No, this picture hasn't technically cleared the censors (P), but, in true holiday spirit, I'm going to do what I want and then hide the results. The real reason I'm posting this photo is to announce that I now have my very own digital camera!
Babbo Natale was extra generous this year, although he did require that I brave the nasty two-days-before-Christmas weather of driving rain and wind in order to earn my prize. But it's all good, folks--
We're here and we're taking pictures!
Nothing in Italy is ever easy though, folks (fellow expats, can I get an Amen?), and neither was acquiring my brand new Acer CS-6530.
After arriving in the town where I'd be shopping (half hour away), I walked into the store I had, weeks before, secretly chosen as my vendor of choice. In the window interspersed with various available photography-related products were lots of wedding portraits, but even that didn't stop me from attempting to buy there.
So what did stop me? The clerk.
Unhelpful? Sort of, but not exactly.
The real reason I didn't end up buying from this store was because this guy wouldn't sell me anything! I shuffled into the store after shaking off any excess water that had gathered on the brim of my baseball cap (worn only in the heaviest rains here), the hood that was over the hat, and my rain jacket. As I wiped my feet on the benvenuti mat, I asked the clerk to see the Fuji camera in the window.
The following exchange ensued, translated for your reading pleasure:
Cute elderly man: Oh we don't have Fuji, but we do have Sony, Canon, Acer....
Me: But I saw a Fuji in the window.
CEM: Oh, really? Well this is my son's store. I'm just filling in for him.
Me: That's nice of you. Can I see the camera?
CEM: I don't know anything about the cameras. My son's the one that can tell you about which one you'd need, how to set it up, the warranty. I'm just a 70-year-old man. I don't know about these things.
Me: Right, but I know a little about cameras myself, and I know which one I want.
CEM: But I can't sell you one without my son here.
Me: I see. Will he be back soon?
So that was my first attempt to buy a camera. Now, granted, the guy may have been doing me a favor and doing the ethical thing by not selling me something he had no idea about, but since when am I looking for ethics in a commercial enterprise? I'm American, damn it! At the time I was just fearing that I wouldn't find another option and I'd be without a camera (again) for Christmas.
The spirit of Babbo smiled upon me, though, and in the next store, the ever-important son *was* there. Mom was too, but Helpful Son explained the differences between the cameras they had, set up the date and language on mine, and sent me on my merry way.
So for the past couple days, I've been playing around with the settings and generally learning how to take advantage of all its features. Today was the first sunny day, so I haven't had much opportunity to get out there in the field. I'm finding that it's rather user-friendly, though, and I think that figuring out the lighting and closeness stuff will all become natural very soon.
But imagine how much more I'd have to learn if the Cute Elderly Man had actually agreed to sell me something. So, as it turns out, I am grateful to CEM for not selling me a camera. Think I should go back and tell him, or better yet, his son?
Anyway, that was/is my big excitement this holiday season. P didn't feel well Christmas Eve, so instead of going out, we stayed home and ate Italian wedding soup (recipe to be tomorrow's What's Cooking Wednesday). Can't complain there.
We spent Christmas morning in the piazza, offering up "auguri" greetings to one and all, and then had a quiet lunch, just the two of us, at home. We did linguine agli scampi (linguine with prawns), which just may be the dish next Wednesday. Oh the suspense!
We were invited to his sister's house, but we reasoned that since P already didn't feel very well, hours of screaming children probably wouldn't help. So, aside from eating, we spent a lot of the rest of the day on the phone talking to his brothers and sisters and their families spread around Italy and France.
I had spoken to my family on Christmas Eve, so the evening was free for movie-time. P made popcorn old-fashioned-like on the stove, and we watched The Italian Job, which was one of his Christmas gifts. Neither of us had ever seen it before, and I have to admit that I kinda loved it. A lot. I can't wait to watch it in English when he's not around.
Then we watched what is perhaps the least appropriate Christmas flick of all time--Legends of the Fall. I kid you not, this is what Italy's Canale 5 featured last night for the family to gather around.
Has anyone ever seen a more depressing movie that didn't include the Holocaust? If so, please let me know so that I don't happen upon them either, particularly on Christmas.
I had never seen Legends, and let me tell you, I can't imagine a circumstance in which I'd ever want to watch it again. If only the children had died gruesome, violent deaths, too, it would've really instilled the Christmas spirit deep within.
By the way, I hope I'm not spoiling anything for the one other person out there who hadn't seen it as of yesterday.
Legends aside, though, we had a lovely Christmas. And around sunset, the pink in the sky told me we'd be having a sunny day today, finally, so, like I said, it's all good:
And finally, Happy Saint Stephen's Day to those who celebrate (like us in Italy) and Happy Boxing Day to our friends in Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, but let's all take a moment to remember the victims of the December 26, 2004 tsunami.