The great weekend

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

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Flag of Italy  , Piedmont,
Sunday, October 18, 2009

So Borgomanero isn't actually where I was, but the actual place I was is so small I couldn't find it on the map.  Borgomanero's close enough.  Besides, I don't want to give away this adorable little town because then you'll all go, and then you'll all tell your friends and family, and it'll pull a Woodland Park-next thing you know it'll have a Wal-Mart and then its "cute little town" bragging rights will go down the drain (not that I'm bitter that happened to WP or anything).  ANYWAY.  Our train got into Arona and we were picked up by the family's son.  Let me quickly explain the family- one of the daughters (there are 2) went to Montana for study abroad, and that's how she and Meghan know each other, she stayed with her family.  So now everytime Meghan comes to Italy she stays with this family.  The parents know a little English, the daughters are both gone right now and the son is going to Kansas next year for study abroad.  Kansas.  Of all the places in America, he chooses Kansas.  The sun is setting by the time we get to unnamed cute little town, and there is this weird mist in the low parts (it's very hilly there, so every valley had this mist).  It was pretty magical looking.  As soon as we pulled up to the house, which is tucked in amongst all these vineyards, Meghan and I run out to the backyard to see the sunset.  As we pass the swimming pool (have I mentioned that the family is rich?) my breath is again caught in my throat-from their backyard you can see Europe's second highest mountain (Monte Rosa).  Well you couldn't actually see it that night because of all the mist, but it was such a surreal scene, the mountains dipping in and out, it looked like water, it was so cool.  I was kicking myself for forgetting my camera.  During dinner the dad mentioned there was an organ concert in Borgo (the nickname the residents gave Borgomanero) so we all piled in the car and drove like hell to the main church there.  I thought maybe the dad drove like that cuz we were running a little late, but I found out the next day that that's just actually how he drives.  Typical crazy Italian driver.  Anyway, so Meghan and I were by far the youngest people there, and it was actually an organ/flute concert, but I liked when only the organ was playing.  We came back home around 11 and I was so exhausted from the trek over Milan that I fell asleep almost instantly, even though the sleeping arrangements were pretty strange.  They have this huge house, with 3 kitchens total, but only 2 bedrooms in the main part (there's a summer house for the grandparents-I did say they were rich right?).  So that means that in one bedroom there are two twin beds on the main floor and a loft.  The boy sleeps in the loft, and Meghan and I were in the downstairs area.  Normally I think that would have weirded me out since I had only said "ciao" to this kid and that was the extent of our knowledge of one another, but I was too tired to care, and I've come to expect random things here.  Plus, it was butt-suckin cold there, so all I wanted was to huddle under my blankets and sleep.

Usually on Sundays the family goes to church then heads over to the grandparents apartment in Borgo for lunch, where all the aunts, uncles and cousins come too.  But the dad, Caesar (pronounced Chezz-ah-ray)(how sweet is that? I'm naming my next dog that, no offense to him, he's a great guy, but I think as an American I could get away with naming a dog that, but not a child) had to work, so they dropped Meghan and I off at a little town called Orta on their way to work.  Orta is on Orta Lake, a tiny lake in comparison to the others (Luisa didn't even know it existed), and is also freakin adorable.  We got there early-ish, and as we were walking to the center I decided I needed to suck it up and buy a disposable camera.  We kept going, it was pretty empty, as most Sunday mornings in Italy are, and walked the extent of the town.  There's an island nearby, if you want to know the story behind it click here- by the time we got back to the center the town had woken up and there were people everywhere.  I'm glad we got there when we did.  There was a path around the lake that we walked, then it was time to go to lunch.  The grandparents live near Borgo's center, above one of the 3 Armani shops they own and run (the grandma knows Armani personally) and most of their children live in the same apartment complex.  I met them all but couldn't tell you their names for the life of me, only that they were all wearing Armani everything-glasses, socks, shoes, even underwear.  Meghan and I sat at the "kids" table, even though the oldest cousins are our age too, and it consisted of some kind of deep fried meat and french fries.  Awesomely American.  The boys went off after lunch so the girls and Meghan and I played cards.  I had grapes that had to be for wine, they had such a deep taste and stained my fingers purple and the grandma brought us cookies and dark chocolate.  We went back home and Meghan and I took their dog, an incrediby fat yellow lab, for a walk.  It was another gorgeous fall day, we walked through vineyards, a forest with vegetation so deep it was almost like the jungle, then back to the house.  It was clear so you could actually see the mountain again, although I'm not sure how well my old school camera was able to capture its beauty.  We came back inside as it started to get cold again, and popped in "Cars", one of the only movies they have in English (which I actually really, really enjoyed, and I'm not embarassed to say I teared up at it).  The parents went to church, but we were too comfy cozy warm to go out in the cold again, so then we spent time on YouTube until they got home and made us dinner.  Ah, the Italian life.  Meghan and I crawled into our beds but didn't sleep for a long time, just talking.  We both thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of speaking normally, without adjusting our language to make ourselves understood.  She had been accepted that day into an English teaching program in China, and wasn't sure if she wanted to take it or not, so we talked for a long time about that.  Eventually we fell asleep, and I felt refreshed, it's amazing how much I rely on friends, and she has truly become a very close one.

The next day the son drove us to the train station, where Meghan and I said our goodbyes.  I don't think it's the last time we'll see each other, but it was still sad.  The ride into Milan was short and uneventful, but once there, I had a frantic time.  I had planned all my train and bus schedules around one another according to the train website the day before, but apparently not everything you see online is true.  I had to make a transfer, but luckily, it turned out well.  The ride into Brescia was stressful, the ticket man (I don't know his official title) was coming around to check our tickets but the man in the seat next to me didn't have his.  A little argument commenced, then some all out shouting, and fingers being pointed and scary looks in angry eyes.  I was a little worried it might turn violent, but the man was just escorted off at the next stop.  Then, a creepy guy who I had seen when I got on decided it would be a good time to take that empty seat.  He sat there and stared at me, but luckily it was my stop so I hurried off, trying not to let him know he had succeeded in scaring the crap out of me.  People in trains are pretty interesting/sketchy.  I got on the bus back to Dello, feeling so much happier than I had in weeks. 
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