Saturday, October 29, 2016

Parma R Us
Today we got up early to flee from Lucca Comics. After six years, we have seen all the short-skirted, zombie, hunger game pirates that I need to see in a life time. And it is so noisy.

As an alternative we chose Il Richiamo del Bosco, which is a GREEN, vegetarian-loving, B&B, twenty minutes outside of Parma.  We were met by a pint-sized, maternal, angel-on-earth, named Tatiana. She can't go more than twenty three seconds without stuffing us with croissantymuffins (that's a thing!), baked apples, herb filled tisanas, and farm fresh honey. Tatiana told us the family would be home later on and that we could share their super long dining room table if we decided to bring in food, rather than dine out at a restaurant. T began dreading the evening's social interaction at around 11:52 AM. It is a weird set up because we have two rooms with a shared bathroom in the hallway on the second floor. The family seems to sleep on the floor above us. I think Tatiana is on the floor below us with the open plan living room and kitchen. Somewhere around here is a giant parrot. I can hear it, but I can't see it. The whole house squeaks and the walls are thin, so I mean no one has ever had sex in this house unless the parrot has a friend somewhere.

B&B kitchen sign

Meagan, if you are reading this, is this a pinteresty kitchen or what now??

oh Tatiana!

happy man

They have a tree house, but we can't go in unless the 11 year old says so. I hope she likes us.


Midday, the truck driver guy from yesterday, Elpion, called me because he is also a muratore/construction guy and I had to send him to fix the leaky window frame at Tina and Job's place. He can fix it, but it will cost us 160 euros. We can't ask their landlords to pay it because they haven't paid rent in ages. Sigh. 

Also Glory called. She was crying. The Red Cross transferred her from the tents in Lucca to some other place, we couldn't make out quite where yet. She is freezing, she said, and afraid because it is too far from a train and her friends in Lucca. We had just gotten a big shoe donation from Federica at Brooks Running Company and we were thinking to bring it to her when we got home so we could all play shoe store together and get everyone into some comfy shoes. I felt very helpless, and didn't have anything much to offer, but I wrote my only Red Cross contact on facebook to see if she would help.

If you look closely, you can see me chatting with LA destined Nacho salesman, Gianluca. He has RE- the initials of the Reggio Emilia- tattooed to his face, but it's nacho problem.  

After we unpacked and snacked we went to discover the city. We took T to see the duomo and to do some shopping. We walked for hours. At the end of the day, we were all hungry, but T was starving because she had gotten up early to go around the walls before setting out and because she had stayed away from that delicious croissantymuffin thing that I do not regret one bit. We stopped at this super green place called Universo Vegano and bought these very hearty sandwiches. I ordered a spicy, vegan kebab and we took it to go. When we got back to the B&B we realized that it was too cold to eat outside on the patio, and we might have to eat alongside the family, which T did not want to do. It is the kind of thing that would make me shy and anxious until the moment we were actually talking to people, but that then, I might end up loving. I'll admit that age sixteen I would have rather eaten rocks.

I didn't sense any sign of life at 7 PM which is still early for Italians to eat. Tatiana had already offered a tisana/hot tea that we had accepted, so I thought we could bring the food down and get the table to ourselves. We tiptoed down and saw the table all set for their dinner so we ran back upstairs, crowded into my room on the floor behind the bed, set up my ipad to stream Ru Paul's All Star Drag Race Reunion, and stuffed our faces with soy goodness. Everytime we heard a footstep we all startled, and we yelled at each other silently for wrinkling the paper bags too loudly. It was a relief to have the sandwich evidence safely in our bellies, but we knew we should go down and introduce ourselves to the family before turning into bed. We got down and there was only Tatiana who really scolded us for not eating with the family and for letting the tea get cold. She made us a huge snack buffet and clucked over how hungry we must be! Then she left to go skype her sister. We broke down into giggles. I was just relieved because she double kissed me before she left, so I knew she couldn't be that mad. I am very pleased with myself for packing my ergonomic pillow and the white noise machine and the ear plugs.

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