shirts and ate chocolate muffins for breakfast. In the early evening we stopped by Melissa and Mirko's soon to be old apartment for a brindisi between friends.

On the day of San Stefano, one of my students named Francesca stopped by with her husband and little daughters to help us finish up the last of the reindeer cupcakes. The girls were really shy, but T managed to work her magic and get them to giggle uncontrollably by the end of the visit.

At night, we went to a games party at Jackie's house. T loved having to guess the famous person whose name was taped to her back by asking yes and no questions to other party guests. There was this really fun game where the hostess read from her pack of cards and whoever had the matching card got to pick a present. Then you get to steal presents from other people when your turn comes and at the end everyone opens up the gifts one at a time. People were so greedy and funny and then when we opened the gifts they were mostly household items like bandaids and keychains which made the whole thing even more funny. I would steal that game and play the luxe version with really awesome presents if I were super rich. We left earlier than we wanted to because we had to catch the train to Rome in the morning.

That speedy Italotreno is a great deal; we sat at a table booth for four and had a picnic lunch on the train. There was wifi, but we couldn't watch a film because it was too noisy to hear the audio. It didn't matter because we were there in no time. We got to the Piazza di Spagna Prestige in a taxi with a driver that read a map in a guide book while occasionally looking up to see what the traffic was doing. Giovanna and her brother who run the hotel could not be any nicer. The rooms are toasty warm and sound proof and perfectly clean. We inexplicably could not bear the thought of more fried food or heavy pasta dishes and returned twice to a very good vegetarian restaurant and then found a great Chinese one. This city is a shopper's paradise, but so far we have been very contained.

The holiday lights are shaped like chandeliers!

At one point we were all sitting at the table playing the guess who game and my mom asked, "Am I Oprah?" It was very funny. It turned out she was Serena Williams, which was also funny.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Did you know?
If you are reading this blog, you are following the only family in Italy that watches Ru Paul's Drag Race on Christmas eve. You are officially FABULOUS. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry weirdness

This year we had a rather odd Santa scene around the corner from us. There were mischievous glitter throwing, juggling guys and a woman with a candle and a little person who, I am hesitant to say, was supposed to be an elf. T had a moment of politically correct dismay. I thought about it for a minute and said there is no reason for a little person not to play an elf in the spirit of Christmas just because it could be stereotypical for some. Right?

The best part was captured in this video when a little boy with a pacifier in his mouth kept doing that Maggie Simpson move of pushing it in and out of his mouth towards Santa, and Santa did the same move right  back. Santa is mega jolly.

Today I had slopped some green face mask stuff on just as the door bell rang. It was this woman from the gym. She had been the only client who came for my three o'clock class before it got canceled. She had been worried about her husband who was having trouble swallowing his food. I had recommended some celery seed broth, and it helped for a while. My boss at the gym had recommended some breathing exercises. His family doctor had completely missed all the signs. It turned out to be a tumor. I started doing Bioenergy treatments for him a few days ago, and he wanted to come by and thank me in person. The sink was full of dishes and I still had some green under my chin, but they hiked up the stairs to bring me a plant and were really feeling like this was going to get them through to the chemo next week so it was well worth it. I did the final day's treatment right then and there. With my hands about three inches away from his chest, I felt actual freezing cold spots on his esophagus, so I imagine that is where the tumor is. It was bizarre because the rest of his chest was warm.

I have been texting all day long because I wanted to give my clients and colleagues a heads up that I won't be coming back to work after the holidays. I was absolutely unsure about sending the texts, but then after reviewing the course schedule I realized that even if a Christmas miracle did happen, there is nothing they could come back and offer me as far as I can see that would make it worth it to keep being associated with them. It has been pretty sad, but I think it was time and now I have to figure out how to make a new work routine for myself that allows us to pay for stuff. I am going to try really hard to stop obsessing over it and just enjoy the next week of vacation time. Right now I have to go make more sugar eyeballs for the next batch of reindeer cupcakes. Yes, I do know I'm weird.

Arrivederci Brooklyn, and Merry Holidays at you!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The End of LIFE
No, silly, not the end of the world -- the end of my time at LIFE gym. Ever tell your boss to take this job and shove it in a foreign language? Good times.

It wasn't the fact that they never got paid by clients ahead of time and found themselves so in debt that they had to ask all of us employees to get paid for September in November and so on, and that we take one euro less per hour.  It wasn't the fact that they canceled five out of nine of my classes right at Christmas. It was how he did it that was unacceptable to me. He told me that I had to find a way to reinvent myself and put myself back into the schedule and that they would be open to hearing my suggestions. Well, even if I offer to do a lap dance at three in the afternoon, if there are no clients there, it is not going to make much of a difference what I come up with. Plus, if I am a valued employee with a family and they are leaving me to earn only 49 euros a week, shouldn't they think of a way to put me back in the schedule so that they don't lose me?

Well, I yelled and he yelled and hung up the phone in his face, and it did not go well. I had stayed up the whole night before going over my calm and level headed speech in Italian. As the hours passed, I got angrier and angrier. I didn't have the conversation on Monday when it happened because I didn't know if I could continue to work there or not. One boss had called me on Monday morning to say they were going to cut three classes, which I expected. Then when I came in person for the formal meeting they ended up cutting two more that I didn't expect because there were about five students there, which is not so bad. The week was torturous as I accepted their stupid candle with the company logo on it and the little chocolates and smiled at everyone of my colleagues who are earning five times as much as me. I didn't want to ruin the holiday smoldering so I called to make an appointment only to find out that those bosses were going away to Switzerland in a few hours. Thus, the blowout on the phone. F learned some new curses in Italian -- so it was positive in that regard.

Then I had to go by the gym in person and leave off my hours. The bosses were not there so I chatted with some of my coworkers and was thrilled to give them my version first and have them on my side. Another man I work with turned out to be a partner in the gym. Nobody ever told me that. He always left the room when I entered and I have come to find out he did not want to be alone with me because he doesn't understand a word I say in Italian. He called me later in the day and he understood every word I said and was very nice about everything saying maybe we could still work things out, but once the trust is gone I'm gone. Also it is weird that I have never been invited to a brainstorming staff meeting there and even weirder that they don't have any.

For now I will be an independent agent teaching English conversation group classes maybe and doing personal training for as many of my clients as I can possibly steal.

That same day of December 21, T had an end of the world party at our house. Ironically, they sat around playing the board game of Life.
Outside the movie theater.

This bear in the pharmacy window rocks back and forth with the baby bear.
 We made reindeer cupcakes and went out in the cold, dark night to distribute them to our friends that work in the neighborhood stores.  I tripped and twisted my ankle. Yeah, I can't believe it either.

Giusti bakery
Me and Monica who runs the bakery with her husband Luca.

My pharmacist liked the cupcakes a lot!
I look really tired.

The nativity scene at San Michele church.
 This morning F had to drive me to Capannori to do a personal training session for Jessica since I now can't set foot in the gym. We did another round and distributed even more cupcakes and it was lovely and in the true spirit of the holiday. Right now there is a chorus and orchestra in the street below singing Christmas carols. T has gone out ice skating in honor of Natasha's birthday party. And all's well that ends well. Lo spero bene.