A Travellerspoint blog

Ciao ciao gang of grandpa's

Excuse me mad hatter but could you brew up a poison to make these grandpa's young again?

Yes gentleman, there’s a new gal in town

As we unpack our boxes and start putting things where they belong at the huge castle like house in Alcamo, I wonder what this town is made of. It is a small village in Sicily, where everyone knows one another; people get married early and end up living here their entire lives. It is historical, quiet and quaint with cobble stone streets, back alleys filled with rows of houses with laundry hanging on the line. I feel I am almost in a time machine but the people are progressive in modern clothes. I decide to test the waters and wonder around the streets. I put on tennis shoes for a run and hope I do not get lost; I take my camera so I can take pictures of the street signs to get home.

Here I am, the only foreigner at least woman foreigner in sight. The town is full of old men! It must be a prerequisite to be at least 80 years old to buy a home here. I look around and there are groups of old men everywhere, hanging out talking on the steps, playing cards, drinking café, eating pastries, more talking and walking around. Every alley, every street there is a new group of grandpa’s sitting on the benches just watching life pass by. They are like small gangs or clicks that do not mingle with one another. I say hello in Italian to everyone. I can almost hear people’s necks cracking from staring at me. People in cars stop me to ask where I am from; the old men watch me and smile to each other saying “Who is that” in Italian. Luckily now I understand a good amount of Italian, so I know what they are saying about me. It is amusing and I laugh. More old men, and some younger men all of which have rings on their fingers say hello to me. The younger gentlemen attempt a conversation and a date but I decline saying they are married, no thanks in Italian and your wife might be mad. I have to find ways to amuse myself because no one speaks English. I need to learn fast if I want to make it. Sink or swim I say, but this could get fun….
The next man that attempts to talk to me I start saying ridiculous things to him in English. I tell him my uterus really hurts bad today, and I may have a bad case of gas as I smile, He smiles and shakes his head “Si Si uterus, uterus” he replies and asks me if I want a drink in Italian. The next old man that approaches me I decide to ask him if he wants to jump off a bridge with me, go skydiving and get married in all in one day, and if it is possible can borrow his wallet, I tell him I will return it when I am finished. He says yes, of course in Italian and then proceeds to give me a puzzled expressing when I try to reach into his back pocket for his Gucci wallet. “What? You said I could have it, no?” “Okay then, bye bye”
The staring and whispering never seem to end, but I smile and say hello. I am use to being an outsider now. Many emotions come to life when you are different. We fight and strive most of our lives to some how fit in to a group, find our nitch. And I have deliberately elected to throw myself into the outsider category, where I fit in nowhere. Except maybe with the orange faced women with a scary attempt to be a blonde that raided her kindergartner’s closet, she looks like a sluty umpa lumpa from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I am totally into. It is as if you are standing around naked and everyone is in full jackets, mittens and ear muffs staring at you, wondering where the hell are her ear muffs? It is quite similar to what I suppose animals at the zoo feel like. “Ohhh look at the blonde curly haired one with blue eyes, she looks hungry should we feed it?” I wear a heavy skin, and do not let anything bother me. Most of all it is just curious gentleman trying to have a conversation or date. But, I seem to be quite popular with the gentleman. Where are all the women in this town? None of the old men are sporting around a grandma, what are they doing?
What I want is a hot young Italian boy to come save me, what I mean by save me is make out with me in the alleys just past the first congregation of grandpa’s. Eat, drink and explore Sicily with; instead I find pop-pop wonderland. I must be Alice and I am looking for the drink that will make these older fellas young again. It never hurts to dream.
So, until the next adventure I accept my faith and surround myself with a group of grandpa’s, workers and men and sit down to a hot, strong espresso….

