A Travellerspoint blog

Don't look down at the poo

Sometimes, in life you must know when to look up and see life for the best. Here in Bari the sun is shining the birds are singing and for the first time in what seemed to have been a long cold rainy winter the air is warm, you can taste the sea in the sea and the salt on your lips, some would even say that is hot. I am sitting on my terrace with light sunscreen covering my overly pale skin, the smell of Waterbabies sun cream reminds me of my childhood, I am smiling to myself. Life is just beautiful; these are the reasons that I am here, simple and easy.
Today is Nico’s birthday and St. Patrick’s Day, my grandfather’s favorite holiday, he would have liked Nico and wish they could have met. I spent all morning running around to different shops and markets to pick up his gifts, get food for Sunday breakfast and lunch and order a cake that cost an arm and a leg. I think I have gotten scammed, or in other words ripped off, not just for a cake that cost 40 Euros but also the ring I had engraved for him. It is one of the difficulties of being a foreigner in the South of Italy. At first I was like “What? “You are totally robbing my wallet”, I mean what else can I say? Hey, lady I know that you are taking the piss and I know you think I am a tourist on holiday but usually tourist don’t speak in your language, no? What can I say? When I picked up the Calvin Klein ring this morning I looked at the engraving and the “e” on “te” is slightly faulty and it looks like it has been doubled or the engraver hiccupped. I know that if I were Italian it would have been perfect or they would have offered me a discount, instead the girl just looked at me and shrugged “like what do you want me to do?” you American. Sometimes it is not worth a fight and you must accept what is. At first I was considerably disappointed and thinking I just spent all this money when things are not perfect and they are pulling me around asking for double the price. But, hey the sun is shining, I am a short walk from the sea and things aren’t that bad. When is life perfect? It is one of the natural challenges of living in a different county, if it were easy possibly I would never have wanted to have lived in so many places. In the South there are no rules, people play the way they want to play. When I left the jewelry shop the man told me to but the bag in my purse because I didn’t have a receipt, I left it in another purse and forgot I may have needed it in trying to run out the door at lightening speed. No rules just stuff it in your bag and look innocent. Well, that I can do, sir. So, I left the shop with no evidence of a perchance and my crocked “e” ring out of sight, in reality it is not that crooked and the shop keepers are only taking a bit of my money.
So, I decided that life is exactly what it is; you must accept the things you have no power to change. Instead of thinking “ohh shoot I just spent a wad of cash”, I choose to think, won’t Nico be really happy. Instead of thinking the people that work in the shop are thieves I am going to think they are just people trying to make ends meet. Everyone has the choice to interpret life as they choose, I choose simply to look at the brilliant sun, the accent buildings, the old ladies with huge shopping bags and gelato shops that have every pastel color known to nature, instead of looking down and noticing the large quantities of dog presents left behind from an owner that didn’t want to pick it up. It is best to look at the right instead of the wrong, the beautiful instead of the ugly, the easiness instead of the difficulties, the start of summer instead of cold winters end, a new beginning instead of an end and the people that I love instead of those that we have disagreed.

Posted by goldenomad 08:05 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Missione Regalo Accomplished

The morning sun paints colors on the pavement, the tune of “It’s a beautiful morning” runs in my mind. Today was just what I needed. It started off with a trip to my favorite outdoor market, only a few streets from my house. It is filled with locals and older people bargaining and screaming at one another in dialect, once I asked a sweet little old lady how to cook the pasta she was selling which was hand made and portioned in small bags, she responded and I think I stared back at her cross eyed, frazzled and confused only to thank her and literally run away, until I realized she was speaking in dialect. I understand nothing; I can not help but smile every time I walk through. It is hustling and bustling with the famers screaming prices and funny phrases to get people to buy fruit, the stalls are full or fresh vegetables and fruit, only the seasons finest. Fish and meat are being cut and strung up from string, the eggs still have feathers from the morning and if you ask they are still warm. There is your foreigner selling earrings and jewelry, and a man with flowers always attempting a sale. I walk through and everyone from the homeless gypsy lady to the potato man says “good morning”, some of the locals look at me curiously perhaps wondering how I know everyone including the bright green eyed gypsy.
I stop and talk to my favorite fruit man, famous for his crazy hats and funny demeanor; one day he was wearing a straw hat with a huge brim like an American on vacation in Mexico, but he glued bananas, kiwis, apples and grapes to the top, he put Mrs. Chiquita banana to shame, or my all time favorite is the American flag beanie, when he saw me he pointed to his head “look it’s for you, Ammeerriccaaaa, number one.” Today he had a traditional round black fur cap from Russia without the ear flaps called a ushanka, how he got a ushanka in Bari is beyond me but it suits him. He screams “hello professor” and we have a little chat about the weather and I buy some apples, like promised always fresh and organic. He tells me that the pears are not as good as the oranges, so I take his advice and get a kilo. He tells me two euro and 50 cents, I still have trouble with numbers and give him 5 cents instead, and he looks at me and says “okay it is the same, for my favorite client.” When I leave to go to the next stand I hear “Hello professor” from hat man. I can’t help but laugh at the common mistake between hello and goodbye. If I get this point through to my young students it has been a good day, I love when they leave and say “goodbye teacher” instead of the common mistake such as hat man made, “hello teacher”.

