Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Summer Wedding (Part 4)


I slept hard last night with the shutters all the way up. It felt wonderful. I even slept right though a big thunder shower, plus lightening. I was really exhausted from lack of sleep on Wednesday night.

This morning the manicurist arrived early and gave Marta, Rosa and Marina manicures and pedicures. I’ve seen her here other times. She normally does come to the house.

Marta and Rosa went swimming and I went out shopping for a wonderful tank top: cost 4.90 Euro. I already have one which I bought last year. I bought two this time. Then I walked all around and looked in the shop windows. Stores open at 9 am and close at lunchtime. They reopen at 3:30. I made it home just in time for lunch: minestrone soup, homemade.

Marta and I re-potted her orchids out on the balcony.

Marina made a sponge cake yesterday. This morning using two soufflé dishes, she made tonight's dessert: layered cake, vanilla pudding (homemade), homemade jam from apricots Primo grows in his work compound, crushed amaretti cookie and then sprinkled once with maraschino liquor and once with expresso coffee. Top with the custard, more crushed cookies and finish with a whipped topping. Refrigerate all day.

Henriche arrived from Berlin just after lunch. She flew into Milano and took the train down then walked home. She lived here a year so it's coming home for her too. Her fidinzato (boyfriend) is from Rome. Right now he's working an internship in Berlin. He will arrive tomorrow I think.

Mario's sister arrived at 4 o’clock and did test makeup on everyone. This is her profession. She did wonderful work. She left at 6.30. She will return on Saturday at 7am. But before she left, we all got our dresses out so she can see the colors. Because it's a morning wedding, she wants the make-up light and natural looking.

Marina is loaning both Henriche and me purses. I totally didn't think about bringing a small purse with me. We saw the wedding dress too, on its hanger. It's beautiful. Ivory colored. I haven't seen Rosa’s shoes.

Marta, Rosa, Henriche and I all went walking until 8 pm tonight. Suddenly Henriche and I were walking alone. We discovered a street fair being setup. Normal I guess for Thursdays during the summer. Stores are open late tonight too. We took our time and looked at everything. We missed the puppet show.

Opps! Henriche and I arrived home just after 8 o’clock and found everyone already at the table eating dinner. Marina's father was at the table too. I was so happy to see him. I dropped to my knee near him and he took my hand. I haven't seen him since he was widowed 3 years ago.

We all spent some time watching TV. I spoke to Leo while lying on my bed. It's so relaxed here and I can feel comfortable leaving the group to talk to him.

Rosa is a little nervous tonight. Henriche is tired from her trip but wants to take a walk. We talked Rosa into going with her. She will sleep better. I was too tired and stayed home.

Musical beds tonight! Nonno will sleep in Marta's room, Marta moved to Rosa's apartment and the portable bed was setup for Henriche. I remained in the spare bedroom.

Not knowing how the sleeping arrangements might change, I had already packed up all my things. Looks like I will not be moving from my spot until I leave Monday at 7am. I already have my EuroStar train ticket. Marina sent me to the station earlier in the week because today starts the vacation exodus. Anyone who can is leaving for the beach or mountains today. The lunchtime news showed the freeways are all backed up with traffic.


Marina left at 8 this morning for her hair appointment. We were worried when she had not returned by 10. The parrucchiere (beauty shop) closes Saturday afternoon for the rest of August. A lot of ladies arrived today to have their hair done. Saturday is the only day one can make an appointment. All other days are drop-in.

Marta scanned some recipes for me this morning but we had no CD to burn to and the Internet is down for four days. I also decided to buy a new memory card for my camera. I don't want to run out of disk space tomorrow!

Rosa has been organizing things in her kitchen. I noticed her refrigerator is still turned off. I asked her if they had any food on hand. No, not really.

So what will Mattia have to eat Saturday night and Sunday morning, I wondered?

I decide to take action. I walked to up to COOP to buy them bread, bananas and a jar of Nutella. Mattia likes bananas she said.

