It’s not very often that I get a chance to ride my bike through the empty streets of Milan on a warm summer night..

A thousand words could never describe the beauty there is in this magnificent place..

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Bike gone missing part 2

After a long lazy weekend I had all but forgotten about bike gone missing. Truth be said the very next day I was already smiling and saying Good morning to Portinaia like any other morning.

Which is why this morning when I came downstairs and saw a little green bike that was not our missing bike, but definitely a child’s bike parked right smack inside Portinaia’s office I got this really terrible gut feeling that suddenly I was about to come face to face with that one guy I can not stand..

SHAME.

I try to stuff my head under the collar of my coat and almost make it out the door when I hear someone call me from behind. “Mi scusi” which is “excuse me” I turn around with a smile on my face and look directly into Portinaia ‘s bright blue eyes “Buongiorno” I say. Portinaia says to me in Italian “listen I’m really sorry about your daughter’s bike, I was tired and wasn’t thinking, anyway I got her this bike and well it’s not new, I mean I couldn’t afford to buy her a new bike, but I think it will work…” and now I feel really, really bad..because accidents do happen and how many have I made in my life, and while I was a bit upset about it the very last thing I wanted was for her to buy another bike! I look at this pretty Italian girl and tell her she did not have to get my daughter another bike, that I am really a nice person deep down inside and would have never expected her to buy another bike.

She looks at me and says “I know, that’s why I got it..”

I thank her about 100 times and then I look down at the little green bike with a panda horn on the handle bars and promise myself to never ever again get upset about the small stuff. Ever. Really. It’s a new me.

 

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Bike gone missing

I have been busy lately. Very busy. In the last 5 days I have been to an awesome lunch in Monferrato, (Piedmont area – 2 hours from Milan) stayed the night at a great bed and breakfast in the town of Garda, (Lake Garda also 2 hours away) and hosted a small dinner for 20 people on my terrace finding the best hidden fish market ever, to do so. Lot’s of good stuff to write about.

I take my kids to school and quickly rush into my building eager to start writing.

Regular doorman.

Regular doorman..

My portinaia is there in her  little office putting on her makeup. (portinaio/a means doorman) Portinaia has been our doorman for 3 months. Portinaia is about 28 years old, quite pretty, and spends basically the entire day playing video games on her cellular, painting her nails,

Our doorman..

Our doorman..

or talking on her phone.

Before going up to my apartment I remember to ask her where my daughter’s bike is, as yesterday we couldn’t seem to find it.

“Buongiorno” I say and this means good morning. “non riuscivo a trovare la bicicletta della mia figlia ieri, sa dovè puo essere?” I say. Which is basically have you by chance seen my  little girls bike?

“Si. Lo so dove, lo buttato via” and this means “Why yes, I do know where it is, I threw it away.”

“non ho capito.” I say and this means  I don’t understand. I do understand of course, but I have learned from Italians that when you are about to get REALLY mad about something you just heard you first say ‘non ho capito’ to give emphasis on whatever it is you just heard, it’s sort of the calm before a storm type of thing.

she continues “Beh, si..era li vicino il bidone da un mese, l’ho buttato”  which means “it was there near the trash cans so I threw it away”

This is true, I put our bikes near where the trash cans are. It is also true for about 8o% of the city, because in Milan the courtyards of apartment buildings usually have 2 things – bicycles and freaking trash cans.

I tell her that also mine was there and she didn’t throw it away. Then I say “mi scusi, ma perchè non mi hai chiesto se la bicicletta era da buttare?!” which means – why didn’t you ask me first? I say this in a very loud voice that S-man would call screaming because I am truly irritated not only do we have to spend a fortune for Portinaia to sit in a chair all day and paint her nails, now we have to pay extra when she does decide to do something.

To which she replies “comunque non era nuova la bicicletta” which means “anyway it’s not like it was new” and with this she turns around and goes back into her little office, shutting and locking the door behind her.

