Un giorno normale — a normal day.

Sunset on the Naviglio Grande — it has been a good day.

It was just a normal day.

Up early, hulling strawberries for smoothies. We strip the bed to run the washing machine — which takes three hours — so the sheets can hang all day — so they can be fresh and dry when we sleep again.

We open all the windows, wide. We have no screens.
The morning air is lovely.

We make tea. We snack on those apricots I got at the place down the street — the place owned by a large family from the South…where all the produce is amazing.

At 8.15, the bells from the church next door ring daily — for us, it means it’s time to leave the apartment.

Today R goes to work, I split off in the other direction…to the new lavanderia to pick up his shirts.
S told me about this one — they do a good job and the prices are better. I prepaid for the shirts, — 11,40 euros, so I hand the proprietaria my pink receipt, she hands me the hangers.

This morning people are in shirt sleeves, black skirts and t-shirts, bare legs. People are murmuring that it is supposed to be a hot day. But this warm weather, even this early in May, maggio, is apparently unseasonable.

(But spoiler, by dinner there is rain, it is chilly — I am already wearing tights and a jacket.)

With my hangers of shirts I am crossing the street to the produce place — the sign above says “Frutte, Verdure”…the sunlight through the front window hits the apricots just the right way and I know I need to purchase more of them.

Vorrei comprare dieci di quelle, I say to the proprietario, pointing to the apricots. Che bellissimi!

They are gorgeous.

And then, six long Roma pomodori, so very ripe. They will be perfect in the pasta I am planning with the basil from the windowsill, drizzled with the olive oil from Volterra.   And radishes, two avocados (so hard to find good ones in this country — and these are good). I hand him my card — devo firmare con questa carta, I tell him.

With my American credit card I have no PIN, I have to sign the receipt.

I squint at the sun peeking between the buildings. It is 9.10. The streetcars are rattling by, I am close to the Porta Genova station. I cross the street with three older men. I am the slowest one crossing among us.

Siiiiiiii, di nuovo, sono un po’ lenta oggi. Yessssss, again, I am a bit slow.

I am thinking — I love the look of the sun shining on the cobblestones. I love the look of the sun gleaming on the streetcar tracks. Che bello!

When I get back to the apartment, I eat an apricot.

I check my mail, start my homework. There is a new-ish baby somewhere…because of our cortile, our courtyard, I can hear him starting to coo. This makes me smile.

The restaurants downstairs are starting to come to life. Empty wine bottles from the previous night crash into the recycling bin. One after another. Our portiere is sweeping away fallen leaves and flowers from the overnight storm.

It is the middle of the night for family back home so I can’t distract myself from my work by writing to them.

Soon it is time for lunch, for school. I grab a snack and take off to school. S and I stop at The Bridge Café, where I stop almost daily. I order, again, un te’, grabbing a bustina di tè while they hand me my water. I sit and listen to the conversations around me, I look at the Corriere della Sera, the newspaper, I review grammar.

Vado a scuola.  I walk to school.

Our classroom is really warm.  There is no A/C.  I am already planning my next shower of the day.   But halfway through, our teacher looks out the window at the gathering dark clouds.  Wow, he says, il meteo sta cambiando.   The weather is changing.

Clouds are really dark but no rain has fallen yet.

We walk home, switching to a mix of Italian and English. My brain is tired. We stop at Bio c’ bon to get more ingredients.

When I get to the apartment I am stanca di morire — dead tired.

If we are staying in, I start dinner. If we are going out I confirm plans…maybe tonight it is apericena at UGO — Apertivo + Cena — Apericena.

Apertivo is when you go to place, pay 7 or 8 or 9 euros for a glass of wine or juice or other alcohol — and get a huge spread of amazing food (sort of Happy Hour — but amazing food). Cena — is dinner.

Apericena is when you go for apertivo and are having so much fun that you stay for cena.

In the winter, after dinner, we would watch a bit of Netflix. Recently, though, now that it is Spring we are out later, having dinner later…and then just bed.

And we sleep — dreaming of the sunlight on the streetcar tracks, the canals, the apricots.

Un altro giorno — another day. Che bello.


  1. People think I am unusual in my love for everything I see. How much I love Madison, a starry night sky etc. I see I am not the only one. Barb Vlach

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