A quick update

by Laura A

Just for fun, here’s something I saw in a shop window this morning.  It’s a Lego Palazzo Madama!  (That’s the Queen Mother’s Palace, which is a major city landmark.)

I’ve been meaning to do an update for a while now, but I think it’s symptomatic that I’m having trouble posting one.  I wanted to write about school, but I felt it was only fair for Sarie to read what I had to say first, and she’s busy.

So I’ll just say for now that school is generally going fine, and I’m particularly proud of her attitude in the Theory of Knowledge, or TOK, class.  The teacher likes argumentation, and she supplies it.  I’ve always known that she had a bit of her logical lawyer dad in her, but until now she mostly used it on us.  Now I think she’s finally harnessing that force for good.  Enough said!

She has also been going to Milan for lessons with a talented violin teacher who was associated with her old conservatory in New York.  She has been to both Florence and Milan by herself (on the train) since school started.  Today when she got on the train, there was an announcement in English: “Those seated in first class will be welcomed with an explosive welcome drink.”

Sarie’s biology teacher speaks this sort of English, which makes for some interesting science.

She got together with some college-level conservatory students, formed a Baroque group, and they got a gig playing at a castle this Sunday in Cuneo, about an hour south of here.  So we get to go listen to Monteverdi in a castle, and then take a tour!

And next week Sarie and I travel to Rovigo, near Venice, so she can participate in the Premio Nazionale delle Arti.  This is a national level competition sponsored by Italy’s conservatories.  Students up to age 25 are eligible, so we have no idea what to expect, but we’re just going to see.  We want to meet the best string players in Italy!  Sarie will be playing the first two movements of the Mendelssohn concerto.  Considering that she doesn’t even have a teacher at the conservatory right now, I think it’s particularly plucky of her.

Bob still likes his job, travels a lot, and is trying to get in some hill climbs on his bike before it gets too cold.  He rides with a friend from work.  One of his next big challenges is getting an Italian driver’s license.

And me?  I’m playing secretary, reading, and cooking.  The seasons have definitely shifted towards fall here, and though Italy doesn’t have the colorful leaf displays of the Eastern US, I’m noticing such differences as a greater number of cloudy days, more use for scarves and sweaters, and needing to turn the lights on earlier.  I even had to use the dryer one day this week!

At the market, the fruit frenzy of late summer is giving way to fall vegetables: Belgian endives, broccoli rabe, and oven-roasted beets (never raw ones).  Yesterday I made a soup that required hot peppers, but since Italian markets don’t have jalapenos, poblanos or serranos, I took the only hot peppers they did have.  They were thin-walled, but cute, and the vendor pointed out that they made a nice decoration:

And finally, it seems to me that I’m understanding more Italian now.  True, on any given day I might get totally tongue-tied, but it does seem like I’m understanding a greater percentage of what is being said.  And to be able to understand what’s being said around me, I must say, would be very, very handy!

I hope your fall days are going well, and leave a note if you feel inspired!

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