Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How I Rock An Italian Morning in Under 30 Steps*

Young Lover's Bench, Santa Lucia

1) Wake up. Get out of bed, drag a comb across my head...

2) If it’s before 8:30, I think, Not bad. Considering this is Italy, and i scuri on my balcony doors vanquish all natural light.

3) Open balcony doors. Bedroom floods with glorious eye-blasting far-eastern small town Campanian mountain daylight. Squint, and smile.

4) Don't check emails because this is Italy. No one has sent one, or returned any. But depress the little wireless connection button anyway, to start the day

5) Head to the darkish kitchen, one room away, to assemble caffe' (..i scuri on my kitchen doors are never open before 10am)

6) WhatsApp pings my phone - the mocha pot now lit on the bombola stove, I go back to check who's emoticon'd me from the US in the middle of the night

7) Make it back to the kitchen in time to catch the pot before it bubbles over. Black, home-brew, triple espresso. Enjoy a few handmade biscotti too big to dunk from yesterday's visit with zia G; a domestic wiz, she whipped them up in the half an hour it took me to walk over. Hell. All the elder women here are domestic wizards - thanks to their 1930s Fascist upbringings and a very hard scrabble life.

8) Walk past my unmade bed to the balcony. It will remain unmade till I open i scuri to the street side of the house, when all the little old ladies who walk by can see that its not yet made. I worry they will think I'm not good enough. 

9) Put on morning walk clothes, a touch of lip color. Wonder if anything I put on will be approved by the very small town minds of the other ladies of the lane, the ones more my age, who probably have no such concerns in their daily routine

10) Grab a tote bag, wallet. Unlock chestnut wood doors, pull off one heavy wood scuro, head down the narrow lane

11) Come back in for sunglasses, make bed, leave again.

12) Head out, right, under the stone arch, around two narrow bends, down along the newly paved strada dei archi dei zingari to the bottom of the hill to Canio's alimentari to buy a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and some fresh ricotta. All delivered about an hour ago. Mmmmm, bread's still warm.

14) Think immediately of the very early Sesame Street episode; A loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter. The little girl's sing song voice so clear in my head, the funky neighborhood she walks to get to the bodega oddly so similar to my current surroundings...marveling, an old NY memory in even older, old Italy

15) Wonder, would any of these old time Italians know that episode too? 


16) Think, I'll stop & pick up a half dozen fresh eggs from Antonietta down the road, if she's in. 

17) Antonietta is in. Her rambling garden with ramshackle hut is overflowing with hens & cocks grazing on organic grains & greens. She counts out 8 eggs wraps them in newspaper and I hand her my coins. She tosses a head of fresh sandy lettuce and a few plump figs into my bag, sends me on my way

18) Walk back up the hill to my two room piano di terra stone house. Pull out the long iron key to open those chestnut wood doors. Indulge myself for breakfast with what I've dubbed, what I know, is the Original cream cheese and jelly sandwich. Thick fresh bread, ricotta cheese and homemade blackberry jam, tinged with a teaspoon of grappa. Whoa.

19) Take a second triple espresso out to my balcony. Take in the spectacular view. (I can use 'spectacular' because this is the Italian countryside. Every view is Spectacular...or better. If you live in Italy and you don't have a spectacular view, you're doing something wrong)

20) Think, this ain't Queens or the LES. Smile. Though some joke (to themselves) it's the Bronx. Take a quick photo for my series 'This Mornings Balcony View'  Load to FB

21) Then, Oh yeah, it's Thursday. 

22) Go back out, head up instead of down, to the strada dei piedi for the farmer's market, where I'll first dawdle and forage for interesting objects or fabrics or maybe stash a giant antique green demijon, if found on the street, behind a pile of rubble to be picked up later - handblown yet discarded as if from some bygone era - and as I do I will be offered a large cache of these demijons by an old man with a bastone, wearing a fedora 

23) Think, how many do I have? Oh about 20 demijons now back in my grotta. Yep... Grotta. 

24) Disengage from old guy, walk on to buy a few kilos of seasonal fruits and vegetables for under 5 bucks, 2 litres of organic olive oil or light frizzante wine for under 10, be offered a pastry at the bar, or detained and cajoled by a dozen and one elders, youngsters and general locals alike...

25) Walk home. 

26) Back with my car for the demijons. A dozen in all. Old guy with bastone and weathered fedora is thinking he's duped L'Americana into hauling off his old junk from his cantina. L'Americana is shocked how nice that old guy really was and how easy it was to increase my collection. Load them into the car. Double park on via Concezione. Carry them one by one down via Fontana to my grotta, tucked in a vicoletto, up high and away from the street 

27) Demijons stored, I am finally back home to whip up a nice lunch. Pasta, with butter and fresh peas and more ricotta. Glass or two of good wine. Salad. Fruit.

28) Nap.

29) Wake an hour later, pray to god the DSL connection is good, check email, and begin Work/Read/Write/Work

So. That's how it's done - in Small Town Alta Irpinia

Can you believe how much I get done before 3pm?

*Inspired by Laura Belgray at (Jumbo) Talking Shrimp  

Thanks Laura!