I had fresh eggs for my boyfriend’s cookies, bananas, oranges, apples and tomatoes for less than five euro, what beautiful morning and I wave to my favorite grandpa walking on the other side of the street. “Good morning beautiful” he shouts. I ask him if he needs any help with the heavy bag of fruit, stubbornly he says “no no I am strong, look at my muscles.” “Have you been going to the gym?” I asked and laugh. At least today he is not asking me “How old are you?” as he asks me this almost everyday. Each morning he has me guess his age, and day after day I say “You look 21” and he kisses me on the forehead in delight at my answer. We have the same conversation; it is like a record is on repeat that I welcome. And my favorite thing is that on a daily basis he tells me he is a different age, last month 80, three days ago it was 77 and yesterday it was 76. Is he getting younger by the day or is it just me?

I go up to my apartment and put down my bags only to leave again for my latest mission for “bella figura”. As I walk down the street I get a feeling and turn the opposite direction from the center, I remember the beautiful shop near my home. I hope there is something in there, it is less crowded, I can speak to the woman and it is discrete compared to the commercial street with every person living in a 50 mile radius of Bari is trying to shop or park.

I walk into the shop near my home, it is gorgeous. The walls are made of stone and there are three large rooms with different types of candles and hundreds of displays. Candles with glass, candles that look like you can eat them, cake candles, cupcake candles, candles with glitter ,oh my, candles in animal shapes, candles arrangements for your table and candles fit for a king. “Okay”, I think to myself, “where to start, where to start?” I start browsing the tables and different Christmas tree decorations, the glass displays and porcelain figures that you, of course, can put a candle in. Yankee Candle Company you have nothing on this store, I would name it “Candle Castle” the inside is similar to a castle, the large stone walls and dome shaped high ceilings. Candles hold a special place in my heart, as my mom and I spend hours decorating wine bottles with various colored candles and now a wine bottle used as a candle holder sits on my nightstand. As suspected not many people were in the store, leaving me a lot of time to speak to the hopefully patient shop owner. As I walk around a shop assistant came and asked me if I needed help, I declined politely telling her I may need help in a few minutes. I contained looking at the countless displays and wonder to myself about what is right.
Feeling slightly lost and the overwhelming feeling of yesterday came flooding back most likely filling my face with a look of confusion. As in that second another woman with a soft warm face and petite figure came over to me and asked me if I needed anything. I explained my story of desperation for about the six time to a shop assistant, as she nodded and agreed that it was difficult but she was going to help me. “Do not worry, dear” she says. All of a sudden she starts speaking English to me, it was like she forgot that she could speak it and then a light bulb of an idea came over her, “you speak English, yes?” She asked me “Where I was from”; as I replied that her English was very good I answered I was American, from around the Washington D.C area. I found that it is easier to say Washington D.C instead of Baltimore or Maryland because most people have no idea where that is. One time I said Baltimore and the man replied “Oh Boston, I just loovve Boston.” Umm okay, I don’t know what Boston has to do with me but I will take it. At least it is the same country. Instead, everyone knows “Obamaaa.” Stick with what is easy.
She starts crying, tears fill her eyes and she pulls up the sleeve to her black blazer to reveal goose bumps. I wasn’t she what I said, perhaps I offended this kind woman, and there goes my “bella figura” once again, wouldn’t be the first time this week. But, no. She takes me by the hands and we start dancing in the middle of the store, like a circle of joy, and candles. I was perplexed but when every the mood strikes to dance I am not going to be the one to stop her; I am going to join in on the fun. Wiping her tears and slowing down, in a dizzy spell she explains that she lived in a city near Washington D.C for three years, with her children and her husband. She tells me it was the best three years of her life, and she was sad to leave. I ask her a million questions at once, “Why did you leave?”, “Where in D.C?”, Why were you there?” She explained everything, her husband was working and the contract was for three years, they lived in Maryland, about 30 minutes from the house I grew up in. We started laughing as she called the others over to continue in the fun. Since she was opening up to me, it was only fair that I tell her everything about me, I told her that it was my first Christmas away from home, and that I am spending it with my boyfriends family which I have never met. She asked me about him, and asked if he was a nice man, because apparently this woman thought that I deserved a wonderful man in my life. Secrets from both of our past poured out as smooth as wax, easy and freely we stood in the middle of the store sharing stories, we told each other personal details and became fast friends.
She took me by the hand and led me to a table, luckily this table had no cigars, shot glasses or spinning wine glass but, a beautiful house that you put a candle in and it glows magnificently spilling golden light out of the windows and doors. It was off white and made of tin, and the typical American house she adds. “I have two in my house, I use them for Christmas and then in summer on the balcony” she says. Well that settles that, I am not sure why, but I trusted this petite woman that has the sweet face of a good mom, I will take it, I exclaim.
She takes me into a back room as she puts white stones on the floor of the house as well as a few tea lights. We chat effortlessly as she wraps clear paper around the house and then ties it with many bows. The entire staff is in the room with us as we chat and they ask me questions about my life and “this boy” I am spending Christmas with. I assure them that he is a very good man, and not to worry. “How could they not love you, she sang, you are beautiful and blonde, look at that hair, and American, just smile dear” says one of the ladies. Well, says Roberta which is the woman’s name “I want you to come to my house for Christmas, yes you and your boyfriend must come” And guess what, she says excitedly as her eyes light up, my family from Texas are coming tomorrow, oh please do come, I would love nothing more than for you to spend the holiday with us.” Flattered and honored that a stranger would open their home to me, I told her maybe we would come later but we already had plans, I can’t burn the candle at both ends, I think. “Well come for dinner some time then, New Years?” Okay I said laughing. We live right here, she points up and then at stone stairs that lead upstairs. “Come any time, it would be a pleasure for me” We talked for about two hours and exchanged numbers when I finally left the entire staff lined up at the door and hugged me, telling me good luck and wishing me a happy holiday. Filled with joy and happiness at the love and compassion from strangers that became friends, and how two hours can change your life forever. Life is good I think, it is sweet and full of surprises if you open your heart. A few hours later I had a text message from my new friend “I am so happy that I met you, and you made my day good”, I was just thinking the same thing.

Posted by goldenomad 07:32 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

If it is old, just throw it out the window...

