Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bella Giornata

My weather widget is telling me that it's 17 degrees celsius, as of 5:36pm CET. I still think in terms of fahrenheit, but I've gotten better at knowing the mild, cold, and really cold ranges in celsius. Google has informed me that this is 62.6 degrees fahrenheit, which is quite warm in comparison to the days as they've been. On top of that it has been absolutely gorgeous.

Erin and I walked to Il Parco delle Cascine today, to check out the market which is much larger during Quaresima (Lent). It was a long walk, but after getting to the river it wasn't too crowded. The market was like most markets here, from my perspective anyway. It was a bit more festive and at times seemingly cheaper, but still a very Italian market. I saw many different people there, as is common in the markets, and of course almost everywhere else in Florence. Life is different here. People are different here. They tend to be outside more than people in the US. Not necessarily for any reason, and in fact usually for no practical reason at all. People just go outside and stroll along the Arno, through the streets, or hang out in the squares - simply to be in each other's company.

As I was pondering over this at the market I saw lots of children. Italy has one of the lowest birthrates in the western world (second lowest I think), so this was a bit of a surprise. Even more surprising were the 2 fathers I saw without their wives, walking with a total of 4 children probably all under the age of 7! I saw another pair of boys running through the crowds, and then they stopped under a tent just beside us. One of the boys saw a wad of tape and paper on the ground, and exclaimed:

Guarda qui c'e` una pallina!
Look here there's a ball!

Immediately he and his friend began kicking it back and forth through the crowds. I've been in particularly reflective state of mind today, and this became the subject of my pondering for quite a while. I thought about how I was when I was a child. The games I played, where and how I played, with whom and in what times of the day or evening. When you're a child there is nothing outside of your world. You may even know everything by the age of 10, and if you don't then you are at least already aware of everything in some manner. Thinking about when I was a child and then watching those kids today caused me to experience a peculiar kind of retrospective culture shock. When I was 10 I had no idea that there were kids like me in Italy, playing their own games, living in a world and culture similar to mine and at the same time so very different. It caused a twisted torrent of emotions to flow through me - happiness, sadness, romance, excitement... I can't figure out what the feeling is exactly, but it's surely the same one that I've been experiencing and which has been evolving in me since we moved here. It feeds my infatuation with this place, but in a seemingly less fickle way.

The Muse has stopped. Buonasera :-).

3 comments:

'A Tuscan view.....from Umbria' said...

Hey Chris, just found your blog. How come I didn't know it exsisted before? I completely understand your poignant and nostalgic musings about childhood in Italy, I am forever watching our kids as they evolve into Italians and wondering what turns their lives will take and how this move and growing up here will effect them. I love the way you write so keep going.
Ciao and say hi to Erin.

chris☆lewis said...

Thank you for the encouragement! Your perspective as a parent is one I can't relate to, but I imagine that, among other things, it would greatly amplify these kinds of emotions and thoughts.

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