January out of kilter

Thanks goodness February’s round the corner.

The year started with a bang, but it wasn’t the fireworks we’d prepared. The basement of the building right across the alley erupted in sky-high roaring flames, and there went our celebrations. It was scary until the firemen turned up – if it had spread, a large tree was waiting right there to connect the fire to our building. Standing in the street and gawking with champagne in hand would have been very bad form. Setting off fireworks would have been even worse. So it put quite a downer on our “Happy New Year” moment. Besides, my seven percent Asian DNA kicks in sometimes: fireworks at New Year’s for good luck and to scare off nasty spirits makes lots of sense to me. My S.O. who hails from Naples beats me: Naples is one of the world’s most superstitious places, and starting the year without fireworks is a real no-no-no.

January 1 2016 0.45 am

January 1 2016 0.45 am

In Italian they say: ”Il buon giorno si vede dal mattino” – loosely translated, whatever way your day starts is how the whole day’s going to pan out. I guess months are the same. Some theories try to sound more scientific and explain it with positive/negative energy. I read that five planets are in alignment since last Saturday, if you’re an early riser you can catch them in the morning twilight. Sounds great, but I’d have thought something like that would bring on good strong vibes?

January 1 2016 11:00 am

January 1 2016 11:00 am

In fact, it’s been a wishy-washy series of non-starts on work projects, house and car-related breakdowns, illness in the family, friends from abroad not visiting last minute because they forgot to renew their passports, losing my own ID. January plods along anyway, and I realized it’s not just us.

Rome is in disarray.

Though it’s supposed to welcome hordes of pilgrims for the Vatican “Jubilee Year”, roadworks and revamps are far behind schedule or won’t even be contemplated as we’re also Mayor-less in the midst of mafia and corruption issues. Piazza della Repubblica, one of the first large ones you’ll probably see as you exit the central train station is normally stunning, specially at night. Right now it looks like a comet struck a perfect bull’s eye on its central fountain. It should be covered in “Sanpietrini”, the little square cobblestones that are so typical and historical but a menace for motorcyclists. They’re not a problem now as they’ve been piled up into huge random pyramids all over the piazza. The piazza also normally functions as a main hub for buses and cars to zoom around on in all directions, now it’s a one-laner interrupted by construction trucks, so I leave it to your imagination…

viaggi e pellegrinnaggi dot com

Pilgrims by definition walk. For the Jubilee Year, they’re ideally meant to visit a number of main churches, and the hardiest or more eco-conscious pilgrims were probably hoping to do it all on foot. But apparently the works on the pedestrian paths which are far simpler and less expensive to smooth out have gone nowhere, and the city’s worried it could be sued by visitors with sprained ankles or worse, broken bones if they’ve been run over after venturing off the sidewalks onto the better asphalted street.

Our world famous metropolitana subway – 2 lines for a city of 4.3 million-  has broken down umpteen times since the beginning of the year.

But being gridlocked in traffic does have its upsides, like finding out what’s going on in this city: the most efficient ads are stuck on the rear ends of public buses, so you have lots of time to read whatever they’re advertising as you honk and snail your way through the town. These days it’s a new political party for the Municipal elections that will be held sometime later in the year. Their symbol looked like a big red broken heart with Rome inside it, which is apt but pretty kitsch.

Marchini list symbol

On a lighter note, I’ve managed to keep above the blog-fray in the whole New Year’s Resolutions thing so far, or rather given myself an alibi by reading everyone else’s. So to shake off all this apathy, I’m going to end the month with a bang and a little trip to Bologna and Florence.

I’ll be sharing my delight and hopefully a few photos in a few days.

Meantime, I’m curious to hear if anyone’s happy too that February’ll be upon us in no time?

Pictures:  January 1 2016 mine; heart symbol of a Rome municipal candidate: http://www.romatoday.it; pilgrims walking: http://www.viaggiepellegrinaggi.net

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41 Responses to January out of kilter

  1. lundygirl says:

    I didn’t like January at all! Your month sounded full of drama.

