Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nebbia in Val Padana

Home sweet home…

I’ve been living out of Milan, the city where I was born and grown up, for about 14 years - more than one-third of my life. And I have spent the last two years in Rome, the antithesis of Milan.

But have noticed that the Milanese in me is well alive and kicking - when, after a seven-hour drive under the starry skies of Italy, at the Melagnano toolboth, the southern gate of Milan, Leo and I were welcomed by a wall of thick, almost impenetrable fog. And, taking with confidence the right exit from the motorway (with that thick fog, an impossible operation for a foreigner), felt the incomparable sweet taste of being at home…

Ps: we’ll be in Milan until Sunday morning, and then fly to Le Cap Ferret, on the Atlantic Coast near Bordeaux, where we’ll stay until Friday 28. We’ll then be in Liguria around New Year’s Eve, and finally back to Rome on January 1. Not sure how often we’ll manage to update the Blog in the next dozen of days. If we won’t, a very merry Christmas and a happy new year to all of you since now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quando sarò vecchio*

Leo or Santa Claus? 

(*) Courtesy of Jovanotti.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

(Re-) Discovering a Christmas tree - one year later

A few hair and a few centimeters more, but the glance of Leo (re-) discovering a Christmas tree is the same of one year ago 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


C'è un supereroe in ognuno di noi...

Monday, December 3, 2012

East is East

Philippines. See you in one week. Byo!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tonight Momix

Tonight our ‘monthly’(which has become ‘bi-monthly’) sortie à deux. Tonight Momix.

We liked it very much!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

24 November

Having both a job here now, the chances of staying in Rome for quite some time, or of eventually returning to Rome should we decide to be outposted for a while, are quite high.

And although the ‘rental subsidy’ - the subsidy we receive on our rent - is quite a disincentive not to rent, we are in fact considering buying.

At the beginning timidly, then more and more daringly, and now obsessively. Our lunch-breaks, after-work hours, and often our week-ends are spent frenetically visiting apartments. There is no real estate website that we have not consulted and that we don’t keep monitored. Real estate agents know us by name by now.

The problem is that we have been too spoiled with our present apartment, and now we don’t even take into consideration anything that is not in the centre, at the top floor, with a huge terrace, and with a breathtaking view. (And with a garage).

Well, where is the problem? you would wonder.

The budget…

Thursday, November 29, 2012


When an old man dies, it’s as if a library burns down - an African proverb says. But not only...

Uncle Bernard and Auntie Cora left us recently. Auntie Cora on Saturday. At the venerable old age of 102 and… (well, we never knew it for certain as - for a feminine mincing way - she always declared a few years less than her real age) - respectively.

Distant relatives, but very present in our memories. Uncle Bernard was for Mathilde the ‘family home’ in La Bourboule, her childhood’ summer holidays, the common element with her cousins. Auntie Cora was for me the last connection with my Chinese roots, a second Nonna Mabel, a 20 dollar note in a red envelop for Christmas.

We haven’t seen them for years. Mathilde missed Uncle Benard’s 100th birthday because we were overseas. And I couldn’t meet Auntie Cora in Los Angeles at Rex’s wedding in September because she could not travel anymore. And probably, we would have not had an opportunity to meet them for many other years.

But still, the sudden awareness that we won’t be able to meet them anymore leaves us a strange sense of void.

But to avoid being pervaded by a deconstructive sense of melancholy about what ‘could have’ but ‘has not’, I am trying to focus on ‘what we did’. And the images that come to my mind are those of my only meeting with Uncle Bernard, at the very beginning of my story with Mathilde, when Mathilde and I spent a couple of days in La Bourboule, Uncle Bernard kindly invited us for dinner, and Mathilde introduced me as one of her university-mates (has he ever swallowed it?). Or those of our Chinese dinner with Auntie Cora during our mini-honey moon in San Francisco, just after our wedding in DC.

Good-bye Uncle Bernard and Auntie Cora. Requiem.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The things that happened in the past weeks

Apologizes for the long absence from the Blog, it has been (actually it still is) a rather busy period.

