Thursday, August 23, 2007

Leaving Italy

It could take pages to start writing from the time when I left Perugia. That was the final week of August. I packed my stuff, emptied the room that I have stayed for a good 3 months, and took the train north to the town called Vercelli. I was supposed to catch the bus from Vercelli to Alice Castello, the little medieval town where my friend Pei is staying, a town that I could not even locate in the Avis driving map.

Pei was nice to accommodate me for almost a week in her home, given the fact that we have not even met each other before. I had a really good "agriturismo" vacation staying with her (that's what the Italians call for a farm house vacation), catching up with her on her life in Italy, and having fun roaming around the town on bicycle with her kids. Life is slow in Italy, but it is even slower here. Time is never important. The colour of the sky tells the time of your meal.

Pei and her husband have grains planted on their piece of land. The have zucchini for this summer since the harvest season was over for the grains and the land was put to rest for several months before continuing with the next planting. Most of the folks in the town are farmers or shop keepers. The question on social status never exixts in the town, no one cares if you are a white-collared.

Pei is a great cook. I enjoyed the most during eating time, looking forward to what she is going to make for lunch and dinner each and every day. In Italy you can never eat lousy, and you eat even much better in an Italian family. Pei's cooking was perhaps closer to the northern Italian style, with the use of eggs, mayonise, and more frequently than the south that you will see rice (risotto) appears on the dining table. Pei has a passion in poetry writing, and the Chinese old songs in the 20s and 30s, those Night Shanghai era hymns. That's perhaps her little secret garden out from the life of a normal housewife and mother, that she insists in keeping after all these years of staying far away abroad from home.

The day I left for Bergamo for the flight to London, Pei told me to come back whenever I feel tired of travelling. I know I am going to feel warm thinking of her cooking everytime I got tired of sanwiches on the road.

Copenhagen 23/8/2007

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