On Saturday morning, I went over to Guido’s after breakfast. Patrizia was at work (half day), and Guido was taking care of the children. I played race cars with Ricardo and watched Veronica do her cute little three-year-old show-off routine – dancing, playing piano, etc. Then Guido made pasta (pesto) for us for lunch and Veronica had a bit of a tantrum toward the end of it, but she had been quite good and sociable all morning. Patrizia came home and Veronica had a nap and I got online. It was a good thing, too, because I had a message from a person in the closing section of Community First Bank asking for more information with my signature. This relates to the house I'm trying to buy this summer. Briana has power-of-attorney, and will sign for me at the closing, but it has all been much more complicated than I'd hoped it would be. I was able to print out the e-mail at Guido’s and later (Monday, in Marseilles) faxed it to the person with signatures.
After Veronica awakened from her nap that afternoon, the whole family went for a walk in a nearby park. Riccardo used his gun with plastic pellets to shoot at ducks and posts and imaginary beasts. Veronica ran around and played on a swing set and slides, accompanied always by her mother. And Guido and I walked slowly along the pathways or sat on a bench, and he talked about his situation at work, with which he is dissatisfied, but which he doesn’t see a way to improve without changing companies, maybe moving to another city or even to another country, which he also doesn’t want to do, in order to feel creative and valued. I understand that situation, having been there myself. His solution will probably have to be different from mine, partly because he’s a man, partly because he’s younger than I was when I went through that apparent impasse. It’s tough.
In the evening on Saturday was a big birthday party for Marco, Guido’s brother. I stayed a day longer in Milano than I had originally intended so that I could spend some time with Guido and his family on Saturday. Thus, I was there for the family event, feeling a bit like a party crasher. The whole family was there, and Rosanna cooked a large dinner of lamb shanks and pasta and multiple hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. Her food is always very tasty. Gianni and Rosanna and their two boys, Guido and Marco, now themselves, paterfamilias, altogether created an experience of the intensity and importance of Italian family life, both in its best sense of support, and pleasure, and meaning found in one-another’s company, and in its rather stressful aspect of dissonance and chaos.
This morning (Sunday) I take the train for Marseilles. I’m packed and ready to go, but Gianni and Rosanna are still in bed after a long day yesterday and the big party last evening. Marco, Guido’s brother is now 41 and Guido is now 44 years old, I believe. So it has been nearly 27 years since he came to Charleston as a foreign-exchange student. He’s now married and has two children – Riccardo and Veronica – and a pretty good job, but one he doesn’t like so well because he has poor rapport with his boss. It was good to have another long talk yesterday, as we used to do all those many years ago. That probably won’t be repeated, though.