Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Terrace Bears its First Fruit

Tomatoes are technically

Well, I've got my first ripe cherry tomato from the terrace.

Small, very red and hopefully very tasty!

Summer's here-

Even though many people associate Italian cuisine with pasta and tomato sauce, the tomato was introduced to this country only after the discovery of America. So American land is responsible for an entire food culture on another continent. Pretty wild stuff.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kenny Random's Evolution

Kenny Random's painting/graffiti apparitions around town continue to brand the local identity. This picture highlights the evolution of his imagery. Recently he has updated his older work, in this case the gray melancholic figure, by painting over it the image silhouette of this sprayer with a top hat and a nearby cat.

No one ever sprays over his work, which is a sign of respect among graffiti artists, and the locals aren't particularly keen on painting over his work either. They usually can't wait to block out any "random" marking or "writing" on their property.

By now we are identifying ourselves with his big images.

Padua: Random's Land

Photo location: Via San Pietro, off Corso Milano

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Get Hot in an Italian Villa

I used to live very close to the city center of Padua. Houses and building are packed into small spaces because real estate is at a premium. So the gym I joined in that area was a tiny little hole-in-the-wall with great people, good prices, yet a horribly small space. See post. If there were more than 10 people inside, it felt like a crowd and you had to be very patient to get on the machine you wanted.

However last year I moved to, basically, the suburbs. I decided to find a new gym in my new neck of the woods (or rather-fields). The new choice happens to be Sportville, a big restored Italian villa on the riverbank of the River Brenta. There and to my eyes' delight, I can gaze at old restored wood beams in the ceilings, beautiful big windows and Italian-style awnings while sweating on a treadmill.

The owners reinvented this "house" to the contemporary needs of a 21st century gym culture. Sportville looks gracious and classic Italian on yhe outside and has state-of-the-art machinery on the inside. Many creature comforts are also embedded into this villa's sheath, such as a spa and café. The only thing that it doesn't have is a tanning bed, which I am happy about, but have seen in other gyms. Italians already tan enough as it is!

So I've gone from one extreme Italian gym experience to the other: tiny and cramped to lovely villa styling. Now I don't have to fight for a space in the aerobics room anymore. I can run along the nearby Brenta if it's a nice day, instead of having to wait for a treadmill to become free. I am in a villa, after all! Everything is better in a villa, right?

Although there are several Italian gym chains in the Padua area that completely mimick US versions, down to the big ugly structures and carving a space out of a big office building, I have ended up choosing something else, twice.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sun-Standing Today

...the literal translation of solstice

The term derives from the Latin sol (sun) and -stitium (stoppage).

In Padua, we had sunrise at 5:23 a.m. today and sunset will be at 9:05 p.m. It's a fabulously sunny and perfectly hot day. Lows at 17°C (62°F) and highs at 29°C (84°F). It's summer as we like it. We can just picture the beach! Too bad it's a workday.

Il 21 giugno è anche la giornata più lunga dell'anno. June 21 is also the longest day of the year.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Far Far Away

It's times when all of my family get together and I cannot easily make the reunion that I realize just how far away I am. It's not a simple hop to see them. My father's side of the family united this past weekend for the biennial family shindig, with roots beginning before WWII, and which included just under 100 people this year. I wasn't there.

Although I decided I couldn't make the date months ago, it still stings a bit to have to miss it. There is a lot that builds up and culminates with this mega W______ gathering.

However I chose to make my life on another continent. It's an ocean and not a pond that divides me and my family, even though a famous expression begs for me to believe otherwise. Living in Italy can be exotic but comes with its sacrifices.

There will be another reunion in 2013 and maybe I can leap over the big divide of the Atlantic to make that one. Everyone will have kids that much bigger, a few more wrinkles and probably some new bambini entries.

'Til the next time, folks.

Un abbraccio

Your cousin italiana di adozione