Christmas is innately a period of reflection and either as a result of this or just by habit, I have noticed that as a society we gradually slow down ….. developing a softness that is so comforting…..People tend to offer a politeness, a gesture a smile a “buon natale, buona festa, happy Christmas..etc” ….and this will come from either a dear friend or a complete stranger. This is the way on either side of the world…offered on a scorching sweltering – humid as hell- Australian December day …or on a bitterly cold day in Italy. Regardless of our stressors and busy lifestyle we take that simple extra moment of well wishing that can have such a profound effect and make a person smile.
What Christmas actually means for any of us is completely and entirely variable BUT I love that fact that Christmas has this softening capability on our souls….I am well aware that Christmas can also bring sadness to some/many but I like to think that this general softening and compassion that is evoked in many us, comes with a capacity to absorb and caress and ease some of this sadness.
My head is like a cascade of emotion absorbing so much around me, reflections on my time here in Italy and reflections on the journeys that each of the children have experienced. But for now, I feel so privileged that I have had this opportunity to be filled with thoughts and contemplation …..
Enough of the soggy stuff….what’s been happening….?
We have had been privileged once again with a visit from the beautiful Emma Williams….Emma was a visitor from heaven….cleaning, cooking, babysitting and most of all a truly good friend J We managed to sneak out for dinner to my favourite restaurant Da Pasquale’s for a seven course – champagne matched dinner…..I truly felt like I could have exploded with food and joy all at the same time. Pasquale and chef Carlo are a truly perfect fusion of food and wine. In Brisbane this kind of culinary delight is hard to find and IF you could find it you would possibly need a second mortgage to pay for it…BUT here.. 35 euro – 45 aussie dollars per head (all the wine you could drink – which wasn’t much after all the food)….. I mean, truly….it is AMAZING!!!!!
Emma and I were also privileged to spend a morning doing a cooking class with Carlo and Pasquale. First thing Pasquale took us shopping for vegies at the orto frutta and then for the wines at the best and most ancient enoteca in Lucca….Wow!!!!!
Then with our fresh local ricotta and other produce we headed back to the restaurant for some cooking with Carlo. We were truly spoilt, making fresh pasta, sugo, ricotta mouse, sampling local olive oils and wines. We even picked up the kids from school halfway through and at the end we all dined together. What a great way to spend a day (which also fortunately coincided with my birthday!)!!
My wonderful friends Giulia and Andrea had invited me to their very first gala dinner to aide the contribution the Stella Maris Foundation. This is a very worthy cause looking into a variety of Paediatric Neurological disorders, treatments, rehabilitations etc…. This was the first of its kind and was all inspired from G & A’s visit to Australia and their attendance to the Butterfly Ball in Brisbane…. Regardless of this being the first event, they pulled it off with pure pizzazz!!!
There is so much happening around Christmas…Mostly I have been indulged with the brave and courageous participation of my beautiful children in their school concerts….Gabby and Spencie have both had their concerts and Malachy will have his this Friday (where ironically he is playing an angel dressed in pure white …hahaha!!). We have been blest with the welcoming of an assortment of new (all Italian) Christmas carols resonating through the house. We were also given a beautiful Christmas gift from Paola (our landlady) that include all the ancient Christmas songs of the world, the lyrics, music scores, and a cd. It has been a hit and has also encouraged me to have a long awaited return to twinkling the ivory J Very rusty I have to say but I (never thought I would say this) but am seriously contemplating a piano on our return home …
We have Janie, will and Finlay all arriving today from Rome which will be great to have some family around for Christmas day…
Shortly after Christmas we are heading to the Dolimiti for skiing holiday with good friends J…..This will be interesting. I am putting all my faith and hope into the ski kindy for me to have an opportunity to carve it up once more…..It’s been almost 7 years since I was last on the slopes with Nicko, Bez and Andy….one of the best ski trips ever J But no doubt I will be rusty!!!
Not long after the Dolomiti we head to Austria again to see Gertraud and Andreas for some more skiing this time in Innsbruck Austria where it will also coincide with the Junior winter Olympics!
Much to do little time and none for blog editing purposes sorry J
Although I am far, my thoughts are near…… to my family and friends who have been such wonderful examples and inspirations in my life …..
Buon Natale, buona festa and Happy Christmas!!!!!!!
Somebody have an icy cold fresh prawn for me on Christmas day and wash it down with an even colder XXXX beer J
Lots of love to you all from Bron, Gabby, Spencer and Malachy
checking out the wines with pasquale's
cooking class with emma
Gabby having a go at cooking sugo...
Eating the profits...
Emma and Malachy hooning round town!!
Gran gala dinner with Andrea
San Martino illuminated with stars
streets of lucca
Gabby's christmas concert
Spencers christmas light