It has been 153 days.
One hundred and fifty three days of supermineralized water, watching where I step on the street, listening to conversations on the street and in the train…and looking for more music to enjoy.
(Ti sto venendo, L.)
153 is the code for mental processes and intelligence in the Dewey decimal system.
153 is the sum of the first 17 integers.
153 is, apparently, a sonnet by William Shakespeare.
153 is the atomic number of an element temporarily called “Unpenttrium”.
153 giorni. 153 days.
With the beginning of the warm some trees are starting to bud.
Maybe we are starting to bud.
Our most recent new soap has been stuck to the super skinny soap bone that was our last soap.
How many bars of soap have I bought?
I have lost count.
I can cook artichokes six ways now. Maybe seven.
Again — I have lost count.
How many times have I said “La vita è così”? I have lost count.
I am a whiz at the mini-washing machine. I am a whiz at hanging my laundry to dry.
I am recovering from super strano virus which kept me down for a week…days where I was just on the couch, weak, fevered, listening to American news (yeah, like that was gonna help me recover).
But now back amongst people, we are on the train, headed for the coast, for R’s birthday.
We are riding though fields, starting to be green. Weeds are cropping up next to the tracks. Trees starting to soften with the lightest shadow of leaves.
An occasional flowering tree.
At the outdoor café across the street in Milano, they have brought in pink roses, hibiscus, lemon trees heavy with fruit. I walked through and swooned.
I need a lemon tree. I need roses. Hibiscus.
We are stopping in Pavia. The capotreno checks our ticket.
We are riding in coach today…a man wheels a cart past us. He makes caffè, te’, sells small cans of potato chips and chocolate bars. He sells a bustina of tea to the woman across the aisle from us.
No, ma grazie, I answer when he offers me something.
We brought our own snacks today.
R’s work is coming along. He is elbows deep in a new paper and actually finished a review while sitting on the floor late at night in the waiting room of the Pronto Soccorso. He is listening to Twenty-One pilots and doing another review on the treno, sitting across from me.
S and I both downloaded an audio book from Isabel Allende — L’isola sotto il mare…maybe soon I will start it. This trip is three hours.
We are crossing over a muddy river with white sand. Just a river…but you know, it is a fiume.
More farmland, more softening trees.
A few starting to bloom.
Pink and white.
Vineyards, even! A long tunnel. Another river.
A green one!
We are close to Busalla now.
It was this month that we had the hospital adventure. That we prepared for a holiday. That we went to a few dinner parties…but otherwise stayed in town and laid low.
S sent me to the best shoe repair…I can walk all the way down the Naviglio Grande about thirty minutes or I can take the numero 2 tram until I get to just past the “sex shop” — and there is a lovely older man with leather hands (I know this because he grasps and holds mine!) who does very fine work. He calls me “La mia Americana!”.
I have started going out to lunch and even apertivo with my classmates. We are having a great time.
R has lunch daily with his — and every Friday they walk, en masse, al ristorante.
They go to San Giovanni’s. He likes to order the risotto.
Tips on language learning.
Make sure you pronounce the double letter — it is the difference between ordering Penne — a type of pasta — or ordering Pene…a penis.
And now we are passing through another long tunnel.
We come out at Genoa. Bellissimo.
And then, suddenly, we are at the sea.
Finalmente, il mare.
Now the train is costeggiando…going along the coast.
Suddenly there are palm trees. Mountains with fog on top.
I suppose living in Italia has been like this. Sometimes a dark tunnel, then stops and starts and suddenly the sun is shining and we are at the sea.
153 days. 153 hours. 153 reasons that this was a super good idea.
The guy with the sea view across from us has closed his window shade.
WTF? Che cazzo?
And sometimes you are at the sea but you don’t know it…because the guy across from you has closed his window shade…or perhaps your eyes are closed to the beauty — or you are distracted and looking elsewhere.
But now, suddenly you are there. You are in the place you never thought you would be — and you are surviving, you are thriving.
Despite tunnels, the isolation, the window shades and super weird surprise viruses.
Despite mental processes, the sum of the first 17 integers and the element temporarily called Unpenttrium.