Friday, August 27, 2010

In with the new ...

I'm home. The flight went fine, the weather is nice, the packing is endless, and I miss Bologna.

Here's the new blog; it may not be in your native language, but there will be photos:
Visit it!

Note the box covered in stamps ... No joke!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Goodbye, for now

Tomorrow is the big day, my departure from Bologna.

I feel heartbroken at the idea of going, even though I know it's the right thing, and the new chapter of my life is going to propel me forward in the right direction. I want to move forward - I just wish that I didn't have to leave so many loved ones behind here. Couldn't the Atlantic Ocean be just a little bit smaller?

Over the next few weeks I will post an update here about the next blog, that is, Emma's Avventure Newyorkesi (ehmm, suggerimenti per il titolo sono benvenuti!). 

Thanks to my teeny group of regular readers (aka family members and close friends).

In Italian, there are various ways of saying goodbye - a dopo, which means "see you later", ciao, which is a casual way of parting, the more formal arrivederci, which is literally "until we meet again", and addio, which is a real, serious goodbye. Yet another point in Italian's favor, with such a rich choice of words for every action.

Anyway, it's time for my last dinner in Bologna, at least for now.
A dopo!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lessons Learned at the End

As I come to the final countdown in Bologna, which is really not so fun at all; every morning the sense of time passing becomes more stressful. I had made myself a mental list of the things I just had to do before leaving - like, I wanted to go to Venice, I wanted to see an exhibit in Rimini, go to various museums, and the list goes on. Hmm. Not much of that stuff been done.

I have been able to say goodbye to my life in Italy in a few small ways, though, that have been really meaningful to me.

I went back to this special place, with some of the people most beloved to me in Italy. We sunned ourselves on the rocks, hiked up to the abandoned town, and ate at the same amazing restaurant.

I had a wonderful belated-birthday surprise-trip-weekend-with-food. The best present ever, and despite an unfortunate bout with a stomach bug (yes! my stomach always manages to act up at the best times) it was just the right gift.

A friend (who is cooking me dinner tomorrow) told me to name my ideal menu, all the dishes I wanted before I left Bologna. There was nothing, really, that I could think of - not because I've already OD'd on everything - full disclosure, because my favorite meatball meal is already planned for this weekend. But this question did help me realize that there was one thing I really, really wanted: a bombolone (basically, a doughnut without the hole) filled with cream. The best, most decadent, unhealthy, delicious breakfast Italy has to offer.

So I got one this morning, and it was amazing. It wasn't a trip to Venice, or a day spent in a museum ... but it might've been better.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Next Step

As my time in Bologna is coming to a close, it seems that "Adventures in Baloney" won't make much sense anymore as a blog.

I have received various suggestions about what to do about this, and the best, I think, is the idea that I open a blog about my adventures in New York. This time I'll write in Italian. That way I can keep my Italian somewhat healthy (hopefully) and I can also update my Italian friends on the next phase of my life. But then I think, maybe it would be better to start up the new blog anonymously so that I can really write whatever I want.

Is that a bad idea?

I know that this will be an unfortunate change for my few American readers, but maybe Google translator can help you.

The thing is, I'd also like to try a different blog server. I like Splinder, which I think is only in Italian, but I've been warned that it's not as good as it looks. Wordpress might be the best bet. I already have a close friend who uses it and you can see, by clicking on the link, that her blog looks pretty great.

So that's an option.

I do wish that Adventures in Baloney wasn't nearing its end, but I think that sensation might be more related to real life than to my feelings about the blog itself.

(P.S. What do you think of these last-minute changes?)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

To-Do List

There are so many things that I absolutely, must, upon pain-of-death do before leaving Bologna. And I'll probably never do most of them, because there are only two more weeks, and it's August and everything is closed, and I'm tired and sad and overwhelmed by moving.

But I did manage to do one important thing. I went to Grom to get a gelato. Grom is a gelateria in the center of Bologna, known for its super-high-quality, Slow Food ingredients. In this case the hype is pretty much worth it, because they make delicious gelato. Grom is also in New York City, and the New York Times recently called it the most expensive ice cream in the United States (!!) - that's really something. All the more reason to enjoy my cheapy cone in Bologna.

