Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rain or Shine

It is the first really warm day since I’ve been living here. I woke up around 10:00, opened up the big doors that block out all of the light and saw this magnificent view that is my reality. I hung some laundry, made breakfast and posted up in my bikini top and shorts to take in some good old vitamin D3. Is this even real?!? I have to step back and put things into perspective for a few moments because, while I am enjoying this temporary reality of mine, I am overwhelmingly aware of the storms that can blow in. Things are bubbling just below the surface. Things that are the true and sometimes unfortunate reality of the world we live in.

This week has been really difficult for a lot of friends and family. It seems like I know too many people who have loved ones dying of cancer. And, in all of these cases, the prognosis has been severe and alarming: stage 4 with minimal time to live. It hits you like a freight train going full speed ahead. And what are you supposed to do with that information? Let it soak in? Embrace it? Try to prepare? How? All of a sudden the clouds have rolled in, and that perfectly sunny morning is now a crappy afternoon. But, life as we know it continues, and we can’t stop living. So, you do the best you can with what you have. Take one day at a time. Try to be a good support system for those who are struggling – pray for them, give a good hug, check in with a phone call – but never lose sight of the fact that we are still alive, sunshine or storm clouds.

So, while I am here, I am choosing to be aware of reality but also choosing to enjoy this extended moment in my life. I really never thought I would be right here, right now. Catania, Sicily: my home for a span of three months. What a beautiful place. What a blessing of a town with a lot of wonderful people and, may I say once again, fabulous food. I’ve experienced some great hospitality at the hands of my teammates, who have had us over for dinner and dessert, drinks and card games. The sense of family is at the heart of all that is Italian, so we are temporarily adopted into families on any given day, which I love. Another aspect of life here that I love is the way people take their time. Brenda and I walked into Aci Trezza on Friday morning for some granita, a cappuccino and a warm brioche. Although it was not the optimal pre-practice breakfast (actually, it was more like dessert), we sat and relaxed and enjoyed every bite, every sip. It was fabulous and something I would never eat at home because it just doesn’t exist, but the best part was being able to take it all in, to enjoy not just the food but the atmosphere, the environment, the constant chatter of Italian and people staring like they have never seen a person with blonde hair. I must mention that, while I was skeptical at first, I love driving here. I’ve gotten the hang of maneuvering through traffic and honking at the oblivious drivers. Every once in a while I see Brenda sneak a hand on the door handle like she’s holding on for dear life and I smile (inwardly of course) because this means that I am driving like a true Sicilian. I have no qualms with cutting someone off, changing lanes as I please, speeding up to pass some slow poke. My only concern now is how I will adapt to driving when I get back home to California. Heaven forbid I change lanes without a blinker.

Well, it just started raining – go figure. We went from perfectly sunny morning to rainy afternoon. So, as quickly as I put on my bikini to soak up some rays, I’ll have to be even quicker to grab all of my laundry off the clotheslines before it gets soaked. Funny how things can change in an instant. Looks like my plans for sunbathing all afternoon just turned into a movie day…

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