The Joys of a Liquid Diet

As I mentioned in my last post, I had jaw surgery two and a half weeks ago. No, I don’t really want to talk about it, since thinking about what my surgeon was doing while I was out still makes me queasy (if you’re absolutely dying to know, you can look up orthognathic surgery on Wikipedia and learn all the gory details. There, I just taught you a new word). Nor did I take pictures of myself after the surgery, when I looked like a cross between a gigantic chipmunk and a basset hound. Because some things are just better left to the imagination.

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The Three Billy Goats Gruff

These are our newest little friends. We recently met them through a passion we share: raw goat milk. We first got hooked on raw milk back when Tony was going to school at B.Y.U. Every week, I would drive with baby Axa out to a farm in Payson to see the gentle jersey cows and pick up a couple of gallons of what could most accurately be described as “liquid flowers.” When we spent a year in Washington State, raw cow milk was unavailable, so we were introduced to the glorious earthy decadence that is raw goat milk. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when we moved to our little 1-acre “farm” in Fallbrook, and became the delighted owners of two lovely (albeit devious) la mancha goats.

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Finally in Florence

So where was I? Oh, yes, sitting on the suitcases. Turns out, Tony’s car reservation was actually NOT a real reservation, and when we tried to run our debit card to rent the car, it was declined of course, since we’d withdrawn all the money from our American account so we could have cash in Italy. You can’t rent a car with any amount of cash, apparently, at least not any amount we were prepared to offer.

So after a few hours of tense deliberation, we rode the bus into Torino, spent the night there, worked out the car problem, and were driving down the autostrada just 24 hours later than we had planned. Our idea was to drive down the coast, hit the leaning tower of Pisa, and arrive in Firenze with plenty of time to check into our apartment by the 8:00 p.m. cutoff. Of course, everything takes longer when you are jetlagged in a foreign country. Especially when that country is Italy. We stopped for lunch in Genova, and to change money. Unfortunately, none of the five banks we asked wanted our dollars. This was another problem, since the apartment rental agency wanted cash on arrival, and banks are open for somewhere around five hours per day in Italy. We continued down the autostrada, stressed out about the problem and later than we’d hoped, due to not factoring in the time it would take to stand in line at all those banks.

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Let’s toast the new year with bubbly milk

Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.
T.S. Eliot

I don’t remember ever being so glad to say goodbye to a year. Let 2009 be over, and let the bells ring in a brave new year. Last year at this time, we had just postponed our flight back home to Italy, our possessions had been in storage for nearly a year, we were moving into yet another furnished condo, and our business was weeks away from failure. I guess anyone but I could have seen disaster in the wings.

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There and Back Again

So here we are, still “in search of a dream to call home,” I suppose. The past several months, although completely and uncharacteristically uneventful on, have been quite eventful in real life. Our business failed in February, we spent a glorious two and a half weeks in Italy in March, and we moved back to California in April.

The devastation of our business failing took awhile to fully sink in. Finally one day, we found ourselves on the living room floor, feeling as if we’d been rolled in on a stretcher. Business gone, massive debt hanging over our heads, and our idyllic Italian dream shattered. Among other things. But there were a few pieces lying around that we began slowly picking up.

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More Raw . . . . (no, not milk)

We found raw honey two nights ago. It was easy to find, just like everything else here (well, no, not everything. Not coconut oil or books in English). We just popped in at a house down the street with a sign that says “Miele.” They had three kinds on hand: castagno (chestnut. a very strong flavor, and one that we’ve been enduring since I bought a kilo of chestnut honey in Saluzzo months ago), dandelion, and melata.

Coincidentally, I was just reading about melata honey the other day when I was researching apitherapy (healing with honey and other bee products). We’ve done a few rounds of royal jelly, but I wanted some unprocessed stuff straight from the farm. That’s the way I like everything. Straight from the farm. Melata is acquired by the bees from secretions of some other type of insect, and not as nectar from flowers. It has a sweet, wild, mysterious flavor, like flowers opening secretly in the dark. I love it, although I feel a little ambivalent about something that’s been through two sets of insects. Best not to think too much about it.

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Donkey Milk

I originally conceived this blog as a clear, straight-forward guide to claiming Italian citizenship jure sanginis. I was inspired by Michael Santulli, from whom I first learned of the possibility of jure sanginis. His blog is a calm, detailed description of a logical process–claiming jure sanguinis through his Italian grandmother at his U.S. consulate. So I started the blog, and it ran away with me. Now here I am in Italy, but I find that my account is neither calm nor especially logical. At least I believe I can claim to be detailed.

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Buttermilk and Bees

Carla is in Rome for the week with Rebecca, so we invited Giorgio over for dinner on Wednesday. I made him peach crisp for dessert, since he couldn’t make it on the 4th of July when we had Carla and the missionaries. Just before dinner, Tony went out on bicycle to buy gelato to go with the crisp. As he left the house, he noticed that Giorgio was just behind him on motorcycle. In fact, he seemed to be trailing him. They drove all the way through town, with Giorgio just behind. As Tony reached the gelateria, Giorgio veered off in the other direction.

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I dreamed last night that my friend Peter sent me a little kit to fill out for French citizenship. It was very easy, and I just sent it off. Then I found myself wandering with my family through the streets of an old city like Saluzzo. We were trying to make our way back down into the modern world, but we kept running into dead ends. Whenever we asked people for directions, they would tell us it was very far and we were going in the wrong direction. We ended up in front of a tiny house as Giorgio explained to us how he was going to make it into our house by adding three more floors.

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London Town #3

We woke up on Saturday morning with the Temple still closed, packed our bags, and got a ride from another kind person down to the train station. Our hotel turned out to be very nice, within walking distance of everything and right next to a private cricket field called Vincent Square. The coffee-maker was hidden away in a little cherry-wood cupboard on the wall, with drawers underneath for coffee, tea, sugar, and cream. Raj had a great time disassembling it.

After unloading our baggage at the hotel, we had lunch in front of a funky monument to Henry Purcell and the “flowering” of the English Baroque (he had a towering cubist flower headdress and a slightly inane smile).

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