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

Goodbye old, hello new

I love a New Year, who doesn’t? It represents so many different things, it can mean you leave a past or mistake behind, start over again and is a time for new beginnings. You never know what the future holds and it is an adrenaline rush of the unknown, for me it is similar to traveling. If you choose you have the opportunity to be someone new if you wanted (just blame it on a “new age” new years resolution), it is kind of like spring cleaning for the soul. Regrets and mistakes are a funny thing, for most of us we would do it all over again if we had the choice, that is what makes life so grant, maybe that is the secret. Mistakes and regrets make for the best stories and best adventures, why would we want to give up the best stories of our own lives?
For me personally, each year usually is different, a new place in the world, new friends, most often I am in a new relationship, a new house and I am living a new life. I can be who ever I chose to be in that year. This is my choice, my work and the life that I have always wanted. Not that it doesn’t come with everyday challenges like missing my family and friends and an on going question to myself “When will I be finished?” Constantly I ask myself if I am finished traveling and moving around like some nomad gypsy lady that happens to have really good high heels and hair products. Each passing year I am getting a little more and more tired of moving about, and almost, yes I say almost ready to have just one place I call my own. But that is the thing, how do you know when a place is your own? I know that Korea was never my “place”, I loved it, had a great time and never regretted a moment but it is not my “place”. The same goes for North Africa and Southeast Asia with the exception of Bali.
Each passing day that I sit in my kitchen in the South of Italy I wonder if it is my “place, to some degree I truly believe that it is. This country and the people I have met here have healed my soul in so many ways I will be forever grateful and have an eternal magical connection to this land. It has turned me into a different woman that looks at the world in a new light, with open arms and an open heart, just happy to be who I naturally am. I am quite uncertain if you can beat that, life here is simple; it brings you back to what really matters in life. What I enjoy doing here I do not have access to in America, it is pure and simple but delightfully delicious and I am not just talking about Sunday pastries. But, it is warm in November, the sun shines throughout the year, the coffee is small and strong and can keep you awake for days, the people are friendly and traditional and it seems that I have stepped into a time machine and have been carried back about 50 years. Here there is always a beach in sight, fresh fruit and vegetables in the garden and homemade wine sits on my table. What really matters are the things that often as an American I forget about, it is my habit and culture of go, go, go, because faster is better and the mantra of “I want more” was at first hard to let go. Sometimes you must stop and “smell the roses” as my father would say. Meaning take a moment each day and enjoy the beautiful pleasures of life, don’t forget to breathe in deeply and enjoy the simplicity of a magnificent garden.
Today, what matters to me is different from what mattered to me in the past. Now I want to spend as much time as I can with people I love, I am starting to enjoy cooking and making meals and nurturing people who are important in my life, I love strolling along the sea hand-in-hand with my boyfriend and driving along exploring the natural beauty passing vineyards and rolling hills along the way. In the last year my favorite things are to hang out with my girlfriends on the beach when the weather is warm and share a bottle of wine in a local near a heater in winter. I love buying wine with my boyfriend and truly enjoying and appreciating the ingredients and procedure of how and where it was made while we share stories. My daily pleasures are going to my favorite outdoor market buying fresh, organic fruit, eggs and vegetables from the farmers and talking and gossiping to the wives sitting in lawn chairs on the street.
This year I have not only acquired a palate for great wine and love for new friends but have gotten a little closer to what I want in my life. I have said goodbye to old loves that were never good for me in the first place. Realizing what is best for you is not always what is easy, I have learnt to listen to that strong voice in my heart and in my soul that knows what I need. Along with letting go of people that are not positively contributing in my life and our relationship. I have found out and gained knowledge about myself, what I need to make me happy and healthy and I do exactly that. I am in the processes of discovering my true self as well as letting others be who they are. I have realized that people can not be what you want them to be, nor give you something that they don’t have, instead people can only be and give you what they are and what they have in that moment. Also, I can only give others what I have in this moment, it is impossible to give something that I do not possess and grasp that people are in different places in their lives, not everyone thinks as I. Today I am conscious of the fact that people in my life are who they are, and what they are is beautiful, flaws and all. This year I hope that I have learnt how to be a better teacher to my students and a better companion to my friends and lovers.