  2. sabaimru says:

    Thank goodness it’s February !!!! I find January to be always very intense and exhausting with most of it filled with the last throes of the holiday season, Epiphany, la fête des Roi, la Befana, a second Orthodox Christmas and Epiphany, plus lots of January birthdays in the family. So glad to relax a bit.

  3. Hi Bea,

    I am very glad that February is upon us. That means one month of snow is behind us! In February, the days are longer and the sun is brighter, which makes me feel good.

    Nancy

  4. eurobrat says:

    Wow, so it’s not just the States that’s crazy right now. Is it something in the air? Could it be those planets lining up? Seriously, there’s been something off and chaotic about the last couple of months for me too. But will February calm things down…or mix things up even more??

  5. Your blog: the beauty lies in descriptive details–every time. Also, you inspire me to learn Italian. Reading tweets in Italian almost makes me believe I can do it. Truly, you are a citizen of the world.

  6. My January was rather pleasant, so I am just anticipating more good times in February. Thanks for stopping, reading and commenting on my blog. Look forward to reading about your February.

  7. mubeenazam says:

    So interesting to hear of your adventures, I am sure there are many more to come, take care and keep pursuing that passion and make the most of every opportunity and thanks for stopping by my blog too.

  8. Charmion Carroll says:

    Ah Rome, the Eternal City. Hasn’t changed one bit. That’s what I love about it. It will probably work better without a Mayor. Back to January, can’t wait for it to finish, mostly for the same reasons as you. However, no fireworks our neck of the woods, the municipal councils in France are also dead broke. So bring on February and let’s celebrate the Chinese New Year

  9. Barb Knowles says:

    What wonderful descriptions of the current comings and goings (or rather, not coming and going) of Rome at the moment. Please write a post about the political situation there!

    • Bea dM says:

      Tall order if you mean Italy! Nationally, it’s all connected with the EU and it’s a fraught topic. But I’ll probably update on Rome antics once the municipal primaries get under way 🙂

  10. Mél@nie says:

    January’s fine with me, as it’s my birth month… and February is the one of mon cher et tendre… 🙂 btw, I dislike December – the most “commercial” period of the year, brrr!!!
    * * *
    @”In Italian they say: ”Il buon giorno si vede dal mattino” = en roumain, aussi: ziua buna se cunoaste de dimineata… 🙂

  11. herschelian says:

    I love your posts, always so interesting. Makes me feel very guilty as I seem to have hit a blogging hiatus…must get going again. BTW, why is this year a Jubilee Year?

    • Bea dM says:

      Thank you, and I did notice you were taking a break, hope you get going again soon 🙂 It’s a Jubilee Year simply because Pope Francis decided it would be a good thing – started last Dec 8th

  12. zipfslaw1 says:

    Tiens le cou–maybe try to think about all of this as a very worth-it price for living in an amazing city that all of us would like to visit some day?

    I’m definitely looking forward to February, as I am a politics junkie and February is the month of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries–big things in our cycle of presidential elections. Garde la pêche!

    • Bea dM says:

      I know I know, I’m the gratefulness fan! I do make huge efforts not to mention all the downsides of real life in this extraordinary city. But the only time I did a “griping about Rome” post, I felt ssso good after having got it off my chest 🙂 Thanks for the delightul peachy expression I’d never heard, I’ll be counting on you for primary comments!

  13. nananoyz says:

    I have friends who just returned from Rome and they had a lovely time. It’s definitely on my bucket list.

  14. Our January wasn’t as traumatic as yours, but between the holidays coming to an end, unwanted birthdays, and no travel plans for the month, we’re glad it is almost in the rear view mirror. We’ve got a trip planned to Iceland in February (yes, Colorado to Iceland in February, as if there is a difference), which we’re looking forward to.

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