Posted by goldenomad 12:20 Comments (0)

Breaking all the rules

"rules are made to be broken, yes?"

sunny

Breaking all the rules

I’m smoking cigarettes there is nothing left I guess

I broke all the rules both of my moms (my mom and the mom I am living with in Italy) ever set for me. Sitting in an Aeroporto that I have been multiple times for various reasons getting ready to go to Roma by myself.
I am ready for a trip that calls out to me. I feel the energy of the art and history in my bones. I drive my Italian car to the airport about 45 minutes from my home in Italy. Why they let me drive in Italy is beyond me but I go with the opportunity to roll down the windows, listen to Italian hip hop and be completely free.

I have been in Rome approximately ten minutes and have succeded to break the rules, many of them. I find myself in a black VW and my luggage stuffed into the back. In the front two handsome Italian me are trying to talk to me in English and me with them in Italian, I am sitting in the back seat with the windows down. It all started in a small airport in Sicily when my flight to Rome was delayed for an hour. I walk to the bar to get a coffee and sit down; I get out my journal and phone and try to translate an Italian text message into English from a man in Sicily. He is looking at me from across the airport, handsome and tall. He is young and dressed in boat shoes and a polo, I could not tell if he was from Italy or some where else. I look down at my notes then up at him through my eyelashes and blink twice just for good measure.

A sure signal for him to say I may be interested. Looking back and forth now, my heart races in anticipation for what is about to follow. He walks over; I pretend that I do not see him. I look up and he is speaking rapid Italian. I try and follow every word, and his accent is different. He asks if I want a coffee, I say no thank you. “A cocktail? A water?” “No thank you” I respond. I say I do not speak much Italian. He asks me if it is possible if he sits down, naturally, I say of course. I smile because I am finally speaking the language.

I stare deep into his eyes and slightly get lost. I love the airport, it is a place for possibility, you never know what or who you may meet. I love waiting for the anticipating who I am going to sit next to, or meet or what you will find.

He asks if he can sit next to me, I love RyanAir with no seating chart, first sit, first serve. Lucky for me you sit where you find a place and we find a place in the very back like the bad kids at school. We spend the flight trying to talk and staring at each other. He asks me if he can take me to my hotel….of course I say. We wait an hour for our beaten up luggage and walk out side to the city of Rome. His handsome friend dressed in designer clothes and white sunglasses is waiting outside. He looks at me and we both laugh. “Look mom I picked up an Americana girl.” He opens the door and takes my luggage. I climb in and not a second thought crosses my mind. I wonder what both my mothers would think if she saw me, and if this is consider hitch hiking.

We speak in broken English and Italian through the city of Rome. We get lost and can not find my hotel, his hand reaches back to touch me, it fills me with electricity. Finally, after an hour and a half in the car with them we find my hotel in a back alley and they drop me off. He takes my baggage to the front desk and kisses me on the cheek while I wait for his move. He doesn’t make one, so I walk away with his number in my Italian phone and scent of him on my skin…

I am starving. I arrive at my hotel at 8 o’clock and have not eaten since breakfast. I take a quick shower; talk to the front desk about places to visit and head out the door. I walk down desolate streets to find a restaurant and bar. Everyone in Rome is on holiday and it is very quiet. But, you can still its heart beating rapidly. I find a café, pizzeria and order delicious food and chat to the waiter. We have a connection; and I ask him if he has family or a background from the Middle East. He says yes, and we can’t stop talking. I eat fresh pizza from a brick oven paired with a bottle of wine. I listen to music on the street, and chat to foreigners a couple, natives of Korea but live in Austria. How do you say irony in Italian? I walk home and look for a cigarette. (I don't smoke)

Rules broken:

1. Do not travel alone
2. Don’t talk to strangers.
3. Do not sit with men in the back of airplanes.
4. Never get in a car with someone you don’t know.
5. Don’t ever get in a car or spend time with someone in a foreign county you don’t know.
6. Don’t drink too much.
7. Don’t smoke.
8. Don’t wonder around in alleys at night
9. Don’t ask for a light from strangers late at night.
10. Don’t eat dinner after ten o’clock.
11. No espresso after 5 pm.
12. Don’t lie.

