Blair and I at Harry's Bar Blair Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 10 x 12" 25 x 30cm
(painted from memory)
Monte Cimone at Sunrise Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 8 x 19.5" 20 x 50 cm
Tree Shadow in Snow Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 11 x 18" 27 x 46cm
Winter Landscape before Snow Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 33 x 76" 83 x 193cm (delivered unstretched)
It’s been cool in our Rocca Malatina house, and Harika curls up next to me on the bed. I wake up thinking how nice it is to have someone to love. Because it’s not the loved one who benefits, it’s the one who loves. It’s especially nice if the feeling is reciprocated.
Italy is a country about love. My friends here give me a hearty kiss and hug – not just a perfunctory air kiss, but an actual touching of cheeks. And Italians love their children like no other country. The Madonna and Child is an actual phenomenon.
We went to see the living Nativity in Monteorsello on the 24 December. Our dinner guests went home, and our houseguest went to bed; at 11:15 we packed ourselves into the car. We arrived at the same time as Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus. Baby Jesus’ big sister was there, too. What? You didn’t know he had one? He does in Monteorsello.
There were a group of carolers belting out “Adeste Fideles” with the help of the black cassocked priest. A small band of instruments played “Silent Night”. The town was lit by candles, and it was a scene out of a movie. Really, movies do come from life – storytellers can pick up on these elements that can make me cry.
We carried on this holiday week, going to Venice for my birthday on the 28. I have always disliked my birthday because my mother used to tell me, “I remember when you were born, it spoiled all my fun”. It took me years to get over that (she would remind me clear until I was in my 30s), but now I celebrate.
Venice was especially foggy and mysterious and beautiful. We plied the canals on the vaporetto, and took the 2 euro gondola across the Grand Canal. We ate lunch at the Rialto, and walked through previously unseen squares on to St. Marks. We ducked into Harry’s bar when it really started to rain.
We celebrated an early New Year’s with our Italian teacher and the refugees, who we learned the language with. They are full of hope for 2018, thankful to have made it to safety before the door completely closed. The table included people from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, all sharing our love of Italy.
Our houseguest has since left, and Blair, Harika and I are on our own once again. I am planning a New Year’s Day feast of Indian food for our English-speaking friends (Italians are not big on curry). Blair and I are lucky to have a large wonderful family of friends, whom we love and are loved by in return.
Happy New Year, and much Love in 2018!