Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Road Tra Orsomarso and Mormanno

Orsomarso from the Road to Mormanno

On the way home from our hike along the Argentino, Doug took a wrong turn and we ended up on a road to Mormanno that was not on the map.  We turned around after the realization set in, but Doug wanted to explore it when we had more time.  

It starts out with some pretty good hairpin turns that eventually took us up above "our" river valley, the Lao:

We are perpetually drawn to the mountains, it's in our DNA which was altered by the Forest Service, so we were looking forward to seeing the land between these two mountain towns (Tuscany, you have nothing on this):

We took the dog (and us) for a walk along a small road, we got to see the landscape up close at landscape speed:

Then we saw Mormanno in the distance and knew our trip was nearing it's planned climax, lunch in Mormanno after taking in the town. We are hoping to see the East coast this weekend.  

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Surf's Up

It's important for the sea to release its pent up energy on shore during storms, so I'm guessing it's natural for us humans to struggle with balance too. We had quite a week.  If you read last week's post, you will see a calm acceptance portrayed.  This week you will see a struggle to return to that. In order to understand what I'm blathering about you need to know some mundane facts:

1) We were going to wait until our Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit to Stay, Italian "green card") was concluded to include here all the rational steps that you (a future soggiorner) might take to claim for yourselves the great success that we have had.  I now know that I'll never remember it all and there is no way that you will want to recreate these steps!

2) We did everything correctly.  We filled out the forms and had every document needed neatly copied and in order.  We went to the Post Office and got our appointment to get our fingerprints taken in Cosenza right then.  That's when rationality ended and mystery took its place.  I honestly have no idea what is going on now and can only put trust in place of my linear rationality.

3) We showed up for our appointment on March 18.  We brought a local with us who spoke Italian and joked with the bureaucrats and police.  We thought it went well and easy.

4) We got a letter two weeks later. When local Italians read it, even they could not figure out what the problem was.  It said we had to go to Cosenza.  Having just returned, our advice from locals was to ignore it.  But since the letter said come or be denied the Permesso, my American mind could not ignore.  Like the surf, it was looking for release from tension built up by the winds of confusion:

5) I wrote a letter to the Immigration Office and got a phone call I couldn't understand (for the most part) in return (even though I had asked for a letter).  The part that was clear was that we had to come back because we didn't get our fingerprints when we were there.  But we did...No use trying to explain.  We went back and only got another appointment in May as the fruit of our trip.

6) We returned for our appointment day in May and handed in our appointment papers to the gate-keeper  lady as we waited in line with other lost souls outside of the building.  We were allowed into the building and took our (now familiar) seats to wait.  We waited for two hours while my linear rational self realized that they weren't going to call our names.  We weren't on their list nor did anyone care that we were still sitting there.  My frustrations overpowering my shyness due to lack of language ability, I stormed the glass windows and asked the officer on the end who mistakenly left the door open why I was there and what the heck was going on.  He looked at my appointment letter and said only that there was a problem.  He didn't seem to know what the problem was, however.

7) I wasn't told to take my seat or anything rational like that.  He simply started to work on my case as if they had called my name.  I signaled Doug to come over.  Then they took a 15 minute break.  All of them.  We were alone with the glass windows.

8) The end (?) of the story is that our fingerprints were re-taken there at the window (we had been sent to the police station the last time) and he took MY copy of my application and passport and told me that the original had not made it to their office from the Post Office.  This is impossible because, if you remember, we were there on March 18 when they took pictures from us and stapled them onto said application.  No use trying to explain...My rational American mind now thinks that my application is on the desk of whoever called me in answer to my use trying to find out.  The epiphany I had for my post last week is weakly telling me that it will all eventually work out.  We just wait two months for the next development--meanwhile summer will come and the surf will flatten to a placid coolness as our Italian improves and is honed for the next round.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Thoughts

Something happens to organized people when they move to Italy.  It’s not that things don’t get done, they do.  It’s the how it happens that is so, well, surprising.  For example, our car lost its clutch slave cylinder (or whatever) this week.  Doug called me from the road letting me know he’d be late, etc. 

It ended up that our car was fixed and back with us by Thursday but we:
1) Didn’t know where it was while it was being fixed or the name of who was fixing it.
2) We had a car lined up from friends so that we could go to an important meeting next Tuesday if need be.  The car trouble just didn’t really impact our life at all yet it was all through the effort of people we knew and didn’t know that made it happen, not any careful planning on our part.  There is a certain quality of non-resistance here that could be crazy-making if you let it, but actually things get done with a minimum of fuss or worry. You can’t control anything, so you lose the idea that things need your control.  We just aren’t so much on your own as you would be in the States where we already know how our car would get fixed and by whom, when, and how much it will cost.  However, it’s not just because we don’t yet know these things that make all this serendipity, it’s in the air. 

So is Spring:

We line up lots of things to get done and somehow it all takes longer than it used to.  Of course, we don’t know where to buy everything yet and we sometimes don’t know how to explain what we need to do, but we also find that things just don’t get done in linear order.  You plan to refinish the door today, but the wind comes in and you end up taking a walk or catching the poppies blooming in the olive orchard instead. 

We still get up in time to see the moon set, but we never know what will actually happen in the day to come.  The general outline is there, but life happens in a richer, more varied way than the plans.  A friend asked me yesterday if living in Calabria met my expectations.  I told him that I was very careful not to have unrealistic expectations because I'm old enough to know how nothing can live up to that.  The funny, odd thing is that Italy is meeting expectations I didn't know I had.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May Day Blues

I got two things I really love in one day.  May Day and The Blues. I loved May Day in the US because it used to be associated with the celebration of spring, flowers, may poles--I always took May first off from work to garden.  I'm not sure why I love the Blues--maybe because I grew up in Chicago-land when it was morphing into Rythum and Blues.

May Day in Italy (Festa del Lavoro) celebrates the working stiff as does Labor Day in the States.  That means processions and partying.

Our plans this May Day were to watch a May Day procession in honor of St. Joseph the Worker, enjoy the oddity of a Blues concert in Scalea, and eat dinner outdoors at a nearby restaurant as the music played.  I have to say that the church procession was better attended than the concert.  Doug and I and a three-year old were also the only dancers at the event.  I suppose things could have gotten more lively after we left:

We have a history of attending outdoor Blues Concerts. The one in Portland, Oregon was always on July 1st,  our anniversary date. The crowds were huge and the dancers plentiful on land and river:

The May Day Night in Scalea grew cool but the bands were hot even if the crowds were not:

The music was cool.  It was both strange and comforting to hear the The Blues played by musicians speaking Italian.  The next day, the gathering of the Vespa in Santa Domenica Talao brought things back to pure Italian:


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