I have traveled far and wide and discovered and explored new places and people. I went on a tour of Italy with a good friend on Easter, we meet interesting people, had an amazing dinner with new friends in Venice, saw famous sights, learned a bit about history, drank bottles of wine and shared secrets and became a little closer than when she arrived. I made a family out of friends that I work with, and was adopted by an Italian family that fed me each Saturday and spent hours soaking up the sun on the beach in the summer. I went on day trips with a man to new places, driving along in the southern sun with my bare toes on the dash singing tunes on the radio and playing a love game of tug-a-war, knowing in my heart it was never met to be. I said “goodbye” to friends that I fell in love with on a warm summers eve drinking one to many cocktails and met my current boyfriend. The next day I said “hello” to a new summer job in Spain. I spent a few days in Seville sightseeing and writing, then hopped on a train to my summer job. Where I met the most amazing teachers and students. I spent four beautiful weeks in the mountains in Southern Spain living with my students in a camp that had spiders as big as your hand and the energy was as loving as your heart. I took away the best pieces and lessons from the people that came into my life. I drank whiskey on the back of a bus at 9 o’clock in the morning with colleagues and in a misty goodbye headed to North Africa, with a backpack and three new friends. We spent one night in a beautiful hotel enjoying the luxuries of “real life” again after living in a cabin with 7 other teachers, fighting for a shower, sleeping 4 hours a night and one night a week sleeping in the same cabin as the students with the sweet kid in my class peacefully snoring on the bunk above mine. A beautiful challenging experience. We didn’t plan to spend the night in a hotel, but after whiskey at 9 am and a friend getting a little drunk it was best to have a good nights rest. The next day we boarded a ferry headed to an unknown destination and had nothing planned, not even a hotel, my adrenalin still beats for that adventure. I stepped off the desolate boat covered from head to toe, I covered my blonde hair with a veil and wore a dress that kissed the top of my toes, I pulled sunglasses over my blue eyes and finally I was completely unrecognizable. I silently prayed that we wouldn’t get robbed I stepped onto African soil. I was in North Africa, Morocco to be exact! We spent one dodgy day looking for something to eat in a small town next to the beach with one single camel looking as lost as we felt. We wandered through back alleys and bazaars looking for lost treasures, buying jewelry as I rubbed a lamp similar to the famous Disney story, I was hoping a genie would pop out and grant me a wish. That night we boarded a night train headed to Casablanca, it took over 12 hours and we slept in a shared bunk with money close to our chest. I met two guys from America that became our friends, and we actually followed them to their bed and breakfast and spent a week traveling together. The bed and breakfast was my favorite B&B through all of my travels. We arrived on the first day of Ramada and we went on a search for alcohol in the dry city, knowing I could be arrested if caught sipping wine as a woman made my heart beat in excitement. One night I made peace with many past ghosts as I laid curled in bed gripping my stomach and going in and out of nightmares from food poisoning.
I then made my way back to Europe to spend a few days in Italy and Spain before making my way back “home” to America. In summer 2011 I was in 6 different countries, 9 planes and three Continents in one week, it was the best summer of my life. After two sweet months in America I headed back to Bari, Italy for another year. As soon as I stepped of the plane I ran to my new house, met my new roommates then headed out to meet my girls and drink cocktails while sharing hugs and stories. Together again. A few weeks later I kissed a boy at a party, the same boy I met before boarding a plane to Spain. I fell in love with him; I am still falling in love with him because each day is better than the last. The last few months of this year I have spent with him, and I am bringing in the New Year in with him by my side. I already hear fireworks in the distance and people are in the streets preparing for tonight. It is Southern Italian tradition to throw your old furniture out of the window onto the street below, as I look around my apartment to join in the fun I can’t help but wonder if it is best we carry an umbrella tonight and pray we don’t get hit in the head with a flying chair.
Yes, my life is incredibly different this year and I have loved every second, I would be lying if I didn’t say this was the best year of my life. Perhaps I should announce that “2012 you have a little competition” but I am up for the challenge to make this year even better. I am not sure what the future holds but I will greet it with a friendly smile, I couldn’t be any happier to say “hello” to a new year.

