Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Six Candles Blown Out and School in the Air - Sei Candele Spente e Aria di Scuola

Summer is still blooming here, with hot days and the AC units still operating on full power. Yet everything around me already smells of autumn. I really should I have said "fall", because autumn is not quite the same. The English autumn was that cool time of the year when I was no longer looking at holidays photos, was going back to wearing my old favorite black pea-coat and work was getting more serious. The American "fall" is different. It has the meaning of a loss, the slow loss of the warm season. It is almost like a slow colorful death of the summer, with skeletons slowly spreading around in the neighborhood, still warm, in preparation for the dark tunnel of the Bostonian winter (which will come to hit us like a blow just after Christmas). Soon enough people in my neighbourhood will start wearing jeans instead of shorts, trainers instead of sandals and t-shirts instead of dresses, maybe fleeces, but very few black coats; certainly not early in the season.

This year after our trip to Italy everything happened so quickly, one thing after the other: friends' birthdays, 4th July fireworks, going to playgrounds, the beach, the pool, the lake. Now, I feel it is summer, at last. No. Not anymore. Not here. Summer is over for most Americans already. My inbox is full of messages with "fall" in the subject and most American stores have turned into a celebration of the new school season. And I have already received a list of school supplies for Tronk's kindergarten!... 

Tronk turned six in July. So, although we postponed it for a year, I still can't believe it's time for Tronk to start kindergarten. Time flies!

The last time I wrote a posting on Tronk's changes, he was turning three. What happened after that?

Life with a growing child goes fast - faster than one might be able to imagine. Life goes on, brings and takes away memories and a parent finds it incredibly hard to stop and enjoy what is happening. Too many photos shot but never printed and forgotten in hundreds of folders stored on our computercute songs and insightful comments made by Tronk, forgotten. Last night: "Mamma, con questo libro mi hai toccato veramente il cuore" (Mom, with this book you really touched my heart) Stories about Tronk in pre-k: his lunches (and chats) with his favorite teacher Susan, the one who shouts less and smiles more, according to Tronk, his love of all science-related projects - especially, the ones with explosions! - Stories about enemies and knights in the yard. I wish they had let me have that kind of fun in my courtyard in Turin when I was a child. His love for cooking and for grocery shopping - he knows how to pick up the perfect peaches. Finally, his latest obsession of adding arrows to every drawing he makes to explain each part. There are many other things I would love to remember of Tronk's last three years. But my mind was mostly busy preparing breakfasts, lunches, dinners, shopping lists, activities. And we had many difficult moments because of my health - me waking up in pain with Tronk coming to cheer me up to then complain, one hour later, that I am not playing with him.

We did share many special moments together.

Reading at Barismo
Yesterday for example, in the morning, Tronk built a house with machines that shoot the cattivi (bad guys) and came to show it to me in the bathroom. He then managed to write three words in corsivo (cursive). He watched the end of a cartoon about a famous botanist who saves a plant from another planet and managed to tell me the whole story, scene by scene, while I was cooking. Our long lunch was good, nice and relaxing while Tronk and I were chatting at the table. Not a single time I had to remind him to eat. Usually, in the afternoon we go out but yesterday we didn't because we discovered a funny way to read a book about the solar system with the interaction of a puppet. I had never seen Tronk laughing so hard while I was making him read the words of a book. At some point he even came up with a poem, which I wrote and decided to post on my Boston Italian Children website. Below is a basic translation of the poem (without Tronk's original rhymes, which makes it nice).

Filastrocca del Mare Americano
Ci son tre persone nel mare
che vanno a nuotare
che dicono "ma che freddo questo mare americano"     
meglio andare piu' lontano
poi vanno al lago 
e trovano un lago di colore smeraldo 
e dicono "questo lago e' molto caldo!
Poem of the American Sea
There are three people in the sea
who go to swim and 
who say "how cold is
this American sea"  
better go farther away
then they go to the lake 
and they find an emerald colored
and they say "this lake is very warm!"

He is becoming a happy, strong and kind person, always in need of being with other children. I think he will love school and I feel proud of him.

I am now thinking of the book we read a week ago in a bookstore: the night before kindergarten by Natasha Wing. It tells the story of two children who are preparing for school the night before kindergarten, They are excited but also a bit scared. Once they are in front of the teacher, they are no longer scared and don't need the parents anymore. The parents, who are watching their kids talking with their kindergarten teacher, get tears in their eyes. At the end, the parents are actually the ones who need a hug.

So I know, on that special day in September, I will be the one who needs a hug. And fall will truly be here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cose Che Vedo Solo in Italia - Things I only See in Italy

I promised a friend in Boston I would take loads of photos while I was in Italy. In my last two trips, I took a few, when I remembered. If you look closely at them, you'll get an idea of the things that I miss back in the US.

Fresh food in small stores:

Fresh nuts with shell are hard to find in the US
Cheap lunches with fixed price menu:

Gelato with taste of fruit (not butter):

Something I can eat quickly and enjoy - no chewy bread, no raw onions, no spicy pickles - heaven!

Fast-food I enjoy everywhere, even at the train station:

Slow pace in the city:

Chatting with the neighbor

I'll be back soon

We don't have WI-FI - Talk with eachother!!

Taking a long break for lunch, while all businesses are closed

Eating is one of the four purposes of life... what are the other three, nobody has understood that yet. Chinese say

Feasts to revoke history, food rituals and traditions:

My old work place, good food and musica popolare

The Arrival of the King Vittorio Amedeo II

Flags Exercise for the "Palio di Asti"

La Festa del Cioccolato a Torino - Chocolate Feast in Turin 

La Sagra dell'Uva a Torino - Grape Feast in Turin

La Sagra del Peperone in Carmagnola - Pepper Sagra in Carmagnola

As a matter of fact, every little thing I miss from home is always strictly connected with food. Also, with beauty and with elegance, a topic I introduced in an older posting. More on this soon.