Sunday, 18 December 2011

Buone Feste!

Still alive... Think I've run out of excuses for not updating the blog and certain family members, who shall remain nameless, have let it be known that such tardiness just isn't good enough. So, what to write about...?

Weather: winter has arrived as of yesterday. The predicted overnight low for tomorrow night is -3 degrees which is chilly. It started to rain at the beginning of December... barely a drop all November which wasn't good for olive crops or truffles, apparently, but great if you're riding a bike to and from school every day. I've had some use of my poncho raincoat the last couple of weeks and it's pretty good except for the splash back from the road. Feet and lower legs get soggy in heavy rain and of course, not much can be done for protecting the face. It's not a great look if you have a fringe like me, wet hair plastered to forehead with the rest of the 'do' happily springy and dry. Anyhow as of yesterday it fined up and cooled down considerably. I'm wondering how many more layers it could be possible to add to my already onion-esque outfits.

This time last year it snowed in Florence and let's face it, if it's going to be this cold, I want snow! I'd love to see a snow-capped Duomo and David and Ponte Vecchio and everything else. Meanwhile anyhow the city is looking pretty with Christmas lights lining the streets in the historical centre and all manner of other Chritmassy things have manifested around the town... like a massive Christmas tree hauled in and subsequently decorated by crane and a life size nativity scene made with terracotta figures (with empty manger; baby Jesus is apparently whipped out from somewhere on Christmas day - of course - but then I wonder why the terracotta Mary isn't pregnant). Most shops have also made some sort of effort to celebrate the season with their own window decorations, so it's all very festive.

School is now on winter break until the second week of January and it's no great trouble adjusting to holiday mode. The hardy few of us not going home for Christmas (because we're from countries on the other side of the globe) are planning to get together to draw and share meals and things. It's a nice time to be cosy inside doing homework. The Russians are no bludgers, we've been assigned ample painting and drawing to do during the next few weeks.

My Italian speaking is still going hopelessly but I've made a name for myself since making a huge batch of ANZAC biscuits for our 'culture' party at school. There were so many left over I've been giving them out to one and all... including the bicycle man at the end of my street. I swing by his shop whenever I need my tyres pumped but he doesn't tend to overwhelm me with friendliness (at least he was pleased to help me the first time I went until I opened my mouth and he realised I was a foreigner). To save me buying a bike pump I've persisted in going back for the precious pressured air, trying my politest loveliest Italian on him to no effect. But then I had the most ingenious idea: ANZACS. Should have seen the reception I got when I picked up my bike after leaving it (along with a handful of ANZACS) for him to fix a flat tyre. He even tightened my breaks without my asking. I'm about to make a second large batch because not only do they apparently taste fab (being off sugar I haven't had one) but they are uniquely Australian which is one of the few culinary delights we can really lay claim to.

Only one week til Christmas, the year has suddenly disappeared. I'm spending Christmas day with Sarah and Andrew and their kids (Aussie missionary couple living in Florence) and possibly some other Christmas 'orphans'. So, happy Christmas and New year to all. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere: stay warm. If you're down south, enjoy your picnic sangers and don't get too burnt.

Lots of love! You can see latest pics here.
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