Half-Drownings and Neti Pots

Sometimes I think Donatella is a little scatter-brained. Yesterday she took my towel and replaced it with a bathmat. I didn’t know what to do, so I showered with it. Also, it turns out there was no secret message behind her leaving clothes on my bed. She just got her shirts, sweatshirts, and a few pairs of Enzo’s pants confused with my running clothes. Mostly this is funny. At breakfast, sometimes it can be a little sad. Italian breakfasts are typically smaller, more sugary and less hearty than American breakfasts. For us that usually means we eat cereal and/or some mildly stale bread. We hit a three day drought where we ran out of cereal and had nothing to eat but stale bread. I tried mixing sugar with milk and drinking that for breakfast instead and dry-heaved the whole way up the mountain.

I got to see Donatella and Enzo all dressed up for a dance, which was really fun. Enzo put on a tuxedo and Donatella was in and out of my room all night, getting dresses and trying on different shoes. When I say “in and out of my room” I mean that my room is actually a closet. There’s a bed and everything, but yeah, it’s a closet. The wall across from my bed is wall to wall closets so at least once a day Enzo or Donatella will knock and come into my room to get pants, or shoes or whatever. They were out so late that when I came home the next day at 3 in the afternoon Donatella was still in bed, fast asleep.

There are two other quirks about Donatella that I haven’t fit in yet anywhere. The first, is that she answers every phone call on speaker phone at a shout. The second is that at dinner she explains what’s going on to me and Owen by saying things like, “that’s the fat, dumb ugly man.” So I have a very strange perspective of what’s happening in Italian politics right now. This is also interesting in relation to what’s happening in the United States. It’s interesting finding out the things that reach foreign countries about America. As far as I can tell it’s music (nearly all of their songs are English songs from the states), every stupid thing that Trump says, and Meryl Streep. A few days ago she interrupted dinner to shout, “it’s the stupid man!” and Owen and I looked up to see George Bush saying something on the television.

I did a bad thing. Yesterday night I fed Camilla (the dog) a piece of lemon off the dinner table. She circles beneath the legs like a shark, barking at us to feed her. I swear I wasn’t trying to be mean. I’ve never had a dog. I just thought, “I wonder what will happen if I…” and now she’s too afraid to eat off of the yellow fork that Donatella feeds her on. She spent all dinner barking to get food and then backing away quickly when Donatella held the fork out to her. So that’s my bad. I’d feel worse if she wasn’t already kind of fat. A few days without food might actually be good for her even if I feel bad that I’m the cause.

While we’re listing bad/dumb things I’ve done lately, I’d like to add to the list walking into a mirror (I came out of a store, saw movement out of the corner of my eye and jumped sideways and forward to avoid banging into whoever was coming around the corner and ended up slamming face first into myself), half-drowning in the shower (I saw on a televison show once something called a “neti pot” where you pour saline solution in one nostril to clear your sinuses. Whatever reaction I should’ve had to that, mine was “I bet I can do that with the shower head!” Spoiler alert: I couldn’t), and got stuck in a Groundhog’s Day sort of moment, in which I got stuck half a block from the school building because I kept turning down the same wrong street and circling back to the same spot.

But, all in all, things are going really well. I had a weird adjustment week where I didn’t feel very happy. I felt like I didn’t have very much to do as I’d already walked through the vast majority of city streets. But I’ve started writing, and made some new friends and started Skyping with friends from back home, all of which have had a marked improvement on my personal well being. I’m also starting to feel better. My nose is still pretty stuffed up and I have trouble breathing when I run up Fiesole, but I’m almost back to my normal energy levels.

The dogs are keeping a close eye on me now. I think they’re waiting to extract their revenge.

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