Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Summer Wedding (Part 2)


I quickly pulled/pushed my bags off the train and there was Marta, meeting me with her happy beautiful smiling face! She had no car today so she took the bus from our village here to the Cremona Train Station. We loaded the bags onto the bus and headed home. After arriving, we pulled the bags through town…about a 30 minute walk to the house.

Marina, her mother, was waiting for us! So nice to be back home.

Marta and I unpacked my bags and arranged Rosa's gifts on her "new" kitchen table.

They had given Nonna's kitchen a fresh coat of paint and left the old wooden and glass cupboards the original light creamy green.

The table is a slab of thick marble on oak legs. The whole kitchen dates back to the 20s and 30s. Absolutely adorable. I took pictures.

We hid all the gifts under a towel and when Rosa got home from work at 5 o'clock we gave her a mini-bridal shower. Nothing was wrapped, but Marta would cover Rosa's eyes and I gave her each gift.

We made a quick trip over to church (5 minute walk) and met the wedding planning “team.” What a pleasant surprise because Primo was already there. The Priest knows me by sight so I got a nice hand squeeze. I took pictures.

The reception will be held in this large rectangular room containing a HUGE fresco on each end. There are some long wooden tables and it seems those will be used for the reception. Everyone was speaking at once so I didn't understand very much.

I decided to just keep taking pictures. Marina looks tired. She's been cleaning the house for the past two weeks. I told her I had read a little book on weddings on the train and it suggested two days at the beauty farm, so one would look radiant. She said she probably needs a week there.

After a light dinner everyone collapsed on the couch to watch TV, but we were all too tired. I didn't see the groom, Mattia, tonight. He left work at noon, not feeling well. He took the train all the way home to his parents, not to the apartment here, which they just started renting last month. But now, they have decided the apartment is too small, hot and expensive.

They have not been living together. After Saturday's wedding they will live here, in Nonna's portion of the house. Rosa's uncles have given their approval for this.

I'm not sure where I'm relocating to on Saturday because right now I'm staying in Nonna's spare bedroom. This was Rosa's room for a number of years.

The wedding gifts have begun to arrive: a microwave, elegant vases, dishes, knives, cookware and linens. The newlyweds will use Nonna's elegant antique furniture for now.
Primo and his two brothers were born in this flat. It was later divided into two parts. Primo and his family live in the left apartment and Nonna, Primo's mother, lived in this right half until six months ago. She is now in assisted care.

A dressing room separates the two apartments. An extra lock was put on this side of the connecting door between the two adjoining flats. So now the door can be locked from either side.

Well, I hear the church bells ringing so I think I can sleep now. Marta and I are getting our hair trimmed tomorrow. Henriche from Germany arrives soon. She is their sister who became part of the family as a foreign exchange student years ago. She attends the university in Rome now.


I started my day at 9 this morning. I had a piece of focaccia and a glass of orange juice for breakfast. This is my usual breakfast here, since I don't drink coffee.

Marina ran my laundry in the washing machine, which is hidden behind a cabinet door, under the granite bathroom counter. I hung my clothes out to dry on the balcony, just off Rosa's kitchen. Rule: never hang your feminine undies out on the line for all to see. Use the hidden line just below the public's line of sight.

Before lunch, I walked over to have my hair cut at our normal parrucchiere (hairdresser). We'll all return to have our hair done for the wedding. No new style for me this trip. They have high hopes for me to get a good Italian cut in November when I come back. Once Marta told me I have Barbie Doll hair...untouched by dyes and layering. Layering is IT here. I like my hair thick and long, with minimum layering.

I walked over to the grocery store COOP (rhymes with hope). I picked up a great green plastic tub for washing dishes. Then I gathered spices, my mother's favorite Sperlari jelly candies and some semolina to make my favorite gnocchi.

At 1 o'clock, we had a yummy lunch of pasta (toss cooked pasta into a sauce pan in which a clove of garlic, fresh chopped parsley and fresh hot tiny peppers have been sauteed in olive oil for a few minutes. The garlic is not eaten.). Then we each choose a nice whole tomato and cubed it into our dishes. We added a spoonful of shredded fresh carrots, some capers, a little salt and a drizzle of good olive oil. Bread, as always, was on the table to share. I had a small slice of cheese, fontina I think. I was too full to have a peach.

Primo comes home for lunch every day. Rosa works too far away and takes her lunch with her. Marta, who is a school teacher, is on vacation for the summer. She is having lunch with us today. We are eating at the kitchen table.

Marina has had fresh bread rising all day and the house smells so good. Early this morning Anna, the housekeeper, was here cleaning with Marina. Even the copper pots on the kitchen wall shelf are orange and sparkling. I think they've touched everything in the house these past two weeks. Anna always greats me with three alternating kisses to the cheeks. She commented on how pink and healthy I look.

Marta and I concocted a cocktail of dish soap and water to try to kill little bugs she discovered on her one rose plant out on one of the four balconies.