Posted by goldenomad 12:02 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Ex Wedding Day

Krys she says "You have to meet yourself first"

sunny

Ex wedding Day

July 10, 2010

“Are you sure?” she asks as she seals the envelopes to my save the dates. “Ummm, I am not sure about anything, but I think so.” “Krysta you HAVE to be sure” says my mom. “Okay, mom I am sure.” Fifteen minutes after I leave the house where I grew up I call her from the car, I am driving back to the house where my fiancé and I live. “Is everything okay honey” mom asks. Well, I was thinking maybe you should hold on to the save the dates just a few more days. Written on the bright colored magnets with our picture was the date July 10, 2010. I already bought my dress and picked out the intimate details of the romantic castle wedding. The combination of wedding stress and the extreme problems my fiancé and I were having, so I lost weight or rather I stopped eating.
Then it got bad, it was great before but now it turned ugly, bitter like a sour candy that makes your lips curl but you just can’t spit it out. Finally I spit it out, I packed my backpack, the one that has traveled around the world with me in the middle of the night and a month and a half from that night, I find myself living with a family in Southern Italy.
I decided to wake up at 6:00am on my Ex wedding day. I plan to walk to the beach before everyone rose for the day and swim and do yoga. I secretly hoped it would rain but the air was warm with a cool breeze that blow into my window. Perfect I murmured to myself. I head out the door of my flat and walk the cobble stone path to the white sand.
I find two handsome young men next to me; we are alone on a deserted beach at 6:00am. I thought it would be awesome to strip down to nothing and swim freely like a desperate mermaid. Instead I come to my senses and realize this may not be the best idea in my state of tears and after thoughts on this day, maybe tomorrow I will strip. So I run. I run and run until my lungs can’t hold air, panting I stop when the beach and the ocean reach the mountains. I feel free and alive. I pick up a pretty seashell and head to the waters edge, I pick up another shell just for good measure, just incase I need extra help. I ask Buddha to embrace me now on this day, on this journey. I hear him say “its okay Krysta take your time, when your ready let go and you shall find your way” He smiles at me as he disappears into my imagination and meditation.
I stand there for a long time staring at the ocean, on the shell that is in my hand I ask for forgiveness, hope, the power to learn, heal and move forward in my life. I can not let the past dictate my life. I throw the shell into the blue shining sea. I put all of my emotions of healing and forgiveness into it. I stand tall now, a little lighter, like the mountains next to me on either side.It seem the mountains are embracing me, holding my hands. I close my eyes and listen to the oceans soft breath, I pray to find the characteristics of the earth. On the next shell I ask to be released from all negative emotions, hurt, blame, anger, hate and any negative emotion I have ever felt. Emptiness, sadness, deprivation and the tears that I have cried during my past relationship that could fill the valleys beneath the mountains that surround me and flow into the sea. This time I crank my arm back as far as it will allow and give a forceful throw, kirpunk…the ripples grow around my sinking shell. I turn around and ran away.
I am not sure to what, but I know I am running to myself this time and not to anyone else. I keep running and try not to think about this day or the relationship I was in because I tossed the emotions I felt back into the earth and the sea is keeping my feelings safe for me. I will over come anything and today is the start of a positive healing practice. I may cry, I may not. But I know I can’t hold negative feelings in my heart any longer because they are not apart of me, it’s a part of something bigger than I will ever understand. I am grateful, thank you. Life makes twists and turns and instead of me walking down the isle into a bad relationship, I’m running down the shore line in Southern Italy, with a purple horizon, this earth is embracing me. The world is made for me to love and see.
Maybe that’s my big love, maybe I just haven’t learnt yet. My hair curls blonde and golden blowing past me as my arms are spread wide and I take giant leaps in the sand. I was always supposed to be here on this day in this moment, even though I don’t have a plan for anything there is a plan for me. And it’s amazingly beautiful and it’s only mine. No one can take it away from me, nor can anyone try to stop me from my destiny. I promise myself I will never let anyone take my self from me again, I am who I am, I am that. I write my own story and I will choose what I want “that” to be. I pick up the imaginary pen to my novel of life and head back to find a little boy waiting for me and a family making breakfast, I am home.