I am furious, I go upstairs and call S-man to tell him. He asks me where exactly did I put the little bike. I tell him “in the courtyard next to the trash cans”

then he says to me “non ho capito“…

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Where to shop high fashion vintage in Milan

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Recently, we went to have a hamburger at the very cool Deus Cafe- a concept/motorcycle/bicycle slash restaurant. After eating our hamburgers, buying t-shirts, and looking at motorcycles my kids and I found a hidden away RETRO STORE! That’s right, upstairs … Continue reading

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Weekends in Milan: Art Galleries

Me in the RainNever in our lives have we ever spent so many weekends in the city. Never in our lives have we ever seen so much rain! Today was no different, but I decide we are going to go and see art galleries. All of us. Even in the rain. Our first stop is a place that we happened to notice while on our bikes last weekend, Tornabouni Arte, a 5 minute walk from Via Della Spiga. S.man is busily chatting with the gallerist. My kids and I are quietly looking around. My daughter says to me. “What is this?” and she points to work of art that consists of 1 single line drawn horizontally on a very large blank canvas. I look down at her pretty little face and say ‘that is art’. She looks at me, and asks me if she can have a candy out of the candy tray.

Our second stop is to the famous Cardi Black Box, a neatly hidden, open space art gallery 20130525-145412.jpgin a small quiet courtyard of the Brera area. The terror twins are restless, they want to play, they don’t want to go to Art Galleries. I promise them presents if they behave. Once inside my children’s eyes light up. In the middle of the giant loft like space there is something that might seem like a giant jumping balloon to the eyes of a 4 year-old. They both start to move towards it. I stop them in their tracks. “DONT TOUCH IT, ITS ART!” my children look at me curiously.Art Milan On the walls are photographs of knives, women, naked women touching themselves. My husband is talking to the gallerist. My daughter starts to look at the photo’s. ‘let’s touch the balloon!’ I whisper to the kids. “just one little touch..”

We manage to make it to one more gallery in Via Brera called Miniaci Art Gallery before the skies open up on us dumping down buckets of wet cold rain. Just another weekend in Milan.

The Best site to find Art Galleries in Milan is Milano da Bere, 28 pages of ART GALLERIES TO CHOOSE FROM!! http://www.milanodabere.it/milano/gallerie_d_arte

 

 

 

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Milan, one big step forward..

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Weekends in Milan have never been better. This weekend the weather was beautiful and Milan was full of things to do for people of every age. This year along with the Orticola, the Flower Market that happens once a year … Continue reading

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Spring is here and Milano is at it’s best..

After a very long winter here in the big city we are finally starting to get what is known as Spring, and with flowers in full bloom Milan turns into the wonderful city of aperitivo and going out.

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Women all over the city start to switch from their winter boots to sexy high sandals and ever so flowy dresses. It’s Milano da bere (Milan to drink) they call it and the city is at it’s best in this period, as are the people!

Buon Milano!Buon Aperitivo!

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Have it your way..

Today is the 1st of May, otherwise known as Labour Day. The kids are off from school, S-man from work. We get to sleep in and relax, I need it. I am eating a bagel when S-man wakes up and announces ‘We are going to Leroy Merlin I need to see something.’ and this is very strange to me, because first, S-man does not even change a light bulb without calling a handy man, and secondly it is the first of May and we are in Italy..I am not even sure the hospitals are open today.

I’m  not up for adventures but the truth is I really need to go to Leroy Merlin. I need mosquito contraptions for my terrace, ties for my climbing Jasmine, spray paint, primer and sand paper, protection paint for the teak terrace, and well, another little plant with colorful flowers wouldn’t be bad. I race to get the kids ready telling them that the park is boring anyway, that we are going to some place really fun. As I tie my sons Converse I ask S-man, ‘hai guardato per essere sicuro che è aperto?’ which means ‘did you look on internet to make sure it’s open?’ to which he reply’s ‘Certo.’ Which means of course.

 We get to Leroy Merlin and one look at the parking lot tells me that it’s not open. But I don’t say anything.  S-man doesn’t miss a beat though, he knows of another place very close by. I look at the clock on the dashboard – 12.05, almost lunch time for the terror twins sitting in the backseat. It only takes us 5 minutes to get to the next mini-mall, where we find a Botanic store that is open. We park and head into the store. I move quickly managing to get a few things on my list and finding the most beautiful red Azalea ever.

