Friday, March 13, 2009


Blossoms at Arcetri 
So things have been a little quiet on 'A Little Gnocchi', because things are very much not quiet in the Little Gnocchi household. Both our jobs kicked up a notch this week. My students finally beginning to use my virtual walk-in hours, no more email answering during walk-in hours! Ahhhh, how will I manage it all? And Doug's work seemed to be moving forward too. For those in the know, they finally got the mirror on the test stand. Happy dance, happy dance. This, of course, during the week where we move to the new permanent apartment.

Moving to, not just visiting, a place where you don't speak the language kicks up the frustration level a few notches. Where do you get a phone? Soap dishes? Trash cans? I mean going out to Ikea via the free bus is cool a few times, but it quickly loses its appeal when you're dragging a two year old in tow and then walking through the center of Florence with large blue Ikea bags on the way back. So we're still without a phone, an iron (you know, for all that ironing I do), a hairdryer etc. For 24 hours we were also without pots, pans, silverware, cups, plates etc. I was pissy. Doug was patient. Anyway, that got me thinking about my mum.

Nearly forty years ago my mum and dad were living in Denmark and until just before I was born they were living in a hut like structure for students doing a residence at the field station. She is pretty sure they had hot water. Yeah, I'm spoiled. They were in a field in the middle of rural Denmark, I'm in Florence. They had hot water, I didn't on Wednesday, but really all I needed it for was to fill up the jacuzzi tub to relax and forget about moving frustrations. Did I mention the jacuzzi tub? It must have been incredibly isolating for my mum, pregnant, miles from anyone, but the cows, which apparently use to surround the hut and prevent escape. Here I am, in an incredible city, with the internet which via Ravelry and The Florentine I have found not one, but two knitting get togethers and an English speaking, once weekly playgroup, and ludoteches which are basically free organized playarea/groups with staff. Internet, I thank you.

The other big difference between now and forty years ago, ease of travel. My mum was isolated. Visits from friends and family were close to non-existent. Although apparently my Gran did have Guinness Beer regularly shipped to my mum after I was born to help with the breastmilk production. I know, that explains so much about me. My mum has been able to come out and visit twice and we've not been here a month yet.

My mum is here this weekend, playing with Ila, enjoying Italy, celebrating my birthday. England to Italy in 2009 is just not that big a deal. Have to love that. To celebrate her second visit to Italy, we shared the delights of our local gelateria, La Carraia. I know any excuse. 

La Carraia, is just south of the Arno, which makes the prices very reasonable and they have lovely homemade gelato. I've walked past at 5:30pm on a chilly day and the place was heaving. We wait a little while after dinner before indulging. I have to say, I'm more of a fruit gelato gal than a creamy chocolate gal. I know, you're shocked. 

Gelato is mind bogglingly good. I typically just try one flavour at a time, to make sure that my taste buds don't get overloaded and go into some sort of super stimulus breakdown. That is probably how I should address my moving frustrations too: one at a time.  And of course, to keep remembering how fortunate, how privileged and how spoilt I am by a life that occasionally sends along a few moving frustrations.             


  1. Notice for blog comment visitors that we are still heavily into food. Having eaten the ice-cream last night I am not surprised.

    This is a beautiful place to visit, it feels very safe and compact. For those coming via Pisa, it is an easy bus transfer via Terravision. Tickets can be bought on line and my return for a 70 minute journey was just 16 Euros. And it actually took only 50 minutes because the traffic was so easy.

    The city is also very close to Rome (two hours on the train) and Venice - a bit longer. For UK visitors, Italy (thanks to the lousy pound) has become expensive again. But as cities go, this is not too bad and you do not have to walk too far from the centre to be able to get some lovely coffee.

  2. Happy Birthday! Happy Gelato!


  3. P.S. For your household needs, seek out a "mesticheria" (hardware store, but they should stock basic household items too). Also there used to be a store called UPIM in the center of Florence that was a bit like Kmart (though not nearly as cheap).


  4. Thanks Deborah. This is great stuff to know.