Posted by goldenomad 11:36 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

One piece, Two piece, No Bikini

sunny

June 30, 2010

“Just me and a designer thong”

As I look out across the turquoise sea with the waves washing the sand calmly almost rhythmically to shore, I peer at the sun that dips low in the sky waiting to trade places with the moon (L’luna). The mountains are brushed with golden hues and soft blues; I scan the horizon for anything that is familiar.

The birds are universal with two stretched out wings that sore gracefully across the sky. I take in the beauty of the small sea village I now call “home”, I am surrounded by the sea and mountains on both sides. The houses are the cream color of vanilla cake batter, and have thick frosted wooden windows. I am told it is a French design. From a distance the houses appear to be made from clay, ancient and rich in culture, they are perched along the side of mountains rising and dipping with each grove of God’s creation. The roofs are bright sun kissed orange, dark green trees hang in between the houses. Lemon and orange trees fill the land with polka dots of color, olives and grapes soak in the sun waiting to be picked and turned into oil or wine.

The sky turns shades of blue, peach and gray. The soft breeze gently blows my hair away from my face as I sip home made wine and eat fresh fruit. Umbrella’s line the sand like children on the first day of school, slightly out of line with each other and staggered, disorganized from a day of play. Rainbow colors pain the carnival across the street and the various motor bikes that cross my path, I wonder where they are headed and what their lives are like.

I sink closer to my reality, my dreams. I woke up with visions of the Mediterranean fresh on my skin like dew from the rain. It is real now, I am no longer dreaming. I bite into an apricot grow from the Sicilian sun, filled with fresh strawberry jam, the apricot is bitter and fresh and the jam is sweet and home made. I get goose bumps even though it is not cold. He brings me cherries, fresh and ripe, dark red black in color. I only ordered wine, but the fruit keeps coming as we make small talk in a mixture of Italian, French and English. He is slightly handsome. And I feel alive, my skin tingles with the simple pleasures of life. It is the first time in a long winter that I feel inspired, pure and in love with just me.

Time and space escapes. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I can be cured; I can heal because I am made to live. With any luck I can learn a lesson from the beautiful curvy women that pass me; they are comfortable in their own skin. Despite their flaws they wear toddler size bathing suits and run around on the beach. They urge me to wear a smaller bikini and make loving fun of the way “I have a fit, young body and wear a “big” bikini", "wear a thong Krysta” they laugh and say. One night the mom of the family I am living with comes home with a bag for me, it is a thong bathing suit from a beautiful designer store; “She tells me to never hold back, just live, it is your time”. "Go on now, get your bum bum into that thong and go down to the beach" she says. I laugh as I take the swim suit kiss her on the cheek and complement her use of "bum bum" a word I taught her. "Just put sunscreen on that bum bum" she screams behind me.

I am here to learn, to quest, to treasure, and to be me in a thong bikini.

Posted by goldenomad 06:53 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Sometimes I am sitting on planes

