weekend con i nonni

Sorry, its been a few days... (cough Toni Jean)...

I've had quite the long past two days traveling between Via Udine, Muto and Laurentina. Che stanchezzo!

I'll give you a brief update on my activities since Thursday.  Friday, going to work was a little bit different.  Francesca and I had made plans to meet outside the Laurentina metro stop at 9 to go do some errands.  The errands would include getting me a "Superflash" bancomat account at Intesa San Paolo and going to Poste Italiane to send some letters for the company.  We first went to the bank where Francesca was very nice to do all the talking and get everything settled for me.  So after entering my information about 40 times and the computer not accepting it, Francesca finally firmly told the man to not put Boston as my birth city because they don't care about the specifics.  Metti USA!!  And finally everything worked with USA as my birth place.  After 45 minutes I left with a bank card and some kind of electronic key and all I knew was that Francesca could do "bonificie" bank transfers directly to the account, and I would have to put money on the card to have it work because it cost 9.90 euro a year to have.  As for the electronic key thing that has numbers... I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS!!!
FIAT 500

So bank complete.  Off to the post office. This was the first time I heard "attraversiamo", the word that Elizabeth Gilbert praises in "Eat, Pray, Love", and she is right, it has that certain likeability that makes you want to repeat and hear it over and over again... At the post office Francesca described to me which of the four different buttons I should press in order to get the right ticket to get in line.  For our purposes we would press the "P" button, which meant something, then wait for our number to pop up at a booth.  We were second in line for "P" so the line went pretty quickly, we put the things in the mail, and she explained to me where she got the money to make the transaction and how you need to keep the receipt so that she can keep record of the company's expenses.

After the ufficio postale we waited for the bus and then rode together to Via di Tor Pagnotta, 94.  We went to work, filling out letters to be sent for Marc, and also searching through CVs for a RF Engineer and TLC engineers.  Francesca, Valeria, Vincenzo, Benedetto and I ate lunch together around 2 in the conference room, me mainly trying to listen to their conversations, and then by 4:00, I was on my way home! TGIF!

Pizza Provola Speck, Rughetta e Pachini, Birra
Since my roommates were all studying and I haven't found any new friends :(  after running, showering and getting organized I ventured down to trastevere da sola to find a restaurant that was suggested in mom's guide "Food, Wine, Rome".  The target was "Ivo a Trastevere", located in the heart of trastevere, and supposedly having the best pizza, suppli and birra/vino della spina. I took the metro to Termini, walked all the way down Via Nazionale to Argentina, then took the tram across the river to trastevere and found the rest of my way walking.  It was a beautiful evening, so I didn't mind walking at all, and when I landed upon the restaurant I asked confidently for a table for one, and the waiters started making jokes.... great! Like I wasn't already having a hard enough time eating alone!  They seated me, I scanned through the menu and decided on a pizza provola speck and a rughette e pachino salad (arugula and tomato).  My food came impeccably fast, the salad was fresh and delicious, and the pizza was ottima as well.  My appetite still not as strong as it is at home, left half the pizza there, but was satisfied with what it had indulged.

After dinner I walked around for a little while, then walked back to the bus stop at Argentina to take the 62 back to Piazza Bologna.

Fontana di Trevi
Saturday morning I woke around 9:00, ready to start a day of walking. I can't even tell you all the places that I walked, but I will try.  From Via Udine, I walked to Termini, from Termini to Piazza Barberini, La Fontana di Trevi, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Farnese, into Trastevere, back through the Isola with the hospital on it, up to the Foro Romano (wrong turn), back down to circo massimo then up to the colosseum to catch the metro back to Bologna. What a day. 
Gorgeous weather... I went to a little store to get a sandwich made for lunch.  Prosciutto crudo, mozzarella and pesto.  The guy working the counter liked me, so he gave me a free beer, and I had a nice lunch in Piazza Navona, Panino e birra for only 4 euro.  Some americans came and sat near me so I started a conversation, strangely one of the guys was from Concord, MA! Small world!  I directed them toward the monuments they were looking for, they set off, and then I set off to continue my giro.  Walking through Campo de' Fiori I got a small bag of Ciglige (cherries), they were delicious, and SO cheap compared to cherries in the states!  Walking with cherries in hand I finished my long day of walked by taking the metro from Colosseo to Bologna, and got myself situated back at the appartment.

Piazza Navona

When I returned back to Via Udine, I was wiped, so I layed down on my bed for a few minutes and immediately fell asleep.  I woke up sometime between 7 and 8, and started to talk with mom about what restaurants I should check out for the night.  My plan was to try a place called Bafetto, near Piazza Navona, and use mom's suggestion of Cul de Sac as my back up.  Before I left the apartment, I chatted with Marta and Rahem, and found out it was Laura's birthday (22nd, although they wanted me to tell her happy 29th) and they offered me a little chocolate coconut dolci that they were in the process of making.  After that I set out for my first saturday night, wahooo!

