Thursday, May 29, 2008

granita, falafel, and dirty laundry

i've been here over a month, and this morning my cell phone finally switched to milan time. at least, now i don't have to do math every time i want to know what time it is.

yesterday, i replied to another email from one of my roommates in nyc. i really worked at being calm and factual, rather than snippy and sarcastic, which is my default. he still wanted their deposit back, despite the fact that they gave me only 6 days notice that they were moving out. i haven't heard back from him. my mom's afraid they're going to trash the place.

i'd like to modify what i wrote yesterday about english language theatre in milan not being a hot ticket item. we had a full house last night, and afterward, the audience was extremely appreciative. the lobby got a little crowded for me, and my old shyness crept in a bit, so rather than awkwardly standing by myself next to the coat rack glancing at the crowd and pretending i was very busy with hangers, i went back into the performance space to clean up my character's props (of which there are many), and even hiding in there i was found by two very sweet italians, silvia and alberto, who communicated to me in very broken english how impressed they were by the show. i was touched.
i also spoke with a woman named ornella who's a social worker here, and she said she got goosebumps watching the show (it's about domestic violence). we got quite a lot of very positive feedback, which is so rewarding after all our hard work.

then we ran back to the loft, washed our feet, changed our clothes, and jumped in the car laura had borrowed to go to the closing night soiree of an arts festival that camila, our pr person, was promoting. it may not look like it, but everyone was energized by the great response we'd had from our audience earlier.

the arts festival party was at a bar and felt very much like we were all back in nyc.
i'm not sure if javi was in pain, or staring in disbelief, or what.

the girls are dancing.

true to form, we all got hungry and went around the corner to the kebab place to get some falafel. this made me feel even more like i was in ny. it wasn't the best falafel i've ever had, but at that point, it didn't really matter. we devoured them.

now that i'm uploading these photos, we do kinda look tired. it'd been a long day. it started when ej, gaby, and myself went to a little pasticceria in our neighborhood. what a revelation!

it was the complete opposite of the sort of atmosphere we experience at the restaurant adjacent to our performance space. at this little bakery, everyone was so sincerely friendly, making sure everything was just as we wanted it. the owner chatted with us and asked us if we like granita, and when we didn't know what that was, he had three different flavors made for us: lemon, strawberry, and coffee.

they were all so fresh and tasty. the lemon one even had a couple of seeds in it. the strawberry was my favorite.

then the three of us attended to some long-neglected laundry. we thought we'd be smart and use a local laundromat, rather than invade laura's home again. we loaded up our bags, got on the bus, and arrived to find that we had the whole place to ourselves. perfect! we separated the laundry into three washing machines. there was a vending machine for detergent and other mysterious powders, so we picked through our coins and prepped each washing machine with soap. we were following the directions written in multiple languages high on the wall. it said to go to the cash payment unit (across the room), put in the exact amount of money as it doesn't give change, push the button with the corresponding number of your washing machine, go back to your machine, select the temperature, and push start. simple.

when we first got there, we were all going about this on our own and gaby got to the "push start" moment first. unfortunately, nothing happened. she put 5 euro into the cash payment unit and that first machine wouldn't start. then we joined forces to figure out what went on. we discovered that there is a 3 minute time limit from the time you deposit the money to the time you push start, and after that, you lose your money. she swears she did it within 3 minutes. the door to her washing machine was closed properly, she'd followed the directions, we couldn't figure out why the machine wasn't washing. the temperature in the laundromat was rising. we decided to proceed to our second machine and see if we could get that going. i manned the cash payment unit while ej manned the washing machine. i carefully deposited 3 euro into the unit and pushed the corresponding number of our machine. ej selected the temperature and hit start. we waited. nothing happened. we're beginning to imagine having to unload the washing machines and repack our bags with dirty laundry. or we're going to have to grab an innocent passerby from the street to explain to us what we're doing wrong. we were hot and hungry and frustrated. ej walked over to the cash payment unit.
"you put in 3.50, right?"
"are you sure? because it looks like it's telling us you only put in 3 euros."
the last 20 minutes started to blur in my brain. buying detergent, digging coins out of my wallet, mountains of dirty dirty laundry...
"i'm pretty sure."
wasn't that flashing 3.00 telling us that our 3 minute time limit was almost up? no?
i deposited another 50 cents. i pressed the number of our washing machine. ej pressed start. it started! we managed to repeat that twice more for the other machines. we were mental giants! we could conquer the world!

these photos of us brainiacs were taken after we'd all calmed down.

a reenactment at the cash payment unit

look how peaceful the world was just outside the door.

we splurged and put the sheets in the dryer.

ah, the joy of travel. sometimes it's less apparent than other times.

1 comment:

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