Sicily 05: “Mi scusi, I don’t speak Italian – I speak art.”

Eggplants.

I used to know eggplants only because of an animation series on Cartoon Network called “Courage, the cowardly dog”. They were the bad guys, so, obviously, you avoid the bad guys. But in reality this vegetable is just not so well known in Latvia. And if I am correct then first time I saw someone cooking an eggplant (In LV) was this summer at my house, when Nanna and Ida – the lovely Danes – were visiting.
Perdonami, mamma, if I’m wrong and you have sneaked some eggplants in our food when we were growing up.
For all those funny people who used to toss jokes about my inability to cook, I have conquered the castle of food making! And this might be one of the side effects of being a gluten-avoiding vegetarian living in a different country.
And one more message straight to you, Jēkab – I have found my way to the kitchen, and it’s amazing, thank you very much. Have no need to marry you now, but we can still be friends.

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This has been a very, very clumsy week… or maybe even two weeks. To briefly summarize it: I have a tendency to treat my joints badly by twisting them or dropping heavy objects..
Anyway I decided to participate in the percussion course (which was Amazing and if you are not in that group yet, you should reconsider your life!), where, of course, as in every first lesson it is crucial to learn the 3 levels of drumming – deep base note, higher middle tone and the SLAP, which from our Odder lessons I already knew. A LOT of slapping was done. Luckily most of these painful reminders worked as a memento that caution is a good trait to have for a naturally awkward person like me.
So this has been a confusingly clumsy period, and not just by physical actions – by words as well, but that is a different kind of story. The culmination or conclusion of this week was our karaoke night and my “don’t know why I always choose this song” performance, that was not so bad, if you’ll watch the video, but not the best I can do either.

As some of you have maybe seen, we found a piano here – in the hart of Acireale, right next to Piazza Duomo (wich, if you’ll travel through Sicily is the main square in every second town) – at Pasticceria Costarelli.

But I am still hoping that one of these days there will be a small, not so enlightened corner with a piano, where I could rest my soul without having an audience – physical and virtual. Because the thing that every amateur craves for is a place to practice, not a place to perform unpracticed randomness as I’ve been doing for a couple of times now.
Why can’t people enjoy the music like some Latvians do – without showing that they are enjoying it, without noticeably paying attention really… That was the question that arose in my mind the last time I sat at that dashingly white piano.
“Mi scusi, I don’t speak Italian. I speak art.”
“Lei è un artista!” – they said, while I was sinking deeper in the couch and pretending that I’m not listening. Not that I differ from the majority of people who are either not confident enough or so modest that the natural reaction towards them would be wanting to kick them in the face, but I genuinely feel that having this little sketchbook that I have is nothing – compared to people who are here, between us, creating magic… People who are wordy to be called artists because of the beauty they produce. So by putting me up there between them is like putting a shaved French poodle between Russian wolfhounds and saying that it’s the same, only smaller.
But a long, philosophical walk [read: inner conversation while walking] with myself one day made me wonder after all…what defines artists? Is it the things they choose to do? Is it the way to express oneself? I have read so many theories, articles and educational materials about this topic that it all is mashed together and floating somewhere with my breakfast.
Art in words, in images, in thoughts, in actions… a poet can be an artist as much as a painter is, and a philosopher is an artist of thoughts as much as a photographer is an artist of images. We desire to be accepted in this category – “the artist” – even though by being shaped in God’s resemblance it is built in our core – to create. No matter what shape one chooses. Musicians are artist, cooks are artists, construction workers are artists, sellers are artists, leaders are artists, building a relationship requires creativity… and creating confusion is an art form, if you ask me, because you create something out of an average situation.
It felt like I am jumping from one period to another – realism, impressionism, modernism, post-modernism – all in the same kettle and at the end I became an artist of confusion, went home and played a U2 song, just because.

I truly hope that after returning home I will manage to switch off – or at least decrease Sicily’s imprint that is becoming more and more visible with every day I spend here… What do I mean by that, you’ll ask? Well, for example – I was used to showing up on time or even a few minutes before (Inta will argue though that this point is invalid), and even being 5-10 minutes late provided guilt and inner condemnation.
I am growing out of this for sure and it feels so good.
And don’t get me started on the rain situation. Whenever it rains, you can be sure – life will be on Pause. Rain is “toxic”, you can’t go out when it rains, especially without an umbrella – you will melt for sure. I wonder what would happen if miraculously it would snow one day.

Yours sarcastically,
d.

And, btw –  a little story from our everyday life:

“Are you a vampire?”- the tall, funny, “as american as can be” man asked me. “Of course I am.”- I replied.

“Do you see this?”- he asked, while showing the tan line where his arm and T-shirt met. “It is called the Sun. You should try it.”
“Oh, thanks, I’ll consider it.”- I said, trying to keep a straight face.
This man was Robert, an american/german ex-soldier, traveling with his wife and a little baby boy who stole Aniko’s and Andrea’s hearts.
This is just one type of conversation you can get with people who are staying at Pino’s AirBNB upstairs. New neighbors every now and then – never get’s boring.
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