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

WPC: St. Gregory’s One Love

13-8-15 051 (1280 x 960)
In Slovenia, today is what the image of Mengeš pavement above proclaims, Gregorjevo, St. Gregory’s, Slovenian Valentine’s Day. According to the old calender, it was the first day of spring and the day when birds mate.

For WPC: One Love challenge I have gathered half a year’s worth of bird photos because the saying goes that the first bird you see today will resemble your future spouse.

The birds on the first three photos are Slovenian. The next three photos were taken at Miramare castle near Trieste. Those resting on the Tevere river are in Roma. The rest are local, geese included. For these I’m especially glad they survived Christmas. We shall see about Easter. The one through the window was taken without standing up from my computer. I swear. Talking about comfy. When I went out to take some more, only those four remained online.

And the last one is mine. I shall make good wife.

Be like birds, fly single or in flock – in fact, the fiercer the bird, less need of a flock – mate or not, sing or clack or chirp or perch totally silent. Just be sure to bring on One Love. Even if St. Gregory in question is House M.D. 😀

Photo: a © signature mmm production

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: One Love

SL-WEEK 19: Monuments in Miramare

Welcome back to our Trieste, more precisely to Miramare park by the castle where American troops were stationed after the second world war before Trieste was annexed to Italy (as explained here). Plenty of monuments in here for Sylvain’s challenge. Let’s have a look.

And here are a few more from the centre of Trieste where the shell imagery continues.

Photo: MM

For Sylvain Landry’s SL-WEEK 19: Monument

SL-WEEK 14: Memory

This is Trieste. A port city practically on the border between Italy and Slovenia. On which side of border, ‘ours’ or ‘theirs’? The answer depends on whether you asked me this now or three years ago.

This is Miramare Castle, a bit north of Trieste.

Beautiful, no?

And Trieste and Slovenian villages all around it could easily be “ours”. Alas, American troops that were stationed at Miramare after the Second World War for seven years saw to it that “peace was preserved”, and Trieste was eventually “returned to Italy”. And now I hear that independence is what the city is after. Be as it may, this plaque does not evoke nice memories. To a Slovenian.

And here are three more images that bring about mixed memories.

Photo: MM (+ last one by a nice person)

For Sylvain Landry’s SL-WEEK 14: Memory

WPC: Half pa pu

Half pa pu is a language invented by American Slovenians. Half is English, pa pu is Slovenian dialect meaning “and half”. The fact that in most of the photographs below there is only half a ship (or less) just adds nicely to the theme.

Many left from this very port, Trieste, on the border between Slovenia and Italy. For almost ten years after the second World War there was (theoretical) half a chance for it to become Italian, and pa pu chance for Trst je naš (“Trieste is ours”). And then Tito said No to Stalin.

Many left on a ship. I hope it was more than half a chance to survive the voyage.

There is not even pa pu chance that the ship looked like this.

I don’t know how much chance there was for us meeting, but here we are. Mezzo pa pu. The best of both worlds.

This was in December 2012 when he first visited my country upon arriving by train from Roma to this border town.

And this was today, on the same spot (ADD-IT: Nope, closer to the lamp by one), as I put him on a long, delayed and hot train ride. 

But he’ll be back. No percentage necessary.

Photo: MM & MC (of me)

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Half and Half.”