The first week in Dello

Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
Trip End Nov 24, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Monday, October 5, 2009

I love how close everyone is.  Angelo's brother Daniele lives just a couple houses down.  Luisa's parents live nearby as well and come over quite often.  Her sister is in the next town, and another one of Angelo's brother's lives on the other side of town. It seems like they're related to everyone who lives in Dello. 

Anyway, so back to Wednesday.  We took the boys to swim lessons, haha oh my gosh what a culture shock.  As we walk into the building Enrico runs straight for the men's locker room.  I thought to myself "wow, as a 6 year old that's amazing that he can change into his swimming suit all by himself."  But a second later Luisa charges in there after him.  I froze for a second, then realized that mom's are given special privelege to go in the men's locker room.  And apparently as au pair I am also given this privelege.  In America, the little boys go into the women's locker room.  But here, all the mom's were in there, dressing their children amongst teens and old men.  I felt so awkward.  I didn't see any completely naked guys, but lots of boys (teens) and older guys in their underwear.  And then, to make my situation even more uncomfortable, Luisa left me in there to watch over the bags as she took the boys to the pool.  I don't think I look like a mother, so how the hell do you explain my presence in the men's locker room??  I was praying with all my might that no one would confront me, cuz I would have no clue how to explain in Italian that I'm not a cougar (or gold digger, despite my classmate's jokes).  That night Daniele came over again and I played some songs on the piano for everyone.  After the boys went to bed I watched "X Factor", an Italian version of American Idol.  I didn't know what was being said, but I do know, I would rather listen to an American butcher an American song than an Italian! 

Thursday:  The day of my run!  I met with the neighbor at 8:30 and we started running.  Thankfully, she speaks some English, so we were able to communicate well enough.  She used to be a really avid runner but had an injury so she's just now getting back into it.  She's 37, so I figured, no problem.  About halfway through I died though, and almost started walking, she kicked my butt.  She told me she was going on a bike ride the next day and I was welcome to come with.  For some reason I agreed, even though I'd have to wear one of her kids helments, a bright green one with cartoon characters all over it or the type that kids wear at the skate park.  So in case I wasn't feeling like I stuck out enough, I could try harder.  After I hurredly showered and ate, and Luisa's mom picked me up to go into Brescia to try again to get a visa or work permit.  The visa is out of the question by now, but the work permit is a possibility.  She doesn't speak a lick of English, so the car ride was quiet.  Also, all Italians are crazy drivers.  She accelerates, slows down, accelerates, oh I was feeling so sick.  And instead of traffic lights, there are round-a-bouts everywhere, so she speeds up, gets to the yield sign and slows, then guns it again to shoot around the curve.  I thought I was going to barf.  Luckily we had to sit for 2 hours waiting for our turn to explain my predicament.  I don't know what was said, but the lady took my information, and is looking into getting me my work permit.  I'll find out sometime this week what the outcome is.  After I got back I took the boys to get gelato again, which went fine except Francesco started throwing a fit after he finished his.  I couldn't figure out what he wanted, but luckily Enrico came to my rescue and "told" me through gestures and simple Italian words that he wanted a cone.  As we walked back I felt frustrated, with myself for not knowing the language, and with them for wanting to stop at every single freaking car to look at it.  It took forever to get back.  I exhausted myself trying to understand Italian, like focusing really really hard will make me all of a sudden understand.

Friday:  I woke up feeling sick, probably ran too hard the day before.  I slept most of the day, taking a break only to go with Daniele to Brescia to buy a self-help Italian book.  He speaks little, little English, but somehow we were able to understand each other.  We went to this castle that overlooks the city and got amazing views.  I couldn't get over the fact that it's a real castle, I mean, I saw the holes that people would dump hot oil out over their enemies.  Crazy.  There was hardly anyone there, so it was nice to experience it without a bunch of tourists.  Next we walked around town, there's these old ruins from like 100 or 200AD, it's absolutely insane.  Their duomo is a "new" church (from the 1600s) built almost on top of the old one, from the 1200s.  We went into both, and again, were some of the only people in there.  It was breathtaking.  Not like the Florence Duomo, but amazing and beautiful in their own ways.  That night I finally got to talk to Mom on Skype, and I felt incredibly homesick.  Ben and I have been changing plans for after I'm done au pairing, and the new one is I come home in December, and hopefully Mom comes out for Christmas so we come back together.  Sounds pretty good to me!

Saturday:  I spent the morning with Angelo and Francesco, getting groceries around town.  After that, Luisa took me to meet her niece Roberta, the historic preservation girl.  She wasn't there, but Luisa's aunt was, so I met her, and we have a time scheduled to have her teach me to sew.  She makes her own clothes, so I'm pretty excited.  I've met so many relatives, I feel like I need to make a cast of characters to get them all straight!  I went with Luisa to her guitar practice, she's in the church band, and I sat there in the sun watching little boys playing football listening to beautiful guitar music.  Not bad for a Saturday in October.  I called this girl whose number I had taken from the shop where I bought my phone card to ask if she wanted to get together sometime (basically asked if she'd be my friend).  She's 26 and Italian, but speaks English.  That night was something called Notte Bianca (White Night), so all the museums were free and there would be music and stuff being sold, all night.  I told her I'd be there, because Luisa's sister was going and agreed to pick me up.  She and her husband spoke English, which was a relief.  We met up with their friends, none of whom spoke English.  There was one time they all laughed and wanted to explain the joke to me so Claudio, the husband, tried so hard, but I didn't know what he was saying.  Finally I understood-they say their "i"s with an "e" sound, so he was saying circumcision, but it sounded weird.  I know, why would they be talking about circumcision?  I guess some dentists practice that, along with cleaning teeth.  Kind of a weird combination, but whatever floats your boat right?  The festival was fun, there were a ton of people, music everywhere, smells of delicious Austrian wurstels floating by, it was crazy.  We stopped to watch a street performer, which reminded me of Pearl Street.  This was a lot different however since the guy was Indian and spoke fluent Italian.  It was bizarre to see.  We walked past the ruins again, which were lit up and we actually were able to go inside and touch the columns...the only picture I took all night was of them, it was so much more magical at night, so surreal to be walking in, around, on a building that's been around for so long.  I got home at 1:30, and never met up with the girl, but it was a great time.

Sunday: I went to Mass with the family, and it was so cool.  It was held outside, and Luisa played guitar and sang, and Enrico held my hand, and I felt happy.  We came back home for lunch and Luisa's mom brought over a plate of goodies and I gorged myself on delicious Italian sugar.  Francesco would still be chewing and asking for (well, pointing and squealing) another.  I'm seriously afraid for that kids teeth, he eats a lot of sweet stuff and still uses a pacifier.  After I could barely move we went back to the church because they were having a party because Sunday School was starting.  We sat and watched all the kids play, they did a different version of dodgeball which looked like fun, and it was just a beautiful day, sitting outside, listening to the shrieks of happy children, patting my full belly and seeing Italians all around me.  I left early and got on Skype, and Ben and I "talked" (sometimes we would just be on Skype but doing our own thing) for 5 or so hours.  I was supposed to go to Roberta's class with her today, but she never called, so I slept in and now here I am, Monday morning, wondering what to do until 4.  I might try to be brave and buy a bus ticket into Brescia and explore on my own.  Who knows.  My opportunities in Italy are endless!
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starlagurl on

Sounds beautiful
I would love to see the pictures you took from Notte Bianca. We have it here in Canada too, it's great!

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager

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