Saturday, November 29, 2014

And also this/E anche questo
I really don't remember what it is like to live in New York.

Hmmmn. That does look familiar.

For the last two days I have had parent-teacher conferences at T's school. On Day Uno I kissed so much ass, that I actually felt dirty afterwards. It is a long and gossipy story about my pretend outrage that this kind of unhinged professor was removed from T's section. I feel badly about it because she is my kind of crazy and she seems like someone who you could have a great time with IF she liked you. On the other hand, if T is relieved to that she is only teaching one subject instead of two than so am I. My Italian skills might sometimes be inept, but I deserved an Oscar for that one, I tell you.

I don't know how T does it. She is doing like six hours a day of homework. And she has class on Saturdays. I wish this t-shirt at ASOS didn't cost ONE HUNDRED EUROS because that is a ridiculous number of euros for a T-SHIRT, and if it were cheaper I would have gotten it for her.

You're almost there, honey, one more day.
Very Much.
Yup. Those are paper napkin flowers. I made them with my own little hands.

I can't remember if I told you this story already, but it's so darn cute that I'm gonna tell it anyway. My student Mario from the intensive course that I did in September told it to us. When he was a little boy, he once helped an American tourist on the train to lift her bags from the overhead rack. She bent down and thanked him profusely in English. He wanted to say you're welcome, but didn't know the words in English. So he thought about it very hard and with a big nod of his head he belted out, "Very Much." This has become the name of our little group on social media and I just got the app they have been using this whole time to practice English together through their text messages. I told you they were cute. All but two of the students made it to Thanksgiving, but I had no idea that they would be bringing Thanksgiving presents for me. Some of them have found jobs since the class ended, but some are still looking, so they really shouldn't have spent money on me, but they did. They got me a silver heart necklace and a picture frame and a mug with Babbo Natale/Santa Claus on it.

 Did you notice the new Frida Kahlo curtains in the kitchen? It is a kitschy ass kitchen anyway so I said, hey, let's just embrace it.

 There was the usual confusion before everyone got here when I cleaned the cracks between the shower tile and the rust stains around the bathroom faucets and added an extra half bottle of red wine to F's red wine gravy because that's how I like it. F made us shell these sticky chestnuts so I made him listen to my music including my Thanksgiving theme song, and, in the end, we had to throw out the chestnuts because I was worried about killing the Italians with the little shards we left in it.

There's F. He made 5 pumpkin pies: 2 normal, one with vin santo and cookie crust, and one with cheesecake. We had to get our can of Libby's pumpkin filling from Richmond's English Shop in Viareggio. Shout out to Tara!
Pre-dinner libation of choice: red, red wine.
The problem with having 30 people over is that you always feel like you are short changing people and I didn't want anyone to feel neglected. I made some improvements this year by getting people to throw their own coats on the bed, pour their own drinks (for the most part) and I taped a huge garbage bag to the wall so that I didn't spend every last second waitressing. Nevertheless, it all went by in a blur.

 It is really weird to have sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce (T's friend Camilla's mom brought it from Whole Foods in America!) for the first time at a completely vegetarian Thanksgiving. They were particularly weirded out by the stuffing, but in the end everybody loved everything and we even converted a few people into loving brussels sprouts.

T's friends only do selfies, apparently.

The guy in the middle is Mario.
My SUPER students AKA Very Much

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

OOPS I did it again
I invited 35 people to our house for Thanksgiving.
Nah, that's all I got for you right now.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Big 15th birthday weekend

I love T's friends Natasha and Giorgia. There can never be enough giggling in the house as far as I am concerned. Plus who else is going to help us polish off the death by chocolate oreo cake that we had for dessert?

Night one: chocohotopots. Thank you, Niglla Lawson. You have changed our lives for the better.
Night 2: death by chocolate oreo cake

candles lit . . .

wish made . . .

friends happy . . .

girl happy . . .

Mission accomplished.
 On Sunday I went to hear my boss sing songs about Jesus. I was feeling very full of love for her because it turns out that according to some obscure Italian rule, I am getting paid 10 euros more an hour for the intensive course I taught  in September. So bassically while I've been unemployed, I've been making money. If that won't make you go out to hear This little light of mine on a Sunday night, nothing will.

My boss is the third one in from the right.
It was very, very cold in the church. You don't know what the expression chilled to the bone means until you sit in a medieval stone structure in a town that is so humid that we virtually have a monopoly on frizzy hair and damp laundry.

Here is the film about the African village that our donations were going to help. I feel like the donation will really get there because the priest is a friend of the choir group who really does good work.

Unfortunately, the choir leader was not dissuaded by the fact that his voice was completely distorted by the microphone. He still described every single song before and after they sang it.  He was also not dissuaded by the fact that the video of Africa was inaudible. I know this because I asked the tipo sitting next to me if it was just unfathomable to me or if real Italians couldn't understand it either. He affirmed that it did sound like some adult talking to the Italian Charlie Brown.

Here's my boss's solo:
Here is the African village video footage. Good luck understanding it:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

T turns 15
 T has had some pretty sweet birthdays and birthday parties in her life. Here are some throwback photos that makes me smile.

