Saturday, December 10, 2011

Italy, Ireland, Same Thing

Family village
I had the greatest few days of my life thanks to a little unexpected adventure. The family I'm working for took me to the countryside where they have a house just one hour outside of Rome. Its located in the Lazio region, and the mom's side of the family owns a small village perched comfortably atop a huge piece of land overlooking herds of sheep and mountains. It was literally like a small village, with houses only owned by those related to the grandparents. All of the houses were made of stone and covered in ivy and English roses. The family even owns their own Catholic church that sits proudly among the dozens of beautiful homes. I felt that I had left Italy for the weekend and landed in Ireland. When I I went for a walk through the countryside, I felt like I fell into a scene from PS I love you
I spent the entire time drinking homemade red wine, horseback riding through the mountains, and doing my best to stay on the good side of the strict grandparents. As you can imagine, their jaws dropped when they found out that I didn't eat meat. Its easier to tell Italians that I'm allergic to meat rather than explaining that I'm a vegetarian based on moral, environmental and health related reasons. Clemi, the eldest daughter, took me aside later and assured me not to worry about them, because "nonna is impossible." This made me feel much better, and I could see it was true every time we sat down for a meal when the grandmother would boss everyone else at the table around. Get your elbows off the table. You cannot sit at the table with messy hair, you must tie it back with a pony tail. Sit up straight. Speak more clearly. It never ended, but it didn't ruin my weekend. I even got the chance to go to Bracciano, the town where Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married. As it turns out, the mom is close friends with the woman who owns the 15th century castle where they got married, and I got to go there! I was completely wonder struck and have never seen 
anything so extravagant in my life. I asked the woman how the wedding happened. My first question was how they approached her. Did TomKat send an e-mail saying, Excuse me, but we hear you have a lovely castle, and would like to have our wedding there? She laughed and said no, and explained that Tom is a close friend of the Italian fashion designer Gorgio Armani (I think I've heard of him before...) and they have connections and BAM - they had the wedding there. The castle is now the marriage hot spot for rich Russian couples.
Now I'm back in Rome sweet Rome, and missed the city oh-so much during the past few days. The family is still in Bracciano and comes home tomorrow, giving me some time to do whatever my little heart desires. I drove home with the Filipino workers, and it was definitely the most... memorable car ride of my life. There I was, trapped in a clown-sized car with four Filipinos who sang out of tune country songs for over one hour. trapped in a car with 4 Filipinos, who sang out of tune country songs for an hour straight. I will forever cherish that moment in my life because I impressed myself at being able to hold in my laughter. When I got back to Rome, I ran around the whole city saying bonjourno to all my favourite shop keepers and pizza makers. I went to Fridgidarium (my favourite gelato shop) to say hi, and they asked me what happened to me. I told them I was in the countryside for a past few days and they said they were worried about me because they've been waiting to give me my Christmas card. Oh, dear... You know you're really an addict to gelato when the gelato shop gives you a CHRISTMAS CARD. What have I become?

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