Monday, October 22, 2007

People we know.

You may or may not have noticed my absence from the blogging world, but it has been more than a week from the last time I sat down to write about our life in Italy. I blame all those people we now know!!! Yes, my real life is keeping me away from this virtual place of sorts. My cell phone directory is growing everyday, and I do make and receive phone calls meant for ME! I meet people in the street that actually know my name AND last name! I am starting to belong! What about that? Everything began when Nicolas started school. The first day that we walked down the hill to the bus stop was the beginning of our social life. Nico goes to the European School in Varese, which (for obvious reasons) attracts all the expats in the area. There are some Italian families that send their children there, but mostly it is a real Babel of a school. So, that first day I met all the English speaking parents in town. Well, Pien and Debbie have become my good friends. We have coffee together every morning, we run together, we pick up each other's kids from the bus stop, and we even do things on our own (without children!!!) Last Wednesday we went to the "movies in original language" weekly show; my friends do not need to do this since both of them have been in Italy for a decade or more, and they are both fluent in Italian, but they are nice enough to come with me. We call ourselves the "Bus Stop Club" as a reference to my belonging to the "Benvenutto Varese Club", which both of them find hilarious. They make fun of my activities with the BVC, as neither one of them finds them attractive or useful.
I have to say that the BVC has been a great help for me, and I have met many wonderful people there. It is true that they have a lot of rules and regulations, and it is true that the meeting can be a little disorganized, but this is Italy, and this is how things work. I have met other newcomers at activities organized by the club and I am organizing my own club inside the club: a running group. A group of one so far... I have gone walking with another group, and both Mocha and I enjoyed it. We get to visit beautiful places nearby, talk with interesting people and the dogs get to run and play. I am also interested in joining the Spanish speaking group, not that I need to practice, but it sounds like an opportunity to meet people like me.
As a family we are trying hard to belong to our little town. I think we have had some success. Nicolas plays soccer with the local team, and we have met some parents this way. We patronize all the local business that we can, like the bakery, the gelateria, the coffee shop, etc. They know we are stranieri, or they call us Americani, but they know who we are. Last Sunday we went for the first time to mass at our local church. I am not a practicing catholic anymore, but Fernando and Nicolas are, so we try and go to church now and then. I loved going to mass at this little church: we knew a lot of the people there, and Nicolas went and sat down with his "friends". I loved the feeling of community and the recognition of the whole experience. We "discover" everyday that Italy and Colombia are very similar in many ways. We like it here, and we seem to fit all right.

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