two/three weeks in between blogs is too long, i know…but i started work last week, and everything’s been happening so fast!
first off: a word on my NEW JOB! it’s WONDERFUL! i absolutely love it. love it love it love it. i work for a private english school in downtown udine, and as much as i would love to pump yall full of details i know that blogging most anything about an employer/coworkers/company is a major no-no. therefore i will only say that i am happy, energetic and motivated in my work, i love the atmosphere and the people, and i feel like the luckiest duck that ever quacked getting to go to work in a city as beautiful as udine.
second: a word on the first month of married life (here i can pump as many details as i want, har har). i give it all two very enthusiastic thumbs up! not a day has gone by when i haven’t thought, uttered, gushed or even yelled out loud, “thank god i found this man! and thank god i married him! what an angel!” he’s awesome. i’m happy. all said and done, i think i’m quite possibly the happiest i’ve ever been in my life.
ok, wedding recap…let’s see…first some photos…
one of the rooms in the courthouse where we were married
daddy and brother
getting ready for the big day
cousin james, sister quinn
carly, one of my oldest, truest bluest friends, and her husband seth
my mama and my mother-in-law
all the “fratelli”- the siblings: diego, matteo…grant, quinn
the reception was held at the one-and-only porchis (vino e spuntino), which was approriate for a number of reason, not the least of which was because it was where we first met. i was on edge heading over there because, as i said, as of 7pm the evening before it looked like someone’s garage- all dusty and loaded with boxes. fabio closes porchis for the months of january and february to take a vacation and do some other work- pig and wine oriented- to get ready for the spring. since our wedding fell during the period when porchis was closed it meant that there was no problem securing a private saturday night party, but it also meant that fabio and his girlfriend simona were out of town the three weeks prior to the wedding. also- i found out later- some boys around town (not knowing that the wedding was to take place there) had played a practical joke on fabio wherein they hid (i’m not sure i understood completely, possibly) dead snake carcasses (redundant?) inside all of the giant barrels that serve as tables inside (surely i must have misunderstood…). the plan was that they would just, like, rot for two months so that when fabio returned (they presumed in march) and opened the doors of porchis for the first time (actually taking place two days before the wedding…) the place would smell like…well like it was full of carcasses.
boys are weird, but i don’t have time to go into that.
the point is, instead of spending the days before the wedding preparing, poor fabio was searching high and low for the cause of the stench and trying to ventilate porchis by any means possible so that when i arrived to decorate i wouldn’t scream and faint.
so riding over to the reception i was braced for the worst…
which was silly…
i should have known, of course…i should have had more faith, obviously…that i would not be let down.
porchis looked great, cuter than i’d ever seen it, cozy and sparkly and lovely.
porchis is a pretty small place, so we had invited 40 or our closest family and friends to eat all afternoon, and another 30 guests to come around 7pm for drinks and chaos.
the menu was as follows:
we kicked off the celebration with an aperitif (prosecco or spritz aperol) and
The Most Amazing Thing Ever, otherwise known as Prosciutto Cotto nel Pane, or Pig Thigh Cooked Inside Bread.
i think the perfect quote to sum up everyone’s reaction while fabio sliced into it, piping hot, steaming, the air perfumed with the scent of sweet pork, came from gillian, who said, breathlessly, dreamily but with enthusiasm,
“i want to eat the bread!”
our guests munched on this, as well as prosciutto crudo (D’Osvaldo, don’t you know!), pickled radicchio (delicious, made in-house), olives, etc…
then the first courses began to come out.
1) pasticcio di radicchio (or, radicchio lasagna)
2) orzotto con salsiccia e porro (orzotto is like risotto except made with barley instead of rice, cooked with sausage and leeks)
3) bleks con noce (bleks is a typical cormonese pasta, this time served with a sauce of crushed nuts and sage)
then we took a little break and danced and played…my sister quinn set the bread basket on her table on fire…gillian began to clog…my friend nadia climbed onto the bar and forced me up there as well…
then the second courses began to come out:
1) lo stinko di maiale con le patate (roasted pork shins and potatoes- the most pleasurable crowd pleasure known to man, according to anyone who’s ever had it cooked right, which it was)
2) la lonza cotto nel latte e i piselli (pork cooked in milk, which sounds weird but was quite delicious, served with the best peas i think any of us had ever eaten. there was a lot of conversation about those peas)
and then i think there was something else? maybe salad or vegetables? i don’t rally remember, the sight of food made my head spin by this point so i tried to ignore it.
