April 30, 2007


past/present/future. nothing as beautiful.

and those older tell me maria was always fun. women would have braids in their hair by the end of the day. they tell me she was madly in love; devoted. she was beautiful. like i cannot even describe. she had good legs, even in her 80s.

the greatest compliment was that i resemble my namesake. i can only strive each and every day to be the maria i am to be.
con amore.

April 29, 2007

therapy dinner

it had been a while since i last cooked anything specifically "italian." i've been in a slump, and often if i'm not happy, i do probably the worst thing i can do: not cook. i lose motivation, even though i realize if i'd just put in my 30 minutes to an hour, i'd be happy again, eating something so delectable. so here we are:

on the inside is this:

and also grated parmesean (with part of the knuckle of my thumb).

make yourself happy too!!

i don't know what i will do this summer without this book. maybe i'll be better having to ask the locals.

April 17, 2007

$5,000 tradimento

i can be a strong caprese girl, too. i have the proof.

April 13, 2007

The Secret

there is one painting i haven't seen in person. there is one painting i want. it was a sketch for the painting, the secret. my grandparents have the secret; it's unfinished and rather eerie. the pastel sketch is what i want.

and in one swift move, at the cost of four grand, my cousin, nina marie, betrayed the bernardo and barse family entirely. selling to strangers at an art dealer house.

1. that's fucking insane. not one person in our family has any desire to be rid of the paintings of my family and capri.
2. let's just say someone was insane and wanted to get rid of the art. the LEAST someone could do, the DECENT thing to do is to first offer the artwork to family.
3. i mean who does not understand the family consensus that we want the art to stay in the family? i thought this was perfectly clear. i've known this for as long as i was cognizant of what the paintings were.

why do i continually feel that my access to my own family is blocked while random strangers have access to the lives of rosina ferrara and maria primavera??

i will not regret one ugly word spoken to nina marie nor will she receive sympathy when she begins to feel the weight of guilt and regret that is surely on its way for her grandiose mistake and betrayal. it wasn't just this one painting she sold....

but this is the one that i wanted more than anything.
maria's beauty is simply arresting. i simply have no words to convey the overwhelming, the sense of understanding in her eyes, and the sense of loss, how i want so badly to be her: maria primavera bernardo

(addendum, 4/30/07: it seems that all three siblings sold paintings, not just nina marie. what a waste.)

April 10, 2007

Le Chiese

My first lover in Italy had peppered hair. He was only 28 and he hated it. But, of course, it’s what I noticed first; that, and it was curly. Curly and graying!!!! I thought. Mio dio, perfetto. I knew I would be after him in minutes; we talked about politics. I got embarrassingly drunk and forgot my camera in his car. We were to meet the next day so I could retrieve my belongings. I spent the whole day with him, and the next. And so on. When I left him for the next city in my vacation plans, I was confusingly devastated. I looked in the mirror that night and found a pure white hair on the top of my head. I thought it a sign and returned to Rome the next day to stay with him. We walked the city together and because I walked with a native, I too felt native, not a tourist. I had my own personal translator. In Siena we had large lunches, complete with the most delicious wine. We were already arguing; we’d return to the hostel, argue more, cry, and then make love. Paolo called me overdramatic, but I had thought surely in Italy my behavior would blend in.

In every city that I stayed, I visited as many chiese as I could. Seeing as how Paolo and I are both atheist, he seemed rather perplexed. I sat inside on a pew staring at the altars. It was not long before I began praying – to who I’m not sure. The first altar I prayed at was in Basilica di San Pietro and Paolo was not with me that day (in fact, I did not know I was to meet Paolo that very night). One of the reasons that I even wanted to visit Rome was to see the Pietà. Behind dirty plexiglass, zillions of tourists snapping photos with their cellphones and shitty digital cameras, Maria still held all of her wonder, all of her dignity, pain, purity and grace. Perhaps it was she who was perfect, and not her son. But something in me came alive. There was meaning for love and life. Voglio essere una moglie e una madre. And in Italy, motherhood is still sacred.

I prayed at le chiese, mainly to myself. Trying to understand new love, understand me, and everything else. I wondered about the saints, their devotion, obsession, and eventual sacrifice. Le chiese are dark, cool, and damp – a much needed relief from Italy’s summers. They are forever quiet and bring peaceful solitude from the craziness of the streets. I peek in, creep in, when I need a space for meditation. I sat through a service or two, awkward without the lifelong practice – and understanding the language would have helped little. Here, at Easter, I wanted to go to church. See the people filled with hope. Wanting to go back – it makes sense really. It is finding comfort in an obsessive ritual. It’s what they call home.

Paolo fell in love with my praying, maybe because he found peace for just a moment, or maybe because he began to understand my duplicitous ways – “I love when you (improvisely) change the subject, and when you talk to yourself inside the churches.” Nevertheless, I still have my white hair; and it’s the mark that I carry.

April 9, 2007

ohio still sucks

you might remember i posted this photograph a couple months earlier:

essentially: italy's effect, personified. this woman embodies how i feel when i am in italy -- weightless, beautiful, dancing, and carefree.

this is by far one of the most beautiful graffiti pieces i've ever seen in my life, and i happen to be lucky enough to live down the street from it. and frankly, it's rare to find anything even remotely beautiful in ohio. la bella donna lives on the side of a convenience store and i pass by her at least twice daily on my walk to and from the bus stop. there was a time when i was nervous she would disappear, but she remained steadfast, reminding me of italy, reminding me i would soon be there--i would be her.

today, however, she is gone. someone has finally painted over her so that now i am greeted by a plain beige wall everyday instead. ohio just made itself uglier. it has proved, yet again, that it has little to nothing (good) to offer. viva l'italia!

April 2, 2007


1. my external hard drive has crashed. this perhaps will set me back. sometimes i think this is the sign. the sign that i should not be here... i should be there. and then i remember i'm on the cusp of something great. andy says it will only get better. this is only material, rachel. he says it is a sign that i should backup.
2. but fabio's mother is ill and needs a liver transplant. and when i think in perspective, sento egoista. e poi, penso a quest'estate a italia.
3. questa è dove fabio legge nella piazza.

and i need his strength.