23 June 2010

What I'm Eating

Fruit.  Mostly stone fruits.  And a lot of it.  Sweet.  Juicy. Delicious.

Peaches.  Plums.  Apricots.  Nectarines. Cherries.

Locally grown.

It's been scientifically proven that stone fruits are low on the Glycemic Index, bursting full of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, lutein, polyphenols, and so many other important vitamins and minerals.  Eating a diet that includes stone fruits, it is believed, may reduce one's risk of heart disease, cancer, eye ailments, arthritis, and diseases associated with aging.

It's summer.  How about taking advantage of the farmers' markets, getting outdoors, and enjoying the summer fruits and vegetables that are so abundant?

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Firenze, Italia


When at a crossroads, my preference is to take the path less traveled.
Indecisive as to which road to take,
wondering which you would choose.

21 June 2010

Gesto dell' Ombrello

A friend recently brought to my attention this particular angel on the facade of the Duomo in Florence, Italy.  Perhaps not so innocent an angel.

The umbrella gesture -- the Brits are known to carry their umbrella in the pit of the elbow -- is a hand gesture used throughout Italy to say an entire sentence:  Vaffanculo, a vulgarity I cannot completely translate on a public site, "Go **** yourself!"

The things we learn...

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Firenze, Italia

20 June 2010

Concerto dei Violini

We went to a violin concert at Chiesa Di Santa Maria De' Ricci on Via del Corso in Florence. There was a lucky group of 13 to 18 year olds attending a pre-college program through Northwestern University in Chicago that performed the concert.  Quite talented, these kids.

A couple years ago, I rented an apartment across the street from this church, and each evening, sitting on my jasmine-lined terrace, friends and I would enjoy a free concert under the stars.

I especially love the contrast in a couple of these photos (the violinist yawning, the woman's spectacles).

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Firenze, Italia

19 June 2010

Un Mare dei Ombrelli ("A Sea of Umbrellas")

It's summer and this is the time of year when we get a lot of tempeste (storms) in Florence.  The summer storms are full of tuono e fulmini (thunder and lightning).  We've had a storm or two almost each day so far in June.

Sleeping with my window open, I awoke this morning to the melody of a light summer rain and fresh air.

(Remember to click on the photos to see the full picture.)

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Firenze, Italia

18 June 2010

World Cup 2010

Most people think the national religion of Italy is Catholocism.  Reality is calcio (soccer) is the national religion

Personally, I prefer to play sports than watch them.  I don't have a good understanding of how the game is played.  I have only ever been to one soccer game in Los Angeles, but I do hope to experience a calcio game in Italy some day.  I've heard that it's quite an experience to be amidst the fans.  In contrast to spectator sports in the States, here I am told they stand during the game and sit only when the clock is stopped.

The World Cup began last week, June 11.  The fans are crazy and abundant.  A couple of friends here tried to explain the game to me.  I barely get it.  What I know is that soccer and World Cup is a very big deal here.  Don't be surprised if you're in a restaurant in the middle of ordering your meal and your waiter lets out an expletive and runs away from the table, not to return until minutes later.  It's happened to me.  You'll know why when you hear everyone but the tourists cheering and yelling and everyone gathered around a television in the bar.  Someone's made a goal. It's calcio.  When your waiter does return, he'll be happier than he was before. 

What I do understand is that the USA team is playing in the World Cup.  Today was our second game, another draw, and an important game against Slovenia.  We next play Algeria the 23rd of June.

As for Italy, they, too, had a draw.  The next game will be played Sunday against New Zealand.  I don't think Italy will allow themselves to beat.

As we get nearer to the finals, it will be interesting to see how the tifosi (fans) comport themselves.  They are very spirited here.

A sports journalist, I am not.

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Firenze, Italia

06 June 2010

Mmmm, Gelato

Gelato so good, even dogs love it!

Walked over to Gelateria dei Neri near Santa Croce tonight, and Mabel was offered a gelato. She had nocciala da soya (hazelnut made with soy milk).  All we were offered was one sample of one flavor.  Mabel had her own ice cream cone, and she didn't even have to pay!

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Firenze, Italia

05 June 2010

Sex and the City 2

Date night in Florence. My two best girlfriends and I in Florence went to the opening of Sex and the City.  Though the movie's reviews weren't great, we three enjoyed every minute of glitz and glamour with our four special friends in Abu Dhabi.  I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Firenze, Italia

Moving Day

Without much choice, it was time to move.  Our lease came to an end, and our apartment had already been rented.  Since my return, I have looked at dozens and dozens of apartments.  I never imagined the task to be so difficult. In the past, when I've looked for apartments in Italy, I did it from the States in advance of my travels.  But now that I'm looking for more permanent housing and am here, it's been work.  I have seen enough apartments that I think I could work as a housing agent.

Time flies, and I wasn't finding a place to sleep June 1.  Out of all the apartments I found, only one I would  consider living in, but it will not be available until the second week of July.  So with that place in mind, a proposto (proposal) made and a deposit left, I continued to search but didn't anything else acceptable.  Yesterday I met the owner of the one apartment I could live in.  We conversed for over an hour and shook hands, and now I am the proud l'inquillina (female tenant) of a "chic" apartment beginning in a little more than a month from now.  Of course, the transaction was not without fear.  It's scary signing contracts in a foreign language in a foreign country where most things are done differently than what I am accustomed to.  Don't forget also that I have worked with attorneys for a couple decades and have heard all sorts of lawsuits.

Meanwhile, I needed to find a place to sleep in the interim.  A friend told me about a monolocale (studio flat).  I met with the owner in person five times and spoke on the phone with her at least a dozen times.  Thirty-six hours before moving day, we met to exchange money and keys.  She got cold feet, kept mumbling things under her breath and then asking, Mi capisci? (Do you understand me?).  My response was, "No, because I can't hear you."  In the end, she told me repeatedly, Lascia perdere (forget it). Tears welled up, but I didn't cry when she reneged on our agreement.

The last few weeks, I was asking everyone I knew if they knew of apartments for rent.  I had everyone working for me.  People were stopping me on the street, asking if I'd found a place yet and then proceeding to tell me about an apartment they knew about. One such person told me his wife has a friend with a cute, small apartment, and he put me in touch with his wife, who, in turn, put me in touch with the owner, a very kind and gentle man.  We met.  The apartment is one of the nicest apartments I have seen as well as one of the smallest.  I could not envision all my things fitting in this place.  That appointment was an hour before I was to meet the owner and exchange money and keys for the apartment I described in the prior paragraph.  Later in the day I phoned him and explained my plans have since changed and I'd like to take his apartment.  The kindness and ease of dealing with this man and his wife are much appreciated as well as all the kindness and help that has been bestowed upon me by the many people that are either my friends or acquaintances.

I find it interesting that as moving day approached and I had not yet found a place to move and then 36 hours prior to moving I found out I still had no place to go, that I was ridiculously calm about it all, though inside I did have fear and make jokes about which bridge Mabel and I would be sleeping under.  Somehow I have much more faith here in Italy than I ever did in L.A. that things will work out no matter what.  Also, a lesson I had the opportunity to learn once again is that when things don't turn out the way we want, hope, or think they should, we often end up in a much better situation.

But what I wonder is:  How is it possible that I have so much "stuff" when I'm trying to simplify my life.  Yes, those are my things in the Ape (three-wheeled vehicle that doesn't require a driver's license to operate) below the window of my new, temporary digs.

-- Josslyn "Giosalina"
Firenze, Italia