Day 3 meltdown

Day 3

The log jam broke today, I’m not sure why exactly, but I know I am going to have a headache in the morning.  Even though we have been having a frenetic pace for three days of great food and wine there has been a reservation between people.  I am finally comfortable that I made the right decision, since it was such a shot in the  dark, but stir in all the different personalities, the fact that there are only three grown up students, a lot of kids who drink too much, everyone that smokes, varying degrees of arrogance and insecurity, bathrooms that have showers that are so small you have to go outside to turn around, linens that smell like liquid smoke, beds that are so soft you sink in the middle and stay there, a 12” TV  that broadcasts ONLY  Italian, and generally an unfamiliarity that permeates every single thing that you do from a cup of coffee to the way the toilet flushes.   None of the items is particularly difficult to adjust to, but the package taken as a whole can be quite overwhelming.  I keep trying to stay firm and adjust, but really, I have completely left my body, as it is the only way to maintain in the chaos for the last few days.

I attend class, run out of clean underwear, don’t know how to use the washing machine, let alone read the information on the dials, can’t find the dryer, hang my grandma underpants out to dry on the shared veranda draped over the legs of an overturned plastic footstool and toast my socks like a good risotto on the now-unused air-conditioning unit outside.   I turn things toward the sun at lunch break, but by dinner it is raining. We have one room key for two people, heaters with governors and tile floors that maintain a constant 32* F.  Cliques of 20-something students  are spending more time figuring out who to pair up than how to make a good arriabata, ignore instructions and time lines and show up late for class, which pisses the chef off.  All around good fun.

Well, something happened tonight and more than just to me, although plenty happened to me.  My phone cut out on the 6th of January without me getting a new SIM card and calling card to make cheap phone calls.  My laptop simply stopped communicating with the wifi network last night, no particular reason, just stopped.

A pile of us, 8 including the cab driver, squeezed into a Fiat (two in the microscopic hatchback), and we headed for town to solve our collective cell phone problems.  I was lucky enough to be first, perhaps because I couldn’t even get the worried look off my face, even though I didn’t say anything. The lovely lady behind the counter explained it all to me, my options, the cost, how to put a new SIM card in, everything.  I of course, understood nothing.   That’s where Dominico came in handy. Dominico, who doesn’t speak any English, translated for me, and believe it or not, even though the translator was translating from Italian to Italian, I actually got it.  But, naturally, nothing is that easy.  I bought the SIM card, put it in and I asked for a code number, and I have no idea what that number might be.  I do think that someone at AT&T gave me a number, but it is in Wasilla and I am on the planet Jupiter, and remember my laptop does not work any longer.

I took a deep breath, put the stuff in my pocket and left the store no further ahead, but grateful to have gotten that far.  It occurred to me that there must be a lesson in this so I thought about it and came up with perhaps I need to let it go, maybe I am not supposed to be connected daily and just immerse myself in the experience.  That may possibly be a load of bullshit, but since I cannot do anything at all about any of it, I decided to let it go.  Then I went to the supermarket and bought, baby powder, chocolate, a scrubby, ( they don’t use washcloths here)and a bottle of Amaro, which is a digestive bitters, that I love.  I would love to tell you that I just took some breaths and I was all clear, but it took the chocolate, wine with dinner and a glass of the Amaro before I really separated from the anxiety.

I may not have been the only one at the table who had an extra glass of wine cause there was the kind of edgy laughter that you get when a group is tense and then they hit the break point.  Soon it turned into uproarious mildly hysterical laughter, followed by a collective letting go.  You could feel it in the room. Everyone finally relaxed. 

It was wonderful, and I slept like a rock, as soon as the bed stopped spinning.   🙂

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6 Responses to Day 3 meltdown

  1. Mel says:

    Marian, thank you for sharing your ins, outs, ups and downs. Yep, what a challenge to be immersed in the unfamiliar on so many levels at once. Even without the language barrier there would be such a volume to take in! Love you!

  2. Arleen Romano says:

    I know you don’t mean to make us laugh our asses off but you are!! It can only calm down and get better. I hope Keep the Amaro nearby

  3. Kathy Rocci says:

    Day 4 hopefully, will be sans the headache. I always knew you had great coping skills. Food and wine are good “comfort foods” in the midst of chaos. I am sure as time goes on, the personalities will adjust nicely to each other. In time, I can see the young ones accepting you as a mother figure who dispenses wise and timely advice and they will absolutely love and adore you for caring.
    We have been having winds up to 50 mph for the last 3 days, and it has been in the 20’s. We should catch a break tonight with the winds leaving and the temp dropping into the teens, but we have sun!!

  4. Michelle says:

    Ahh, the times we recall at the end of it all, the ones we laugh at, learn from and are happy we are past. In a short time from now, when you have bonded with new friends, settled in to a new lifestyle and are sad to go back home, these days will be a blur. Many blessings on this journey and remember, change is difficult but it is the road to the future and you my dear friend are right in the middle of your future…Sending much love and blessings, Michelle

  5. thank you all for your kind words and i am glad you had a laugh at the summary of all the coo coo ness. Tonight we had dinner in the kitchen tasting the breads we made with Surecchio provolone and caponata and other yummy things.

  6. Nick S says:

    Isn’t it called “culture shock”?
    . . .Who cares if you fall off the face of the digital earth for a while? Yes, of course we do care, but you can fill us in later. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Digital connections, all day, all the time aren’t REALLY necessary – are they?
    Besides, focus on gettin’ “knowed-up” so you can come back and we can EAT!

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