23/2/2015

Two days ago, it was my daughter's biological one year birthday. She
is so big now but she's still my baby doll. When I carry her around,
it reminds me of when I used to carry baby dolls around under my arm.
She doesn't really like for me to dress her anymore so every diaper
change etc is one big wrestling match. Sometimes, I lose it and snap
at her and then I have to remember that these are the days, etc. and I
remember myself.

Things are better. I'm feeling more confident about the driving test.
I take online and practice exams every day and more often than not I
do pass them. That's giving me more confidence. I don't know Italian
at all but I know the language of the drivers exam with razor-sharp
clarity. I have to learn it somehow. Giovanni and his family are
chomping at the bit to get me into drivers school. I'm getting
lukewarm to it--or I'm warming up. I was very afraid before because I
didn't understand the language and I wasn't doing very well on the
practice exams; now I'm doing better on the practice exams and the
book makes a lot more sense. I'm also getting wise to the trick
questions.

Yesterday, Aunt Verena came to visit. The baby had a late nap so it
was almost four o'clock when she and I went down. Everyone was already
waiting for us at the kitchen table. I was surprised! Aunt Verena
offered to take me somewhere, so I suggested Largo Grande in
Avigliana. In retrospect, I don't think that's what she meant. Maybe
she meant I was supposed to choose the Auchan if I needed a carton of
milk. Whatever. She drove me to Largo Grande and we walked around. She
speaks very clearly and I understand her mostly. I like her but it's
easy to like someone you don't live with. We walked around the lake
with all the other Sunday tourists. It was beautiful but it got cold
as soon as the sun set.

Giovanni left for Brindisi yesterday. I don't know what it is, however, the baby
ALWAYS gives me grief when it's just her and me alone. She hasn't
woken in the night in a long time and she woke up in the night last
night. I was able to stave off full-on disaster, though. Now that I'm
weaning Anna, I can drink caffeine in the afternoon. I had a cup of
tea yesterday and regretted it when I was staring at the ceiling for
over three hours in the night.

I was up in bed listening to Thicht Naht Hahn giving a speech on
"letting go." It was difficult to understand his thick accent. Funny,
yesterday, Verena had a difficult time understanding me when I said
something in a way that I thought was clear, loud, and slow. I'm
understanding a lot more than I used to. Instead of things taking 15
seconds to make sense, it now takes more like 5 seconds. It's by no
means instantaneous, however. I don't know if that will ever happen.  It's like a switch.
I do have to turn it on and off. If I turn it on, I can understand.
But if the switch is off, it's just noise. Same with reading. I have
to parse everything out.

I need to work on my grammar. Right now, I'm working on basic
memorization. I need to learn the tricks and ways of the language in
order to process novel words and phrases.

I spent the morning studying drivers ed and then went downstairs to
collect Anna after two hours. She was out in the garden and now
they're feeding her so I'm going to go get her in 20 minutes.

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