So I have recounted some of my travels over the past few weeks, but the time I have spent here has been primarily about soaking up the daily family life. So I guess it’s about time I talk about that.
Almost every day, we wake up to sunny, clear skies, exclaim “che caldo oggi!” (It’s hot today!), smear on some sunscreen, and head to the beach. It’s kind of like the local hangout – San Benedetto’s equivalent to Madison’s terrace. People go there not only to sunbathe, but to see their friends and neighbors.
After a possible brush with heatstroke early in the trip, we established that I, Wisconsin-ite that I am, can’t really handle the sun for a whole day. So I usually relax at home with the family in the morning. Some days Giorgia and I have a little English lesson, using an old grammar book of hers. Otherwise, we just talk to each other in English, and I hope that she’s learning something! Then we head to the beach after lunch.
I’m not used to to this lifestyle at all, even for a vacation. My family’s vacations almost always revolve around camping and hiking, doing something active every minute. I’ve gotten better at relaxing at the beach, though, the keys being lots of good books (I just started #6), music, and water.
Something else to adjust to here is the “resting” period in the afternoon. On days when we don’t go to the beach, we usually go to the center of town to walk around. But between about 12:30 and 4:30 all the shops close, and no one really goes out. We just rest. And relax. For hours! It took me quite a while to get used to this. It makes sense, because of the heat in the afternoon, but other things seem to move at a slower pace here too. When people run into friends on the street, they always stop and talk for a while, more than just a quick “how are you.” Also, in this family, everyone sits down together for every single meal, to enjoy the dishes that Loredana has prepared. I don’t want to resort to tired stereotypes of a quaint, older way of life in Italy, where everyone understands what is truly important, no one is stressed, and life goes along smoothly within the picturesque countryside. I just want to relay my own observations. Obviously, since it’s summer and I’m on vacation, I have a narrow perspective on what life is like here.
One of my favorite things to do at home is bake with Loredana. We chat about food and cooking, as well as other things. While the cake is in the oven, Loredana often prepares food for the next day, and I flip through her cookbooks. The other day we made a yogurt cake. It was light and delicious, and I’ll share the recipe when I make it again at home. (Sorry to keep you in suspense – I just want to make sure I get all the American measurements right.) Loredana prepared a dish of eggplant parmesan while it baked.
We also made another ciambellone, which turned out much better than the first time. It’s not very sweet, and it has a very simple, light flavor. I think it would be an interesting recipe to try, because it’s so different from the average American cake. Here‘s the recipe, that I posted earlier.
That’s about it! And I just have one week left of life in Acquaviva before my family comes to Italy!