For all of you Americans who want to get a really fancy ice cream, of anyone who is visiting Italy, my favorite Grom flavor is "Crema di Grom". It's basically the best version of cookies-and-cream possible: pastry-cream flavored ice cream, grainy, not-too-sweet cornmeal cookies (according to Grom's website, the corn is stone-ground to make the cookies as grainy as possible), and Colombian dark chocolate shavings. So, so good. Especially with homemade whipped cream.

The above photo is really a photo of Crema di Grom, but I didn't take it. Got it here.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Of course, one of the most stressful parts of my return to the US is the fact that I have to move. I've been in Italy for almost four years, so this means that I have a lot of stuff - from t-shirts to dishes to the records of my Italian bank account - and I have to somehow move it across the ocean. That is, some of it will move across the ocean, and some of it will end up in a trash can. It's a stressful mess and I don't wish it on anyone!

The only positive part of this moving experience is that I'm enjoying getting to know the post office workers; the best way to transfer my stuff is by ship, which is less exorbitantly priced and customs-officer-harassed than the UPS/airplane method. I've collected various boxes from the supermarket (every time I do my food shopping, the cashiers now ask me how my move is going and if I've managed to deal with all my books), filled them, taped them up and wrapped them in packaging paper, and sent them off. My obsessive taping has garnered many compliments from the postal workers (not one, but ALL of them), that "THIS is how a package is prepared"; here we are talking about truly ugly, masking tape covered boxes, but apparently security trumps neatness. My taping, and my equally anxious compilation of customs forms ("23 pairs of socks, 3 photographs, 2 pairs of jeans, etc") has made me a fast friend of the Italian post office.

Yesterday this burgeoning love affair was further promoted by one of the stranger employees, a woman who resembles a forest elf and has the corresponding voice and slightly antisocial air about her. As we settled my payment for the package (about sixty euros), she peered up at me from under her gray bangs and said that she wanted to attach the full tariff in the form of postage stamps (!!) to the package instead of simply printing out the mailing label. This, she informed me, was the most picturesque way to send a package, and August being a slow month, she could take the time to attach each of the 100 necessary stamps in order to render my box a bit more attractive. As her supervisor glared at her, I nodded my assent (what else could I do?) and headed home to pick up the next box and fill out the next set of forms. When I came back 40 minutes later, there she was, still attaching each stamp individually with a glue stick.

This woman's desire to pay attention to the details and make even the most boring items look pretty is pretty much the most Italian characteristic ever. I will miss this country so much.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Familial Ties

The next few weeks are full of goodbye-dinner engagements before my departure for the States, and these evenings tend to be extremely heart-wrenching. The positive side, though, is the realization that the past four years here have allowed me to create friendships for which I am incredibly grateful.

One of these stems from a blog entry I wrote in April, about my beloved teenage students. My friendship with Frieda, a German woman from choir, created the opportunity for those lessons, and her daughter Matilde took part. Over the past few months my boyfriend and I have grown closer to both Frieda, Mati and the rest of the family, which includes Gian (dad) and Lucia (younger daughter). We even spent two weekends together in the hills outside Bologna; Frieda and Gian lent me their country house for my goodbye party.

On Monday, I said goodbye to the Frieda-Gian-Mati-Luci conglomerate - goodbye, that is, til I visit Bologna again. We showed up with a bowl full of presents, including from balloons (which Lucia likes to fill up with water), an indoor frisbee (which Gian started using immediately), and washable markers for glass (which the girls started using on the windows).

Above is their family portrait, by Lucia. Below is our "couple" portrait, by Mati. Even the shoes are perfectly accurate!

Of course it was also necessary to start writing a list of "People We Love Very Much". Notice Emma and Max in pink under the list of relatives. We aren't underlined, which was initially very offensive because all important friends are underlined, but then we were informed that there are too many important grownups to be able to underline them all. That seems fair.

I think the best way to sum up my feelings about this family, and the other people I'm saying goodbye to right now, is that I don't even know how to express how lucky I feel. And how much I hope, I really do, that these relationships manage to survive notwithstanding the upcoming distance. It's the only way to make these dinners bearable.