Dreaming In Italian

The move to Bologna

Sunday, August 2nd, 2020

It has been over a month since my last post. Time flies when you’re having fun but the last period has not been great. As I reported in my last post we required a permit in Bologna to use the sort of external elevator (a montacarichi) to move the stuff up to the apartment. While my “secret agent” in Bologna provided all of the information required to advance the date, apparently the Bologna moving company affiliated with the one in Torino never made the request so we were stuck in Torino for an additional 2 weeks. I was not happy. The move to Bologna for me marked the end of a long period of significant stress and I was anxious to have it happen. In any case on July 17 the Torino movers came and loaded the stuff into trucks.

Moving boxes from the 3rd floor (would be the fourth in the US) in Torino.

So on July 18 we celebrated my birthday by driving from Torino to Bologna in Laura’s car loaded with stuff including the two cats who complained for a while but it was not too bad. Then on July 20 all of the stuff was loaded into the house and we could start the long process of unpacking the myriad boxes. Most but not all of that process is complete and we have yet to figure out where to put all of the pictures on the walls but it is definitely starting to feel like home.

Moving the glass table – a single piece of thick glass up to the Bologna apartment.

There was one significant snafu during the Bologna move. The Torino moving company was attaching the bookshelf system to the wall when they punctured a pipe for the the radiator system. There was little water in the system but it put an end to that assembly and required a plumber and then a guy to patch the hole in the wall after the plumber repaired the pipe. I bought matching paint to touch up the wall and then put up the bookshelf myself. By the way, the Torino moving company really did an excellent job -very professional. I certainly cannot say the same for their colleagues here in Bologna.

In the next post I’ll give a little tour of the new abode with video.

And today’s Baci message:

Coloro che sognano di giorno sanno molte cose che sfuggono a chi sogna soltanto di notte.

Those who dream by day know many things that escape those who dream only a night.

Edgar Allen Po

The story of Zanardi – his indomitable spirit

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Have you ever heard of Alex Zanardi? I thought not. He is big news right now in Italy now not only because he’s a famous Italian, Bolognese in fact, but because on June 19th he was in a terrible accident. First I have to recount his history.  Born in 1966, his father was a plumber and his mother was a seamstress. His sister died in an automobile accident when he was 13. Despite that he started racing go-carts when he was 13 in one that he built himself. After some early success he attracted sponsors and ultimately won the world championship in that form of racing in 1987.  He continued racing and moved up from go-carts to Formula 3 and finally racing at the highest category, Formula 1 in 1991 at the age of 25. Then in 2001 in a race in Germany on a wet track he lost control of his car and was hit broadside by another driver. He was airlifted to a Berlin hospital with very serious injuries with the the result of the loss of both of his legs. But clearly that is not the end of the story, it’s a new beginning.

I found a video of the crash in 2001. The car that hits his shears off the front of his car. It’s a miracle that he survived at all.

It’s a miracle that he survived at all.

His will and spirit were unshaken and his sense of humor was intact. He joked that if he lost his legs again he’d only need a hex key to replace them and also that he didn’t need to worry about the risk of getting a cold by walking barefoot. Incredibly he return to racing in 2003 at a lower level than Formula 1 but still the open wheeled cars. He did one symbolic race with the specially equipped car at the track where he lost his legs as a symbolic sign of recovery. He did 13 laps, the number of laps that remained to complete the race when he had the accident. He then moved on in 2005 to WTTC (World Touring Car Championship) racing – think of a tricked out BMW 320i for example. In four years of racing those cars he had 4 first place wins. This was no Paralympics he was racing against all drivers.

He didn’t stop there. He became a champion hand- cyclist. His first race was in the 2007 New York City Marathon where he came came in 4th place. He won a gold medal in the 2012 Paralympics in London. He even competed in the 2014 Ironman World Championship using his handbike for the cycling section and a wheelchair for the running section. He’s a guy that always wants to rise to a challenge. He is quoted as saying “It is possible that if the lightning came between my head and neck once it hits me again, but staying at home to avoid this possibility would mean stopping living, so no, I take life…”

Zanardi was on the David Letterman show. You can see the kind of attitude that he has.

Here are a couple of videos that I found that show not only his spirit but his humanity.

Here he is obviously leading the races and pushes his fellow racer and friend across the finish line. What a gesture of humility and humanity!

Here he tackles the swimming part of the Iron Man (MI) – After the first half of the video he’s just talking with friends so you can stop there.

The man never gives up.

And now to the tragedy of Jun 19th. He was cycling in a race in Italy on a public road when he lost control while descending a steep hill and veered into an oncoming truck. He is still in a medically induced coma and was operated on for significant head and face injuries. The outcome is still uncertain but the latest reports speculated that he may at minimum lose his sight.

