December 28, 2005

聖誕節Natale

搬過來以後,每到這個時節,總有朋友會問道:「義大利人怎麼過聖誕節?」其實這個問題,就好像外國朋友問我台灣人怎麼過年一樣,每家過節的方式都有一點不一樣,不過還是有許多共同的地方。
After I moved to Italy, when it comes to December there're always friends asking how Italians celebrate Christmas. It's like forwign friends asking me how Taiwanese celebrate Chinese NewYear... Every family has its own way and it's always slightly different, though some common places do exist.

大部分台灣人過聖誕,充其量是找個狂歡做樂的藉口,畢竟這究竟是個很具有宗教意義的節日。義大利人的聖誕節,好比台灣的過年,是全家人團聚的重要節日。以我家來說,聖誕節當日的午餐,全家聚在一起吃些傳統菜,在一頓長達三個多小時的午餐以後,大家夥兒從餐廳移駕到客廳,一份一份地把每個人費心準備的禮物打開,經過將近兩個小時的拆禮物節目以後,要回家的回家,想留下來晚餐或聊天八卦看電影的繼續,一天就在吃吃喝喝聊天拆禮物中度過。
Most Taiwanese people take Christmas as an excuse for parties, for the reason that the majorities are anyway non-Christians. However, it's anyway a religious holiday. Christmas for Italians is like Chinese New Year for Taiwanese. It's an occasion for family gathering. Take my family as an example, we have Christmas lunch together. Every family member will get together for traditional crusines. After a lunch for more than three hours, we move from dining room to living room to exchange presents and open them one by one. It normally takes two hours only for opening the presents. After that, some will go home and some remains for dinner, chatting or a movie together. Basically, the whole Christmas Day is passed in eating, opening presents and chatting.

吃什麼呢?北方最常見的菜色,應該是蔬菜雜燴肉(bollito)和包肉的義大利麵餃(tortellini)。麵餃是第一道,通常和蔬菜雜燴肉的高湯一起吃,而雜燴肉則是第二道,一般佐以馬鈴薯泥,而蔬菜通常是不吃的。我曾經問過米奇,吃這些東西是不是有特殊的意義…根據他的說法,以前的人窮,只有重大節日才有肉吃,所以在聖誕節這個一年裡最重要的節日,一定會要吃肉,包了肉餡的麵餃自然就成為聖誕節的食物。這個答案感覺上好像在呼攏人一樣,不過問了一桌子的人也沒有別的答案,所以我也就只好暫時接受這個說法。
So, what do we eat? The most common dishes in the north Italy is bollito (boiled meat) and tortellini. The tortellini is normally served with broth which is the soup prepared by cooking bollito. The bollito is the second dish, normally with potato puree. I once asked Michele if there's special meaning for these dishes. According to what he said, people used to eat meat in important festivals. So meat is a must in Christmas. And Italians eat lots of pasta, so tortellini with meat filling become a traditional Christmas dish. It doesn't seem to be a proper answer for me, but asking around there's no other better explanation and I just had to accept it.

甜點自然是餐桌上不能少的尾聲。除了來一片黃金麵包(pandoro)和混了水果乾的大麵包(panettone)等應景甜點以外,還有樹幹蛋糕(tronchetto),不然就是上面寫了聖誕快樂並以象徵聖誕節的雪人、聖誕樹等裝飾的一般蛋糕。
The dessert is something can't be missed. Apart from famous pandoro or panettone that only appear around Christmas, there's also tronchetto (tree trunk), or cakes decorated with Christmas symbols such as snowman or Christmas tree.

跟以往相比,今年的聖誕節有點不一樣,感覺上特別地長…一方面是因為平常在聖誕節當日的家庭聚餐,因為米奇的大妹蕾蒂在聖誕節當日要出發去柏林玩耍,而提早了一天慶祝,聖誕節當日大家自然就聚到公婆家一起過,而聖誕節過後的聖史蒂芬日,又因為好友克里斯和希薇亞的邀約,硬是好好吃了第三頓漲到不行的大餐。結果,我家冰箱出現了一個禮拜都解決不完的剩菜…聖誕假期,果然是發胖的季節。
Comparing to the past years, it seems to me that Christmas is especially long this year... One of the reasons is because Letizia (Michele's sister) left for Berlin on Christmas day and we decided to do the family gathering on 24. On the Christmas Day, all brothers went to my inlaws'. The next day which is Santo Stefano we were invited to a friend's place for another party. So we basically had three big meals in three consecutive days... and there're also leftovers in my fridge... Christmas is really time for putting on weight!!


這張是2000年我正式搬過來以後的第一個聖誕節. This photo was taken on the first Christmas after I moved to Italy in 2000.

這是我今年的甜點, 大家把蛋糕上的所有裝飾都往我盤子裡放! This is my Christmas cake this year. All the decorations on the cake were put into my plate!


這是我帶到克里斯家的樹幹蛋糕. This is the Tronchetto cake I brought to Cristian's party.

十個人的禮物堆起來也是頗壯觀的! 每年聖誕節最期待的就是這個... Presents for ten people~~ the most exciting thing on Christmas Day.

December 21, 2005

冬天是發胖的季節!Winter, time for putting on weight!

今年的冬天不但來得早,似乎也特別地冷,讓平常喜歡到處趴趴走的我少了不少遊興(當然工作忙也是個原因),沒事儘量待在家裡。除了把暖氣溫度調高以外,我也喜歡泡杯熱飲來暖暖身子。
It seems that winter has arrived earlier and colder. The cold weather makes me enjoy home-staying rather than going-out (of course I'm also busy for work), so I stay home most of the time. Apart from setting the temperature of the heater higher to keep myself warm, I also enjoy making hot drinks.

我愛喝茶,櫃子裡有不下二十種的中國茶、英國茶與花草茶,這也是我偏好冬天更甚於夏天的原因。不過除了茶以外,偶爾來杯熱巧克力,也是挺不錯的選擇。
I love tea. There're more than twenty kinds of Chinese tea, English tea and herbal tea in my shelve. Hot tea is mostly suitable for cold winter, and that's one of the reasons that I prefer winter to summer. Apart from tea drinking, I also enjoy making hot chocolate.

「在嘗了義大利的熱巧克力以後,其他地方的熱巧克力大概都會變成巧克力牛奶。」這是我對又香又濃的義式熱巧克力所下的註解。剛搬來的第一個冬天,每次出門總是要找間咖啡廳喝一杯熱巧克力,對於初到義大利又對寒冷天氣極度不適應的我,可說是一大慰藉。
"After tasting Italian hot chocolate, that of other places becomes chocolate milk." This is my comment about Italian hot chocolate. I still remember the first winter I spent in Italy. I always looked for hot chocolates in the bars when I went out. It was quite a comfort for someone that wasn't used to such cold weather.

「那麼愛喝,何不買回家自己煮呢?」就為了米奇這句話,我們特地到超市尋寶,也因此找到了我的‘冬日巧克力暖暖包’,順理成章地成為我渡冬的必備品。
"Since you like it so much, why don't you make it at home yourself?" Michele said. So we went to the supermarket to look for it, and found my "winter warm sack". It has become one of my must have in winter.

我試過的品牌不多,只有CiobarCarraro兩個品牌,主要是因為只有這兩家有出單包包裝的巧克力粉,讓我省去找罐子和發胖的問題。許多廠牌都有出熱巧克力,只要買回家加入牛奶,在火爐上煮至沸騰便可飲用,不過一包至少兩百公克裝,除了收藏麻煩以外,還會讓我一看到就想要煮,體重可不是直線上升就可以形容的!所以當我一看到這兩個廠牌的方便包,二話不說就被我放到籃子裡。
I didn't try too many brands, only Ciobar and Carraro, for the reason that only these two company carry single pack powder so that I can avoid the problem of conservation and getting fat. Many companies have ready-made hot chocolate to be prepared at home. You only have to add milk and bring it to boil. But most of them come in more than 200g package. There's not only the problem as to where to put it, but also makes me want to have it every time I see it. So when I saw these two single pack products, I put them into the basket immediately.

兩個品牌相比,Ciobar甜了一點,Carraro則因為標榜荷蘭口味,可可含量比較高。兩個牌子都很不錯,不過我個人偏好後者,米奇則把票投給前者,這也是為什麼家裡兩個品牌都有的關係。 Comparing these two brands, Ciobar is slight sweeter than Carraro. The latter is "Dutch flavour" and has higher concentration of cocoa powder. Both brands are nice but I prefer the latter. However Michele likes Ciobar better. So we keep both at home.

除了純的熱巧克力以外,也可以自己做一些變化。當然,這也是我在外頭店裡喝過以後,決定在家裡發揮實驗精神的結果。店裡賣的熱巧克力有很多口味,在試過以後,我和米奇都各有偏好:最受我青睞的有二,一是橘子口味,另一則是肉桂,米奇則偏好藍姆酒的香氛。在家裡煮的時候,只要加入適當的材料調味,如橘子皮、肉桂粉、或是在煮好以後倒入一點藍姆酒,自己也可以做出不同口味的變化喔!
Apart from pure hot chocolate, you can also add variation yourself. Of course, I will always look for the "recipe" outside and taste it before I experiment it at home. Lots of flavours can be found in the bar. After trying all of them, Michele and I both found our own favorite. I like orange and cinnamon flavor while Michele enjoys rum. When you prepare it at home, you can add orange peel, cinnamon powder while cooking, or pour in a bit rum after you finish preparing it.

December 20, 2005

05秋季日本行(第二天富士山河口湖) Japan Trip 05 (Day II Lake Kawaguchi)

搭上古典公車,不消幾站就到了香草館。下了車以後,原本還在納悶湖在哪裡,頭一轉,往旁邊的停車場看過去,傳說中的河口湖就在那裡靜靜地等著我們。
We took the bus and arrived the Herb-kan after a few stops. Getting off the bus, I was wondering where the lake is. Turning my head and looking toward the parking space beside me, the legendary Lake Kawaguchi was waiting for us.

我們往湖邊走了過去,看到了一條沿著湖邊蜿蜒而去的步道,決定順路往旁邊的公園走一走。天色已晚,湖邊景色配上日暮低垂時分的色調,煞是美麗。走著走著,過了個彎,伴著殘霞的富士山突然映入眼簾。我和嫂子看到了可以下到水邊沙灘的樓梯,急忙跳了下去,自顧自地拍起照來,眼前的美景,第一次讓我有了不虛此行的感受。
We walked toward the lake and saw a passage along the lakeside. So we decided to walk around the lake for a while. It was late afternoon and the color of sunset made it a beautiful view to enjoy. Following the curve, the Fujiyama came into my eyes. We went down to the beach and started photographing. It’s the very first time that I felt it’s worthy of all the efforts to come here.

瞬息萬變的日落雲彩,讓我們深怕錯過了什麼好鏡頭,竟然讓我和嫂子在湖邊各自拍了不下三十張照片。照到過癮以後,我的注意力轉到了一旁靜謐的公園。秋天的日本,有著蕭瑟卻溫暖的顏色,在這座種滿銀杏樹的公園裡更是顯露無遺。秋黃的銀杏配上楓紅點綴與綠松蒼翠,公園中央的雕像似乎是畫蛇添足了。
The colors of the sky kept changing and we’re so afraid to have missed some nice shots. We both took more than thirty photos here. After I photographed to my heart’s content, my attention was then drawn to the quiet garden beside the lake. Autumn in Japan has a very sad but warm color. This park of gingko trees can show it to the fullest. The autumny gingko yellow with maple red and pine green, the statue in the center of the garden seems redundant.

時間就這麼過去了,天色已經暗到再也照不出什麼好照片來了,加上湖面寬廣,竟也帶來了些許寒意,在等公車的同時,我們決定走進香草館,邊取暖邊殺時間。
Time flies. The night fell and we couldn’t have any nice photo taken with that dark light. We also started to feel chilly. So we decided to go into the Herb-kan while waiting for the bus, to warm up and kill time.