Vino a Cul de Sac

Similar to the night before, I took the metro to Termini, then walked down Via Nazionale all the way to Argentina.  At via del Gesù, I stopped by to look at another of mom's recommendations "Enoteca Corso", but it was chiuso, I guess it is only open for lunch!  So I walked back to Argentina and went into La Feltrinelli (a bookstore) to get a notebook to write all my new italian words in, and to find a map of Rome that had Piazza Bologna and more on it.  SUCCESS.  With my new notebook and maps, I set off toward Piazza Navona to find Bafetto,
and I knew I had found it when I saw a line of 30 people or so standing outside a tiny little place.  The guide book had said that there would be a long line, but I didn't believe it could be THAT good!  It was late and I was hungry, so I went down the street to Cul de Sac where I had my first glass of real wine.  I had never ordered it in a restaurant, so good thing I've seen my parents do the whole taste and say its the wine is decent thing, or else I would have looked pretty dumb!  Nevermind that, cause I still ended up being pretty dumb, or at least feeling dumb.  When my food came, instead of what I thought would be home made pasta with a delicious mushroom sauce, I got a brick of liver.  Mmmm... Looks like I ordered Pate instead of pasta, BRAVA LIA!  Good thing I also got verdure miste della stagione, so I had some dandelions (le cicorie) and zucchini to wash it down with.

Straciatella & Banane
Since the dinner was a little bit of a fail, I decided it was time to have my first gelato.  There was a place that I remembered seeing a good crowd at the night before in Trastevere, so after I paid Il Conto, I walked on over across the Tevere again and found the gelateria Fior di Luna.  I waited in line only sure of one thing, one of my two flavors picked would be Straciatella (kind of like chocolate chip, but obviously better).  So when I got to the case and was asked what I wanted I said "Una copetta un'euro e cinquanta con straciatella.... eeeeeee (word vomit) BANANE!"  I had never tried banana gelato before and it looked like it had been made of real bananas so why not go for it?  It ended up being an excellent choice.  Especially combined with the straciatella.  It tasted exactly like the batter of a chocolate chip banana bread, and at times you would get a really chunk of banana.  It was AMAZING.

i nonni :o)
With gelato in hand, I walked back to Argentina where I would catch the 62 to Bologna and head to bed.  I had a long day at the Nonni's coming up, so I didn't want to stay out too late.  When I got home Laura had a few friends over hanging out in the kitchen.  I went in to say Ciao and Auguri, I met her friends, had another chocolate coconut ball then went to pack and go to sleep, 5:30 am was creeping upon me!

Via Muto, 12
5:30 am mi sono svegliata.  I woke up, happy my roommate had gone home for the weekend, so I didn't need to worry about being too quiet as I gathered my things.  I brushed my teeth, got dressed, grabbed my bags and was out the door headed to the metro.  I took the metro to Termini, where I went to get a ticket for the Leonard Express, leaving every hour at the 22 and 52.  Unfortunately, the ticket machines weren't working so I had a little heart attack cause I didn't want to miss the train and have the nonni worrying about me, so I asked someone where I could go buy a ticket and they said I could get one on the train.  Which I was pretty sure you couldn't, but I got on anyways, knowing in the back of my mind that the last 6 times I took the Leonard Express my ticket was never checked, so I thought I'd be safe.  I was prepared to hand the man 14 euro and explain myself had they happened to come around.  Heart racing for that 30 minute train ride, I arrived at Fiumocino without hastle and without spending 14 euro! I checked the board for the nonni's flight, noticed that the Delta flight wasn't there but an Alitalia one was... sketchy... so I went to T3 and waited by the arrivals.  15 minutes later there were the Nonni, looking tired, but unable to stop grinning.  I knew they were excited to be back in Italy, and relieved to see myself and Marco (the driver) waiting their for them.  I helped them with their bags, ran to grab a cornetto from the cafe since I hadn't eaten, then we were quickly off to Via Muto! Finalemente!

I tried speaking Italian with Nonna for the first 20 minutes.  It went pretty well, but then my lack of sleep caught up to me and I fell fast asleep until we arrived in Frosinone to go grocery shopping.  I got out with Nonna as we went hurriedly into the Conad to get the essentials that would get them through the two days of no car and strange Italian country store hours on Sundays and mondays.  We arrived shortly after the shopping was done, opening up the door to an already relatively clean house.   Nonna was pleased that there didn't seem to be too many babalocia (cobwebs) and Nonno was thrilled the field of grass was already cut and rolled into bales.  I helped Nonna clean out the fridge, turn it on, get the groceries in, do the laundry and clean other little random things.  I helped Nonno jack his little Uno-45 up to take the rocks out that he had had it hoisted up on under the overhang. We tried to start it but didn't have the keys, so we waited for Gino to arrive with the keys that Nonno thought he had... but he didn't... so we went searching the house for them and eventually found them attached to a key chain that was in the door.  Nonno then went to try and start it and it didn't work, so they made me sit in it, put it in neutral and steer the car as Gino and Nonno pushed it out from under the portico, so we could put the table there instead of use it as a makeshift garage.