An update and musical interlude

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

I don’t know how much longer I will be in Torino. I had thought that the moving company would have to take almost everything up the stairs in Bologna but no, they can use that motorized external elevator which I would is called called a montacarichi – learning a bunch of Italian words associated with moving. The moving company made an inquiry about when they can use the montacarichi in Bologna. The answer that they got was that it was 30 days! Then they went on to say that the scheduling is all done by computer and they had no person to call to negotiate a better date. I went berserk. One thing that I’ve learned is that nobody cares as much as me about the things that are important to me. So I called my fiend and “my secret agent” who works for the comune di Bologna (the city government). She is looking for the person who is actually responsible for this stuff and expects to call me back with some information on Monday, hopefully including contact information for a decision maker. The 30 days makes some sense since the street (Santo Stefano) is narrow with a lot of traffic so they wouldn’t want to close one lane of it often, say once every 30 days. But my logic says that if that is the case, then the last time they issued a permit and all of the work that goes with it may have happened maybe 2 weeks ago so it would make sense that the 30 days should be measured from that date. Who knows if this will be true or not but it’s worth giving it a try. In any case we are stuck here in Torino for quite a while to come. Almost everything to be moved is packed and we can finish it within 2 or 3 days even at a relaxed pace.

In the meantime I thought that I’d like to share some Italian music that I really like. Often I don’t understand all of the words but that’s true for most non-english language songs that are often quite popular in the U.S. and one can find the lyrics online that are translated into English for those interested. Sometimes the translations are a little off or leave something out but they are mostly pretty good. So here it goes:

First up is Max Gazze’ with “La Vita Com’e’. (Life as it is)

I love the music and the characters in the video. The translated lyrics can be found at: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/la-vita-come-life-it.html

Next up:  Marco Mengoni ” Siamo Tutti Muhammad Ali” (We’re all Muhammad Ali)

Again the depiction of a tradition in a small town probably in the south of Italy is great and I love the music. Lyrics at: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/muhammad-ali-muhammad-ali.html-1

And lastly Zucchero with “Baila (Sexy Thing)” – Reminds me of Doctor John, top hat, weird video.

As I said, weird video but full of energy. Lyrics at: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/baila-sexy-thing-dance-sexy-thing.html

Let me know what you think about the music. I’ve downloaded an app to my table called Deezer and am exploring a bunch of Italian music that I’ve never heard before, like the Zucchero song so maybe I’ll add one from time to time.

And now for the Baci quote for the day:

La suprema felicita’ della via e’ essere amati per quello che si e’ o meglio essere amati a dispetto di quello che si e’.

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved: loved for ourselves, loved in spite of ourselves.

Victor Hugo

Update from Torino

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

According to plan I took the train to Torino in the 3rd of June. Since I still had the problem with the pulled muscle I tried to minimize the amount of walking that I had to do. I took a taxi to the train station rather than the bus. At the entrance to the station there was a policeman that took everyone’s temperature with one of those non-contact thermometers. The train was arranged to maintain social distancing and of course everyone was required to wear a mask. When I arrived in Torino I saw that there they were taking everyone’s temperature before they were allowed to go to the train platform. Since Laura was using the opportunity to get her first visit at a parrucchiera (hairdresser) I took a taxi to her house since I had a set of keys. Fortunately the woman the comes once a week to clean the house was there so she came down and carried my suitcase up the 3 flights of stairs.

Laura had a cane in the house that belonged to her father in law which I have been able to use to reduce the strain on my already strained muscle so that I can limp around the house. I am not a great deal of help in the preparations other than making suggestions and providing encouragement. A guy from a moving company came on Monday and gave us an estimate for the move to Bologna which we found acceptable. The process of moving is going to be interesting. Since her house is on the 3rd floor without an elevator they will use a type of truck that has a resemblance to a hook and ladder firetruck but with a platform. That will work here in Torino where all of the stuff can be carried out to the balcony. But in the narrow street in Bologna it will be a different story. While there is a very small elevator, almost all of the stuff will need to be unloaded from the truck and then carried up two flights of stairs to the apartment. They will apply for a permit with the city of Bologna to temporarily block half of the street and unload the truck and then move it to the apartment.

One of the “elevator” trucks in action. This one goes up to the 6th floor.

Another thing is that here they rarely have closets, they have armoires. Basically you move your closets to the new house by disassembling them and then reassembling them at the destination. I feel sorry for the moving guys. That’s got to be a tough job.

So now we have a bunch of boxes and have started packing things up. Since Laura has lived in Torino her entire life and has had things passed down to her from many different relatives there is a LOT of stuff; enough dishes and silverware to start a restaurant and enough books to start a library so there are a lot of difficult choices to make. Also like a lot of women she has an astounding quantity of shoes and boots (I counted about 100 pair), scarves, sweaters and almost everything imaginable. She was able to part with some of the shoes and garments but still we have 3 big boxes and counting full of shoes and boots and one fairly big box filled with only scarves. So far we’ve packed 17 boxes and I would guess we’ll have perhaps 10 more before we’re done.

Then when we arrive at Bologna it will probably take a couple of weeks to have everything reasonable organized. We will still have to buy some things there. I already have a list in Amazon and we will probably make a trip to Ikea to buy some things before long. After the movers leave with all of the stuff we’ll put the two cats in their cages and drive to Bologna. That will be 3 hours of so of complaining cats in the car. I feel sorry for the poor cats and us.

In the last post I forgot to add a Baci quote – so here are two:

Pecchiamo insieme, che all’anima fa bene.
Let’s sin together, it is good for the soul.

Vladimirovich Mayakovsky

L’amore non dura se togli ogni lotta.
Love doesn’t last if you take all the fight away.