傍晚六點,我們回到了河口湖車站。湯瑪士火車已經在月台裡等待,離開車還有好一段時間,卻也讓嫂子能夠好好地用相機和錄影機把這輛火車給拍個透徹。這下子總算是趁了芊的意了。
It’s 6pm that we went back to the Kawaguchiko Station. The Thomas Train was waiting already, though it’d only leave half hour later. We’ve got plenty of time taking photos and videos of the train. Chien was finally satisfied.

December 16, 2005

05秋季日本行(第二天富士山河口湖車站) Japan Trip 05 (Day II Lake Kawaguchi Station under Fuji Mountain)

離開富士急樂園也是三點過後的事了。芊玩得很盡興,有些設施硬是玩了兩遍才肯依依不捨地放手,也就因為這樣,原本想要早一點到河口湖車站的計畫也生變。
We left Fujikyu after 3pm. Chien was having a lot of fun and went on many of the facilities twice before she could let go unwillingly. For this reason, we had to change our plan and arrived Lake Kawaguchi Station later than scheduled time.

從富士急樂園站到河口湖站,火車慢慢開也不過兩分鐘就到,連加速的感覺也沒有。到站以後才驚覺這段車票之昂貴,日幣180圓,搞不好是走路就可以到的距離…
It took only two minutes to arrive Lake Kawaguchi Station from Fujikyu Station by slow train. The train didn’t even speed up. At least I didn’t feel it. It’s not until we arrived Lake Kawaguchi Station that I surprisingly discovered how expensive this ride is, 180 yen for a distance that I could probably reach the destination by feet.

到河口湖要做什麼呢?老媽說:「看猴子表演。」千里迢迢到河口湖看猴子表演?說穿了也是因為要找個芊可能感興趣的地方。
So what are we going to do at Lake Kawaguchi? Mom said, “Go to the monkey theater.” Monkey theater? All this trip just to see the monkey theater? So it’s another trial to get something that Chien might be interested in after all.

一到河口湖車站,我看大家都傻了…車站小得讓人驚訝,火車站就像集集車站一樣大小,旁邊再加一個同樣大小的公車站,就這樣。猴子劇場在哪裡?幾點有表演?怎麼去?我在傳單架上拿簡介的同時也丟了一連串問題給老媽(因為我完全沒有看到任何猴子劇場的消息),她在候車室裡看了老半天,終於找到了資料,最後一場表演是三點,早就過了…
When we arrived the station, we’re all surprised by the scale of the station. It is so small! There’s only a tiny room for purchasing tickets and waiting for train in the station, and nearby there’s another small house of the same size as the bus station. That’s all. “So, where’s the monkey theater? What time is the show? How do we get there?” I asked mom when I collected flyers on the rack (because I didn’t see anything related to the theater). Mom looked around in the room for a while and finally got the information. The last show was 3pm, long passed already.

接下來的問題是,那我們要幹什麼?老媽答應芊要讓她坐到湯瑪士彩繪火車,得要等到六點半,中間這兩個半小時怎麼過?看了看地圖,決定坐公車到離河口湖最近的車站下車,大老遠跑了一趟,總不能連河口湖的影子都沒看到吧!
So the following question is, what are we going to do now? Mom promised Chien that she’d be able to take the Thomas train on the way back. (There’s a train decorated with various trains from the animation running back and forth but the schedule is limited.) We had to wait until 6:30pm. How are we going to pass the two and half hours? Looking at the map, we decided to go to the nearest station where we can at least see the lake by bus. After traveling all this way to arrive here, we can’t leave without seeing the famous lake!

下一個問題是,公車怎麼坐?
So, the next question is, how do we take the bus?

我隨著老媽進了公車站問,小地方,英文不管用,老媽又聽不太懂,售票人員拿起一張傳單指著上面的一日卷票價1500日圓,告訴我們在外面搭乘。我滿腦子問號走出了公車站,看看傳單,原來要搭的是我們在一出火車站時看到的古典觀光巴士,離湖最近的一站是香草館。花1500日圓搭四站公車來回?也未免太貴了些,難道就沒有單程車票?我又在公車站附近仔細看了看,‘好不容易’才看到英文說明…眼睛也太大了點,那麼明顯的牌子竟然漏掉了!單趟公車不到兩百日圓,終於出現了個可接受的價錢。
I went inside the bus station with my mom. But a small town like this one can hardly find anyone that speaks English. And my mom couldn’t understand fully what the bus station staff was saying. Excellent! So the woman picked up a flyer and pointed the one-day pass price 1500 yen, and then pointed out where we should take the bus. I went out of the station with my brain full of question marks. Looking at the flyer, so the bus we should take is the “classical bus” we saw when we got out of the train station. Getting of at Herb-kan we’d be able to see the lake. 1500 yen for a return bus trip? That’s way too much! Isn’t there any single ride ticket? I searched around the station again and eventually I found some English panels… My eyes are just too big to skip those evident signs on the way from train station to bus station. So a single bus ride is less than 200 yen. Finally got an acceptable price.

December 14, 2005

暖在心頭的熱酒Vin Brule


一到冬天,偶爾會在街頭看到賣熱酒的攤子,尤其是有聖誕市集的地方更是普遍。買杯酒,捧在手上熱呼呼的,心裡也隨著身子暖了起來。
When it comes to winter, it’s quite often that I see stands selling hot red wine on the street, especially common in Christmas market. Get a glass of hot wine, it warms up my body and my heart.

熱酒這東西在冬天的歐洲似乎很普遍,在義大利叫做Vin Brule,德奧地區是Gl?wein。這次到奧地利也因為天冷而喝了不少,甚至覺得在維也納喝到的比義大利的好喝,引起了友人的不悅…「這很簡單啊,我在家常做…」接下來就巨細靡遺地開始告訴我做法,我概略記了下來,等到回家以後再來試試。
It seems quite a common thing in winter in Europe. In Italy it’s called “Vin Brule” and “Gl?wein” in Germany and Austria. I had quite a few mugs in Austria during the trip because of the cold weather. I even feel that the ones I had in Vienna taste much better than anything I tried in Italy so far. My saying made a friend unhappy…”It’s quite easy. I make it at home very often…” He started to tell me how to prepare it at home. I tried to remember it and decided to try the recipe once I’d be home.

昨天翻箱倒櫃找香料的時候,順手也把乾弟之前從德國帶來給我的酒給找了出來。那時乾弟就告訴我,這酒是專門拿來準備熱酒用的,標籤上寫的也是Weihnachts Gl?wein,只是當時我並不覺得自己會想要試做這種東西,也許是因為之前在義大利嘗到的都不合胃口的關係吧!從奧地利回到家,這瓶酒終於派上用場。
I was looking around my shelves for the spices yesterday, and also took out the bottle that a friend brought me from Germany. He told me that Germans use it specifically for preparing Gl?wein and the ticket on the bottle also says so. By that time I didn’t think to make it, probably because I didn’t really like the ones I tried in Italy and it just didn’t inspire me to do it at home. It’s not until I came back from Austria that I thought to take it out from the shelf.

找個小鍋子,倒入兩杯酒,先加入一茶匙的糖用慢火熬煮,過幾分鐘以後再加入一小枝肉桂、兩顆丁香、兩粒杜松子、一搓胡荽子、橘子皮和另一匙糖,小火煮至將沸,並將溫度維持在沸騰以下續煮個幾分鐘,就可以喝了。
Get a small pot. Pure in two glasses of wine and a teaspoon of sugar. Use small fire to heat it for a few minutes. Then add some cinnamon, clove, juniper, coriander, orange peel and another teaspoon of sugar. Keep small fire and heat it without boiling for some other few minutes. Then it’s ready to be served.

看了看其他地方的食譜,德奧地區用的香料和酒種似乎有點差別。接下來的工作就是要多試試幾種酒,找出最適合做熱酒的材料了!
I also checked recipes from various sources and it seems that the spices used in Germany and Italy are different. In any case, the following task is to try various kind of wines and find out the most suitable one for home-made vin brule!

PS. 也有人在香料裡混入肉豆蔻,橘子皮也可以用檸檬皮代替,加點蘋果進去煮也不錯。Some people also mix nutmeg in the spice. The orange peel can be substituted by lemon peel. It’s also nice if you add some fresh apple pieces while cooking.

December 12, 2005

05秋季日本行(第二天湯瑪士樂園) Japan Trip 05 (Day II ThomasLand)

湯瑪士小火車是我這次回台灣前夕才知道的東西。那時正在想辦法討好不到三歲大的芊,聽老媽說這小鬼很迷這個小火車,好奇之下才上網查看究竟是何方神聖。咕狗大神讓我一下子就到了官網。一看之下,還真是個男孩子氣的東西…回台灣以後也見識到小鬼對這火車入迷的程度,怪不得寵金孫的老媽會決定要帶著小鬼殺到富士山腳下,就為了去富士急樂園中按照動畫裡複製出來的湯瑪士樂園。
I got to know “Thomas and Friends” right before I went back to Taiwan. I was trying to look for presents to please the two-year-old and heard of the train from my mother. It is said that Chien is very fond of this little train. Out of curiosity, I went to Google and looked for the official web site. It’s such a boyish thing!! After I went back to Taiwan, I saw with my own eyes how much she likes Thomas and could finally understand why my mom insisted to take her to the ThomasLand in Fujikyu under the Fuji Mountain.

富士急樂園有許多看起來很刺激的遊樂設施,入園時更看到號稱世界最大的恐怖鬼屋,可惜的是,玩這些東西要有伴,而且芊喜歡坐刺激性高的遊樂器材,為了避免「為什麼姑姑可以我不行」的狀況,我在去日本前就已經放棄玩樂,本來就打算專心當陪客。
There’re many exciting facilities in Fujikyu Highland, and I even saw the so-called biggest haunted house in the world! However, one needs the right company to go and enjoy this kind of things. On the other hand, Chien also likes to have fun with these exciting stuffs. To avoid the situation “why auntie can and I can’t”, I decided to give up my own pleasure before we left for Japan.

可想而知,在樂園裡的大部分時間,都在拍照、顧娃娃車與抬槓中度過。三個大人輪流陪著小鬼乘坐各種以小火車為主題的遊樂設施,略算一下大概也有個十來項吧,小鬼可說是玩得不亦樂乎、意猶未盡,足足在裡面晃了三個多小時!
So you can imagine that most of the time we’re taking photos, taking care of the baby carriage and chatting. Three of us took turns to accompany Chine to enjoy more than ten different kinds of facilities with the trains as theme. She’s having great fun and even asked to play some of the facilities twice. We stayed in the theme park for more than three hours!

日本人也真讓人佩服,除了唯妙唯肖的複製街景與人物以外,(與東京迪士尼相較下)服務人員的帶動與服務也更為投入。這個存在已經有一段時間的湯瑪士樂園,維護和保護措施也做的頗不錯,家長能夠很放心地讓小朋友在裡面跑來跑去。
When I entered the ThomasLand, I can’t help admiring Japanese for the detailed copy of the characters and street scenes. The staff is more devoting to their work and service (comparing to Tokyo Disneyland). Even though the theme park has been opened for quite a while, the maintenances and protections are done nicely so that children can have fun without any security concerns.

在富士山腳下坐雲霄飛車大概會是個很特別的經驗吧!
To take a roller-coaster ride under the Fuji Mountain must be a special experience.


做得很漂亮的湯馬士樂園.
View of ThomasLand

小孩子尺寸的湯馬士火車.
Children-size Thomas train.







買了新衣服馬上就要換上的芊!
Chien wanted to put on the new shirt immediately.