At 3 pm Marina, Marta and I walked down to the church and cleaned out the reception room We carried boxes, bikes and other stuff to the storage shed in the church courtyard. We moved the very very heavy long tables so they were in place for the wedding buffet. The two priests arrived to help, along with a handyman. The priests were dressed in casual work clothes. I'm always impressed with the priests in our neighborhood. They participate in neighborhood activities. If you had peaked into the courtyard today, you could not have distinguished who was the workman and who were the priests.

Afterwards I talked to the younger priest about how I can become Catholic here. I've thought about it for some time. I need to ask my mother if I was ever baptized. We had a nice conversation in Italian. Marta stood by to give me help if needed. Once I started talking it was easy. He said I can start doing what I need to do in the USA, but finish here in our village church with my Italian family present. It's my next goal.

This afternoon we all rested and watched a Brazilian soap opera for an hour. All the shops in town are closed for the afternoon pause, as is normal in non-tourist parts of Italy.

While Marina was watching her other favorite soap opera, Marta and I walked to the Jeweler's shop to pick up the wedding rings. In Italy the sister or the mother of the bride buys both wedding rings. The bride has been wearing her diamond engagement ring for the past two years. The wedding rings are simple bands. I think they are white gold and I see they are both engraved on the inside. I took pictures.

On the way back we stopped at Benetton where I bought two cotton shirts, the style I love. Everything is on sale here too. This is the sale season all over Italy. Fifty percent off seems to be the norm. I have no more room in my suitcases! Too bad...

We found a gelateria and enjoyed a nice gelato cone. I had two flavors: chocolate and cherry.

It's very humid and my sandals that I have worn for over a year in Long Beach are tearing my skin. Not even the band aids will stay on. Otherwise the humidity is not bothersome.

Mario, Marta's boyfriend, called to tell us he was getting a haircut. We were still walking with our cones through the central part of town and I was talking to Leo on the phone. During our stroll I saw and bought some disk-shaped white pasta from Cinque Terre for my brother, who had put in a special request for more.

Mario rode up to us on Marta's bright green bicycle just as we finished our gelato. His car was parked back at the house. We walked together to the men's dressy shop to buy a formal shirt for him to wear for the wedding. He and Marta ruled out two striped pink and white shirts in favor of a solid colored pink shirt with an unusual collar. It's without a button at the neck and the collar stands up a bit. Very stylish. He will not be wearing a tie. He looks adorable in it.

Marina was ironing when we came home. She told me it was too early for me to iron my dress. I will do that on Friday. Marina is the most stressed of everyone.

Rosa and Mattia arrived home from work. They will be at work tomorrow and then on vacation until the end of August. I got hugs and kisses from Mattia. We haven't seen each other since last November.

In Italy by law, the newlywed couple is entitled to 15 days of vacation (at the same time). This 15 day period also includes Saturday and Sunday when counting. Nice!

We split up into two groups and our group went to the nursery. Mario drove. Marta and I bought bark to re-pot some of her orchids. She's been writing to my mother on how to do this correctly.

As soon as we returned home, Mario went straight for the tool box and started working on a plumbing problem in Rosa and Mattia's part of the apartment. This morning Marina told me the hot water was turned off. The cool shower I took was refreshing and wonderful!

We all had dinner together at 8. Both Mario and Mattia were there too. Only Mario, Mattia and I had pasta for the first course. Everyone else started with the roast veal, served thinly sliced in its juices. Also polenta, diced tomatoes and carrots.

I asked Marta why not everyone had had pasta. Her answer: The guys were given a first course of pasta because they are men and need to eat more. I was served some, so I could taste a new recipe. I love how thoughtful this family is.

For dessert, we devoured the bread I smelled this morning. It was a yeast based sweet cake. After the first cake was gone, we ate half of the second one.

Rosa and I cleaned up the dinner dishes and Mattia gave me a draft copy of the wedding booklet, which he had written. The three of us then made the quick drive to the apartment which they have decided not to use. As we packed up the few things left there, I read over the booklet.

Each guest will get a copy, as is normal for Sunday mass. All the spoken words are written, so each person can follow along. He explained to me there is a modern approach to the catholic marriage ceremony now. The priest is only there to give the blessings and basically the ceremony is lead by the couple.

I read over the document several times but I couldn't find where they were pronounced “husband and wife.” Mattia explained it's not a part of the ceremony. The couple exchanges their rings and vows with each other. And when that is done, it's done.

My American culture was looking for that final exclamation "I present Mr and Mrs...." from the priest. But there won't be one. He blesses them after their vows have been spoken and that's it. The service continues on... I need to mark that spot. I asked Mattia if it was legal, done this way and he laughed and laughed. Yes, it is legal. I guess that's where my job comes to play and why I'm called a witness (la testimone). From my reading I believe there are at least two witnesses: one man and one woman. One male witness performs the duties of a Best Man. We witnesses (testimoni) will all sign some legal documents after the ceremony.

Where is the kiss, I asked Mattia? It seems a little incomplete without it. Rosa and Mattia smiled and kissed for me. There will not be a public kiss on Saturday. So I saw it already. Privately. They are so cute and very relaxed together.

Back at home Rosa told me the plans for tomorrow.

That was my day. We get a lot done here in Italy!

No comments:

Post a Comment