I have found my Italian word. It is so much better than Rissie’s ‘awkward.’ It seems to sum up every situation perfectly. Because it is Italian it sounds like a little musical exclamation. It makes me feel like an Audrey Hepburn movie when I say it. It is also nice to have an alternative to the curse words that my Pirate self tends to gravitate to.
I have been advised that there is no direct translation but it is like saying, well…… or then…… It has an endless amount of uses and I feel very cosmopolitan when I use it, rather than feeling like Blackbeard when I say fuck. It just wouldn’t work in English. If Rissie walked in on me when I had just dropped a bag of caster sugar on the floor in the kitchen and said “Well…..”, I would turn on her in a fury say, “Well what Rissie? What exactly is it that you are saying to me?” But if she walked in, threw her hands up in sympathy and said, “Allora”, I would know that she sympathised with me and was acknowledging that our floor would now feel like it had sugar on it for the rest of our lives. I would also think that our time in Tuscany had been good for her.
When at the end of a long day you stop at the Gelato place and get lost in all the flavours. You fantasize about opening a Gelato place back home as Gelato for you has become like crack cocaine. You examine every single flavour, then you look at the flavours without milk and regardless of what flavours there are, you order lemon gelato because it is your favourite and it is good for your soul. Allora.
When you are driving down the road from Uzzano and you are certain it is not wide enough for two cars but the car approaching you does not stop. In fact, it appears to speed up. You slow to a crawl, inhale deeply to make the car and yourself thinner and miraculously the car whizzes past and everyone remains unscathed. Allora.
When you are driving down from the hilltop town of Montecatini and the road is definitely not wide enough for two cars. You stop where you are, trying to pull over and as another car squeezes past you, a motorcyclist leans towards your window and hurls abuse at you. Allora.
The first time you sit down to lunch with Italian friends in Uzzano, Tuscany, you wolf down the pasta you are served and even go for a second helping. It is only when you have finished and are quite full thank you very much, that realise the pasta was just a small appetizer. Allora.
When you are told that Italians allow about 80 grams of dried pasta per person and you know how much you have been eating in one sitting. Allora.
Trying to work out how 80 gram of pasta can feed anyone. Allora.
Pasta as a small appetizer? Allora.
When you get a message from a stranger via social media that states, “you are the worst mother imaginable. Your children should be in a loving environment and be going to school.” Allora.
Realising it is Spring and the weather is getting warmer and soon you will be able to get rid of your travelling winter wardrobe. Allora.
When your daughter tells you that she can’t go visit her lala land in her head anymore as it is not a good place and it hasn’t been for a long time. Allora.
When you realise it is time for a gelato. Allora.
When you see the daisies under the olive trees, one more reminder that spring is here. Allora.
When the meeting of a new kindred spirit reminds you how truly unique Australians are and that there will always be something that you adore about being Australian. Allora.
When your new Aussie mate suggests that a couple of glasses of wine at lunch would be a good idea. Allora.
Allora. It sums up almost everything. We are halfway through our time in Tuscany and in less than a month we will be heading to the very different world of Thailand. Spring has arrived in Uzzano and it is almost painfully beautiful. Flowers are appearing everywhere and the blossoms and greenery emergin on the formerly bare trees, adds a new dimension to an already beautiful countryside.
Our lives have fallen into a very simple routine. Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursday it is work and school in the morning, then we are with our family in the afternoons. The days are getting longer and the kids are generally outside now until dinner time. On Mondays, we tend to focus on school, do a grocery shop, sleep. Wednesdays are for adventuring with my new Aussie kindred spirit. The weekends are for spending time with our gorgeous Italian extended family.
I have fallen in love with Italy. I love the sweet obsession that they have with food. I love going into the grocery shop and knowing what is in season because it is the only thing for sale. I love biting into Italian tomatoes as they taste so good. I love the Schicciata bread, the traditional Tuscan flatbread. When it is hot from the oven it glistens with olive oil and salt. I am such a slut as it has been months since I have given a thought to the Tenterfield Baker.
I saw some gorgeous Zucchinis complete with their flowers today and I asked Rissie to get me some as I thought the flowers would be beautiful in a salad. When I came home I found she had picked the Zucchinis without a flower as she thought they were a weed. Allora. We walked into Pesce the other morning so we could get some Schiacciata. It was a 30 minute downhill walk to get to the baker, which meant a 30 minute uphill walk home, but every step was worth it to taste that bread fresh from the oven.
As much as time is flying, in a small way, it feels like it is also standing still.
I am loving our two months in Tuscany.