Thursday, July 29, 2010
To start out, I'll summarize. Every single day in Italy, in Venice, has exceeded my wildest expectations. That kid in a candy shop feeling just has not worn off. Mike and I wondered what we would do when we faced the day the fantasy faded, but, it just hasn't. I don't expect it ever will. I'm one of those who has been bitten by the Venice bug, bitten badly. I am head over heels crazy about this place.
And it doesn't make alot of sense, when you get right down to analyzing it carefully. We gave up every convenience, every luxury we ever had to move to a place that is incredibly difficult to exist. Well, compared to Baltimore, this is not an easy place to acclimate to, nor it is an easy place to live an everyday existence. Let's face it, having to live life without a car is in itself one major change in my routine.
I could make a long list of the things we have had to do without. You'd laugh... the clothesdryer is tops on that list, and yes, tootsie rolls make the list too. Look forward to seeing " The List" in an upcoming blog. I have a much longer list of all the wonderful things I have been able to add to my life though, and those have become so much more important.
Looking back, I have to say definitively- the decision to move was worth it. I have no regrets. Zero. Ok, Ok. somedays I do long for a clothesdryer, and maybe someday I will have one again. Just not now. I have learned to live without one, and I manage just fine. I traded in a very ordinary life- full of stress from work that was beginning to cause major health problems and full of the trapings of living "the American dream". I would describe myself as just going through the motions of life Getting up each day, going to work, coming home, ... existing. Marking time.
What I traded for is an extraordinary life. I pinch myself every day, in disbelief that I am living in such a marvelous, incredible place, but even more so because we MADE it happen. We somehow, miraculously, found the guts to dream of what a better life for us would be, and to do everything we had to do to make that dream a reality. I traded a stress laden life, with over the top high blood pressure, to one that has just about zero stress. Instead of spending 10 hours a day in meetings where nothing gets accomplished (yes, that's Corporate America), I spend my hours walking in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. No more office walls, no more meetings, no more horrible commutes for me.
The journey hasn't been easy, in fact there were some very trying days. Persistence has been my middle name for the last 2 years! Most of the difficult tasks are behind us, and we're beginning to really feel at home. Yes, home. It feels pretty good to be able to say that.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
There is a brand new ticket booth located inside the waiting area. I like the new wooden finish to it, instead of the old white booths. Complimenti to whoever came up with the whole design.
I also like the new electronic boards which tell you when the next boats are arriving. This is a welcome addition at all the vaporetto stops all over the city this season.
This photo just caught my eye while standing out on the new pier. New pier, old cardboard boat signs!
Ciligie! Dark Cherries!! It's cherry season here in Venice, and this year they have been absolutely delicious. We can't stop eating them, I've been making a trip to the market every day for another kilo of ciligie! Eating them is sheer bliss. I am not looking forward to the day I go to the market and discover the cherry season has ended. So, in the meantime, I plan to enjoy every bite!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
At the squero of San Trovaso in Dorsoduro, new gondolas are meticulously made by hand.
Below is the very first photo of La Maria II, Roberto's gondola. Now fast forward about 9 months .....
and here she is, waiting in the boatyard on the day of the Varo (launching). Family and friends are invited to share in the happy event. The boat is on display, everyone admires the workmanship of the boatmakers, and anticipates the moment La Maria II will slip quietly into the water.
The gondolier chooses the many elements of the boat, from the design of all the carvings to the fabrics used for the furniture. Here is the backpiece of the seat, a carving of Roberto's family crest.
Here the same crest is used on the front piece.
The fancy gold horses ....
the fero (metal ornamental piece on the front of the gondola),....
the fancy hood ornament,...
and the forcula (oarlock).
A bottle of Prosecco is tied to the back of the gondola, it's almost time....
But first.. food! Roberto has arranged a huge spread of delious food from Antico Pignolo- including traditional Venetian dishes of Baccala, Bigoli in Salsa, Sopresso and Pane, tramezzinos, and delicious deserts from Rosa Salva. And, lots of wine and Prosecco, of course.
At last, the moment we've been waiting for! The workers at the squero prepare the gondola to be slid into the water, placing rollers under the bow, and away she goes!
Roberto hops onto the back and takes her on her maiden voyage down the canal, testing out how she handles.
Family and friends in the squero cheering him on.
Roberto and his family all get in the boat, and he takes them off down the canals to St. Mark's square, which will be this gondola's new home. Mike and I also made our way to St. Mark's so we could greet them when they arrived. What a great day this has been. Another unique Venetian experience for me, one I realize may be truly a once in a lifetime event. To be able to watch the evolution of a gondola from start to finish has just added to my love of Venice, and all things Venetian. To be present at the time of the launch, and share in that celebration with the family- I'm not sure I have words for how honored I feel.
As we waited for Roberto and Marie to arrive back at ST. Mark's, my husband Mike caught this shot - it's the perfect image to end this blog. Ciao, tutti.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
My blue jeans seem to be particularly offensive to him. My favorite Faded Glory jeans, hauled over the Atlantic to their new home in Venice, just don't make the cut, evidently. It's more than obvious when I walk down the street that I am a foreigner, I don't even have to open my mouth.
My landlord doesn't sugar coat the situation one bit. I love the conversations we have about my clothes, they usually go something like this:
(When reading this, try to find your best Sopranos accent, or think of Father Guido Sarducci! That will give you just the right idea of how this sounds in real life over here, with my landlord using his very best English!)
Landlord: "You-a must trow all your-a clothes in the bag, Karen"
Landlord: "The blu jeans-a dat you wear-a are-a no gooood-a".
Me: " Why?"
Landlord: " It is the time for you to dress-a like-a the Italian. The blu jeans-a must-a be on your-a skeen very tight. "
Me: " I don't know, I still have clothes I brought with me that are in good shape, I can't go buy a whole new wardrobe."
Landlord: "NOOOO! But-a you-a must! No more wit-a dees-a baggy pants-a for you. Please, now, you go shopping. Trow every-ting a-way-a now. "
As much as I really want to fit in, I'm not quite ready for a big shopping expedition, or to get rid of everything I brought over with me. Maybe next season!