Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Still catching up....

Okay, so now I need to catch up to today which is Tuesday. I’m comfortably propped up in my bed after having had a very satisfying dinner made by Daniella. She cooked rice with fresh peas, chick peas and a chicken cutlet. It was incredibly satisfying. With a full belly and warm and snuggly in my bedroom (it’s 10:00pm – where does the time go?), I’m going to attempt to cover the last few days.

Saturday night I was hit quite hard with grief; man, it came up so unexpected and powerfully. Daniella, bless her, got the brunt of it and in my broken Italian and her broken English I was able to let go and she was able to catch me. Not to discount this experience, I gave it a perfect entrance having not had any sleep for about 20 hours, barely ate and was now in a new town, new culture and it was cloudy and rainy…hello?

Looking back just 48 hours, I can recall how strange it felt climbing the stairs of this old building, seeing only the renovation work and not quite ready to see it’s charm. Entering Daniella’s apartment which, I later found out, was her late grandmother’s who had passed away about 2 years before. She sweetly introduced me to all the rooms and, again, my tired mind was sinking to the thoughts of, “did I make a mistake?”…arriving in my bedroom with a big sigh about what I don’t know. In Italian the question is asked if I wanted to go outside and walk. YES, I had been sitting and sitting and sitting and so walking would be good.

The town was bustling as it was the weekend. When in Italy, I am always amazed at the young people and how they hang out in big groups and there energy is just so fun and wild and free. It’s refreshing. We walked and walked while speaking a little Italian and a little English….we were getting to know each other and I was getting to know this place.

Ascoli-Piceno is quite beautiful. Lonely Planet, etal did not lie. It’s also quite immaculate.

It was on this walk, down some side street that my body began to prepare me that I was about to start feeling something challenging. The grief decided to hit and there I was in the Piazza Puopolo with a strange woman named Daniella starting to sob. I could barely touch it with faces and memories of times past and times shared but I did. I knew I had to and so I went with it. Daniella showed instant compassion and encouraged the release (am I blessed or what?). I thought to myself, tonight I will share my room with grief and give it some space….and I did.

The walking was so helpful; my body needed to move. Returning to her home, I got a little more organized and allowed myself to slip into bed, with no judgement and simply gave into the sense of loneliness. I did feel quite alone Saturday night. The tears flowed and I was grateful for them….let them flow as long as necessary.

Upon waking Sunday morning, I began to feel myself. I slept until 10:00am and with a pot of expresso waiting for me, I joined Daniella in our "dining room" and began to plan our day. I'm acclimating quickly, I can feel it. It's one of my "fortunate?" qualities...like how I acclimated to 10 years off-the-grid in Taos.

Busy streets and alleyways, Ascoli is built with local travertine and so everything is white and glistening against the deep greens of a lush environment, it's something to behold. Mmmmm, shops with salami, ravioli and proscuito beckon me -- it's on my shopping list. I can't quite eat today as my body is a bit upside down and so somehow the time passes and we are planning a dinner out with Daniella's friend. It begins to rain and so to "take up some time" prior to our reservation at Mr. Okay's, they show off their local shopping mall. Again, packed with young, old and families, people eating, playing games and generally living well.

We get to Mr. Okay's, not exactly a restaurant name conjuring up truffles, but this is their specialty. Did I mention Daniella loves (I mean loves) to eat? She's probably just 5' and a little round but a lovely face and stunning hazel eyes...she is always looking "up" at me and so I'm curious how her neck must feel.

I give her permission to order at will and she does! First, we get the local specialty which are meat stuffed olives deep friend. I know, doesn't exactly sound that appetizing but have no fear, they are addictive. This is followed by fried zucchini like you've never tasted before. The zucchini is sliced in very thin strips that almost curl with the most delicate batter and they are piled high! I thought this would be it but no, we then receive about 4 stuffed mushrooms. Yet to come is the main course of pasta with truffles! I try to pace my eating and not get full so I can leave room for the real treat and treat it was. A small rigatoni pasta, cooked quite al dente in a light cream sauce and chopped truffles and some bread crumbs as well with fresh parseley. Man oh man, it was good. I could not finish my plate but knew I could count on Daniella!

This seems long enough. The knot seems to be gone for now in my belly, I am living quite comfortable now. Taking baths instead of showers, running up and down the stairs of my flat, carrying old fashioned keys, and having completed my 2nd day of Italian lessons. My schedule is 11-1pm 5 days (20 hours a week) which leaves my mornings for now free to try to catch up on sleep and sit at the local cafe for a expresso and croissant; honestly, I am still exhausted and not quite sleeping as much or as deeply as I need to. So far both days my brain has hurt from going places it hasn't had to go in a long time but this is what I wanted. I really like my teacher and, by the way, I am having private lessons.

I realize it's early in this process but I do think I will stay here in Ascoli for a total of 2 weeks. It's quite economical staying with Daniella. I've met some travelers who have been to Urbania and they say is is incredibly small -- I'm not going to bother. I actually find Ascoli quite small too (50,00). My thoughts are to go to Sicily for sure and I may touch base with Maria and Shastro (Alb - DC travel companions) as they are going to Bologna and I may rendezvous with them.

That's all for now, caio!


  1. Hi Natalina.

    Sounds wonderful.
    Wish I was there with you.

    Mary Beth

  2. Eat for me Nat! My mouth is watering!