Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Positivity pays

A window at the Basilica di San Francesco.
 It worked.

Wacky nap schedule meant that we went out right in the middle of pausa pranzo (which means every thing is closed and half the city is home eating a big lunch with their family), but the library was open and we had it almost all to ourselves.

A mom came in and told me it was her first time at the library. She said she didn't speak any English, nor did she understand any (She asked: Di dove sei? And I said: Sono Americana di Utah. The "Utah" part really threw her off. I tried explaining it was one of the 50 States, but ended up just leaving it at, Sono Americana. Basta!) but we communicated a bit.

Her daughter is the same age as Ada and was a little sick so she warned I should probably keep my daughter far away (Ada would have none of it. She's too social). I heard her ask the librarian where books for small babies are. He motioned towards the back of the room and I heard her say that that room doesn't have baby books in Italian, it only has books in Arabic and Chinese (it's true. Maybe the librarian was new?) She seemed frustrated, so  I showed her a few of the books that Ada really likes. She asked if I come to the library every day, I said, "No, non tutti i giorni, ma due o tre volta per settimana." Then she followed up with, "Allo stesso tempo?" "Di solito un po' dopo."

Ada set a new P.B. and walked probably 30 feet to her favorite librarian (she got so excited, squealed, pointed at her, and then followed her finger all the way to the librarian with the jingly lanyard). The librarian asked her age again, and after I told her she said, "Presto, eh?" I replied,"Si. Tropo presto. Non sono pronto!" We both laughed as Ada toddled away.

Wah-lah! Practicing my Italian. It felt so good to use it (even though it is still so painfully limited).

Then we explored some place new: The Basilica di San Francesco.

Basilica di San Francesco
 I've been meaning to get to this church ever since I went to a lecture on art in Bologna. The lecturer talked about how central the University of Bologna is in the art history of this city. The Franciscans (like the DominicansI'm learning so much about the Catholic church's religious orders here) were a progressive order of Friars that valued secular learning as well (there is a library in the church as well as in the Basilica di San Domenico). They played a part in the establishment of the University here.

A view across the central nave looking into one of the chapels.
 The interior is about as Gothic as anything I've seen in Italy. The altar piece especially was so striking because it was in such stark contrast to every other gilded, Romanesque altar piece I've seen here. And it may be my favorite church yet (though San Domenico is right up there). I love the highly patterned interior, especially all the stripes.

The bell tower.
On the church grounds are several raised sarcophagi. Normally, emporers, church leaders or other important figures are the only ones to merit such a spectacular burial. But not in Bologna. The tombs here house the bodies of deceased lawyers (who were also teachers at the University of Bologna). The University of Bologna is still the premier institution to study law at. The reverence the Franciscans and Dominicans had for past professors is incredible.

One of the many tombs for professors on the church grounds.
After visiting the church I found rubber cement AND packing tape. And Ada was asleep by the time we ate. And dinner was good. And I sketched (though not for 15 minutes. Try and try again . . .) And the laundry is done (for now).

There is truly power in a positive attitude.

Advent Calender Day 14: eating almond bars from the Christmas market
Christmas Song: O Come O Come Emmanuel by Sufjan Stevens

O Come O Come Emmanuel by Sufjan Stevens on Grooveshark

1 comment:

katrina - dot dot dash said...

love that first photo, and lovely blog, great ideas through photos x

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