Mia Famiglia in Riccia

on Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We made it to our next farm, but before any of that, I had some journal entries I wanted to share..most of which are jotted thoughts and ideas that came up while spending time with the cousins....some of which are also not very well thought out...but Riccia was more like a vacation point in the trip so I had time to write for the sake of writing. Riccia houses my colorful, generous...PATIENT family of cousins, a populous of 3k and 7 Catholic churches all within 4 blocks of each other. Each of my family members has a defined characteristic just like every other family. The comedian, the cook, the cop, the nerd, the fashionista, the shy, the addicted, the list goes on and on.

ie: Woke up this morning at 7am in Riccia to the church bells ringing...again. At first, I would wake up and think...how beautiful, the singing of the bells...this is great, I will be able to tell what time it is without opening my eyes. Ding...Dong....Ding...Dong (a brief unidentified melody) Ding....Dong....Here it comes....Ding....Ding...Ding...Ding...Ding...Ding...It must be 6am...No wait....Ding Dong Ding Dong (repeat for one solid hour...straight). No exaggeration. Continuous church bells...STOP! OK, that is selfish, I should be basking in the glory that is ''Riccia in the Morning'' but I am tired. This happened again on Easter morning...around 9am and I didn't mind so much. I laid there, staring at the ceiling listening to streets start to fill. It is directly across the street so you can hear the echos of a mass, that is sung in its entirety by the priest, broadcast through the entire town. It is the most soothing, spine tingling sensation in the world. Like closing your eyes on the beach...like the first few seconds after putting on earmuffs...like a kiss on the forehead. It's perfect. After realizing my face is completely emotionless...I grin from ear to ear. On the Friday before, the procession in town featured a Christ statue laid on a bed of roses followed my the statue of Mary in mourning. The entire town of Riccia is dressed in black and follows behind...a band plays the same somber tune over and over again...I can still hum it now. The people are crying, the older women are sobbing and the children are asleep in their carriages.

Marieucch (my Great-Grandmother Carmela's brothers' daughter) and her husband Giovanni take us to the small city of Campobasso to show us their house and show us some more churches. Upon arrival, immediately to the bar. ''Gelati or caffe?'' Like you even have to ask. Rick and I rushed over to the ice cream counter and chose our top 3 flavors which were then...not scooped...but delicately pasted atop one another on sugary cone. Did you ever see someone apply plaster? When my father has his tools all set up...the way he scoops it and manipulates the plaster...thats how the creamy ice cream treats are served in Italy...The cousins shoot their coffee and we are out into the streets again, still quiet from siesta so no one can see Rick and I dripping ice cream all over ourselves like 12 yr olds. We pass a small street sale in the town center and off to the side there are some games for the kids. The first game I spot is the scale...ya know the weight scale....and I think...come on. Really? They have them all over...on the boardwalk, at movie theatres...who the hell wants to cough up a dollar to have a colorful machine tell them they're a fat ass? That's not a game...not one bit. The whole crowd doesn't gather around to see how much you weigh...they wanna see you try and grab a stuffed animal with an oversized, mehanical claw! I'll save my dollar for a chance bop some groundhogs on the head and weigh myself in the privacy of my own bathroom so I can cry over the sink.

The first couple days are tough because of the dialect in Riccia, they simply cut words in half...it's really another language entirely. Speaking to Aida one morning was like Win, Lose, or Draw.
Aida: ''Fuore, cane y gatto''
Me: ''Oh, yeah...lots of cats and dogs outside''
Aida: ''No, No....molto cane y gatto''
Me: ''Si, Si. MOLTO cane y gatto. Crazy. Lots of cats and dogs out there.'' (Meanwhile...there are no cats and dogs in the streets in Riccia)
Aida: (smiles and laughs) ''Teresa...Allora. Fuore, in il ciello...pioggia...cane y gatto.''
Me: (blushing and laughing) ''Ahhh...'It's raining cats and dogs!' I didn't know it did that in Italy.''

By the end of the week, I can finally speak some serious Italian...I'm laughing at jokes and getting stamps at the post office. Rick is famous for his beautiful eyes, tall stature, Italian accent and bottomless stomach. Riccia is like home. I can see my American cousins faces and mannerisms in each of the characters in Italy...especially mom. We would hang out at the bar, play cards, roam around small alley ways...eat. Eat a lot. Leaving is difficult...we cry...agree to be penpals so we can learn each language...and it's on the train. The 5-hour train ride (no direct route to Salerno) to the next farm in Policastro...and what a farm it is....


Valerie said...

I love rading your blogs. I feel as though I am sitting next to you.
You made me laugh when I needed it.
Ahh Gelati, I can taste it! No one in America can imagine how wonderful it really tastes!
As for our family I can only say we are truely blessed!
I am jealous, the amalfi coast!!! Truely beautiful. I am glad that you and Rick are sharing and savoring it's beauty!

Love you both and miss you lots,
Hugs and kisses to infinity,

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