Sunday, September 20, 2009

Domestic Domenica

In Italy, the word for Sunday is Domenica. For most, if not all Italians, it is the one day of the week which is to be spent with family at home, or at another relative’s house. On Sundays in Florence, there is no school and only stores which tourists would frequent are open. The only two almost guaranteed activities are a family dinner around 1 or 2 pm and going to mass. I remember Sundays when I was growing up and they were very home and church centered as well. I also remember with great joy the Sundays spent at my Italian grandparents’ house eating delicious pasta and being allowed to drink homemade red wine. I can never remember though, who exactly made the wine, but I know it was not my grandparents. It makes me feel good to see these same traditions alive and well and even thriving in modern day Italy. I only wish the same thing was true in the U.S., but we just move too fast in the States.
Since all my Italian friends are gone this weekend, Sam has returned home, and I have not yet contacted my actual blood relatives here yet, I have decided to make today my Domestic Domenica! Even as I write the words…I have to wonder if the two do not have similar spellings for a reason! ;-)
When Sam and I arrived here over three weeks ago, we hit the ground running and I had no time to just be in my apartment and make it my own. Today, all that has changed and instead of moping and feeling lonely I decided to really get down and dirty with cleaning this place. My landlords, as fabulous as they are, did not have the opportunity to do so before I moved in, because the former tenants moved out early on the day of my arrival. There was barely time to change the linens before I got here and the former tenants (not from UNC, but temporary summer visitors) left the place in a bit of a mess. As I noted before, the couch was destroyed and pots and pans were left dirty with gunk caked onto them.
Today I gave everything I could “the once over”, though I am saving my bedroom for Tuesday, when I have more free time. The floors were in urgent need of my attention. Here in Italy, almost all the floors are made of marble or some sort of ceramic tile. Let’s just say this; you never want to drop a glass here, because it will surely be destroyed! My apartment, as standard 19th century homes go, is wall-to-wall marble and I’m guessing it hasn’t been cleaned in months. Just one walk across the floors in bare or sock feet and you would have black soles. You see here in Florence, there is a black dust that floats through the air. None of us are sure what it is, but I’m banking on it being smog or even acid rain, because it corrodes the lawn furniture and then comes out of your nose when you blow it. BLECK! (Ok, I know it’s not very pretty sounding, but all dream locations have their downsides!) Anyways, this same black dust tends to collect upon the marble floors and throw rugs whenever you open a window or shutter. Keep in mind though -throwing open windows and shutters here is what makes you realize that you live in Florence…it’s a romantic notion of the past, which can be seen in courtyards all around Italy and even Europe. So when it comes to the black dust you have two choices, live in a closed, dark, old house from the 1800’s or throw caution to the wind (literally) and enjoy the beauty of living in a Tuscan home in 21st century Florence. I choose the later, which means, I must clean the floors!
In about two hours today I was able to sweep, vacuum (yes vacuum!), and mop all the floors in my apartment, except those in my bedroom. At 2:36 in the afternoon on a Sunday, I am still wearing my pajamas and I am sweating like crazy, but my house is clean and I have realized that it is all mine, at least for this year. Even my sister would be proud, because not only do the floors and the apartment look fantastic, but they smell fantastic too!
I hope that whatever you all are doing today…you are enjoying your Domestic Domenica, as I am.
Oh, I am also excited to note that my landlord will be replacing my couch this week with a brand new sofa-bed from, of all places, IKEA!!!  When it arrives, I will be able to accommodate 3-5 people, besides myself, comfortably in this apartment. So, I say again, book your tickets and come visit…Florence is waiting for you!!!!

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