Posted by goldenomad 12:05 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Missione Regalo

Here is a gift, but it's gonna cost ya...

Mission Regalo

The day started off good, a little sunshine mixed with a lot of wind that was moving the clothes hanging from the neighbors clothesline like a colorful array of flags. The sound of crackers, bangers and some type of illegal fire work were being shot off below my window, at least now I am not totally jumping out of my skin. One month ago at the sound of the bangers I would literally jump so high that I would plop out of my bed and onto the cold wooden floor. My back and reflexes thank me that I am getting used to the men at the bar across the street drinking beer at 8 am and lighting explosives near my head. The nosey woman that lives next door isn’t screaming in dialect as loud as normal and the old man that is at least 90 with one tooth kissed me only once on the forehead while I ducked his hand going in for the pinching cheeks routine, I turned around and smiled cheekily “you missed me, better luck next time” I winked and continue down the street to the center. It is a good day. My mission today is to go shopping for my Christmas gifts. It is going to be tricky but not mission impossible, or so I think…

I need a gift for my boyfriend, which I have an idea and it is not difficult, well because I know him. But his family that I have never met is a different story; I have no idea what they are like or what they would want from an American girl. I am spending Christmas away from my home for the first time, I always go “home” for the holiday season; but this year I find myself dodging old men and firecrackers to find the perfect gift for a “bella figura.” “Bella figure” directly translated means beautiful figure, only in Italian would there be a word for this which doesn’t even touch the English expression “good impression” , I can pull that off, right?

