It is that time of year again when the birds serenade us with their songs, children play outdoors, and the American girls in Calabria get together to discuss the state of our unions. We moved the Calabrian Womens Summit back two months this year from March to May, and while we weren’t able to celebrate in conjunction with International Women’s Day, we did shed our jackets and stroll along the Catanzaro lungomare.
And it was nice!
Participating summit members this year were none other than our very own Michelle of Bleeding Espresso, from Pennsylvania/Badolato, still blogless Dawn from West Virginia/Bovalino, and yours truly. The latest addition to the American gals in Calabria lineup, Carla from Boston/Catanzaro, was called away at the last minute and was unable to attend the summit.
Here’s a quick recap of lessons learned throughout the weekend.
>> You don’t get ripped off when you know the owner! One of the highlights of the event is Girls’ Lunch Out. I know, I know… this may seem odd to those of you in North America or in larger areas in Italy. However, it IS an event for us. There are few, if any, restaurants open for lunch in Badolato or Bovalino, and just a handful here in Catanzaro. Although we know they took us for a giro last year, we returned to the same pizzeria because the quality is just too good to pass. However, this year, instead of coughing up 15 euro a piece, we paid 10 each for, more or less, the same meal. They recognized me this year!
>> When a store clerk says something “doesn’t cost much,” he really means it. After years of loyal service, Dawn’s faithful shoes bid us a sad farewell. Since you have to take out a second mortgage on your home to afford high quality shoes in Italy, we hit the Chinese stores. Dawn quickly found a pair she liked and hurried to find her size.
“How much do these cost?” I asked the store clerk.
“Uhm, uhm… those don’t cost much!” He said decisively.
I looked at Michelle who was standing near a flip flop display, raised my eyebrow, and waited for him to continue.
Impatiently, Michelle demanded, “HOW much?”
“Uh, uh… six euro.”
>> Don’t assume the train will be on time. The CWS was scheduled to end Sunday evening, with Michelle and Dawn taking the last train of the night (at 6:45 PM mind you) home. We arrived at the station with plenty of time to spare (ok, it was really only three minutes) and the girls quickly purchased their tickets. We were suddenly thrown behind schedule when the man was reluctant to give Michelle change for her 20 euro bill. We quickly counted up our change and her ticket was purchased. The girls validated their tickets and ran for track three with a minute to spare. Just as Dawn hit the top step… the train pulled away – a full one minute early!
We quickly returned to the change-less ticket vendor to review options. There were no more trains and no more buses until Monday morning. There was quick exchange between us and the ticket vendor regarding “WHY on earth the girls would VALIDATE their tickets,” before he stamped each ticket a few (dozen) times and told them they could use them the next day.
The summit was extended.
We returned to Il Cedro quickly before heading to the new movie theater in Lamezia to see Notte Brava a Las Vegas, or What Happens in Vegas.
We felt like we were in America! We bought over-sized popcorn tubs and big gulps. We hid candy in our purses. We sat in stadium seats and saw movie-style decorations in the restrooms. It was great!
Then, Bugs Bunny came on the screen to tell us to turn off our cell phones and throw away our trash, or at least that is what I think he said. We weren’t in America anymore.
But then something happened to make us question fate and contemplate our destiny. We now understood why the girls missed their train. It was, quite possibly, the BEST part of the weekend.
We saw a trailer for the Sex and the City movie.
Coming… May 30.
The girls will be back!
What is the last thing you did with the girls (or guys)? Are any of you planning to see the Sex and the City movie? Do you think it will translate well into Italian?