December 07, 2005

沉重

回到義大利來的一個星期都關在家裡趕稿,好不容易在星期天晚上把手上這本急件給趕完以後,星期一的第一件事,就是到公婆家跟老人家請安。回台前幾個星期也是因為稿忙加上好友來訪,很少去看他們,算一算也有將近三個月沒有去了…在台灣的時候,米奇某日去看老人家以後跟我說,「從客廳到廚房走了將近十分鐘才到…」我的心不免一沉,也盡量為自己做好心理準備,看樣子婆婆惡化的速度比我想像中快了很多。

婆婆被診斷出帕金森也十幾年了,這幾天偶然看到四年前聖誕節時拍的照片,真是讓人感慨萬分,這四年的狀況,竟是像做雲霄飛車一樣地急速下降。昨天去看到的狀況,即使我覺得已經做好了心理準備,仍然還是讓我心頭一緊,差點就沒陪著一起哭…婆婆身上除了帕金森以外,還有一些因為醫療處理不當而遺留下來的症狀,現在全部加總在一起折磨著老人家,看她痛苦的樣子,除了心疼以外也無可奈何。

「Mi stanno abbandonando tutti!(所有人都在拋棄我)」婆婆邊哭邊說。患病以後屢屢發作的憂鬱,這次似乎特別的嚴重,就如公公說的,「跌在地上起不來了…」以前習以為常的感官,一個個地不管用了,加上久病害怕子女將她置之不理的恐懼,在在折磨著她…

平心而言,惡化速度如此,其實也跟婆婆不配合醫生有很大的關係,被小姑帶著亂投醫就不說了,連所有醫生叫她一定要做的運動,也沒有到復健師那邊接受治療,只因為她覺得「那些運動我在家就可以做」,怎知在家要做不做,要不就是該做十下的做五下就停…

現在我說這些又有什麼用?

米奇大概是最能拉婆婆一把的人了,一方面因為個性,另一方面則是因為婆婆對大兒子的依賴。在婆婆抱怨的時候,他總是會對婆婆說:「妳必須要比其他人更堅強…」不過這次當婆婆嘴裡說出「救我」的時候,我聽到的卻是一種瀕臨崩潰邊緣的呼救,她絕望的眼神讓我忍不住別開頭來…

記得幾個月以前,當我第一次看到墨綠姨寫老人痴呆症的故事,眼淚就不爭氣地掉了下來,因為我知道也害怕,即使帕金森和老人痴呆是兩回事,不過終有一天也得要面對這樣的事。人的老病死,竟是如此的沉重…

還記得幾天前和墨綠姨的對話中,墨綠姨曾說:「壽終正寢是很大的福氣。」時間點所致,這句話竟然深深地烙在我心上…


照片是2001年聖誕節拍的, 現在大概很難看到這景象了...

December 03, 2005

【食驗室】紅菊苣香腸燉飯Risotto al radicchio e salsiccia


話說這兩天因為趕稿加上司機不在家,只得乖乖地待在家裡,每天除了坐在電腦前面工作,煮飯竟成了最大的享受。
Due to the reasons that I’m trapped by work, and the personal driver is not home, I am forced to stay home these days. Apart from working in front of the computer, cooking becomes the greatest enjoyment of the day.

紅菊苣是我花了五年才接受的蔬菜。為什麼花了五年?原因無他,我吃不了苦,任何苦味蔬菜向來都是我的拒絕往來戶,不管旁人怎麼勸說,怎麼把這苦味說的天花亂墜,我就是無法喜歡上它們。
I spent five year to accept radicchio. Why? Because basically I don’t eat anything bitter. I just refuse to eat any bitter vegetable no matter how “good” they may taste. I just can’t fall in love with them.

December 02, 2005

變髮記Cutting Hair


回台灣之前去整理個頭髮,似乎已經成了一種習慣…只是十月底出發前太忙,想要空個下午去變髮簡直是不可能,所以就一直延宕到現在。有人也許會問,怎麼不在台灣弄?台灣暨便宜又方便,殊不知以前幫我處理頭髮的設計師在這幾年間早就不知道跑到哪裡去了,而且算來算去花費其實差不多,自從搬來歐洲以後,就索性就地處理了。
Going to the hair salon before leaving for Taiwan seems to become a habit… however, this time I was way too busy before departure and it’s just impossible to spare an afternoon for a haircut, so I didn’t go until yesterday. Someone might ask, why not have it done in Taiwan since it’s convenient and cheap. Well, the stylist I used to go has moved to I-don’t-know-where and after calculating the cost I almost spend same amount of money no matter having it done in Taiwan or Italy. So I started to go to stylist here since I moved to Europe.

美髮師羅芮娜是米奇的朋友。記得我在英國唸書的時候,某次曾經和米奇抱怨英國的沙龍索價昂貴,每個朋友的整髮記都是個慘痛的經驗,可是看著自己超過半年沒有整理的頭髮,心情又奇差無比,不知道該怎麼辦…之後飛到義大利玩耍的時候,米奇就幫我預約,請羅芮娜幫我整理頭髮。嘗試新的設計師總是令人又期待又怕受傷害,不過米奇一再擔保,說羅芮娜技術高明,還曾經到台灣開過講座,絕對不會讓我失望,所以我就硬著頭皮去了…反正我的頭髮長得很快,剪壞了等幾個月又是活龍一尾!
The stylist Lorena is Michele’s friend. When I was studying in UK, one time I was complaining to Michele that the hair salon is very expensive in London and none of my friends had good result out of it. I haven’t been to the stylist for more than six months and I was feeling bad about it… Some time later, I came to Italy for a visit and found that Michele had made an appointment for me with Lorena. It’s an exciting but scary thing to try new stylist, but Michele guaranteed the superiority of Lorena’s technique that she’s even been to Taiwan to give seminars, so I decided to give it a try. In any case, my hair grows very fast and if anything’s wrong with the cut I can have it re-arranged again in a few months.

這一剪下去,就註定了我接下來的命運…在這一帶找到適合的美髮師並不是件容易的事,因為並不是每個美髮師都知道怎麼處理東方人的頭髮,因此即使到巴薩諾要開半小時的車,短輒每兩三個月長輒四五個月我就到羅芮娜那裡報到一次。
The very first appointment with Lorena had decided my “destiny”… It’s not easy to find a stylist who knows how to take care of oriental hair in this area, even though it takes more than a half hour to arrive Bassano, I still go there every few months.

羅芮娜很容易就抓住了我的型,而且好求新求變的她加上很有冒險精神的我,每次總是能夠讓我有煥然一新的感覺。我向來就很喜歡看美髮師巧手變髮,看著鏡子裡的我從原本的樣子變成一個完全不同的自己,真的很神奇,看得也過癮。米奇每次帶我去都戰戰兢兢,因為他很清楚,在三個小時以後走出來的我,一定會推翻他原本的想法和習慣…
It doesn’t take long for Lorena to get my style. We both have kind of adventurous personality. She’s always looking for something new and I’m always willing to take whatever suggestions she gives. I always enjoy watching hair cutting. It’s a miraculous thing to see myself changing. Michele is kind of scared to take me there because he knows it too well that three hours later I’ll overthrow his original thoughts and habits…

前一陣子的大波浪捲也留了將超過半年,昨天去赴約時,本來還在思考到底要變什麼,因為燙髮又留長的關係,分叉乾澀的問題自然無法避免,這是我唯一想要解決的問題,其實當時的我只知道我想剪頭髮而已…洗完頭做完護髮,小姐把厚厚的髮型書遞到我手上,沒兩分鐘羅芮娜就走了過來,一手拿著雜誌,一手正忙著在行動電話的圖庫裡找圖給我看…「你想把捲子留著嗎?不留的話我們就弄這樣…」二話不說,馬上開始動手。
I’ve been keeping my hair wavy and long for quite a while. When I went to the appointment I was thinking what to do. The only problem I was eager to solve is the unavoidable crispiness and bifurcate after I have it permed. I only knew I wanted to have it cut… After washing and treatment, a thick stylebook was handed to me. Lorena came to me a few minutes later, one hand with a magazine, the other fingering on her mobile trying to get the image she needed. ‘Do you want to keep the perm? Otherwise we can do this…’ No more words were wasted and we started the magic.

看著地上越來越多的頭髮,又有了一次全部剪掉的快感!現在的我,心情也跟著頭髮輕鬆了起來…
More and more hair was on the ground; I have had another time of delight seeing my hair being cut. Now, my mood is as light as my hair…

工作去~~~
Time for work~~~

December 01, 2005

05秋季日本行(第二天買票記) Japan Trip 05 (Day II Purchasing Tickets)

往富士極途中拍到的富士山The Fujiyama taken on the way to Fyjikyu

按照老媽的計畫,第二天的行程是富士急樂園和富士山河口湖。到富士急樂園是為了看芊芊很喜歡的湯馬士小火車,因為裡頭有個湯馬士樂園;至於河口湖,則是預計去看猴子劇場。
According to my mom’s plan, the destinations for the second day were Fujikyu Highland and Lake Kawaguchi. The former was for the Thomas Land because Chien is very fond of the animation “Thomas and Friends”. As for the latter, it’s for the monkey theater.

早上吃早餐時,就和老媽有點不愉快。因為平常沒有在用日文,所以老媽的日文的確退步了不少,所以從第一天抵達東京以後,我們就決定要考驗日本人的英文程度,盡量讓我用英文來處理大小事情。之所以和老媽起了小爭執,是在於她雖然查了資料,卻都是日文,一大早我人還沒睡醒,眼前就遞來了一疊日文,殊不知我的日文大部分都是聽一聽猜一猜,只要扯到除了漢字以外的五十音,我就直接投降,一個字也唸不出來…所以老媽把資料遞過來,示意等會兒到新宿車站時要我去買票,我人都傻了…坐什麼車、目的地是哪裡、怎麼換車等,都是日文…
During breakfast, I was having a small fight with my mom. Mom used to speak some Japanese, but because she’s not using it often she almost loses it. So after we arrived Tokyo, we’ve decided to test the English level of Japanese people that I should take care of everything with English. The reason for the fight? Well, my mom did look up for information about the trip, but everything was in Japanese. I wasn’t really awake since we got up early and some papers in Japanese were handed to me. My Japanese? Well, I can only guess by listening. As to reading Japanese, I guess with Han characters (which were adopted from the Chinese language) but when it comes to the fifty sounds I can only surrender! I don’t know a single sound of it… So when my mom gave me the papers and said I should go and purchase the train tickets, I was about to “faint”… what train to take, where is the destination, where to change, etc. were all written in Japanese.

老媽也跟我一起脾氣不好,賭氣之下,她拿著資料決定自己去買票,而當我們抵達新宿車站時,她也就真的自顧自地走進了售票處。我不放心,隔了兩分鐘還是決定跟進去…
So my mom decided to buy the tickets herself. When we arrived the station, she went directly to the green window. I wasn’t feeling sure about it, so two minutes later I went inside as well.

老媽拿著手上的紙,用日文告訴售票員她的目的地…一切似乎都很順利,一直到售票員問我們要搭九點半還是十點半的火車。看了看錶,距離九點半只有10分鐘,不過要在新宿車站等一個小時也挺累的,老媽在一旁猶豫不決,我則使勁地催促她趕緊作決定,因為要搭九點半的車,我們只剩十分鐘買票找月台跑火車,更別說還有的偌大的娃娃車得要搬…終於決定要搭九點半的車,不過接下來的發展就有點好笑…售票員以為是兩張票,更正是三張以後,售票員霹靂啪拉講了一堆日文說明又沒人聽得懂,我換用英文問她,她竟然還是用日文回答我…然後我又莫名其妙簽了兩張簽帳單,她交到我手上的有三張,還把其中一張圈了起來,不過我完全沒搞懂這些到底在幹什麼,只知道快來不及了,也只好拿著車票往外衝…
With her papers, mom told the lady where she wanted to go. Everything seemed to go well, until the moment we had to decide which train to take, the one at 9:30 or 10:30. We only had 10 minutes to get to the train if we took the former one, but it’s tiring to wait for another hour in the station. Mom was hesitating and I was trying to hurry her to make a decision, for the reason that taking the 9:30 train we’ve only got 10 minutes to buy the ticket and look for the platform, just don’t mention that we still had a stroller to carry. Mom finally made up her mind to take the 9:30 train, but the following “developments” were kind of funny… The lady thought we’re getting two tickets instead of three, and after the correction she’s trying to provide information with a series of Japanese which none of us could understand. I switched to English to ask for confirmation but she still replied to me in Japanese… Then, I signed two credit card slips but she gave me three while circling on one of them with red pen and explaining what it referred to… I totally had no idea what’s going on, but meanwhile I knew we’re about to lose the train. So we grabbed the tickets and left.

