Rade Šerbedžija

Year 3 Anno Domini

Three years ago today my prince in a dark Ford snatched me away from everything I’d known, together with most of my belongings, and delivered me from Slovenia to the south of Tuscany where I’ve stayed till this day. You who were willing to bet that I’d return quickly, I wonder how many cases of whiskey this makes by now.

We kept cramming the car. So many boxes and bags. Slowly packing and waiting for amore I was sure that I had too much stuff to fit in the car. Therefore I packed winter stuff separately. After all, I was southbound. And it’s true – from April to November there is no need for socks, let alone anything else.

Highway stop near Trieste showing the first stage of our travel and the directions of winds. We are headed to where libeccio blows.

When amore told me via skype to measure my round table that I kept on my porch, which I’d already called “Tuscany table” much earlier than any talk of Tuscany was born, I didn’t have any measuring tape at hand so I took an A4 paper sheet and measured it with that. After that I had to google the measurements of an A4 sheet. I forwarded the results to amore and he proclaimed that the table is too broad to fit in the car by the palm of his hand (10 cm).

When he arrived and saw the situation with his own eyes, he immediately knew that the table would easily fit. It turned out that I’d been wrong in my calculation for exactly 10 cm. But by then I’d already said goodbye to the table in my mind. It is poor form to take the Tuscany table all the way to Tuscany.

As we were cramming the car, with back seats folded, I could not help but admire how much space there was. Everything fit: all my boxes and bags, even the winter stuff. We put my orchid in as well. Must be a potted plant when moving, I saw it in American films.

Orchid at the end of the road after much dust had been raised.

And in the end, since the car still seemed half full, I pushed my office chair in as well. (The orchid died a while ago, whereas in the chair I’m sitting right now.)

And off we went. Actually, it was me behind the wheel so we can’t call it whisking away. And I drove all the way to Florence, about 480 km, where he took over for the remaining two hours and a half.

Finally in new home: our volcano (nah) and the ford which could do it all.

And now? In a sense, it is still exactly like it was three years ago: I’m happy, not too homesick (especially since I visit about three times a year and I’ve got visitors even more often), exploring my surroundings, taking it easy. And yet it is completely different too: a few months after my arrival we got bestia, which changes everything and now I can’t even imagine not having him.

The first things I have unpacked in my new home. The framed photo is of one of the three dogs that our family brought up by the bottle. The story of how we found them is touching and you can find it in my blog if you are lucky (hint: it was posted in March last year).

Okay, I know a bit more Italian now (here I’ve written about my early language learning). Enough to explain to the vet any trouble, and defend myself when people think I don’t understand them. I find it typical that the words I use most often are allora, va bene, eccolo, and my favourite, tutto a posto.

So here I am, 260 photo folders later (not to count the photos but there are a LOT), with two years of blogging behind me (and one year on FB!), with red painted nails, on my hands too (!), with an e-reader (and I was SO against them!) but also with many new books, and with newly acquired taste for melanzane, zucchini and this fruit:

I took this photo on the day of my arrival, thinking – how cute, tomatoes are indeed considered fruit here: they put them in the fruit bowl! Then I saw the skull and bones, chuckled at the thought of my theory that natives let the settlers have all the plants from the nightshade family forgetting to inform them they were poisonous, and ran to take the photo.

Little did I know that in no time at all I’d learn to enjoy the best ragu, melanzane parmigiana (which is a COMPLETELY RED DISH, something I used to run away from) and pasta with tuna in tomato sauce. The only thing I (still) don’t eat are raw tomatos in salad. And cetrioli. Too much chlorophyll. 😀

In short, it’s been good for me here, and I’ve been good for it (that is to say he and him, well, bestia is alright too). There is no reason why it shouldn’t continue to be just so. Grazie per tutto!

First photo shoot on the roof in 2013.

(And you who had to say in the typically Slovenian malevolent, down-putting, jinxing, jealous manner how you were willing to bet that this wouldn’t last and that I’d return in no time – beware that I don’t return for real if only to collect those cases of whiskey you owe me by now.)

As the poet Rade Šerbedžija says (I’ve translated the entire poem here):

we are still here
we have yet to be scattered by beasts

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

You and me – best of all worlds. 🙂

Photo: a © signature mmm production

Blown away by the better written

Rade Šerbedžija: Odnijeli me bolje napisani / Blown away by the better written

(translated by Manja Maksimovič)

this morning again i notice in your eyes
blue traces of our parting ways
whitened linen, unmet dawns, uncried nights

i wish to tell you at least something
which can be believed
but i know
that in my washed-out brain
there are only words said by others
and moves made by others too

how am i supposed to live
who finds it harder and harder to recognize myself among so many

i am blown away by the better written

how many times i’ve loved in vain due to them
and how many times i’ve failed on account of them
and yet
when you pass through our memory town
i feel and i know
we are still here
we have yet to be scattered by beasts

14-12-13 041 (960 x 1280)

Available In Pitigliano. Photo: MM

I jutros ti u očima opazih
modre tragove naših rastanaka.
Rublje izbijeljeno, zore nedočekane, noći neisplakane.
Zaželeh ti reći bar nešto
u šta se može vjerovati,
ali znam
u mome ispranom mozgu,
samo su tudje riječi
i tudji pokreti samo.

Kako da živim,
ja što se sve teže medju tolikima prepoznajem?
Odnijeli me bolje napisani!
Koliko sam puta, zbog njih, uzalud volio
i koliko puta, zbog njih, gubio..?

Al’ ipak
kad prodješ našim gradom sjećanja,
osjećam i znam,
još smo tu,
još nas nisu zvijeri raznele!

On pinkish paper


Roma-Capalbio. Photo: MM

By Rade Šerbedžija

i’m watching you now

you are slightly foreign

yet perfectly mine

and i’m watching

where the fingers on your hand

swiftly morph into mine

and how your feet walk like mine

and your face and your – my – wrinkles

and your pupils

and everything you ever say

and how in fact i know myself only now

and where the symbol of equality forms

next to something that once was foreign

and where belonging grows

as soon as what others call love starts to fade

what we’ve got to do is walk

for a long time

walk together

you will be here and i will be here

and we will not know each other

until one night our faces

quietly leaning cheek to cheek

tell us something that allures like music

three times dead we are three times stronger

and your hand radiates in my fist

and there are no more questions

yet what this means

we will ourselves forget

(translated by Manja Maksimovič on the spot)

(Please unsee and excuse this terrible terrible youtube image but I like to listen to him say it.)