Cheat. Play. Shove.

Posted on March 8, 2011


Dear Indoor Soccer,

What do you do when you cannot play soccer outside? You play inside! Not with a real soccer ball but a tiny plastic ball smaller than a baseball. Less damage and more challenging. My boys and I must have played for a solid two hours. The back window and door was my goal to guard and the two posts on the couch was Tommaso’s. Matteo would play in between and help guard with me. The end score was about 15-9 since Tommaso always wins and doesn’t count all my goals. Or Matteo when he scored. “Hai vinto!” I assure him…(you win!) I cannot wait to play outside with the real soccer ball with them. We have some serious laughs when I almost take Matteo’s head off with my slipper when I kicked the tiny ball. I wasn’t sure if I should just remove my slippers or just play a little softer. If I removed my shoes they would think that it was okay to take theirs off. Tommaso usually wears only one shoe at a time, for some odd reason, but I made sure that he wore both for our indoor game. He already slipped on the marble once while we were warming up. I love that they bust out tiny push ups and exercise when they get serious about something physical! “Uno. due. Uno. Due!” they will chant and demonstrate terrible push ups or attempted squats! Man, I love these wild animals. The games begin but we tone it down when Nana returns. Since my hair (unwashed and getting dirty) was pulled back and looked darker she pretty much told me that she only likes it down and curly. And NOT straight  and too dark. Thanks Nana. She makes me really miss the brutal honesty my Nana used to share with me. Don’t cut your hair. I don’t like your nails. You put on weight? You look too skinny! I think that I secretly enjoy the criticism since I don’t get to ask anyone how I look or get any other confirmation. So far she DID tell me I was small and looked thin and that my hair sucks straight. She prefered my lighter strands too but I can’t handle the roots! At least she trusted me to help her with her hair. It is probably almost time for her touch-up soon. BUT I won’t tell her that she WILL tell me when it is time. I miss the love and honesty from my Nana everyday. At least I know that the love is always present and on days that I really miss her I still can feel her around me. Even all the way here in Rome.

First day that I ever saw this Nana eat in the 3 months I have been here!!! She made us lunch today, which is one of my favorites, “minestrone” over pasta. Minestrone here IS NOT soup it is a mix of vegetables cooked like a broth then blended up to make a super “green sauce” and then finished over pasta with olive oil and a little cheese if you like. I went into the kitchen to check on the pasta with her, since I am always her taste tester to make sure that it is al dente . “Al dente” literally means “to the tooth” or “to the bite”, which means that you must chew the pasta well due to its firmness. She has on hot pink cleaning gloves and she is ripping the heads off these tiny fish and yanking out their little bones! I have seen this in cartoons but never in real life! She asked me while she is be-heading these little monsters if I like fish. “Ti piace il pesce?” I DO like fish but I don’t like the smell and the looks of this. Their ugly beady eyes and life-less bones in a pile in the colander to drain the pasta…BUT I do like fish. I flash on the scene in the Little Mermaid when Sebastian almost has a heart attack in the kitchen scene! Chef sings, “I cut off their heads and I pull out their bones!”  (I know that I have been hanging out with kids too long when my movie lines are only cartoons!) I decided to stay out of the kitchen and close the door behind me. Sometimes it is better to not “watch” what you eat in cases like this. I load on the lemon and try not the think of their little black eyes while I devour their bodies. Nana had an entire plate for herself and I am pretty sure that she ate it all! She does eat, she does! It tastes really good so I focus on the subtitles of the movie that is on and I am thankful it is NOT Scooby-Do. When it was time for lunch when Matteo ran to the DVDs I told him “NOT SCOOBY-DO VA BENE!?” He laughs and tells me, “SI!” and I say “NO!” and he says, “SI!” Back and forth just like the cartoons until I say “SI!” and he asks, “NO!?” ” Ho vinto!!!!” I won! Ha who says you can’t learn from cartoons? Robots was the matinée of the day. After lunch and the movie we play some more until it is time for their afternoon snack. Eat. Play. Shove. This is more like the title to their movie. In less than an hour they bonked heads, slipped on the marble (again), punched each other in the back, and even slapped me on the butt! I did not laugh and told them THIS was NOT A GAME at all. Do  not touch, poke, slap or throw anything at my ASS! Capito!??

Today marks exactly the day I left the States. I cannot believe it but at the same time I feel relieved. I was having such a hard time my first month and now I can relax and enjoy the next six months without stress and look forward to family and friends sooner than I think. Tomorrow I plan to go to St. Peters for a 5:30 mass, finally. It has been something I have been wanting to do since I got here and now the perfect day is tomorrow. I find it sort of ironic that my uncle Al is having surgery around the time of mass. I find it very special and am even more excited to have accidentally picked this Wednesday before I even knew? There are no accidents. Things DO happen for reasons; even if we never understand them we probably are not meant to. And I am fine with this. When there is an accident it usually means that not just one person is at fault. Which in turn means that no one should apologize if no one was wrong. Never say sorry unless you really mean it and you can admit that you were wrong. There can be errors and mistakes but accidents have their own area in life.  J.A.C. Coady expresses the distinction by saying that a mistake is something that happens in your thought process or perceptions, while an accident happens because something went wrong in the outside world. Who the hell is J.A.C. Coady you ask? I have no idea but wise words. Wise words!

To a successful surgery and a lovely mass!


Posted in: When in Rome