順利找到月台上了車,沒幾分鐘車子就開了,還頗有驚魂未定的感覺…坐定了以後,我把剛剛發生的事情回想了一遍,然後把簽單拿出來看,怎麼看就是看不懂,上面的數字加起來也不是三的倍數,越看越奇怪…我免不了有點抱怨了,不過聽在娘耳裡也頗不舒服,竟然可以從這件事情開始牽托到其他事情,而我只是在抱怨「不要拿日文資料給我然後要我用英文做事」…坐在前面的嫂子聽著我和老媽雞同鴨講的對話,想笑也不敢笑出來…
We arrived the platform and got onto the train few minutes before it departed. I was feeling lucky. After we sat down and relaxed a bit, I tried to think over what has happened and took out the credit card slips… the more I looked at them the more I was confused. I couldn’t understand what it meant and the numbers adding together was not multiple of three. I couldn’t help complaining but mom wasn’t too happy about my complaints. So she started to complain as well and the “topics” got further and further, while I was only saying that “don’t give me Japanese info and ask me to do things in English”… My sister-in-law was sitting in front of us hearing all the conversation. Later she told me that she’s about to burst out laughing but at that very moment she knew she couldn’t…

November 29, 2005

2005手寫平安夜?2005 Send a "real" X'mas!

早上一打開信箱, 這個標題馬上就吸引了我...我向來都喜歡手寫卡片, 離上一次手寫耶誕卡, 好像也不是太久的事, 不過也是零零星星寫個幾張, 像國高中時期一次寄個五六十張的盛況不再, 一方面是因為"現代人"早已不來這套, 一方面是因為住在國外郵資挺嚇人.

說起來也挺感傷, 網路拉近了人的距離, 卻造成了另一種疏離.