The giant azalea

The giant azalea

We put it on our cart kicking the kids off, when my four-year old starts screaming. I look at my watch, it’s 1.00pm…oh no, I think, terror twin 1 turns into a monster when he doesn’t eat on time. I look at my husband and tell him I’m going to take the kids to Burger King while he pays. And my husband who I said this to in Italian, looks at me and says ‘non ho capito’ and this means I don’t understand…which is not true because I am quite sure he understood. Then he says ‘ma, no! assolutamente!’ and this means ‘no way! Absolutely not!’ ‘not a disgusting fast food place for my kids!’ (well not really, I made up that last part- but it was sort of the look he had on his face)

 Now, I am American and even though I am not particularly fond of fast food myself, I must admit a whopper and french fries is not going to kill anyone in emergency situations.

 My son is crying, he’s hungry, we are about 35 minutes away from our apartment. I think about my options then I take my kids by the hand and head to Burger King, leaving my husband to pay for the giant Azalea.

 We walk into Burger King and the first thing I notice is that it’s about 30 degree’s hotter inside than out. The second thing I notice is that there is about a thousand people standing in line. I sit my kids at a table and go and stand in line. After about 10 minutes I realize my line has just barely moved. Another 10 minutes and my husband comes in. ‘Ma cosa fai?’ and this means ‘what are you doing?’ To which I respond ‘what does it look like?’ I am really hot, and beginning to think this was a bad idea. I take off my jean shirt and stand in my old t-shirt. We should just leave, I know it, but now I’m half way there..pretty soon it will be my turn. Another 15 minutes pass before it is my turn, I’m about ready to start screaming my head off, instead I look at the cashier and give her my order. She puts the order of 2 kids meals in the computer. Another 5 minutes have passed. Then in very slow motion she puts 3 straws on a tray. She studies them for a moment and she carefully removes one straw. After she does this she decides to prepare another tray. She looks at the empty tray and then takes one of the 2 straws and places it on the new tray leaving each tray with one straw. She is just about to turn around and prepare the 2 kids meals when S-man comes up to the counter and asks her for a napkin. She looks at him and then gives him about 150 napkins. She puts the rest of the napkins away. She thinks about this for a moment and then she takes the napkins back out, and then deposits one napkin on each tray. Ooh, multi-tasking, I think. Except now she looks a bit lost, and she can’t quite remember where she was, or who she is for that matter. Out of the corner of my eye I see S-man moving towards the counter again so I look at him and make a hissing noise.

 After what seems like an eternity I finally have my children’s lunch. I take it to the table and S-man looks at me and says ‘ma cosa ti è venuta in mente a venire qui?’ which means ‘what on earth were you thinking coming here?’ and this is when I have to decide between squashing a whopper on his head or going outside for some air.

Outside the air is fresh the wind is blowing and I’m trying to remember what that old motto was for Burger King – then it comes to mind..have it your way.

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Less is not mor…

Less is not more, just less..

Nothing is more irritating than when your blog forgets who you are..

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Dear Giovanni Allevi,

Dear Giovanni Allevi,

I just wanted to thank you for the incredible concert you performed last night at the Arcimboldi here in Milan. You see, it was a very special event for us as my 7-year-old daughter is one of your biggest fans.

Life does not get any better than this..

Life does not get any better than this..

Actually you both have quite a bit in common,.. she plays the piano, you play the piano, she writes music, you write music, she has crazy hair days…you have crazy hair. I booked our seats in the front row and apart from the tattooed space invader on my left who was totally invading my space, (we Americans have a thing about our personal space,) apart from that one tiny thing we fully enjoyed it. Your incredible energy and talent spreading over your audience, your orchestra, and our 7-year-old like the sun on a cold winters day, giving warmth to everyone and everything around it. (Well you and tattoo man who was practically sleeping on my left arm.)

 

My daughter sat on the edge of her seat filled with enough emotion for the entire auditorium and by the end of the concert she was beat. So with her worn Sunrise CD  in her tired hand she and I set out to try to get an autograph. As any good mom would do – I decided to sneak in backstage.  Unfortunately once back there I didn’t know where to go, and then we got caught. The doorman was very kind and told us we were welcome to wait, but we might miss you as you usually go out in the foyer, so we made our way out into the foyer to wait. KC kept rubbing her eyes, her little skirt and special sweater she had put for the occasion wrinkled as I held her on my hip. Then slowly, slowly she fell asleep with her special Sunrise cd still in her hand..

No autograph this time – it looks like we will have to come and see your concert again to get it..actually if it’s not a problem maybe you could send some of those backstage passes that would be great,

Yours truly,

Grace

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