So, where were we? So many things have happened in the past weeks that I don’t know from where to resume. Mathilde’s trip to Montenegro to attend Vanessa and Thor’s wedding? Her recent business trip to Brussels*? Our ‘default’ trip to Dubai to attend Arndt and Prerna’s wedding? And I still have to post the pictures and the stories from our trip to the Red Sea

But rather than telling about our trips, I’ll start with the visit we received lately instead.

Manu from Kenya, Ricardito from Colombia, Sachi and Adams from DC, and Ulrike (sorry no pictures of her visit) - still from DC. Receiving these visits from faraway has been a bit as travelling ourselves.

Thanks for coming and visiting us, and come back soon! 

(*) My 'business' trips to Pakistan are not a novelty anymore.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Leo, what would you like to be when you grow up? (2)*

Hopefully not a florist…

Those who made the military ‘call up’ visit when they were 18 (the so called ‘tre giorni’, three days), would certainly remember that at a certain point during the process we had to sit and complete a neverending attitudinal test which was supposed to reveal our psychological profile, and, thus, our psychological fitness for the military service.

Hundreds and hundreds of questions among which I still remember ‘Do you hear voices that others do not hear?’, ‘Do you believe in the Great Soul?’, ‘Has your mother been a good mother?’ -  and many many other.

Well then, among those questions there were two of them - ‘Do you like flowers?’, and ‘Would you like to be a florist?’ - which, according to the at that time metropolitan legends, were meant to reveal whether you were homosexual or not. And well, according to those metropolitan legends, independently from whether you actually liked flowers or not (or whether you actually wanted to be a florist or not), you had to categorically answer ‘no’ - if you wanted to avoid being sent to the psychologist for further controls later.

So, Leo, what would you like to be when you grow up?...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Back on line

Apologizes for the long absence. It has been a rather tiring and stressful period.

But now, back on line. And in a few hours, back home!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

7 November

Nine years together today.
And feeling as the first day.
Tanti auguri a noi (best wishes to us, félicitations à nous)!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Brilliant! (almost)

With such a name, Leo could not be other than a genius. Almost…

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Good-bye Roberto, Dunja and Sara

For us, Roberto, Dunja and Sara , our downstairs neighbours, are home.

They welcomed us when we arrived here in Rome, almost two years ago. Dunja has been an important reference person for Mathilde during her pregnancy and Leo’s first months. And, above all, Sara has been Leo’s first kiss!

But as we have learnt and have already experienced, life is a revolving door: when someone is moving in, someone else is moving out. And tomorrow, Roberto, Dunja and Sara will leave - destination: Cincinnati.

We knew since we arrived that they were on their ‘way out’, but their transfer kept being postponed and postponed for so long that at the end we got used to the idea they could stay, if not forever, certainly longer.

So, when about one month ago they told us that their transfer had finally arrived, a profound sense of nostalgia pervaded us.

We will be missing bumping into each other on the stairs or on the escalator in the mornings or in the evenings. We will be missing our meetings at the park after work. We will be missing the feeling that we could knock at each other door at any time to have Leo and Sara playing together, or simply to have a chat. And we will be missing our improvised dinners on our respective terraces.

Good-bye Roberto, Dunja and Sara. We will be missing you, but we wish you all the best for your new, exciting experience…

Monday, October 29, 2012

Les M&M’s are pregnant again!

Dear family and friends, Les M&M’s are pregnant again!

As Spring, Baby #2 will arrive towards the end of March. And, as Spring, ‘sigilosamente, entrará a nuestra casa, en la noche y en la sombra, con pies estrellados…’*

We look very much forward to his arrival…

Matteo, Mathilde, and Leo

(*) Cautamente, entrerà nella nostra casa, nella notte e nell’ombra, con i piedi stellati…; Silently, will enter to our home, in the night and the shadow, with starry feet…; Silencieusement, entrera à notre maison, dans la nuit et l'ombre, avec des pieds étoilés…

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Leo’s first word

Of course he already said ‘ma-ma’, ‘pa-pa’, and many other syllables and sounds, but for the first time we had the clear perception that Leo said a word meaning it.

And, although I tried to deny it - to my great regret - I have to admit it was in French…

Another milestone achieved!