仔細看了看活動, 順手貼上來, 也希望看到的人踴躍響應...我也會在稿子堆裡找時間寫的 ^_^

~~~~~~~~~~
2005手寫平安夜Banner

想一想,距離上次收到親筆信、打開手寫卡片,是多久以前的事情了?

再想一想,距離上次提筆寫信、親自寫賀卡,又是多久以前的事情了?

在這2005年末的寒冬,讓我們重拾手寫的溫暖,將最深的祝福,天涯海角,送給我們最想祝福的人!

參加對象:所有渴望溫暖已久的朋友們。

活動時間:即日起至2005年12月31日。當然,你也可以繼續一直做下去…

活動方式:
  1. 將整篇活動訊息以E-MAIL轉寄,或貼在部落格、電子報、新聞台等公開形式,讓你的親朋好友們知道。(也可以利用部落格的引用喔!)
  2. 收到訊息的朋友,一方面可以再繼續傳給更多人知道,一方面則可以開始收集地址囉!
  3. 在12月15日前,將親筆手寫的卡片寄出。(若在國外,那就得再提前一點寄出卡片囉!)
  4. 最後,在2005年12月31日晚上以前,將你收到卡片的感動,或者收到的卡片內容,在跨年的夜晚與大家一起分享!
活動獎品:在渴望溫暖的生活中,你將收到一封一封來自天涯海角的手寫祝福,與最真實的感動。

備註:
  1. 在寫地址的時候,希望大家也能用手寫哦!^^
  2. 請將活動用貼紙一併轉寄或貼在部落格、電子報、新聞台喔!

2005 Send a real X'mas! Banner

How long haven't you received and opened a handwritten card?

How long haven't you sent a handwritten greeting card to someone?

At end of year 2005 , in such a cold winter season, let's call back the memories of handwriting wishes. Send the deepest wishes to whom you want.

To: those who long for warmth

Date: from now on to 31 Dec 2005. Sure, you may continue forever......

How:
  1. Forward this message to your friends; or you can post it on your blog, e-paper, or on your website (or just quote by your blog).
  2. Those who get this message, please forward to others, and open your address book, find someone you want to write to.
  3. Send your handwriten card before 15 Dec 2005. If you wand to send cards abroad, remember to send them early.
  4. Finally, if you get any handwritten card before 31 Dec 2005, please do not forget to share  your happiness and feeling with us on X'mas eve. You can write down your feeling or quote some phrases on your blog or website.
Award: You will get the most unforgettable, truest handwriting wishes one by one from everywhere.

PS1. Please do not PRINT the address, but WRITE it too.
PS2. Please attach the logo of activity in email or post it on your blog, website.
PS3. If you feel the English version is not so well, you can foward this message by your perfect one.

November 21, 2005

05秋季日本行(第一天) Japan Trip 05 (Day I)

在機場等我們喝完咖啡的芊Chien awaiting us to finish our coffee

六點多起了個大早,就是為了趕九點多到東京的飛機。回台灣這一陣子很少這麼早起,加上前一晚照樣趕稿,一點也感受不到「出去玩」之前的那股興奮心情…
We got up around 6am to catch the flight at 9am to Tokyo. I rarely got up this early since I came back to Taiwan, and the night before I was still struggling with work, so I really couldn’t feel any excitement before leaving for a “pleasure trip”…

這也不是芊第一次坐飛機,幾個月前老哥就已經趁著去澳門表演的時候帶去了一趟。不過,因為老媽很久之前就開始跟芊預告要帶她去看小飛象、坐湯瑪士火車、坐新幹線,小鬼倒是挺興奮的,將近三個小時的飛機,也不見她吵鬧,乖乖地玩著空姐送給她的飛機模型,同時也小睡了一番。
It wasn’t Chien’s first flight. A few months ago, my brother took the chance and brought her to Macao when he went for a performance. However, because my mother started telling her that we’re going to see Dumbo, Thomas and take Shinkansen, she was actually quite excited. She was pretty good during the three-hour flight, staying quiet with the gift, the little airplane given by the airline, and also took a nap.

飛機按預定時間抵達了成田機場,不過當我們走到護照查驗時,卻被眼前的景象嚇了一跳…豈只是人山人海…上次進東京時也是同樣的景象,不過一直到這個節骨眼,我才想到這次得跟個不到三歲的娃兒通關,眼前也只好硬著頭皮去排隊…
We arrived Narita as scheduled. However, when we saw the lines in front of the passport control, we’re more than surprised… crowds of people… It’s the same situation that I faced when I came to Tokyo last time. But it’s not until the very moment that I remembered we had to face this with a three-year-old. Well, there’s nothing we can do but join the queue. So we did.

我們有一搭沒一搭地聊著,還遇上了很沒水準硬插隊的老外,好家在的是,排了沒幾分鐘,就有好心的旅客告訴我們,旁邊有兩個窗口是專門給老年人和帶著嬰兒的旅客使用的。儘管有點狐疑,我還是先去看了一下,果然是真的,於是就回去把老媽和嫂子一起找了過來,托芊的福,竟然可以省過那將近兩個小時的隊伍,迅速地過了關,拿行李去。
We chatted while queuing, and also bumped into a very rude westerner that tried to get into the line. Luckily, a few minutes later there’re some good-hearted passengers telling us about the two windows dedicated to seniors and people traveling with infant. I was suspicious but still went to check. It’s real! So I went back to call my mother and sis-in-law. It was because of Chien that we could save the two-hour line of passport control. We passed shortly and went to pick up the luggage.

坐上了前往京王飯店的巴士,好不容易可以鬆懈一點,不過心情卻也隨著大雨而沉了下去。原本計畫要去淺草走走,不過到飯店的時候也已經五點了,只好稍事休息,然後出發去吃晚餐。
Getting onto the airport limousine, we finally could rest a bit. However, the mood went down with the pouring rain… I was thinking to take them to Asakusa, but we arrived the hotel at 5pm and it was too late for any sightseeing. So we took some rest and then left for food hunting.

飯店離新宿車站很近,上次來東京的時候也是住在同一區,所以我對這一帶還挺熟的。下雨又帶著小鬼,我早就對自己念念不忘的立食壽司死了心,索性找了家日式烤肉店。店員不會講英文,菜單也全是日文,不過還好有一些圖片,加上老媽尚且可用的破日文,竟也讓我們吃了一頓豐盛的晚餐。
The Hotel is close to Shinjuku station. I stayed around the very same area during my last trip to Tokyo so I know it pretty well. The rain was pouring and there’s Chien with us, so I gave up the idea to go to my favorite stand-up sushi long ago. We went into a teriyaki place. People don’t speak English and the menu is in Japanese. Luckily there’re some pictures and my mom’s Japanese is good enough to order food for us, we had a great dinner.

吃完以後,我們在地下街逛了一下…在逛街的同時,竟然又有日本老公公跑來跟我問路。他問我JR要到哪裡搭,我聽是聽懂了,不過不知道怎麼回,索性一句「sumimasen」,老公公一聽馬上就發現我不是日本人,說了句對不起趕快閃人。我心裡頭還是免不了犯滴咕…我真的長得那麼像日本人嗎?
After we finished dining, we went to the underground shopping street for a walk. When we’re going around, a Japanese old man came up to me and asked for direction. He was looking for the JR station. I understood what he’s asking but couldn’t really answer him (because I don’t speak Japanese). So I just said “sumimasen” (I’m sorry) and he understood immediately that I’m not Japanese. He said “sorry” and went away immediately. I still can’t stop murmuring… Am I looking so much Japanese?

一方面是因為早上起太早,大家都累了,一方面也是因為朋友要到旅館和我碰頭拿個東西,所以我們決定早早回到旅館休息,養精蓄銳,為第二天的行程作準備。
Because we got up early and were feeling tired, and I was about to meet up with a friend at the hotel lobby, so we went back to the hotel quite early, to prepare ourselves for the next day.

November 17, 2005

05秋季日本行(前言) Japan Trip 05 (foreword)



我娘在我七月決定要回台灣參加好友婚禮以後,便開始計畫要趁著我在台灣的期間出國走一趟。幾經轉折,到了回台前一個月,終於決定要去日本玩個五天。
My mother started to plan the trip after I decided to come back for a friend’s wedding. My trip back in Taiwan was confirmed in July, but she didn’t make up her mind as to our destination until September. At the end she decided to go to Japan for five days.

只是,這次日本行是很不一樣的…因為,我們要帶著一個不到三歲的娃兒一起去。
However, it’s quite a different trip… because we’re taking a baby girl who is not yet three years old with us.

芊芊是小鬼的小名。自從我上次回台灣因為管她看電視而跟她結下樑子以後,家人就處心積慮地想要化解我跟她之間的「恩怨」。幾個月以後,某次她指著照片裡的我戲稱「pingu」,打死都不叫姑姑以後,娘就決定要趁著我在台灣的時候,帶著芊芊一起去旅行,好讓我們姑姪倆培養感情。
Her nickname is Chien-Chien. During my last trip in Taiwan, one time I was trying to make her stay back when watching tv. She wasn’t too happy about that and remembered that “gu-gu” (aunt from father’s side in Chinese) was mean to her. Some months later, one day she’s pointing at me in the photo calling me “pingu” continuously instead of “gugu”. My mother decided that she’d take the baby for a trip with me when I’ll be in Taiwan, and try to develop a more friendly relationship between the baby and me.

既然有了個小鬼同行,就得以小鬼會玩的地方為主,所以行程就變成:
Since there’s a baby with us, we had to choose places suitable for the baby. So our schedule became as follows:
第一天 First Day
台北飛往東京。
Taipei to Tokyo

第二天 Second Day
富士急樂園裡的湯瑪士樂園。
The Thomas Land of the Fujikyu Highland.

第三天 Third Day
早上到東京迪士尼,傍晚乘坐新幹線前往奈良外公外婆家。
Go to Tokyo Disneyland in the morning. In the late afternoon take the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) to Nara where my grandparents live.

第四天 Forth Day
可能可以把小鬼丟給大人,和嫂子一起去京都。
Possibly leave the baby with grandparents and mom, and go to Kyoto with my sister-in-law.

第五天 Fifth Day
回台。
Go back to Taiwan.

很多朋友聽說我要去日本,都發出了羨慕之語,大概只有米奇能夠想像我這次可能得面臨的奇怪狀況。雖然出發前我已經做好了心理準備,不過真正發生的時候,還是有點措手不及的感覺。
Many friends envied me when they heard that I’d go to Japan again. Probably only Michele was able to imagine what I’d have to face during the trip. Even though I was prepared psychologically, I still felt unprepared when it really happened.

November 02, 2005

DD怪貓 DD the Strange Cat

DD是我台灣家裡第一隻貓。其實我們本來都是養狗的,不過在幾年前狗狗死掉了以後,老爸老媽就打消了養寵物的念頭,畢竟每次出遠門,家裡頭有隻動物也是挺麻煩的事。那麼,DD又怎麼來的?其實是老哥和嫂子的傑作,至於到後來為什麼會在家裡,那可就說來話長了,今天姑且就略過吧。
DD is our first cat in Taiwan. We used to keep dog at home. When our last dog died a few years ago, my parents decided not to keep pets anymore. After all, it’s quite a troublesome thing to take care of, especially when you have to travel far away from home. So, how come there’s a DD now? Well, it’s actually the work of my brother and sister-in-law. It’s a long story as to how it finally arrived here. Let’s skip it today.

DD來到家裡的時候,我人在義大利。透過電話,我知道家裡多了一個新成員,據說還是隻漂亮的金吉拉。後來看到照片的時候,總覺得有點怪,也許是混到其他種的雜種…不過不管怎麼說,還是不減其丰采,毛茸茸的讓人好想摸一把,尤其是那長長的尾巴,走起路來翹在那裡晃啊晃的,那時的DD,像是個高貴的王子。
DD arrived when I was in Italy. I was told there’s a new addition at home, and it is said to be a beautiful Chinchilla cat. When I saw the photo, it seemed to be a bit weird. I think it might be a mix… Anyway it’s still a beautiful cat. So furry that makes you want to touch it. He likes to raise his long tail while walking, looking just like a noble prince.

可惜的是,因為氣候的關係,DD來到家裡不到一年,耳朵後方就開始長奇怪的東西。有獸醫說是黴菌感染,又有人說是耳疥蟲,不論如何,除了藥物治療以外,還得盡量維持清潔。DD是隻愛乾淨的貓,雖然不愛洗澡,不過沒法忍受人嫌牠髒,在你講兩三次「你好臭」以後,就會自動跑到浴室門前,甚至跳進浴缸要洗澡。
