Friday, September 18, 2009

Things are better now, thank you very much…

I was pleasantly surprised at all the wonderful support and encouragement I received after my last ranting and raving blog. I had a terrible month and didn’t feel like being my usual cheery self. Some of you actually thought I was thinking of leaving Lucca! Not a chance…

My life has gotten significantly better in the past few weeks. The weather cooled off to something more tolerable, my medical problems are better and I’m getting back into my old routines (which were good ones). And, I’m staying put so no worries about me packing it in and moving anywhere.

I went to a nutritionist who did a “Vega” test to find out what types of foods I might have an intolerance to. Well, the list sucks! Just a few of things I have had to eliminate from my diet include: all dairy products including cheese; tomatoes, eggs, white flour, white sugar, yeast, peas, and the biggy – alcohol! Okay, I wouldn’t consider myself a big drinker but it’s nice to have an occasional glass of wonderful Italian wine now and then... come on, now, really. How am I supposed to enjoy everything wonderfully Italian like pizza, spaghetti and parmesan cheese!?

I have been a very good girl, however, and have been sticking to my new diet. It hasn’t been easy but I hope after my stomach returns to normal, I can start incorporating things slowly back in to my diet and stop writing and talking about my problems so much.

Lucca has been very active this month. The Lucchese have returned from holiday en masse and it’s time for them to celebrate. In fact, this time of year is considered, “Settembre Lucchese.” All September long, we can enjoy operas performed in local teatros and piazzas, attend plant and flower shows on the fortress walls and celebrate local fairs.

Last weekend we had a medievale faire in the college parking lot where I take the girls for their daily walks. It was great! People were dressed in period costumes and there were crossbow tournaments and very old-fashioned booths where only food items and things that were made in medieval times were sold. A guy was weaving baskets by hand, old metal tools and knives were being honed and sharpened, and food was being prepared solely by cooking over wood fires.

There was even some sort of chicken event (which I missed, thank goodness) that involved hay because the next morning there were feathers and hay strewn everywhere. The girls went crazy when they smelled all the chicken feathers and started trying to roll in them and the hay. Special cleaning crews and trucks came in later to clean up all the mess. One thing I can say for Lucca is they don’t do anything halfway – it’s all or nothing. And, everyone has a great time!

A carnival has been going on for about three weeks across the street from where I work. It has roller coasters and all the usual rides. It’s called Wild Wesser – I think that might mean Wild West, but who knows? The air is filled with the sounds of screaming children and lots of laughter.

Every year on September 13, Lucca has a beautiful candlelit procession, the Luminaria di Santa Croce, from San Frediano to the Duomo to honor Lucca’s most prized holy relic, the Volto Santo statue of Christ that tradition holds was carved by Nicodemus himself. People from all the neighboring cities and throughout the world come to celebrate this special occasion. Many are dressed in costumes and the participants sing, play instruments and proceed down the center of Lucca streets which are lit solely by candlelight and torch, to the cathedral of San Martino. The evening ends with a giant fireworks display.

On a social front, I went to Viareggio with girlfriends from work to celebrate a friends’ birthday. We had a wonderful seafood dinner and then went to a nightclub in Marina di Pietrasanta to dance. It was interesting going to an all-Italian nightclub with a group of gorgeous women. The men literally walk around as if they are in a parade checking out every female in sight. They did a double-take when they saw our group since we had a mixture of blondes, redheads (me) and brunettes. Nightclubs in Italy don’t open until midnight and close at a minimum of 4:00 in the morning. After a night of revelry, followed by breakfast, I finally got back home at 5:30 in the morning. And, I only had one glass of champagne to toast my friend’s birthday. I hate this diet!

Next on the calendar for me is my year anniversary here. I moved to Lucca on September 30, 2008. Wonder what I can do to celebrate…a presto!