Ok, there’s no denying it’s December and the holiday season is coming up. Personally I think I’m really lucky as I will only be working about 15 days of this month…this week, I work two days thanks to the Patron Saint of Milan, Sant’Ambrogio, on Wednesday, and the Immaculate Conception on Thursday, and then most companies decided to throw in Friday, too! Then, we’re shut down the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and then we’re off to London the first week of January. (Oh yeah, Befana is on the 6th of Jan, so we have that off, too!)
Saturday morning, Sante has a very early-morning start (alarm at 4.30am) and we both woke up to the sound of the snow plower going down our street. What??? It hadn’t snowed for four days, and went to bed snow-free!
I think at least five inches must have fallen that night. Sante, who had a train at 5.45, left the house to catch the bus at 5.15. No bus passed in either direction, and he went on foot to the train station, about 25 minutes. He said he walked in the middle of the street most of the way because it was like walking through sand on the non-plowed areas.
Here’s our house, on the left, first floor with that beautiful terrace.
In Milan, there was chaos, with fallen trees blocking streets and the trams being snowed in. On the way home, many trains were cancelled, and Sante waited over an hour for a bus, replacing the train service, to arrive. About 15 minutes into the bus ride home, it gets stuck in the mud, and all the passengers have to walk on foot to the nearest train station, about 1/2km away. He was happy when he finally got home.
Today went very early to local mini-mall (9am) and usually they have tastings and free punch or something every afternoon to “reward” their customers, so we knew we would be missing that day’s apple pie or cookie. On our way out, we saw a small gathering around a Christmas tree, and people were tossing ornaments into a box…and walking away with 30-count boxes of Ferrero Rocher!! Hold on a minute!!
Well, as quick as my mind’s lobes connected the boxes of chocolate stacked up next to the sign about the “free” game, I pushed Sante over there. 2 out of 3 balls in the box won. He won easily, and I debated whether I should try as well, which in the end my holiday spirit lost and greed won. It was like taking candy from a multinational corporation. We walked out with 60 Ferrero Rochers, feeling like we had robbed someone, or that someone would say, “Ok, give it back now. It was a joke.”
Sante remarked that a game like this only worked in the north of Italy, because in Puglia the first few people who discovered this game would have called all their relatives to hurry down there, and probably the one running the game already told everyone the night before, and the prizes would run out in the first five minutes. Thank goodness for that!
We also passed the gyrating, Yellow-Rose-of-Texas Santa again…this time he was singing the Oo-Ee-Oo-Ah-Ah, Ching-Chang, Walla-walla-bing-bang Witch Doctor song (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re very lucky). Again, another holiday classic!!