La Bambina Nuota

Nora and I are having our first Italian lesson today. We pull up our matching chairs to the computer and tap on our Rosetta Stone, una bambina, una donna.

I am not ashamed of many things, but I am a little ashamed that I haven’t learned Italian. With a name like Lucia Frangione I can’t tell you how many people GASP in shock that I don’t speak my father’s tongue. There were a few brief impatient lessons with Dad when I was young. He’d tug on my hair gently with his big wide hands and say “capelli”, tap his tooth and say “dente”, lay his hand over mine in a friendly slap and say, “mano” and I learned how to count from uno to undici because we went to Italy when I was eleven. I haven’t been back since then. I haven’t tried to learn Italian since then. But now, nearly ten years after his death, I am heading to the small town he was born, my best friend tagging along, and I want to be able to say at least a few kind words to my family there. Reality is, they speak their own dialect in Palazzo San Gervasio, so my Rosetta will be nearly useless anyway, but at least I’ll know I’ve tried. So, Nora and I begin. At the beginning.palazzo

Speaking of beginnings, I fell off the ol’ allergy testing wagon for three weeks. I was planning to only eat “everything I want” for a week, you know, because why not spend the holidays sick? But it turned into three weeks because the sicker I got, the harder it was to sleep and have the energy to chop vegetables instead of brew up a coffee and pop a slice of bread in the toaster. I got itchy and bitchy. I must remember: chocolate is from satan. When I do go back to eating my twelve sanctioned things, it’s three days of bad sugar cravings and then – release. My body feels instant relief and starts craving lean meat, steamed broccoli and raw carrots. It says, “Ah, we’re back”.

And I notice as I wrap my mouth around “la donna beve de caffe”…I also feel, “Ah, we’re back.”

Our first lesson includes “la bambina nuota”, Nora asks if we can go swimming again. We went last night. We have a pool three minutes from our house but this is the first week we’ve ever gone. I hate being cold and I dislike swimming, but I’ve learned to trick myself. I do it again tonight. I say, “Lucia, Nora is going for the swim, you are going to go sit in the hot pool.” And I do, for three minutes. I boil with the geriatrics and then I can’t stand it anymore and I go swim and play games with Nora the rest of the time. Today, same thing, “it’s just the hot pool…” and my body is tricked once again.

Something I like about swimming and about Cross fit: I am surrounded by normal looking people. I don’t realize how dreadfully hard I am on my body until I am away from the audition room and back among regular society. I don’t worry about my chest to waist ratio when I see a woman enter the pool with one breast removed from a mastectomy. The world immediately says to me, “Life is not TV. Be grateful.”

So, in the spirit of being grateful, I continue my Cross fit. Charlie is off getting married so I have his apprentice: Michael (the aforementioned handsome young Costa Rican fellow who always says “make it look pretty”.) I am sure I am making these burpees look anything but pretty but I appreciate his encouragement. “Ah, we’re back.”

I am sure Italian, like working out, like trying to eat properly, like any discipline…will have its moments of hunger, petulance and injury…but I know thirty more words than I did this morning. It’s like Nora learning the floating star fish. It’s learned now. Not even negligence can take la bambina nuota away.images


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1 comment

  1. Rene

    I can’t speak Plautdietsch OR Punjabi OR Hindi. I think I might be edging you out on this particular shortfall. 🙂

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