once lunch/dinner was done, it was about 7pm and time for the party to start! this was initiated with the classic italian celebratory tradition of…
slicing off the top of a giant Franciacorta (fancy prosecco in layman’s terms) bottle with a giant sword! i wasn’t aware that we were going to be doing this, so when fabio randomly handed me a sword that weighed as much as a golden retriever and was as long as my thigh i was a little confused.
my brother-in-law matteo gave me a quick lesson on the art of prosecco bottle slicing (“just let the sword slide…it’ll feel it’s own way…and pop!”)
i got it on the first try! as did FL, and quinn, who was given the third giant bottle to open as a prize for being a wonderful sister.
then we played a weird game wherein FL held another giant bottle between his legs sort of like a…well, you get the idea. i was then blindfolded and positioned with my back to him and the sword in my left hand. quinn had to guide me (“back, back, left, down…” etc) to the bottle. using my left hand i had to swing the sword in a rather awkward motion and pop the top. every time i missed, the bottle was inched further and further…upwards. it was strange, but fun, and took me about 8 tries.
once all the fanciacorta was finished, fabio came through with another crowd pleaser…
this supposed “tradition” was a little…brutal for my tastes, and had all the americans in the room thinking once and for all that i had married into a society of brutes.
the tradition was this:
I had to stand on a chair in front of FL with a big saw taped to my hand. it was taped in such a way that when i sawed to the left and to the right, the palm of my hand would slap sweet FL’s face.
i still am not quite sure what this was supposed to symbolize, and i managed to fake-slap him and get his tie sawed off after about ten minutes of utter confusion and me crying, “oh, honey, i’m so sorry! why am i hitting you? i don’t understand!”
once the tie was sawed, it was cute into about 20 pieces, and the guests “bought” pieces…the money they “bought” the pieces with (however much they wanted to “pay”- 10 euro, 50, 100…) was stuffed into a jar, and the jar was given to us at the end of the night.
the tie paid for itself, i’ll say that.
after the tie-cutting/face-slapping ordeal, mistakenly thinking that the weirdness for the evening had climaxed, i grabbed a glass of franciacorta and sat down to relax.
davide came right up and told me to stay seated, because my “surprise” had arrived.
this worried me a little, but i was intrigued none the less. ”a pony,” i thought hopefully.
local legend, recording artist, poet, author, musician, hobo.
i was speechless when i first saw him, which was fine, because davide did all the talking.
“seeing as how the bride, ormai, is more friulano then any of us,” he said, “i thought it only appropriate that our local hero, fabian riz, christen this union between friuli and america with a little performance.”
fabian riz busted out his harmonica, and proceeded to wail and grunt his way through half an hour of classic friulano hits, as well as some of his own tracks, accompanied on drums (bongos) by his faithful sidekick, kavey, anarchist.
weirdness had reached a new level, and i could not stop laughing.
“ok, fine. this is fine,” i thought, when two of fabian riz’ homeless groupies wandered in the backdoor and helped themselves to a glass of prosecco.
the crowd was eating it up. mom was trapped in a corner, fabian riz singing directly into her face, as she grinned and clapped and lapped up this rare gem of a cultural experience. my cousin james’ mouth was wide open the entire time, and my brother clapped his hands and roared with laughter.
“ah! so your surprise was, davide hired a homeless man to perform at your wedding! i would have been disappointed with anything less.”
yes, i am proud to say it was all rather appropriate for an eleanor-pierpaolo wedding.
after fabian riz had decided it was time to take break and drink some (more) grappa, i took the opportunity to crank up my own playlist, and the dancing began.
we partied well into the night, drinking prosecco and snacking on left-over orzotto and prosciutto, and once the last of the guests had gone, FL, fabio, billy kunzler and i took a moment of pause to look porchis over.
it looked like a glitter and champagne bomb had gone off, and i considered the entire event to be a roaring success.
my dutiful, wonderful (and sober) brother-in-law diego had waited patiently till the end of the party to give the loving couple a ride home, but we had other ideas.
we had him drive us (+ the amazing billy) to another local bar, where we ordered one last bottle of celebratory franciacorta, a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches, and talked until the birds started to chirp.
finally, about 3am, FL and i returned home to bosc di sot, where we fell asleep in each others arms, exhausted, happy and…married.