01 February 2006

Wednesday alone-- sweet bread from Lucca


Today I've been alone-- the pastry shop that Antonio delivers for (Patachou) is moving locations, and he has been working 12 hour days this week--not pretty for someone who gets up at five...

We have made the conscious decision to live on less for now, and I am able to stay home, until the middle of March when I will have to take temp. assignments more regularly. I find it invigorating to plan meals and keep down expenses when it means that I don't have to take the subway home from Bay Street at 5 or 6 o'clock! Antonio appreciates it too, because it means that when he gets home from work, he doesn't have to worry about preparing meals or about the apartment--he is relatively free to sit on the couch and catch whichever soccer game happens to be on. This doesn't mean however that I refrain from complaining about the Telalatino announcers whenever a goal is scored: they feel it necessary to increase the viewers' nervous excitement by yelling "goooooooooooooooooool" for as long as they can!

I found a great book at the library by Nick Malgieri called Great Italian Desserts. Today I am trying "ciambella Lucchese" or Sweet Raisin and Anise Bread from Lucca. I have formed two loaves instead of a ciambella ring, so that I can freeze one for later. It's in the oven now, and I'm just starting to smell it! It is a great, very simple recipe, and I'll post it up later should my results be good.

Right now I should be studying Italian grammar for the last course (Intermediate Italian Language) needed to complete my BA--luckily an elective. However, grammar is hard to take for more than five minutes at a time, and thus, this post.

Solitude is odd, in some ways lovely, and in some ways, a lack of the other/s. I don't tire from watching the lace ruffling through my lace curtain, or from sipping hot water and lemon while day- dreaming of far- away places. In fact, I think time spent alone somehow enriches us, allows us to develop our own particular character and thoughts...up to a point. But too much can also be stifling, cutting us off from the larger human pulse. When I take a walk by myself, I enjoy peeking into the front windows of houses, noticing peoples' mailboxes and yards, watching the drivers in their vans and the moms with their strollers. At the same time, I feel distinctly apart from all of the activity, as if I only really live inside the cave of my mind. Spending a lot of time alone made me realize that being with others for much of the day, as in a work or volunteer environment, actually necessitates that you carve out a distinct shadow of who you are, what you are about, where you stand on issues. These things are not required when you are alone, and you can start feeling like less of yourself in a strange way. It's ok for me though, especially since I know I will be very busy in the future, taking on more work, tests and assignments for my course, a trip to Italy in June, teaching at an ESL camp in July and August, and hopefully teacher's college in September!

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