31 December 2013
Capodanno, which is New Years Eve in Italy, was relative quiet. However, I woke up starving. For an Asian girl like me, I’m never fully satisfied after a meal that isn’t rice. I was getting slightly homesick for congee and dried beef, papaya salad and fried chicken. Instead, lunch had been a light fare of boiled vegetables, salad, cured meat, and focaccia. Dinner had been an amazing homemade truffle risotto one night and an exceptional pepperoncino squid.
But what I would do for jasmine rice and fried egg with soy sauce. *sigh….
Before visiting Nonna, I diverted to explore the hills of Bogliasco, taking a local path to the Int’a Grafignann-a. Walking though an underpass created by someone’s room, much like a sottoportego of Venice, into a cobblestone road, you pass behind the gates of someone’s back yard, oranges and limes falling, olive trees hanging over the edges of the private property. Large manmade rock walls lined one side until it reached another olive orchard and the paved road became a bit rockier, a ditch to one side and steep hills on another.
There were times when I thought, I should really turn back. This is like the beginning of every horror movie. A silly American taking an unknown path in a country she doesn’t even speak the language.
But I passed a few locals, many greeting me with ‘sera, as the evening sun was slowly sinking, strong amber light cling the light brown land. I figured it can’t be that bad if there was a couple sitting on a bench along the way.
I suppose part of me love being alone. I love the solitude, the sound of nature, the sound of my own feet and the beats of my heart that I can feel my soul breathing.
Eventually, I heard the sound of rushing water. I paused, a dog and his owner briskly passing by. I watched him and saw he led his dog to a small water fall!
Gleefully, I laugh, silently thanking the man for pointing it out. He walked away at the turn of the path and I jumped towards the small brook. The water clear and ice cold, coming from some unknown height. It burst forth rushing down a little path, rushing off to some mysterious destination.
It is always these delightful little surprises that keep me happy.
After visiting Nonna, I rested before Capodanno dinner.
When I was young, I could stay up all day and head to a party. Now I have to rest or sleep during the day to have the energy and ability to stay up late.
I put on my most beautiful newest garb to ring the new year, gold and black and headed to Genoa for an appetizing dinner at Ippogrifo, one of the well known restaurants in the northwest of Italy.
The table was decorated with lentils (yes, dried lentils!) for wishes of wealth, holly and pepper for good luck, and tall wine glasses waiting anxiously to be glowing with liquor. Grissini and focaccia was plentiful on the table.
Appetizer of beef tartare with white truffle shavings, followed by an entrée of grilled lobster, langoustines, calamari, and gambieri filled my stomach as wine and sparkling water made me feel like I was in a dream. I finished off with tiramisu and tea, the staff giving us hats and whistle to ring in the new year.
Kisses and hugs, well wishes and Buon Anno was spread. Every time I hear the greeting, I think someone is saying “banana” instead of Happy New Years in Italian.
It was a subdued matter. Local kids had sparklers and fireworks go off. It’s not as spectacular an event as it is in New York, which made me miss singing Auld Lang Syne or even, New York, New York.
I miss home, despite loving the relaxing state.