Welcome! See Italy (and more) through the eyes of an artist: American sculptor and painter Kelly Borsheim creates her life and art in Italy and shares her adventures in travel and art with you. Come on along, please and Visit her fine art work online at: www.BorsheimArts.com
is Labor Day in Italia. I am bummed
because I was invited to a festa
lunch today in a neighboring village, but it was cancelled yesterday due to a
gloomy forecast. The idea had been to
enjoy eating lunch outside in the main piazza. Today, thus far, has been a glorious day full
of beauty! I find myself annoyed that
more times than not, it seems, the weatherman can be wrong, mess up your plans,
and . . . get away with it. Never even
an apology! Weathermen should never
change occupations to becomes, for example, a brain surgeon! Harumphhh.
Recently, still living car-less (it turns
out that the law in Italy has changed once again and it is more difficult than
ever to obtain an Italian driver’s license), my neighbors recently let me tag
along with them on a trip to a hardware and gardening store. I took advantage of that! I needed to buy some supplies to start work
on my new bronze sculpture commission.
But I was thrilled to also be able to buy some jasmine, herbs, fuchsia,
pots, and dirt.
I replanted the colorful fuchsia (shown
here) in a hanging pot and having it outside my kitchen window. One afternoon last week, my neighbor Riccardo
told me that the nickname for that plant is ciondolini (pronounced: chon-doh-lee-nee), as in “little bells.” He also pointed to my necklace, a braided
piece of leather with cut cowry shells hanging along the leather. He said this would also be referred to as ciondolini. And he went home to get ready for cake
A mutual young friend of ours Andrea had
just passed his test for doing ambulance service. The “boys” wanted to try to make an American
Red Velvet cake to celebrate. Other
neighbors arrived and then so did Andrea’s parents. We were standing in the little courtyard
outside my door. I was delighted to tell
them that I had just learned a new word in Italian. I pointed up to the hanging fuchsia plant and
said, “It’s a ciondolini.” Andrea’s mother is Italian-American, but has
lived here for about forty years now.
She likes to speak English with me so she does not lose it.
Well, she burst out laughing and
demonstrated another object that is nicknamed ciondolini. The other
English-speaking neighbors and I were a bit confused, as if we were playing
charades. With the idea of bells in our
minds, we were not expecting what she was acting out. She had her legs spread wide and was waving
her arms down in between them. The light
in my head went off. Finally, I sang, “Do
your balls hang low? Do they frolic to
and fro? Can you tie ‘em in a knot? Can you tie ‘em in a bow? Can you … “
We English-speakers laughed, all being familiar with the song.
When our group then entered the kitchen
where Andrea and Riccardo were cake-making, I had to explain to Riccardo about Rita’s first thought in hearing
the word ciondolino. He was a bit embarrassed since he never
intended to be birichino [naughty], a
word that I learned some time ago. Ha!
It turns out that ciondolino (singular; ciondolini
plural) is a noun that refers to “things that dangle.” Do we even have one noun to describe things that act/exist in that way? Amazing. The context would give the specific
meaning. So, the shells dangle from my
necklace. The fuchsia flowers dangle
from their stems (in this case, like little bells). And well, we all have some dangling anatomy
at some point, right?
Happy Labor Day, Italia…
and what a beautiful day it is thus far!