It’s a pity that after a while, something strange started to grow behind his ears. One vet said it’s fungus infection, the other said it’s ear mite. In any case, apart from medical care the best way is to keep it clean as much as possible. DD likes to be clean(ed). Though he doesn’t like being washed, he can’t stand to be dirty. After you say two or three times “you’re smelly” he will run to the door of the bathroom, sometimes even jumps into the bathtub waiting to be washed.

那時正值盛夏,牠每天熱到無精打采,還會搶著吹冷氣,小弟看牠這個的樣子,於是把牠帶去寵物美容,把毛剔個精光,留下頭部、尾巴尖端和四隻腳的毛,看起來像極了一隻穿著靴子的小獅子。貓兒剪毛以後害羞躲起來的事,我們是聽多了,為了不讓DD感到自卑,牠一回家,大家夥兒極盡能事地猛力稱讚,牠儘管因為剛剔毛的關係很不習慣,卻也覺得自己很漂亮。
It was during hot summer. DD was suffering heat, and even fighting for the air conditioner. My younger brother decided to take him for some “beauty care”… that is, shave him! Only hair around his head, on tip of the tail and on the feet was kept. It looked just like a little lion with boots. We heard that many cats hide away after shaving because they feel ashamed. To avoid this situation, we made him feel as much as possible that he’s beautiful. Though he’s not used to his new appearance, he felt pretty out of our surprise.

沒有了毛皮大衣,DD的夏天好過了很多,很快地,小弟也發現,耳後的傷口不僅癒合地快,也很好處理。自此以後,小弟三不五時就帶DD去剔個毛,皆大歡喜。
Without its fur, DD became happier in summer. In a short while, my younger brother also discovered that the wounds behind his ears heal much faster with short hair, and they’re much easier to be taken care of. Since then, DD is taken to be shaved periodically. Everyone is happy.

我剛回到台灣沒幾天,小弟又把DD帶去理毛了。也許是不小心剪了太短,就看牠回家以後抖個不停。這兩天看牠這樣不是辦法,小弟竟然起了幫DD買衣服的念頭,也真的趁著今天去逛街,買了一件小衣服回來給牠。
DD was taken for beauty care some days after I arrived Taiwan. Perhaps it was shaved too much this time and he keeps trembling when he comes back home. My younger brother was thinking what to do, and it came to his mind that he could dress him. And he did buy a piece of cat dress when we went out shopping today.

回到家迫不及待地幫DD穿上,就看牠定在那裡不動了,一臉不知所措的樣子…看樣子,牠還需要好一段時間才能夠適應這東西吧!
After we came back home, he just can’t wait to dress DD. Then we just saw DD “frozen”. He doesn’t seem to know how to deal with the situation. I think it’ll take a while for him to get used to this new stuff.

October 22, 2005

台北看煙火


從我搬離台灣以後,就沒有在家看過煙火,一方面是因為人不在,一方面則是因為原本在淡水河畔施放的國慶煙火,從政黨輪替以後,就沒有在台北出現過…

回到台北家裡當天,家人興奮地告訴我:「明天晚上有煙火可以看喔!」

這樣的盛事,也讓老爹晚上特地提早回家,平時晚上十點才關門的診所,不到八點半就趁早打烊,就是要回家趕這股煙火熱。

八點五十分,全家人聚集到後面對著淡水河的陽台等待。九點整,「砰」的一聲,三十分鐘的火樹銀花,絢麗開啟。老爹手上抱著小鬼,又是「好像瀑布」,又是「孔雀開花」,小鬼童言童語地重複著大人們的話,好像個小大人似的。

老爹感慨地說:「當初會選上這個地點,就是想說每年一次的國慶煙火,可以不用去河堤人擠人,沒想到搬過來才看了兩次,煙火連著五年沒在台北城出現過…」我從小就愛看煙火,以前是在舊家樓頂的大伯父家,爬到陽台上去看,還記得有一年,老爹心血來潮,帶我們去河堤湊熱鬧,哪知人多得嚇人,往返途中除了怕把我和哥哥弄丟以外,有人也因為聲音太大而嚇哭了(我發誓真的不是我…)

搬到‘新家’以後,有著兩年享受到「煙火在臉上炸開」的感覺,那種震撼,大概一直到今年在威尼斯煙火節,才又再次感受到。住在義大利,看煙火已經不是什麼鮮事,幾乎所有小鎮慶典的最後一天,都會放個煙火慶祝一番。儘管如此,我還是對台北煙火情有獨鍾,它,和我對家的回憶緊緊相連著…

回家

五年多了,在義大利和台灣來來回回的日子,昨天經過曼谷機場的時候,不知怎麼突然覺得感慨… 過一陣子就坐飛機來回義大利的狀況,成了一種習慣?!

常常有人問我,到底喜歡義大利還是台灣的生活,我想,我其實是沒有什麼意見的。在台灣就過台灣的生活,在義大利就過義大利的生活。時空錯亂? 還不至於吧...

米奇即使到現在,還是不太能適應,因為每當人們問起,我總是把回台灣說成「回家」。他總是會說:「妳家在義大利。」我總會回答:「我家在義大利也在台灣。」也許,他二十四歲離家自立這件事,對他來說是完全的脫離,而我,怎麼樣也切不斷我與原生家庭的牽絆。

我想,我是幸運的,比起其他人,我有兩個家,一個在義大利,一個在台灣。只是在回家的路上,總是得要先把其中一個捨著,不過當回到家以後,這個家則有著我全心全意的投入。

October 07, 2005

煮菜節目La Prova Del Cuoco

真正開始動手做飯,其實是搬到歐洲來以後的事情了。在倫敦唸書的時候,因為物價高貴,加上很多時候港式口味吃不習慣,不得不開始下廚。
I really started to cook after I moved to Europe. When I was studying in London, due to the high living cost and the fact that I’m not used to Cantonese flavor, I was forced to start cooking.

搬到義大利以後,沒有了倫敦到處都找得到亞洲餐館的奢侈,一切更是要自己動手。剛開始,向來都是我煮中式米奇煮義式料理,不過幾年下來,我開出來的菜單慢慢有了變化,除了偶爾拿出以前在台灣買的英文食譜來變變口味以外,也開始動手煮義大利菜,而且還跟許多義大利家庭主婦一樣,養成了中午收看煮菜節目的習慣。
After moving to Italy, the luxury offered by a variety of Asian restaurants is gone and I just have to start creating whatever I want to eat. At the beginning, I cooked Chinese dishes and Michele prepared Italian dishes. Some years later, my menu is getting rich. Apart from trying foreign dishes taken from various English cookbooks I’ve bought when I was in Taiwan, I started to cook Italian dishes and gradually pick up the habit to watch cooking program at noon time, like many Italian housewives.

除了新聞節目以外,我最常收看的節目大概是從九月開始每天中午播出的La Prova Del Cuoco。和藹可親的女主持人,除了介紹義大利各地的美食特產以外,每天也會動手準備幾道不太複雜的菜色。雖然和她配合的女廚師才是真正表演的人,不過因為主持人的手似乎不甚靈巧,我常笑說,就是因為這樣子,大家在看了節目以後才會想要試試看,因為連她都可以做出來的話,應該不是太困難吧!
Apart from news programs, the tv program that I watch most is “La Prova Del Cuoco” around noon time everyday, starting from September every year. The very friendly hostess of the program introduces various specialties and products in various Italian regions, and prepares some easy dishes every day. Of course, the chef is the one that cooks. However, for the reason that the hostess herself doesn’t seem to be a good cook, people would really try to prepare the dishes after they watch the program. After all, if she can do it, it shouldn’t be too difficult!

節目的最後一個階段,則是觀眾可以報名參加的煮飯比賽。每天都有兩位觀眾被邀請到節目,和節目固定配合的大廚,一起在二十分鐘內,利用有限的食材準備出三道菜(通常是兩道主菜加甜點或是一道開胃菜一道主菜加甜點),然後現場觀眾和評審一起選出當天的優勝者,可以獲得獎金。這也是我最喜歡的部分,只要有時間有心情,我就會準備好紙筆,坐在電視機前,一看到可以嘗試的菜色就記下來,等著以後有空來實驗看看。
The last part of the program is a cooking competition. Two audiences are invited to participate the competition. With the chefs they will have to prepare three dishes with limited ingredients within twenty minutes. (Normally it’ll be two main dishes with a desert or one appetizer, one main dish with a desert.) Together with the juries, the audience in the live program will vote for the winner, who will receive some premium. This is my favorite part of the program. Whenever I have time and mood I’ll get a pen and my cooking note, sit in front of the TV and write down whatever interests me to be experimented afterwards.

今天晚上,我的廚房就成了實驗室,因為一下子不知道晚上要吃些什麼,在超市裡剛好看到一些適當的材料,可以準備一道前兩天在節目裡看到的菜,買完菜回到家不到七點,早早就在廚房裡動起手來。
Tonight, my kitchen is turned into a laboratory. We didn’t really know what to eat. When I was in the supermarket, I happened to see some ingredients that can be used to prepare a dish that I saw two days ago. After we finished our grocery shopping and came back home, I started cooking… It’s not even 7PM.

我用的材料如下:
Ingredients as follows:
紅生菜一個(拳頭大小) one radicchio (fist size)
紅蔥頭四個 four shallots
綠葡萄一小杯 a small cup of green grapes
豬五花肉三百公克 300g of pork
白葡萄酒 white wine

紅蔥頭略切,以橄欖油小火爆香以後,加入對半切好去籽的葡萄拌炒。待葡萄開始變軟出汁,加入切好的紅生菜略拌,等紅生菜開始變色以後,加入切成拇指大小的豬肉條,略為拌炒,待豬肉表面變色以後,加入約30cc的葡萄酒和一小匙鹽,蓋起來用小火悶煮約十分鐘,就可以上菜了。
Chop the shallots roughly and fry it with olive oil and low fire. When the shallots start to change color, add grape (halved and deseeded) and mix. Cook until the grape starts to soften, add radicchio. When radicchio starts to change color, add pork (chopped into thumb size) and mix. When pork turns white, add 30cc of white wine and cover. Simmer with low fire for ten minutes or so, and it’ll be ready to be served.

雖然筆記本上密密麻麻一堆,這還是我頭一次嘗試這個電視食譜,似乎還蠻成功的,連米奇都覺得不賴。有了這次成功的經驗,我以後大概會更大膽實驗這些電視食譜吧!
Although I’ve got lots of notes on my notebook, it’s the very first time that I actually tried to cook this TV recipe. It turned out to be successful and even Michele was amazed. After this successful experience, I’ll probably be more courageous to try new TV recipes.

October 04, 2005

絲卡拉島的米博覽會

唸書的時候,嘴上常掛著「大考大玩小考小玩」這句話,這一陣子忙著趕稿,若是按照學生時代的生活態度,理論上也該是玩得很過癮的時候,不過現在的日子可沒有那麼輕鬆,畢竟也得要配合米奇的時間,加上年齡體力都有差,只要祈禱不會成天被關在家裡看電腦就不錯了。

話說九月底因為米奇的大妹蕾蒂和大弟文森佐生日的關係,大家夥兒好不容易抽空來個家族聚餐,好好幫他們慶祝一下。閒聊中,蕾蒂提到了在維若納的米博覽會,想要找時間去看看,對於從小吃飯長大的我,當然不能錯過這個長見識的機會。好奇心驅使之下,米奇和我硬是在忙碌的工作表中擠出了一個晚上,準備跟著蕾蒂和伊凡一起去湊熱鬧,約好下一個週六晚上碰頭。

這個一年一度、為期將近一個月的米博覽會,在維若納省的絲卡拉島舉行,今年已經是第三十九屆了。蕾蒂之前聽朋友形容了前往絲卡拉島的車陣,早早打電話來催促我們上路,殊不知我們不知道那裡來的好狗運,一路上暢行無阻,比預計時間還早了一個小時抵達。

一邊等待其他人到齊,我們一邊也就逛了起來。在義大利境內,這種大大小小的慶典活動很多,幾乎每個城市都有自己固定的慶典,慶典期間其實跟台灣的夜市沒兩樣,吃的買的看的玩的都有,差就差在一年只有幾天或幾個禮拜,而在台灣則每天都可以找得到。

我們到得早,攤位陸陸續續擺了起來,我們也就有一搭沒一搭地看,眼尖的蕾蒂看到了她念念不忘的烤羊肉串,大家於是就陪著她吃將起來,配著啤酒,就算是當晚的開胃菜。

好不容易等到晚餐預定的時間,我們也就準備到大帳棚裡就定位。博覽會裡有兩個供餐地點,一個是餐廳式的帳棚,另一個是美食街型態的帳棚。為了省去排隊的時間,我們預定了前者的套餐,菜單是固定的,一個人二十五歐元,包括一道前菜、三道米食、佐餐酒、甜點、咖啡和餐後酒。看著菜單,加上蕾蒂之前的好印象,在上菜之前我可真是躍躍欲試。

我們總共有十二個人,因為桌子不夠大,所以被分成兩桌,一桌坐著遠從維琴察來的食客,一桌則是蕾蒂住在絲卡拉島的友人。一個小時吃下來,兩桌的反應大異其趣,出現了維琴察桌很挑剔而絲卡拉島桌大快朵頤的景象。對我們這桌來說,除了尚可的前菜和很優的甜點以外,其他都讓令人大失所望,其中甚至有兩道米食,根本就是挖一口就放一邊去了。

polenta di riso con sopresa veneta
米糊吃起來很像洋芋泥,還蠻順口的,不過那個一點都不道地又乾得要死的臘腸切片,就得要扣分了。



riso integrale con funghi di bosco
糙米飯我是能吃,不過混了牛肝菌菇,那真是對不起了,姑娘我唯一會過敏的就是它。不過這也真是夠不道地了,一般若說是funghi di bosco,出現的菇應該不會是白白胖胖的小蘑菇,而是不包含牛肝菌菇的綜合菇種…就別說大廚只用了小蘑菇,好死不死還加了牛肝菌菇的高湯來熬煮入味,這是哪門子的funghi di bosco…

risotto con pesce di risaia
淡水魚比較腥,這我知道,不過也不至於煮出像是鱈魚乾的味道吧?維琴察的名菜baccala’ alla vicentina就是把鱈魚乾泡水以後,用許多香料和牛奶熬煮出來的,怎麼這道淡水魚燉飯的味道會讓我想起baccala’ alla vicentina?有問題…

risotto all’isolana
這道是絲卡拉島的特色菜,據說是用灌臘腸的豬肉和肉桂去煮出來的燉飯。聽起來很好吃啊,不過我一口下去,腦子裡卻出現了我最討厭的兩個字…粉肝!後來在美食街裡吃了同一道燉飯,順口得很,可見這裡的大廚真的把它給煮壞了…

torta di riso con salsa vaniglia
其實是米布丁。這樣的甜點如果出錯,真的得要打屁股了!配上脆脆的糖衣玉米片和香草醬,順口地很,貪嘴的我們也鼓起勇氣跟服務生要了第二份,畢竟其他道菜我們都沒有「續盤」,甜點吃個兩盤不為過吧!服務生也很乾脆,我們說了就算,二話不說端了第二份甜點上來,這下子,肚子裡原本還預留給美食街的洞,就這麼被填起來了。

雖然每一道都是淺嚐即止,不過一個小時吃下來也是挺飽的。我們討論的結果,認為是習慣不同所致。絲卡拉島的居民,習慣了這種米的口感,不過對我們來說,這種外面已經熟透而米心卻還沒煮透的口感,實在是亂奇怪的。一方面,義式燉飯得要現煮現吃,這大概是我們的失策,沒有想到這個帳棚裡吃不到美食街的新鮮口感。(美食街因為人多,流動量大,吃到的自然新鮮。)

失望之餘,蕾蒂堅持要到美食街帳棚走一遭,我們於是準備朝著美食街帳棚前進。沒想到,一出去就被外頭水洩不通的人潮給嚇了一跳,那景象真的讓我想起星期六晚上的士林夜市。


美食街帳棚的人潮更是嚇人,據說可以容納四五千人,放眼望去人山人海,我反而慶幸起不用在這邊餓著肚子等吃飯…在這邊品嘗到的菜色和另一個帳棚沒有兩樣,不過口感上真的好很多,至少,會讓我有想要吃第二口的衝動…只是肚子已經被撐得飽飽的,實在是塞不進去了。

我和米奇到這種市集慶典去逛街,通常都會大肆採購,不過這個晚上卻讓人沒有掏腰包的慾望…那米的口感,真的是吃不習慣,加上因為一行十二個人,我們也不好意思一攤攤停下來看,一個晚上就這麼廝混了過去,所幸的是,儘管在口腹之慾並不盡如人意,不過當晚同行的夥伴,一個比一個有趣,聊天倒是聊得很高興,大家夥兒還相約下次見面…交到新朋友,大概是當晚最寶貴的收穫吧!

September 29, 2005

沉潛期Slowing Down

寫部落格的速度,似乎隨著秋天的腳步而慢了下來。和前一陣子發狠用力寫相較之下,九月還真是乏善可陳。秋涼人懶?說穿了,其實是稿子來不及趕。典型「不到黃河心不死」的心態,看一下手邊的書,再翻一翻月曆,如果不卯起來趕稿,手上這本書大概不可能如期交件,加上多了一台鋼琴來瓜分剩餘無幾的時間,總是得捨掉一些原有的活動,在網站上爬文的時間自然就少了點。