T'sr birthday came on a Friday this year which would be great . . . if we were in America. In Italy, it is not great because there is school on Saturday and because Friday is the day that everyone is burnt out and wishes that they went to school in America. The good news is that T had planned the perfect birthday outfit to wear to school. The bad news is that one of the stones on the embellished v-neck fell off at the last minute and started to unravel so she had to scramble and was late to school. The good news is she got there before the professor did the roll call. The bad news is that the math teacher upon finding out that it was T's birthday was unimpressed and pointed out that it was sure to be someone's birthday more or less every day. Nice. Therefore, she decided that it was okay to interrogate T in math on her birthday. T's friend Natasha pointed out that this was soooo rude and I agree. The good news is that T knew that it was going to happen. The bad news is that she knew it was going to happen. The great news is that when she went to the blackboard she did get the math problem right. The crappy news is that the professor didn't like the way she explained how she got the right answer in Italian and didn't give her as high a grade as she deserved. On an upnote she got a grade high enough to make her feel on good footing in math for the moment.

Super sweet was the fact that her classmates, who did not step up when they had the option to be interrogated in her place, did make the lovely gesture of writing her cheery birthday messages on the dry erase board. A little sour was the professor who had a heart attack about all the ink they were using since the school has only dryed up marks that the teacher has to wet to get any mileage out of them. In her defense, when she found out that it was in honor of T's birthday, she did say that if the last bit of ink were to be used up at least that was a decent reason.

T's friends Natasha and Giorgia came over for a burrito and chocohotopot dinner and T opened her presents. I have decided to adopt all of these tall girls and keep them hostage until they agree to watch Clueless and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Those are my terms and I'm not budging on them.

I have the best girl in the world and she is fifteen. I did all kinds of bad things when I was 15. Good thing we moved to this weird time warp medieval village in Europe where even trouble doesn't even know where to find you on its GPS.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I woke up like this!
So I'm sure you have a pair of embarrassing pajamas. Right? Am I the only one? It's humid and chilly here and so last night I put on a Uniqlo heat trapping camisole, a black long sleeved nightshirt, and these completely formless elephant pants that I wear underneath. Last night I had this awful nightmare that woke me up and I had to read to get back to sleep. When I woke up this morning, the house was empty. I drank some cold coffee that F had left for me probably an hour or so earlier and then the bell rang. I ignored it. But this guy was persistent. He probably rang twelve times. There is a note on our doorbell that says to leave packages with the restaurant next door for just this reason, but they are closed on Wednesday. I finally buzzed, hoping that the regular post lady would just throw the mail at the bottom of the stairs as she has started to do because I am often in a dishevelled state, if truth be known. Anyway, this was a new guy. He was um young-ish. Anyway, I peeped around the corner and saw him at the bottom of the stairs with his little pad and I asked if he could come back in five minutes. He said no. I asked if he could come back in two minutes. He said no. He said he would come up the stairs to my door. That doesn't help me, I said. Okay, give me five seconds. In those five seconds, I did not change out of my ugly pajamas or even splash water on my face. I literally just panicked for five seconds and then opened the door saying that I was sorry and that I had a cold. He looked at me and my makeup-less, tangled self with a face so full of pity that it would have broken your heart. Of course that made things worse. For me. But it was T's birthday present so I tried to tell myself it was worth it.

You would think that after that I would have gotten washed and dressed. But I didn't. I brushed my teeth and got back into bed. I had to read People magazine on-line in peace and check that I was up to date on Pinterest before moving on with my day. That is when the buzzer rang. I buzzed thinking that it was no good to hide because the delivery guy already knew that I was home. So dumb. It was a team of people in business attire with attache cases asking to come upstairs. They were being official in Italian. I didn't understand the part where they asked if I was the main name on the lease the first time so instead of saying that I didn't understand, I said that I didn't hear that part well. This seemed to piss the guy off and he asked when my husband would be back, stopped being polite and slammed the door. The well dressed woman that accompanied him seemed sympathetic after I explained that I was home with a cold. I am not home with a cold, mind you. I'm home with ugly pajamas and no make-up, but you know. I didn't think I would be appearing on C'e' Posta Per Te  this morning so . . . .

Wait. Back up. Let me add that when the buzzer rang the second time I was reading an article on Refinery29 called The World's 13 Most Embarrassing Sex Scenes. Don't judge.

Anyway, yesterday I decided that it was time to leave the house and go be social. This is something I do every four months where I chat with everyone I know who works in stores. This is half of the people I know so it takes a while, but I like to maintain relationships. F took my picture before I went out because I was feeling jaunty in my new jacket. And, yes, this is my attempt to make myself feel better for the ugly pajamas incident. . . Can I push the button for the emergency trapdoor, please?
You didn't think I was going to take an ugly pajama selfie, did you?

On the other hand, Maria de Filippi wore her ugly pajamas to work. She has really given up on this job, hasn't she? I mean she sits on the stairs with this horrendous posture for the entire show, which, granted, does go on for hours, but I mean there are hair and make-up people on staff. . . This shirt has actual artless paint smears all over it. This is what I wore for the first five months of T's life, but what is her excuse? That's it! I need a talk show.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sister Act
 F got to see his sister Regan for the first time in seven years and they had a total of 24 hours together. This is them making the most of it. In order to mark this special occasion the Universe saw it fit to make a giant double rainbow in the sky.

T, me, and Regan. I am so very short.