Soon after we were off to lunch at Gino's.  I of course kissed all of the family on both cheeks, and then was swiftly bombarded with offers of bitters, beer and wine.  eeeee.  We sat outside chatting for a while, then once lunch was ready, we all went inside to the kitchen to eat.  Domenico (Gino's son, father of Simona and Samatha, and old resident of Schenectady) spoke with me in english for a little because he wanted to, he said it had been a long time and he forgot a lot of english so he wanted to practice with me.  And Gino was pestering me to drink some wine... I gave in... he promised me it was good, and it was surprisingly very good for home made white!  For lunch we had good conversation, me trying to understand the dialect, and enjoying il brodo (soup) and chicken that Angelina (?) had cooked, and of course le cicorie.  It was entertaining watching Nonna refuse the second and third helpings Angelina was forcing upon her because she does the EXACT thing to me.  Gino was also forcing more wine upon me alongside more food saying that I didn't need to drive anywhere so it didn't matter.  I finally stopped him at glass 2.5, when I hadn't even wanted half a glass to start. mehh!  Around 2, Gino took us home, the Nonni ready to take a nap.  I did some sweeping of the patio, brought the table and chairs out, went on a run (nearly died), and read some while they napped.  When Nonno awoke from his nap he decided the Uno had had enough rest as he had and he tried to start it one more time, and Voila! It worked beautifully!  I've never seen that man smile so wide as he drove the Uno around the patio and parked it in a different space.

Throughout the day more than 10 people came and went welcoming the Serafinis back to Muto.  Its so wonderful how they can just drive up and count on having a nice conversation and a drink whenever they want, and its amazing how 3 hours after Nonna and Nonno had arrived the word had already spread and people were making moves to come welcome them!  That is probably one of my favorite things about there life in the countryside, its just so relaxed, and everyone knows everyone and can come hang out on the patio whenever they would like.  E' normale.


Around 7:00, Nonna heated up the leftovers from Lunch that Angelina had forced her to take.  Good thing cause I would have been eating Yogurt for dinner haha.  We ate out on the patio enjoying the sunset and the fresh air.  By 8:30 we were making our beds, and I was setting my alarm and getting my bags packed to wake up again at 5:30 and head back to Roma in time for work.

Monday again at the office. I arrived tired after waking up at 5:30, leaving Muto, and taking a 2 hour bus ride to Anagnina, then metro to termini, switched, metro to Bologna, unpacked my sheets and towels I took from Nonna, then got back on the metro to go to Laurentina, and end up at Aircom by 10:30 (più o meno).  Right when I got in, I went to work, Francesca gave me a pile of Francesco's receipts from business trips and showed me how to enter them into a Modulo Spese.  I find entering information into spreadsheets very entertaining, because its so organized, so I very much enjoyed this new task, which would happen near the end of every month for a number of people!  Francesca and I did a number of reimbursement forms, then we both left the office around 4, and together we rode the means of public transportation all the way home.  
When I got back to the appartment, the plan was to change into something more comfortable then go down to Via Nazionale to get some shoes that I had seen Saturday night.  So I changed, walked to Piazza Bologna to take the metro to Termini, then I walked down Via Nazionale looking for the store with the sandals I had wanted to buy.  I walked for about 5 minutes then found them, and I asked the store clerk to get me a size 37, he retrieved a pair and then sat there and helped me try them on, awkward.  I liked them, and he said he liked them, so I got them.  Easily sold because I needed a pair of comfortable walking sandals that were also dressy.  

After le scarpe (shoes), I walked across the street to a Despar supermercato to see if anything striked my interest for dinner. I bought a 3 pack of Peronis because they were on sale, and couldn't find anything I wanted to eat/cook, so I headed back towards Termini to go to Piazza Bologna where I would seek out a rosticceria or a tavola calda to bring something home to eat.  I roamed the block a few times, went into a rosticceria that didn't seem to have anything quite that I wanted, then I landed upon a pretty busy Tavola Calda bar that specialized in Sicilian food and I got an Arancino, da portare via! To take away! (A fried rice ball filled with mozzarella, meat and tomato sauce, nom nom nom)  After I ordered it I realized that the other place I walk by every day 'Mizzica' has the same sicilian delicacies, and I guess your just supposed to ask for whatever you want, I'll have to go there soon :)
With my hot arancino in hand I walked back to Via Udine to put my peronis in the fridge and remake my bed with new sheets and blankets from Nonna and get organized.  I did that, and then while I was waiting for the beer to get cold, I sat in the cucina with my roommate Benedetta while she smoked her hand rolled cigarettes and we chatted me in Italian, her in English, about ourselves.  Then she asked me to help her read an English College website that she wanted to enroll in, and I helped her figure that out and send an email asking about requirements for the program.  Finally, I got anxious to eat cause my arancino was getting cold, so I unwrapped it, got a semi-cool birra then ate with Benedetta (she ate a salad and a hot dog).  After dinner I cleaned up and retired to be relatively early, it had been quite the long two days...