On my way I saw Marina approaching me. I quickly got out my camera and got several good pictures of her. I'm feeling like I'm part of the paparazzi, jumping out and taking candid pictures. I want to preserve every moment.

After shopping at COOP, I stopped in at the beauty shop where Marta and Rosa had gone and took some cute pictures. I bought a phone card to charge up my phone.

It's great having my own phone here. I've had the same phone number for 7 or 8 years. I've spent about 35 Euros this time on phone cards. But I've talked a lot to Leo a lot. Also, I like to arrive in Italy with a working phone. I always buy extra time to be ready for the next trip. (As long I add money to the phone at least once a year, I can retain my phone number.)

I left my purchases back home and set out again to get the memory card. While waiting for the shop to open I saw something in another window and went in to take a look. I now have a cute carry-on bag for my plane trips. Oh I do love Armani! Cost: I’m not telling!

I headed home carrying my new bag and Marina buzzed me in through the compound’s gate. She had been waiting for someone to come back so she could go out. Nonno was watching TV and needed someone to stay with him. I gladly volunteered!

Nonno and I watched TV together. He told me he has a picture of us together, taken in his village. He said everyone wanted to know who the signorina was. He is flirty and adorable.

We had Marina's handmade veal ravioli, served in broth, for lunch. So delicious. Henriche had decided to get her hair cut too, so we had lunch without the girls. They were at the parrucchiere for 3 or 4 hours. I decided not to get my hair done.

Nonno took a nap and I found Marina moving a tall ladder around Rosa's living room. I had seen several bags of cloth on the floor but I thought they were blankets for guests. They are actually curtains that have been in storage since Marina had left home as a young bride. Marina spent an hour going up and down the ladder hanging the curtains. I went to the other apartment and shortened the spaghetti straps on my dress.

Mattia has been in and out all day, moving his belongings from his apartment into the flat. I haven't seen him. He's using the entry door to Nonna's flat. He and Rosa don't have their own keys yet, so whoever is available buzzes him in the front gate.

The apartment complex is surrounded by an iron fence, with a large driveway parking gate and a smaller pedestrian gate. A brass panel lists the names of each resident. For entry into the compound, one presses the appropriate button and then waits for someone in an apartment to activate the unlock mechanism. One hears a buzz, a click and then when the latch is pushed properly, the gate will open.

The trick is to understand how to push open the latch. The unlock mechanism also unlocks the apartment complex entry door. I had to be taught how to use both the gate and the entry door. This system works in reverse too. When one opens the apartment entry door from the inside, the outside gate latch is also released.

Once I became stranded in our courtyard, because the entry door was already open when I departed, but the gate latch was still locked. Lesson learned: Even if the front door is open, click the unlock door button, which will trigger the outside gate to unlatch.

There were two flower deliveries today. The first, a huge flat basket filled with purple flowers. We think they are live plants. Surrounding them at the bottom are dried mauve hydrangeas and pink polka dot plants. A double white orchid covered with flowers and buds also arrived.

Henriche and I ironed our scarves and dresses this afternoon.

Marta and Rosa went to church today. It is a special once a year talk with the priest and not related to tomorrow's wedding.

Henriche has gone to meet her Stefano at the train station. He flew into Milano from Berlin this evening. Marina has set aside dinner leftovers for them on the kitchen table. We had pasta with eggplant, pork slices, salad. Dessert was chocolate pudding and fresh juicy peaches.

It is so hot and humid. There is an air conditioner on in the living room. We had dinner with the French doors to the rest of the flat closed.

Marta says I don't have to make a speech or toast tomorrow. I was a little worried about the quality of my Italian.

Nonno has proposed to me twice today! He wants a double wedding tomorrow. Rosa said she envies his joyful attitude. He's always happy. Anyhow, Primo has just given Nonno an injection in the arm. He must be diabetic. Primo is so gentle. We all adore Nonno.

We'll start our day early tomorrow. Here there is no wedding rehearsal.

Rosa's cousins will provide the music for the wedding. One plays piano the other is a professional singer. Henriche will be our photographer. She has a special talent for this.

Everyone is relaxed tonight. All the work has been done.

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