sunny

So I went….Italy I say to my family and friends. Hmmm.. Eyebrows raised in knowing admiration, jealously or confusion. “Really, Krys you are going again? You just got back, we just got you back.” We aren’t going to have another going away party are we? Asks my mom. I tilt my head back and laugh no, no it’s only for six months. I have to spread my winds and follow my heart because for a split second I stopped doing that and became a woman I didn’t recognize naked in the mirror. I quietly vowed never to stop following my dreams nor let one person effect my being ever again. I packed my suitcase fast; I had already been here before. It feels familiar. My friends come over to say goodbyes again, I make my famous sangria and fold colored scarf’s and put them in my suitcase. We giggle, cry and make more sangria. All of my best friends come to see me off on my last night in America, even the Americao is there.
“His” name comes up and everyone agrees that I look healthier and happier. I hate goodbyes but I know the future holds a learning experience that I truly am uncertain of.
I am going to live with a family in Italy. I will teach them English and be an au pair figure to their one child. I have not met them and have only spoken to the mother online and through emails. They live in southern Italy, close to the capital city of Palermo in Sicily. That is all of the information I had.
My flight is a red eye to London. I wake up that morning nervous, excited and wondering if this is the right decision for me. I question everything in my life thus far; I was born under the sign of the Sagittarius and am very good at asking the question “why.” I am true to my sign and ponder if my traveling itch will ever end or if I will just keep going. I decide I can’t conform to society’s expectations of what I should or shouldn’t be doing.
I put on my backpack and get into the car, dejavu one more time only this time it’s different. I am single and this is Italy, not Korea. A friendship ring on my left ring finger replaces the large carat diamond engagement ring. I hold that finger and move forward, and exhale deeply.
I arrive at the airport and my travel instincts kick in immediately. Passport, check, money hidden, aware of the people around you, butterflies in my tummy and yes of course a smile on my face.
I greet with my first great lover, the airport.
I arrive in London a few hours later and am surprised how charmed I am by the people. I feel like myself again. It’s just me now, and it feels good. I try to call the girls and tell them “ellllooo loooveee” with my fake British accent but he turned off my cell phone. Email is the next best thing, I’m satisfied.
Eight hours later I am sitting in Rome, tired and slightly lost. I have been traveling for 30 hours and have about four to five more hours to go. I need a shower and a coffee in that order. I sit and wait for the final plane. I think of the family that is about to meet me. Will they all be there? Will she have a sign? What color is the sign?
It’s late and a handsome young man sits next to me. He has been living in my college town of Towson University for the last year. I think of University and all my friends, I think about “him”, then shake him out of my mind quick and fast, like pulling off a band aid it only hurts for a second. Then I look deep into this hot Italians eyes and decided maybe men should not be entering my brain right now, and a tooth brush should be.
Finally, I land in Palermo’s small airport. It’s 10”30 at night and cute boy helps me find my way and helps me retrieve my bags. The airport is desolate and immigration is no where to be found, I slip into the country unseen and unstamped by foreign affairs…Welcome to Sicily.
We wait and wait for the bags to come around the big black turn belt, I am told that baggage takes forever and things are run differently in the South. My bag arrives and I catch a glimpse of the woman waiting for me through sliding glass doors. Say “Ciao ciao” to cute boy..arreriderci I say, I am moving on.
I am greeted by a friendly, lovely woman that takes my luggage and puts it into a Benz. We drive and talk and I am astonished at her English ability and she is astonished at my petite size. I like her instantly. The beach house is 3o minutes from the airport, she clicks open a gate from the car, then another private gate on top of the hill. This is one of their many house I am told. We drive up an open, airy home with a gazebo filled with toys. I see white linen furniture and most of the house is outside. I step out of the car and land in the middle of MTV cribs. Its so beautiful my breath escapees me. I have dreamt of this place. She shows me to my room, art deco paintings of women line the walls. It’s chic and gorgeous. See you tomorrow and sleep well. I fall asleep almost instantly, to the sound of the ocean and party music in the distance.
I am awaken by a child’s laugh, that’s him the child I will be teaching English to for the next six months. I then smile to myself, grateful for everything that surrounds me. The postcard landscape, mountains on either side of me, turquoise blue sea, the pictures of naked women on the wall and most importantly my new family and new beginnings. I pop out of bed, my nose toward the sun and stretch, I am full of love and hopefulness. Its time to move ahead in my relationships and my life. It is time to find a better version of myself. I knew I was always supposed to be here, I dreamt of the ocean and their villa. It is my destiny to spend time with them and for us to fall in love just a little bit.

Posted by goldenomad 06:30 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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