I am starting to ask myself how the hell I got into this situation, and how am I going to talk to them? I communicate with my boyfriend in his language with a lot of patience a dictionary and a prayer. This is exciting, fun, funny and frustrating for me, while he just sits back smiling when I explain that eggnog is a traditional American drink made with “grapes” cream, spices and a lot of rum instead of “eggs” or better yet when I ask him to rub my “ass” because I had a long day instead of saying the word for “neck”, but to my defense there are only a few letters that are different. I can tell by his amused expressions that somewhere I went wrong. Or the exception when he says two words in English like the time I almost caught the house on fire and he screams “take fire”, “Take fire”, “what the heck is that? “Honey, we don’t say take fire in English, and what are you talking about?” “Oh my, when I see the flames, okay I understand, shit what do we do!!” I say in a panic. “What, I have no understand?” he says. “Well, I have no understand why you choose a time where fire is involved to speak in English” At times where there is fire language can be tricky. When did my life become a comedy act? But this is a different story.

I walk into a Christmas store wind blown and confused as to where to start, the store is packed with people and not a shop assistant in sight, classic Bari, and if there were it is difficult to understand and speak when there is a lot of noise. I browse the Christmas items and look at crystal vases, reindeer salt and pepper shakers, candle stick holders with angels and table clothes that look like Santa’s workshop exploded on the material. Oh my god, I think I may have a panic attack. I have just had the epiphany that Christmas decorations can be possible the ugliest things in Italy, I am hoping that Christmas decorations have that effect only when epic amounts of décor are in one small area. It is best to get out of this store immediately before I break off a glass antler.

As soon as I pop out into the fresh chill of Bari air an African man speaking French stops me, of course I am always down for a little chat especially when I know about four words in French. He tries to sell me book in French from an African author with the title “God will save your lost soul” Perhaps his mom could use an over the top religious book that she could never read? Well, really who knows she may be able to speak French. I tell him that I have to go, and turn to face my next destination. I hear him screaming after me and his foot steps quickly approaching “unnnnn regalo, un regalo, regalo reeggalloo per ti” Yes sir “that is what I am looking for a gift, how ever did you guess?” He grabs my hand slipping a green, black, yellow and red beaded bracelet onto my wrist. This is for you; it will bring you great luck he rehearses his eyes twinkling merrily. “Oh, how nice.” But he wasn’t finished; he wanted a “small” donation for all his trouble. Nothing is for free in this town, not even a gift. I pulled out a 2 euro coin and handed it to him, “thanks for my two euro gift” I said smiling and walked away.

Next store here I come. I walk along the streets, and the colors and window displays call out my name. How inviting. I have a browse through a clothes shop stopping and trying on a scarf, coat and hat until I snap out of it and realize what a selfish shopper I am, and go straight into a lingerie store. I am going to blame it on the Christmas jewel decorated bras, ever girl needs a little glitter or so I always say. Looking at pajamas, panties and bras when you should be looking at gifts for your boyfriend’s mom works up quite an appetite; I dash toward the exit and hope no one else stops me with a French book, I go and buy myself a coffee and try to get my head together. After a little chat with the bartender and a nice caffeine buzz, I trot on.

