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…