Thursday, September 11, 2014

Knock. Knock.

 "Bologna is a lot of things, my friend.
It's always been the center of free thought
 and intellectual activity in Italy. . . "
~ From The Broker by John Grisham

I have one more full day in Italy, and by this time tomorrow, Mike will be here with me.  I sent him a photo so he'll be able to recognize me with my melon-head. I'm only joking. I'm not quite over the shock of having so much hair cut, but it's growing on me.  It helps that people like it.

"Cristina, ciao!" Massimo #341 greeted me this morning. "Your new hair looks very Italian."   And, he's probably right.  While I had cappuccino this morning, I watched Italian women walk through the market area, and most of them had very short hair or longer hair.  Nothing in between here. So, I'll skip the hat for now.

 I've noticed over the past few weeks that I am finally thinking in Italian more often and not thinking of what I want to say in English, translating it into Italian, and then screwing it up when I say it. I've cut out the middle man and just think in Italian and make mistakes as I go. Luckily, most of my friends come to my aid and correct me or give me the word I need.  Speaking Spanish has also become less of a problem as now when I try to talk to my friend, Cesare, in Spanish, I end up speaking more Italian than I do Spanish.

"You have learned a lot fast, my friend," he told me.

"I try."

 This morning I met a woman walking a wire-haired dachshund, and I had to pet him, of course.

"My mother used to have a bassotto," I mentioned.  "His name was Oscar."

"This one is called Pedro," she told me half in Spanish and half in Italian.  I am NOT the only one.

"Do you speak Spanish?" It was obvious that she did, but I had to ask.

"I speak a little Spanish, a little English, and now because I live in Spain, a little Italian," she sighed.

"So you are from here but living in Spain? Why?"  She told me that her son was a doctor in Sevilla and that she was living with him.

"I miss Bologna," she told me. "And I'm forgetting Italian and mixing my words."

"I say I speak Italo-Span-Glish,"I laughed.

"That's exactly it for me, too."

We parted a few minutes later, and I went to Sala Borsa to write for a bit.  On the way back to the apartment, I took the long way and just looked at doors as I do all the time.  I think I've mentioned this before, but I always wonder what is behind the door...who lives they got there...

When you walk past the door to this apartment, you would not know that there is a very long hall with one apartment at the far end (mine).  Between my door and the front door are two staircases that lead to the upstairs apartments, an elevator, the door to one of my terraces, and two or three other doors that shops on the street use for storage.  Behind the door owned by the butcher who also sells cooked dishes, is a staircase that leads downstairs to an entire kitchen. For six weeks I was wondering why I smelled such wonderful aromas every morning (and why I was hearing banging and clanging of pots and pans around 5:30 am).

Sometimes I stare at the keyholes and knockers on doors.  Most doors, by the way, are double doors, so they have knockers or keyholes (one doesn't work) on both sides. They fascinate me, and I wonder how long they've been there and if they symbolize something.  Last night, I walked into a very old store that sells knockers, keyholes, keys, chandeliers, and a variety of kitchen gadgets (odd, odd place), and I overheard an American woman asking about a particular keyhole.

"I like this one," she said to the owner. "It's very beautiful." The one she was pointing to was about the size of a business card, brass, and filigree.  "How much is it?"

The owner took it off the wall and handed it to her.  "It's very heavy, signora," he said, "brass, and very unique. It's handmade by an artisan here in Bologna, so it costs about 60 euro."  (Side note: $80 US)  The lady almost dropped it.

"I can't afford something like that," she snapped.  "I need two of them."

"Perhaps you want to look at the machine-made keyholes," he told her.

"They're not as beautiful," she whined.  I rolled my eyes.

"Of course not, signora," he said. "This one is handmade."  I walked out before I said something snarky to her, which I could have done because she was American and I could have used English.

 (Of course, I talk tough, but I'm a wuss at heart...usually.)

I take photos of the keyholes and knockers a lot, so I'm sharing a few tonight.  My favorites from this group are the one at the top which is on a door to a farmacia, and the one just below this paragraph.  I see a number of keyholes that look like a human yawning or screaming or something.There's a different one a few photos above this, too.

I'm going to get up very early tomorrow and walk around Bologna before the few tourists that are here come out. Mike will be on his way over the Atlantic, and Riley will be waiting for Mary to spoil him again.

And then, I'll just wait.

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