Monday, December 3, 2012

3 Dec 2012, Monday in Cremona

I woke up at 8 (in Marina/Primo's home). Marta had just arrived with Baby G. She teaches today from 9-11 and again from 2-3. From this apartment, she can walk to and from school in only 5 minutes.

Marina loves having the baby here. Marta can still nurse. It works out well for everyone. She works 13 hours a week. This month she's just returned back to the classroom since being on maternity leave since the last of May. 

Marina and I walked Baby G in his buggy this morning. We dropped off the dozen muffin paper sets which I brought from the US for Maria, former high school teacher of English here in Cremona. Now she is a private tutor.

Maria loves to make muffins, which are not that common here. We buzzed at the outside door and she came down the elevator because Marina did not want to struggle with the stroller to enter the building. Plus, the baby is now dressed for outdoors.

It is cold today. Baby G was nicely contained in a snowsuit. This morning, Marina had to lay him on the dining room table to squeeze him into it. It was so fun to watch. Marina now tolerates my constant picture taking.I just need to capture these everyday events. I've promised not to publish family faces.

Leaving Maria, we walked to the bakery to get fresh bread. Our next stop was Anna. For many years, she has helped Marina clean house and care for Nonna, Primo's late mother and for Nonno, Marina's late father, when he visited from Strevi. We buzzed Anna's name from the outdoor array of call buttons. When she came down and out the street door, she was so surprised to see me standing there, holding a box of her favorite See's candy. Marina also had brought her pizza from our dinner last night. I met Anna's son, who had driven by for a visit. He had attended school with Marta.
Later at home, Rosa told me, Marina always saves a pizza for Anna, because her son does not buy it for her. I also discovered Anna, who works so hard as a house cleaner and appears to be very poor, has been a widow for years.  She raised two children who both graduated from university and have successful careers. Over the years, I've encountered Anna on her bicycle, as she travels about the city. I always bring her a box of See's soft centered chocolates.

As we walked home, a man approached us and began speaking seriously and very quickly.  Marina repeated what he had said, more slowly after he moved away. He took one look at our glowingly healthy Baby G and said, he had just returned from an island near Mauritania and the babies there are dying of starvation. He just had to tell us. So sad. Harsh conditions so close to Italy.

I took a walk to Coop supermercato to pick up a few items on my list: pasta di Sardegnia, chocolates, bath sponges and Alice cooking magazine for the train tomorrow.

For lunch Primo came home as he always does. We had both ravioli and gnocchi. Sliced salami next. Followed by leftover apple strudel.

At 2 Marta and I took the car to SuperCoop, which to me is such a treat. I love looking at everything, whole legs of prosciutto, cases of cheese, breads, vegetables, including radicchio which is so expensive in the US. Here it's as common as lettuce. We dropped off groceries at her house and I took a jar of Marta's amarena cherries. She kept the distinctive jar to store her tea.

Even the apples look artistic to me. I'm hopelessly in love.

I need to definitely regroup my bags tomorrow. I don't have that much, but Marina told me the bottle of olive oil weighs one kilo. The things I like and crave are heavy.

Here I am in the underground tunnel, which connects the garage to the elevator.  I'm bringing in groceries and dry cleaning. The family shares in erands.  Marta and I picked up Marina's dry cleaning while we were at SuperCoop.

At 6.00 we watched a live program from Lourdes in France. I think it's a rosary, not mass, because I've attended services like this before, but at a neighborhood church. Both Marina and Primo interacted with the live broadcast.

I went across the hall to visit Rosa for a hour. Dinner is not served until 8. Around 7 Mario arrived to help Mattia hang a mirror.

It was so much fun to watch the process. Tool boxes and drill ready, there was a lot of discussion where to hang it. Then Primo arrived. Standing on the bed, Rosa decided she needed Marta's opinion. Marta arrived, with Baby G balanced on her hip. A few minutes later, Marina joined us. I was taking pictures the whole time. I love watching these interactions. Fascinating really.

At last the mirror was hung in the entry instead of in the bedroom and the discussion turned to its levelness. The women used their eyes to judge, Mario his tape measure and Mattia, with his miniature level. Finally with consensus reached, all tools were put away and we all shifted back to the other apartment.

We started dinner with vegetable soup, which is not at all like the US version. The second course was a plate with arugula, cheese and thinly sliced very lean mocetta. It was delicious and I've just discovered it is goat. Take three or four slices of mocetta and drizzle a little olive oil, then a bit of lemon juice. Top with a handful of arugula. Yumm.  Dessert was panettone, which tastes fresh here. Those sold in the US are stale!

There was a quick discussion about cars and who was taking me to the train station tomorrow morning. I got the gist of the conversation but not the outcome. Only that Rosa would have to find a parking space outside tonight. Mattia will take me with the car, at 7.15 tomorrow morning.

My bag is just as heavy as when I arrived. I'm overweight! I just know I am. I'll have to deal with it tomorrow in Firenze.  For now I'm going to enjoy a nice sleep in this peaceful house.

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