Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


All spring and all summer, the branches left our balcony and climbed the walls. The bright new leaves seemed to grow as we watched, twisted green tendrils stretching out and exploring. Soon, they were invading the neighbours so we turned them back and suggested other directions. Before we went looking for foreign sun, our space was almost full.

When we returned, the leaves had changed. The bushy green was now red and orange, fading into yellowed green.

Over the last week the reds have dulled, dried, sighed and fallen. They piled up into dusty mounds and crumbled as they were swept away by the wind and my broom.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

lots + lots = nothing

I guess I could blog about the summer. The weddings, the countries, the people.

I could tell you about the girl who became my best friend when we were twelve, and her Tuscan wedding. The delicious Italian food and local wine we feasted on surrounded by olive groves.

I could tell you about the boy who has known me my whole life, and the way he looked at his new wife. The hats their guests wore and the ceremony in little English church that moved them both to tears. The rattling cans and wide grins as they drove off.

I could tell you about my high school friend who used to sit on a sofa most of the school day, dressed in black, watching other students trundle between classes. The American flags that waved as they said their vows and the table of old friends who haven't changed.

I could compare and contrast - confetti vs. rose petals vs. bubbles - Italy vs. England vs. America - bridesmaids, party games, drinks, dancing, people.

Or I could forget all that and fill in the gaps between the weddings. I could tell you about the day at the Italian beach with my Pole. The ease with which he slipped into the various groups he was thrust. The dinner that marked three years together.

I could. But I won't.

Sometimes there's just too much to say. Sometimes you just have to turn away and start something completely new.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Now taking requests for Levis, marshmallows and reeses pieces

I've barely scratched the surface of the Italian experiences, nevermind Belgium and England, but you'll just have to be patient for another ten days or so, while I jet off to the States to visit old friends and, what the hell, go to another wedding...

If you're bored, check out this nifty little guide site (oh look! they've used two of my pictures!) or decide who I should give these awards to (thanks Kinuk!)

Otherwise, you can brush up on your Polish, do the ironing and find someone who wants to adopt these gorgeous little things (no, the puppy pictures aren't quite done with yet, but there are only four left)

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

If this were a foodie blog

I might tell you about how these tomatoes (lovingly grown on the balcony)

were made into of this meal (inspired by my dad's fave Jamie Oliver recipe)

It might make you hungry. Or you might not like shrimps, and not fancy it at all. We could get into a discussion about the best seafood, or whether fresh pasta actually tastes any different from the dried kind. We could all marvel at Marek's disdain for herbs.

But as it's not a foodie blog, I guess I won't.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

rossa rosa

Our little group walked in slowly, no one wanting to be the first to speak. The man was looking at us expectantly so a couple of us said buongiorno. There was a pause.

The man smiled, and encouraged, I asked parla inglese? but he shook his head, and stopped smiling.

Marek was pushed to the front of our little gaggle, and producing his Italian phrasebook with a flourish asked something that apparently meant Do you have a romantic bouquet?

Slightly impressed, but a little worried that a romantic bouquet was not exactly what we wanted, I told him to look up wedding. There was another pause.


Ah! Matrimonio!

Si! Si! Matrimonio!

The florist had been looking a little disconcerted at being faced with a group of foreigners who seemed intent on communicating with him one way or another, but after he heard the magic word, he got his order book out and positioned his pen expectantly.

The questions were more or less what you'd expect: What? when? and how many?

I tried, using a mixture of French, flourish and the odd annoying Polish word that insisted on leaving my mouth (Tak! I mean, Si!) to convey that we needed one large, two medium and six, yes six, small bouquets of red roses for Saturday. Plus two buttonholes.

Grande per Ruth, she's the bride, er, what's bride, yes, sposa, si si. Er, due medio, si, e seis, shit that's Spanish, er sei? tak, si, sei piccolo. Who's got a buttonhole? Point at it. Mime a flower in it. I don't know, just mime.

Is fiore flower? Oh, he's asking which flower. How do you say rose? Ros-eh? Rosi? Rosa? Rosa!

The florist was looking quite jolly by now, buoyed by his large order. He asked if we wanted to see the roses, and we trundled after him through the back room and into the cold store.

Bella we all cooed. Bellissima he corrected.

Back in the front of the shop, we ran through the order again. The florist hauled in the ice-cream lady from next door, who (it turned out, well after we needed her) spoke English. She'd been reading, but looked pleased to help. She put a finger to mark her spot in Mein Kampf and repeated the details of the order. Saturday at 1pm we would be collecting a whole load of flowers.

Everyone beamed, cheered by our success. Recalling the sale signs we'd seen in Lucca's shops though, Marek went for gold and called out sconti!

We were given the buttonholes on the house.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

they say it's good luck

Top right: THE pigeon

We stood, facing the map, the chatter of tourists all around and one hand each on a wheely suitcase.

'Well,' I said confidently, 'we're here.' I pointed to the large piazza in the centre of the map and Marek tilted his head.

'Right, so we need to go along the road that leads off that corner.'

'No, that one surely.'

We looked to opposite sides of the square, squinting to see the road names.

'Didn't we come from this road?' I asked, pointing again at the map.

There was a loud 'thwump' and a slightly sticky lump landed on my outstretched forearm. I looked, and wished I hadn't, as Marek started laughing. Next I turned my attention up, past the prettily crumbling brickwork and old Italian ironwork. Above me, a pigeon's beady eye was fixed firmly on me, as if he were inspecting his target, cooing a smug 'nice shot' in pigeon tongue.

'Wet wipe!' I demanded, and Marek stifled his chuckles as he rooted about in my bag.

It was an auspicious start to the wedding season.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Did ya miss me?

I'm back. Over two weeks of irregular internet and beautiful distractions like friends, family and foreign food have put this blog firmly in its place, at the bottom of the priority list.

I'm only in Warsaw briefly, having seen two sets of friends married and starting their happy ever afters, and taking a breather before another two weddings in September and a fresh start on the job hunt.

Just dealt with Flickr and Facebook for now. The blogging will start up again as soon as the intertwined threads of stories are untangled and sort themselves out in my head.

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