Weaving in and out of the small streets looking for home décor shops I run into a cute little boutique with Chinese writing on the side. However, this was not a Chinese shop that imports Chinese clothing and goods but a home store. Curious and confused I go up two flights of stairs and wonder if I am in the right place. Walking into the shop there are three rooms, with crystal glasses, Christmas décor and other home goods. I was sure that I would find something in here, perfect. A blonde Italian woman walks out and asks if I need help “oh, yes please, please, I explain that I need a gift for my boyfriend’s mom, I have never met and with one more desperate please help me” we both start laughing. “You’re not Italian, are you? Where are you from?” She walks me over to wine glasses in various bright colors that do not sit flat on the table but spin in a circle from the rim and are guaranteed to never spill wine she explains. That is interesting, I think, and very useful if you are me. “But, I do not know if she drinks wine I explain” Okay, she says, leading me to a porcelain white statue with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the middle. She picked it up and turned it upside down so baby Jesus was on his head, she spun a knob on the bottom, it played a twinkling tune like that of a child’s jewelry box. What would anyone do with that? “Umm, I do not think so” “It is beautiful but let’s try something else” I couldn’t help but giggle. As she continued to go on about America and how beautiful my face was she headed in another direction, I guess I didn’t make a bella figura on her but a bella faccia (face). “No problem” she smiles, guiding me to a table that looked like Spencer’s toys for adults. She points to a wooden box with an enormous cigar, scissors, cigar clippers and a single shot glass. She picks it up and places it into my hands; she explains that the cigar is chocolate flavored and that you use the tools to prepare cigars to be smoked. “Well okay” that settles that, I should drop my “Bella figura” into the trash bin where you will also find my dignity, just leave my bella figura a message after the beep, if anyone needs it, it is hanging out with my dignity in bins. I am starting to wonder if she is joking with me. I don’t think his mom smokes cigars and puts baby Jesus on his head, no offense lady. I put it down gently nodding encouragingly while she showed me a plastic belt with Asian cartoons, it is very simple she explained the belt stretches as you eat and you do not need to adjust the buckle if you have a large meal. That is weird, my goodness what would this family think of me if I showed up with spill proof wine glasses, a box to prepare cigars with the biggest cigar in all of Western Europe and a stretch-as-you-eat belt? It was like a circus act with this woman spinning neon wine glasses to the left and in the right hand a belt that I would bet a few dollars that it lights up and or shoots fire, she was the clown and I was the star, the star of the butt of a bad joke, and the tune of doo-t-doo-t-doodle-doo-t-doo-t-doo ringing in my head. “I was just thinking a little something for the table”, I say looking around at the beautiful glass displays making a perimeter in each room and naturally the circus act was front and center. No singing Jesus, no cigars, no shot glasses please lady. I tell her I will return with my boyfriend, a little white lie never hurt anyone; of course I thank her for all of her “non” help.

I think it is best if I call it a day and try my luck tomorrow. I think I must wake up a little earlier and put on my walking shoes or at least wear something that doesn’t suggest that my boyfriend’s mother could be smoking cigars, shooting whiskey and practicing dancing with glow sticks while putting baby Jesus on his head on her down time. I get home just before the rain starts to drizzle and splatter on the street; I hear a familiar voice scream in dialect from a balcony above “Ciao bella signora” at least my 90 year old grandpa thinks am a bella. I wave and smile and disappear into my building away from the rain.

Posted by goldenomad 12:04 Comments (0)


sunny 30 °C

It’s two a.m. and my wine soaked heart wants more,
More of you, more time, more anything
The moon sinks beneath the sky, trading places with the sun
I tuck myself into bed, wishing it were you next to me,
I slip into unawareness, dreaming of a tale

Last night, I dreamt we had a great fight,
I cried falling like rain drops on my pillow,
Drying my blue eyes, dreaming I left you,
When I woke all that I dreamt had been untrue

Leaving me broken and wanting your safe arms
The sun painted patterns on my face in the morning light,
Peaking it’s glittered eyes through my window and danced on my floor,
Knowing when I wake you are not near

Wanting to be near you, my head on your heart,
Falling in and out of dreams, safe in our bed,
With your legs tangled around me and my hand on your chest
Like a missing puzzle piece, I will never be the same
Nothing I wanted, nothing I asked for, but everything I needed
You make me feel alive

My life takes me running free and easy down the road,
With no strings attached to any person, any place
Leaving as quickly as I came
Now my heart wants to run with you, like a sweet melody
Simple and smooth, flowing like honey

Put your hand and mine and run with me
Fly with me like the wings on a bird
You shook my world and changed my heart
Giving you a little piece of me,
I want to stand still with you, just for a minute
To stop everything in the outside world and just be yours
Completely yours, until we both decide we must go on

My life and the world beckon me to follow
Whispers my name into the sweet air, my heart in two
In love with the world and in love with you
I am like your wild horse, untamable and never fully yours

Always with one foot on the ground,
Knowing we will never completely be each others
Until it’s time we both break free, and run our separate ways
Like gravity we are pulled back, when we cross the same path again

Don’t ever stop following your dreams and living your adventure,
I promise to do the same
Let go of my hand, for just awhile and fly free

Posted by goldenomad 10:51 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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