My blogging speed is slowing down along with the coming of autumn. Comparing to the “production” of the passed few months, September is just slow. The autumn atmosphere makes people lazy? Well, honestly speaking, it’s all because I’m way behind my working schedule. Looking at the book and then the calendar, I really have to speed up, otherwise I won’t be able to hand it in by the end of the month. Besides, there’s a piano to “divide” the very few leisure time I’ve got, I just have to give up something to gain something… So the surfing time and writing time is sacrificed.

回想起來,每年秋冬似乎是我網路的沉潛期,從搬到義大利以來,沒有一個冬天不在趕稿…
Thinking back, I seem to step into hibernation every autumn and winter. Since I moved to Italy, I spent every winter on translating books…

September 22, 2005

家裡那個被遺忘的角落The Forgotten Corner at Home

每個人的家裡,都會有一些很少會去動到的角落,一年、甚至好幾年才會去清理一次。在我家,大概就是樓梯下被我們拿來堆放雜物的空間。
In every house, there’s always a rarely touched corner that one cleans once a year or even longer. In our place, it should be the space under the stairs where we use for storing miscellaneous articles.

「對灰塵過敏」是不打掃的好理由,家裡只要是會讓灰塵飛舞的工作,我能少做就少做,真的逼不得已輪到我動手,也只好戴起幾年前買的N95口罩…我只能在被悶死或被癢死之間選擇其一。
“Allergic to dust” is a good reason for not doing housekeeping and cleaning job. I always try to avoid anything that will raise the dust. When I’m really forced to do it, I could only take out my N95 mask… I can only choose to suffocate myself or itch to die.

上星期發現貓兒身上有跳蚤,本來以為投了藥就應該沒事了,沒想到在讀了用藥指示以後,才發現家裡只要是貓兒會去玩耍的地方,就得要清掃一番…義大利人一般是春季大掃除,沒想到我們這下子因為貓跳蚤的關係,還得來個秋掃,想著工作進度嚴重落後,又看著身上到處是被跳蚤咬了以後留下來癢得要死的小水泡,在怎麼樣也得硬著頭皮找時間打掃,趁著今天米奇剛好有空檔,也只得戴上N95上陣。
Last week, we discovered that there’re cat fleas at home! We thought that we only needed to get the medicine and apply the drops, but after reading the instructions we found a huge task in front of us. Every corner that the cat could arrive needs to be cleaned… Italians normally do yearly cleaning in spring. We’ve never imagined that we had to do a big cleaning in autumn because of cat fleas. I looked at my delayed work schedule, and then the tiny little red spots on my body left by these little bastards. No matter what we had to do it. So today we took the chance when Michele could take a break from work. My N95 was ready for work.

吃完中餐以後開始動手,整個下午四個小時,我也只是隨便把客廳那張桌子和幾個櫃子抹了幾下,並且拿著吸塵器,把粘附在椅子和沙發上的貓毛吸一吸,就已經陣亡了。米奇則負責車庫和樓梯間,貓便便和貓砂更是要整個換掉。
We started after lunch. I’ve only cleaned the desk in the living room and some shelves, plus cleaning all the cat hair on all the chairs and sofa with vacuum cleaner. It took me four hours to do it and I was exhausted after I finished. Michele was in charge of the garage and stairs. It’s also a must to clean the cat litter and change the cat sand.

家裡兩盆貓砂,一盆在車庫裡,一盆則在門口樓梯間。我一直都很想要把樓梯間的那盆換個位置,畢竟一進家裡就聞到貓便便,實在也不太舒服。趁著大掃除的機會,米奇終於決定要替那盆貓砂換位置了。也就是因為這樣,他竟然突發奇想,去動了家裡那個幾乎被遺忘的角落。
There’re two pots of cat sand at home, one in the garage and the other under the stairs. I’ve always wanted to find another place for the one under the stairs. After all, it’s not a nice feeling to smell the cat litter once you enter the house. Taking the chance, Michele decided to find another place for it. It’s also for this reason that he suddenly decided to mess around the forgotten corner.

搬到義大利五年多以來,我根本沒有去動過那個角落,所以自然也就不知道裡頭藏了那麼多好貨色,只是碰上選擇性‘健忘’又忙於工作的米奇,那種只有他能去碰的事情,向來都得要排好幾個月的隊才可能進行,交代給他的事情,如果沒有要他給個承諾,我向來也不敢冀望…清樓梯間,對我來說還真是天上掉下來的禮物…
I’ve moved here for five years and have never touched that corner. So it’s natural that I didn’t know what kind of “collections” lied inside. However, because of Michele’s “selectively forgetful character” and busy work, everything that only he can do has to queue for its chance for months. If he didn’t promise to do something, I can only hope that someday the mission would be completed… Cleaning that forgotten corner, it’s like a present fallen from heaven to me…

這可謂不鳴則已一鳴驚人,不清還好,一清把整個世界都給清出來了,三十多瓶紅酒白酒甜酒香檳(其中有好幾瓶二十多年的陳年好酒),一箱婆婆好幾年前做的番茄糊,兩大瓶從靴子跟運上來的特級橄欖油,兩箱自製果醬,加上好幾箱可以拿來裝番茄糊或自製果醬的空瓶子。
It seemed to discover a new world! More than thirty bottles of wine including some twenty-year-old red wine, a box of passata that my in-laws made few years ago, two big bottles of extra-virgin olive oil from Puglia, two boxes of home-made jam, and some boxes of empty bottles for passata and jam.

好不容易整理好了,憑空多出來五年份的番茄糊空瓶、三年份的果醬、夠整個冬天吃的番茄糊(如果還能吃的話)和一大堆好酒,我的心情好像挖到寶一樣,而且就在自己家裡…
It took a while to tidy things up. Coming out of the void is five-year quantity of passata bottles, three-year quantity of jam, and bottles of passata enough for the whole winter (if they’re still eatable) and a collection of good wine. It seemed to me that I’ve found a treasure box at home.

每天都能這樣過的話,該有多好…
I just wish that things like this could happen everyday…

September 20, 2005

新玩具New Toy

過去的兩個星期,就如預期中地忙碌,又是婚禮又是生日派對的,生活的步調更為緊湊,連喘口氣寫篇文章的時間都沒有。所有都按照計畫順利進行,唯一狀況外的,是我的新玩具。
We’re so busy as we’ve expected during the past two weeks. There’re weddings and birthday party, so many events that I didn’t even have time to sit down and blog. Luckily everything went smoothly, and I also received a new “toy” by accident.

這得要從克里斯和希薇亞的結婚派對說起。
Everything started at the wedding of Cristian and Silvia.

他們倆人結婚的當天,除了早上典型的教堂典禮和中午的婚宴以外,還多了一個專門為朋友辦的派對,晚上包下了一間酒吧,準備了簡單的餐點,邀請了七八十個朋友一同分享他們的喜悅,暢飲無限。因為這群人裡頭有不少是搞音樂的,有DJ有鼓手,也有幾個會談鋼琴,因此克里斯除了要求大家夥兒提供自己的家私以外,還專程跑到樂器行去租了一台電子鋼琴,讓這些難得聚在一起的人,一起即興演出一番。
The day of their wedding started with the ceremony in church, continues with the feast in the restaurant and then the party in a pub. To celebrate with all friends, they booked the pub for the whole night, providing some light foods and “all you can drink” beverages. They’ve got some friends who play some music. There’re some DJs, a drummer and some pianists. Cristian asked them to provide the DJ tools and the set drum, and also went to rent a digital piano so that people can play a jamming session together.

派對進行地非常順利,一直到深夜三點多才結束。隔天(星期天)就要出發去度蜜月的新人,因為沒有時間去還樂器,便央求米奇代勞。米奇因為跟樂器行的老闆熟識,也就答應了下來。派對結束後,便把鍵盤給載了回家。
Everything went well and the party continued until 3AM in the morning. The newly wed would leave for honeymoon the next day and didn’t have time to return the instrument. So they asked us to return the piano. Michele knows the owner of the store well and happily said “yes”. So we took the piano home after the party.

在客廳裡擺著也是擺著,我便坐到鍵盤前玩了起來,這才發現,從我上次玩電鋼琴以來的十年多,電鋼琴不論在硬體軟體上的發展都往前跨了一大步。以前的電鋼琴常常因為琴鍵重量太輕,被我嫌到不行,彈不到十分鐘手指就開始發痛,因此在剛搬過來的時候,我並沒有接受米奇想要買台電鋼琴給我玩的提議。
We put it in the living room and I got the initiative to try it. Then I discovered that there’s been quite some advancement of digital piano no matter in hardware or software since I last touched it ten years ago. I used to dislike digital piano because the weight of the keys is normally too light for me and my fingers started to hurt in ten minutes or so. That’s why I didn’t accept Michele’s proposal to get one when I just moved to Italy.

我只說了一句:「這個琴鍵的重量比我之前試過的還重,也許這種我可以適應…」哪知米奇一聽到這句話馬上跳了起來:「我明天還琴時順便問問多少錢,這台是二手琴,應該不貴…」
I only said “the keys are much heavier than anything I’ve tried before, and maybe it’s playable for me…” Michele was so happy to hear this: “I’ll ask how much it costs tomorrow. It’s a second hand and shouldn’t be too expensive…”

隔天,米奇還了琴回到家以後說:「我看了一下,有很多款式,我想妳還是去試試比較好…那台二手琴大概六百,不過老闆說價格可以談,我也有看到山葉新出的電鋼琴,彈起來也不錯…」滔滔不絕地講了一堆,硬是要我找一天試琴去。
Michele went to return the piano the next day. After he came back, he said, “there’re many models and I think you’d better try before we make any decision… the secondhand one is about 600 euro but the price is negotiable. There’re some new Clavinova models from Yamaha and they sound nice…” He continued to talk and insist that I should spare some time to go there and try them myself.

我對於買電鋼琴這件事還是遲疑,不過看他那麼躍躍欲試的樣子,過了兩天,我們還是到了樂器行。
I was still hesitant about buying a digital piano, but Michele was so enthusiastic that I just didn’t feel like saying no to him. Two days later, we went to visit the shop.

一個半小時內,我大概試了不下十款電鋼琴,選來選去比較能夠接受的,還是從小就習慣的山葉,挑到後來名單裡剩下兩款。因為價格的關係,其實我比較中意便宜的那款,反正我只是要拿來練手指而已,畢竟對我來說,電鋼琴永遠都是電鋼琴,絕對無法取代任何一款鋼琴,現在買電鋼琴只是退而求其次的選擇,畢竟以我們現在的經濟狀況,沒有辦法負擔起一台好鋼琴…
I’ve tried more than ten ditigal pianos in one and half hour. At the end the more acceptable ones are still Yamaha products that I’m used to since I was a kid, and two models remained in the list. Price-wise I prefer the cheaper one. In any case I’ll just use it for moving my fingers… For me, electric pianos cannot replace a real piano. And the decision is made only because we can not afford to get a good piano at the moment.

只是,到了米奇身上,他就開始挑剔了。便宜的那款只有一種聲音採樣,另外一款差價大概三百多,卻是用了三種聲音採用,聽起來自然點,而且還有錄音功能,也可以插上隨身碟,把自己彈的東西錄進去,拿到電腦裡處理…最後,我竟然順了他的意,選了那台比較貴的琴…老闆也做個順水人情,原本定價將近兩千三百歐元的新琴,一千四成交,還可以分期付款。
However, when it came to Michele’s decision he became picky. The cheaper model only uses one kind of sound sample. The expensive one applies three samples and sounds more natural. The latter also has recording function and USB for file transfer between piano and computer. At the end, I followed his decision and chose the more expensive one. The owner is a good friend and gave us really good discount, from the listed price of about 2300 euro down to 1400 euro that we can pay in several installment without interests.

琴馬上被我們運了回家,而我在義大利的生活也多了一個練琴的‘功課’…本來只是隨口說說,結果竟然真的買了琴,其實我到現在還是無法相信…
We bought the piano home immediately and there’s one more new “task” now for my life in Italy… Honestly… I still can’t believe that I’ve got a piano now…

September 11, 2005

星期天早上...

忙了一個星期,今天終於有時間好好睡個覺休息一下。只是,還是有人不識相,星期天早上打電話來擾人清夢,我還在半夢半醒之間,就聽米奇開了門出去,沒多久以後又回到家裡。

起床以後,習慣性地問一下,到底是誰打電話來…原來是鄰居起士先生…

