Saturday, September 19, 2015

Radio Capital

We have established a Saturday tradition in our house where we tune in to Radio Capitale, Rome's main radio station and I clean the house while my husband putters.  While I am dusting and windexing away, I struggle to make out the words that the DJs are saying all to quickly for my limited understanding of Italian.  It's a little frustrating, but the joy I get when I realize that I just understood something that they said is really unmatched by anything else.  The only thing I can compare it to is how I felt when my son finally learned to poop on the bowl, 1 week before the start of kindergarten (yes, it's that good).

The station itself follows none of the same rules as American radio programming, and does not stick to a predictable format.  Here in the US, we are very label and genre sensitive and we don't want our death metal and smooth jazz to coexist anywhere near each other on the dial.  When you tune in to whatever the current, all-hits radio station is, you just know that if someone had a brain fart and played Led Zeppelin, the phone lines would light up in an Armageddon of vitriol.  It's true.  Someone could lose a testicle in that kind of melee.

The relaxed and open minded Italians seem to have no concept of format driven radio.  They will play Earth Wind and Fire next to the Weekend next to a live Eric Clapton song (they love the live stuff).  And deep cuts are not off the table at all.  They'll go way into a Genesis album and pluck out a song so moody and obscure, it will have you wondering whether someone slipped you a psychedelic in your Starbucks Flat White.

What I rarely hear on Radio Capitale are songs sung in Italian.  If I listen throughout the day, I may hear two, maybe three songs sung in Italian.  What I have never heard until today is an American song translated into Italian.

As I dusted the bar in the den, a familiar intro came on and as I prepared for these lyrics,

"I know what you're doing
I see it all too clear
I only taste the saline
When I kiss away your tears"

I got these instead, 

"So che cosa pensi 
รจ chiaro ormai per me 
il gusto troppo amaro 
delle tue lacrime"

Mind blown.

Duncan Sheik's uptempo but ultimately forlorn song was translated beautifully into Italian by Niccolo Fabi.  Here is an audio of the song.  It's worth a listen as the song's sad confusion over love is evident, even without a word of Italian.

Like Catherine Scorcese famously said in Goodfellas, "in Italian, it sounds much nicer".

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Back to School - Old and Disillusioned Style

The kids are back to school so I figured that I owed the obligatory back to school post.  Yay.

I suppose that I feel lackluster about it this year because it is lackluster.  My son started his second year of college, so he started a full week and a half earlier than my daughter.  My daughter started yesterday, which totally took me by surprise as I was expecting her to start the Wed after Labor Day, like all other years...except this one. Luckily for me, I am an early shopper and had already sunk a butt-load of cash into school clothes and supplies, so at least she was prepared. Yay me and my uncontrolled shopping habit. Is there a pill for that?

For all prior years we were on top of things and organized enough to get a thumbs up with our new back packs and first day of school outfits picture with the two kids together.   This year my son was sound asleep as we took the picture of my daughter at 6:15 am, before she left for her bus, which arrives at the butt crack of dawn.  That was the time that it actually said on the official schedule from the school district - "Time: Butt crack of Dawn".  I appreciate their honesty, and their pithy wit.

I think the thing that is most meh about this school year is that it is the realization that this is the beginning of the big move for my kids.  My son will finish his second year of college locally and is likely to finish out his last two years in the city, which means moving to the city.  And my daughter, single minded and possessed of a burning desire to be as far away from her family as humanly possible, will be applying to colleges in such far off places as Chicago, Virginia and California.  My feeling is that if she is accepted to all, she will take the one that is the longest plane ride away from us.  18 years with this collection of dorks was plenty (if I may paraphrase based on the look on her face, alone).

This is a bittersweet time, as we get prepared to become empty nesters.  And while it will be almost a full 2 years until the next is totally empty, there will be a lot of run-up over those 2 years in preparation for the empty nest.  College visits, applications, disappointments, happiness, and every other teenage (and parental) emotion that comes in between.  I hope I can handle it.  I have total faith that they can, but I am kind of a wild card.  There is equal possibility that I will handle it with stoic strength and fortitude or that I will be a blubbering pile of jelly that has to be carted to college visits in a wheelbarrow with a bottle of vodka and a crazy straw. Only time will tell. But keep the vodka on ice...just in case.