這位起士先生,開始做SOHO好一陣子,跟我們一樣,網路成了他賴以維生的工具。起士先生從來都搞不清楚米奇到底作什麼工作,只知道好像跟電腦有關。今天大概是火燒屁股,再怎麼不好意思也只好把面子放一邊,打電話過來求救。原來,換了寬頻公司,裝摩電的時候出了問題…還說要付錢請米奇去幫他處理。

好鄰居嘛…如果是小事,談什麼錢,過去看看再說。

米奇看了一下,寬頻公司送來的,是具有無線上網功能的摩電。再看一下電腦,出現了以下對話:

米奇:「你的電腦能無線上網嗎?」
起士:「什麼是無線上網?」
米奇:「…」看到起士先生已經放在光碟機裡的安裝光碟片,開始檢查摩電。
米奇:「摩電和電腦沒有連接啊,接線呢?」
起士:「呃?」
米奇:「摩電和電腦要用以太網或USB接線接起來啊。」拿起摩電的盒子,裡面有一條接線,「就它啊!」
恍然大悟的起士:「這樣啊,我以為那條線沒有用…說明書上沒有寫要把摩電和電腦接起來啊…」

以前看到一些說明書內很愚蠢的步驟說明,總納悶著那到底是給誰看的,今天證實了,這種需求是真的存在的…

September 02, 2005

網誌也有個性?! Blogging Personality?!

Your Blogging Type Is the Private Performer
Your blog is your stage - with your visitors your adoring fans.
At least, that's how you write with your witty one liners.
And while you like attention, you value your privacy.
You're likely to have an anonymous blog - or turn off comments.


個人舞台? 粉絲? 機智巧言? 這我倒是不知道, 隨手寫寫自己的經驗而已, 這樣的評語未免言重... 不過享受注意力和注重隱私倒是真的, 一開始也曾經考慮過要匿名. 有關最後一個評語, 我就得大力否認了, 我絕對不會把"評論"的功能關掉, 超喜歡看看路過的網友有些什麼意見, 只是我的讀者們似乎都是沉默的大眾...

September 01, 2005

造訪威尼斯的理由 A Reason to Visit Venice

威尼斯,美麗的水都,一個令我夢縈魂牽的城市。
Venice, a place that I never get tired of.

搬到義大利將近五年,離家不遠的水都,向來都是我出門呼吸新鮮空氣的首選。最初的兩年,純粹為了體會水都各季節的美,浪漫春漾,艷陽烈夏,醉人秋色,蕭瑟寒冬,每次踏進水都,總有番不同的感受。當我慢慢熟悉了這個萬種風情的城市,拜訪好友、參觀展覽、甚至購物,我在水都的活動,漸漸多了起來。
I’ve moved to Italy for almost five years. Venice is not far from Vicenza and is always one of my favorites if I want to go out for some fresh air. At the first two years, I went there to experience her beauty in various seasons, the romantic spring, the hottish summer, the fascinating autumn and chilly winter. There’s always something new every time I went to Venice. When I started to get to know the city, the must-do list of my Venice visit also started to grow.

我酷愛在水都裡散步閒晃,除了享受琳瑯滿目的商店櫥窗,我也愛上了在水都迷路的錯置感受,徒步穿梭在大街小巷之間,別有一番滋味。
I especially enjoy wandering around in Venice. Apart from window-shopping, I fell in love with the get-lost feeling. Every part of Venice brings me a different kind of feeling.

約莫三年前某個春末夏初的日子,我和外子一如往常,在早上十點多抵達威尼斯聖塔路西亞火車站。還記得那天造訪水都的目的,是要參觀某座還沒去過的博物館。時間上尚且充裕,我們便決定先逛街,順便找個地方打理午餐,下午再去博物館。出了火車站左轉以後一直順著路走,過了第一座橋,就會來到一個小市集,是當地人與觀光客採購食品的地點之一。這一天,也許是天意,順著風飄來一陣咖啡香,外子轉頭跟我說:「妳聞到了嗎?」「嗯!好香啊,去看看吧!」就這麼,我們聞香而至,來到了一間不甚起眼的咖啡店。
About three years ago, a sunny day around late spring early summer, Michele and I arrived Venice Santa Lucia around 10AM, nothing too different from our usual visit. I remembered that we went on purpose to see a museum. We’ve got plenty of time, so we decided to walk around, find a place for lunch, and then go to the museum in the afternoon. We turned left after we got out of the train station and kept walking along the main street. Passing the first bridge we arrived a small open-air market where locals and tourists do their grocery shopping. Along with the wind came a very nice smell of coffee. “Did you smell it? It smells so nice. Let’s go and check.” So, following our nose, we arrived a tiny and old coffee shop.

威尼斯的咖啡,向來都比其他地方的咖啡來得更甘甜。你也許會問我,為什麼?也許是水質,也許亦是水都風情所引發的感受,不過來到Caf? Costarica,甘醇的濃縮咖啡,讓刁嘴的我第一次感到驚艷!走近店裡,濃郁的咖啡香迎面而來,小小的吧台前,滿滿是一袋袋的咖啡豆,向前望去,店主正在另一個角落忙著烘培咖啡豆。點了兩杯濃縮咖啡,啜了一小口,口感竟是如此地甘醇柔順,比起我所鍾愛的I牌咖啡還要順口,這下子,好奇心旺盛又健談的外子,不由地與店主攀談了起來。
For some unknown reason, coffee in Venice tastes nicer than any other place. It’s probably the water, or the feeling induced by one’s emotion. But when I first came to Caf?’ Costarica, the sweet and smooth espresso was just a marvel. Entering the shop, a strong smell of coffee came to my face. Sacks of coffee beans piled in front of the bar. Looking forward, someone was busy toasting coffee at a corner. I thought he must be the owner. We ordered two espressos. A small sip of it, the smoothness and sweetness of the coffee spread in our mouth, much better than Illy. When I was still wondering about the coffee, Michele already started talking to the owner.
這家咖啡店開設於30年代,在威尼斯當地是很有口碑的老店。店主卡米羅對咖啡有著一股熱忱,原本就在咖啡業裡打轉的他,即使在退休以後,仍然靠著之前的人脈關係,從各地篩選、進口咖啡豆,而店裡的咖啡,全部由卡米羅烘培而成,絕對不假外人之手。店裡出售的幾種配方,又以「Caff? della Sposa」這種直譯為「新娘咖啡」,係由八種頂級阿拉比卡豆調配而成的配方最為出名,也是我的最愛;據店主表示,之所以如此命名,乃因為混合各種阿拉比卡豆而呈現的甘甜,就如新嫁娘般地甜美柔順。新娘咖啡無疑是這家店的招牌特色,店裡的某個角落,放著各式各樣的報導與獎狀,慕名而來者不在少數,甚至有人為了她特地從奧地利南下採購。
The caf? was open in the 1930s. It’s quite a famous old caf? in Venice. The owner Camillo is very enthusiastic about coffee that even when he got retired from the coffee industry he makes used of the network he built to select and import coffee beans. He bakes and toasts the coffee beans on his own. There’re several blends in Caf? Costarica, and the “caff? della sposa” is for sure the most famous one (and of course my favorite). It’s a blend of eight different kinds of arabica beans of supreme quality. It was named “the coffee of the bride” to imply its sweet and smooth quality. It is for sure the specialty of Caf? Costarica, and at one corner of the caf? lie various newspaper cuttings and reports from all over the world. Some people even come all the way from Austria just to purchase its coffee.

自三年前的那個日子以後,這間咖啡店成了我到威尼斯的必經之處,而新娘咖啡成了我家的必需品,在冰箱的咖啡罐快要見底的時候,我和外子都會互相提醒,「是該再訪水都了!」
After that day, Caf? Costarica has become one of my must-go whenever I go to Venice, and the caff? della sposa has become one of our necessities at home. When we’re about to finish coffee, we will always remind each other “it’s time to go to Venice!”

August 31, 2005

BlogDay 2005

這是今天下午收留言的時候才得知的消息。原來,今天(2005/8/31)是國際部落格日,許多部落客響應今年的活動,在自己的網站上推薦五個部落格,敝站有幸被Yiling選上推薦。這是第一次知道Yiling,據說她注意到我,是因為她的blogger和我選了相同的背景,我剛剛上了她的樂多網站看了一下,很喜歡她站上帶給人的閒適感,有興趣的朋友可以去看看。

要推薦五個部落格,就讓我來講講這一陣子每天都會去報到的友站。

1. 三年級的背包
這是近期最歡喜的發現,原來是在中時部落格的嚴選優格推薦上看到,看到站主墨綠姨寫下阿茲海默症患者家屬的心路歷程,後來也慢慢在站上看了墨綠姨在紐西蘭生活的種種。因為墨綠姨勤於更新,我每天上去都會看到新文章,所以她的站也成了我這一陣子開電腦以後必定去報到的地方。

2. 晨光下的漫步
發現這個站大概將近一年了,怎麼摸上去的我倒是忘了,只記得是個偶然。站主小葛跟我同月同日生,住在德州,利用文字作為出口,儘管生活忙碌,還是常常花時間寫文章分享她生活中的點點滴滴,文字詼諧幽默,不過看到她經歷的種種,還是不免為她在異地生活的辛苦感到心疼。

3. 愛默生愛說話
這是從Qui-Blog聯播中找到的寶貝。我猜想這位部落客大概住在歐洲的某個角落,他筆下的文化批判,總是讓我受益良多,也更讓我感覺到自己的渺小。對我來說,上站閱讀可以增加工作方面的知識,對於歐洲藝文觀察有興趣的朋友,可以去看看。

4. 一根筋的黑白亂想
小新是我透過網友認識的網友,基本上我頭昏到連我們第一次到底是怎麼碰面都給忘了,還是前一陣子某次聊起來,才被提醒,其實在某一次我回台灣探親的時候,就已經在某次網友聚餐中見過面(事實上我也是從那天才知道她的存在)。小新在文章裡的表達往往一針見血,常常讓我對她許多精闢的見解大為佩服。她到法國留學以後,曾經藉著遊玩到威尼斯的機會,轉到維琴察來找我玩,一整天相處的感覺,讓我覺得這個人很‘漫畫’,有著超可愛的性格。

5. 丁丁飆英文
我常常上去練英文的地方。到目前為止只是潛水魚一隻,因為自覺程度不足,在他面前有班門弄斧之感,所以在丁丁那邊還是一名沉默的觀眾。

Happy Blog Day to ALL!!

Ferrara Buskers Festival 2005 - Home coming


從抵達費拉拉停好車的那一刻,就不停地在走動著,完全沒有停下來休息。撐到半夜,即使情緒仍然高亢,我在體力上仍然不堪負荷。即使市區還是人聲鼎沸,完全沒有止息的跡象。想到接下來還要面對一個半小時的車程,只好忍痛拋下眼前精采的節目,慢慢地往車子的方向開始移動。
From the moment we parked the car we didn’t stop walking. We kept going around until midnight. Though my mood was still high, my physical condition couldn’t really bear it anymore. It’s still crowded and busy in the city center, and the shows seemed to keep going. Thinking that we still had to face the trip home, another one and half hour in the car, we had to give up the wonders in front of us and started moving towards our car.

邊走著,我已經開始期待明年…
While walking, I’ve started to look forward to the coming year…

August 27, 2005

Ferrara Buskers Festival 2005 - Fringe Programs

在費拉拉街頭藝術節中,非音樂性的藝穗節目也是多采多姿,往往是可以看到藝術家們各顯創意的時候。
There are various fringe artists participating the buskers festival as well, perfect time to see the creativity of the artists.

吹氣球向來是街頭藝術中不可或缺的項目,每次在街頭藝術節中,至少也會看到四五個專精此道的藝術家。各色的長汽球在藝術家的手中,轉眼成了彩色貴賓狗、中世紀武士頭盔、寶劍、甚至卡通人物,讓人眼花撩亂。可惜的是,近年來已經很少看到自己動口吹的藝術家了,大部分人為了省力,都是用工具來打氣,在我眼中,總是少了那麼點味道…
The balloon artists are indispensable in the buskers. There’re at least four or five artists of this kind every year. Colorful balloons are turned into poodles, helmets of medieval warriors, swards or even cartoon characters. It’s a pity that most of the artists turn to balloon pump for help and don’t blow the balloon by themselves any more…

當然,也有那種看起來好像有點創意,實際上卻不太精采的表演,像這位號稱是「世界上最慢的人」,動作不太順暢,乍看之下也不知道他在做什麼,不過街頭藝術也是這一點有趣,有時,在你走過的當下並不會意識到這個藝術家在做什麼,而是後來的幕然回首,讓人回味無窮。
Of course, there’re certain kinds of performances that seem to be creative but eventually are not too successful. This man is said to be “the slowest man in the world”. At the first sight I didn’t realize what he’s doing, but later when I got to know it, his actions didn’t seem to be too smooth… However, that’s one of the interesting parts of the fringe arts. Sometimes when you walk by you won’t realize what the artists are doing. It’s when you think back that you start to enjoy its flavor.

觀賞街頭藝術,最可貴的就是表演者和觀眾之間的互動交流。精采之處,觀眾們忍不住鼓掌叫好,表演者一個微笑、一個眼神,呼應著觀眾,越演越有勁。照片裡這個團體,每個演出者都是技巧高超的操偶師,小舞台上的爵士禿鷹和鱷魚們,隨著音樂舞動,唯妙唯肖的演出,讓許多觀眾忍不住佇足多看兩眼。
The most precious thing in busker performances is the interaction (or I should say conversation) between the audience and the performers. The audience cheers when it comes to the spectacular parts of the show, and the performers answer back with a smile or an expression in his eyes. Both pump up energy for the show. Members of the group in the photo are all good puppet theater performers. The marvelous performance of the vulture and crocodiles attract lots of audiences’ attention.

特色商品也不會錯過推銷的機會。圖片中的每一個掌中玩偶,是用各種顏色的海綿切割組合而成,看了真是讓人愛不釋手,我差點就想帶幾個回家。
Makers and producers of characteristic products won’t miss the chance to promote their art pieces. The puppets here are made of various colors of sponge, cut and assembled. They look just lovely and I was almost about to bring some home.

特技表演當然也不會缺席。到了夜幕低垂之際,市中心的大廣場成了各種雜耍表演的主要場地,最多人圍觀的,無非是吞火、噴火、耍火棒等特技演出。
Acrobatic performances won’t miss its place in such event. When the night falls, the big square in the center is turned to the major location for various kinds of acrobatic shows. For sure the most attractive one is the fire eating/breathing kind of show.