The Hot Pot Blog

June 8, 2015

Just laying it all out there

Camogli and Punta Chiappa-11
I am so, so behind on this blog. I have several hikes worth of photos to share, I think I’ve finally found the best pizza in all of Milan. I took Shiloh on a very long, hot 3 mile walk a few weeks ago to go eat bread-and-marmalade flavored gelato (it was worth it). We’ve been to Expo, we taught the kids how to wash the car. I’ve written the first 30 shitty pages towards the novel I’ve been kicking around for the last five years. I got a (small) job writing the newsletter for the Consulate. The kids have been sick. I don’t know if I’ve slept more than 5 hours in a night in weeks (divided of course, into 2-3 hour chuncks by baby coughing fits and cries for snuggles). I think I might finally know how to cook fish.
On the road to Menaggio and around Lake Como-10
On the road to Menaggio and around Lake Como-8
San Salvatore Lugano Switzerland Hike-13
San Salvatore Lugano Switzerland Hike-9
Stresa with Ramya Sunil et al-9
It's over. This actually is the best pizza in Milan. And possibly the best I've ever had. @jessbopeep I am so sorry I did not send you here!  #sorbillo #sorbilloamilano #pizza #bestpizzainmilan #milano #italianfood #italy
Will and Shiloh playing in fountain-4
Will and Shiloh playing in fountain-6

My amazing sister-in-law came to town last week.  So far on her visit we’ve hiked the equivalent of 50 stories along the Ligurian coastline with the kids on our backs and picnic’d on a rocky spit of land whose name I learned after the fact, translates roughly to “Point Butt” in Italian.  Chris swam in the bluest water I’ve ever seen.  The kids ate a lot of gelato.

Last Friday, Chris’ sister watched the kids for me for a few hours while I got to meet and photograph and interview a famous chef.  To repay the favor I took her to dinner at the fancy restaurant he was cooking at that night and took her photo with an apparently super famous rugby player.  At that point, I think we were even.

But then owing to a stupendous train-ticket mix-up yesterday, she and I spent 6 hours on two trains with two tired kids. The ticket mix-up left us with just 1 hour in the city we’d been hoping to explore (Venice).  We had just enough time to walk across the bridge and duck into the first restaurant we found with an empty table.  As soon as we finished, it was time to get back to the station.  The air-con broke on the trip home.  The train was packed to bursting.  It was 95 degrees.  The train got delayed when we were 5 minutes away from Centrale Station.  My kids cried.  We’re no longer even and yet she spent half of today drawing all sorts of amazing doodles for my kids.

I owe her a crazy good bottle of wine.

With Chris working late nights and weekends too, I don’t know quite what I’d do without his sister here.  I mean, I’d be fine, but I doubt I’d be having quite as much fun. Most people seem to think we are both nannies who happen to be friends and that my kids actually belong to someone else. Why else would we be playing so enthusiastically? Why else would all four of us have such wildly different skin tones, eye colors, hair colors? We laugh because there’s no other option really. When we tell the people inquiring after our services that Will and Shiloh are my children and that Chris’ sister is their aunt, they don’t ever really seem to believe us.

Somehow, without my realizing it, we’re well into summer.  I find myself longing for our annual trip back to the homeland the trivial comforts of America: the green grass in my parents’ backyard, paying less than $7 for a week’s worth of laundry detergent, and being able to go to the grocery store without having to dress-up.  But what I’m looking forward to most I think is being able to walk down the street with my family–with my parents, my kids, my in-laws without a single passerby stopping to ask who among us might the nanny be.

Camogli and Punta Chiappa-12
Camogli and Punta Chiappa-10
Will at Camogli-3
Shiloh eating ice cream at Camogli-2
Shiloh eating ice cream at Camogli-7
Kathleen and Shiloh-6

6 responses to “Just laying it all out there”

  1. Sharon says:

    Hi Dani,
    I’ve been following you on the blog & instagram (I’m sli353) for a while, really enjoy your photos and your adventures around Milan.
    Last summer I traveled to Italy and actually missed seeing Milan due to a scheduled transportation workers strike! Now I know to check for these events in future before booking…but I ended up taking trains from Nice, France to Venice without seeing Milan. Now I have an excuse to return to Italy though and see Milan and surrounding areas! Especially after seeing all your inspiring and beautiful shots of the nearby outdoors/nature.

  2. Repetitive and assumptive questions do get annoying after a while, don’t they. I would try to use that as an opportunity to look into them/the culture and not take it as a confrontation – which is what the 5th time on would feel like. What an amazing glimpse you are giving others who rely on nanny’s to entertain their own children. I actually feel sorry for those who miss out on that part of life. I also feel for them on the look out for someone engaging to love on their kids when they can’t/don’t. You are also breaking stereotypes – and that is an important and very tough job to do. I love how much you have experienced since your last blog entry. It makes sense that you are ‘behind’ blogging with living life fully as your front stage gig. I hope that you all feel much better soon and that you get recharged with being home and around those who lift you all up daily. YAY for visiting sister-in-laws!!

    • Dani says:

      Your perspective is always so wise and comforting, thank you! I can’t tell you how much I always appreciate your kind words! The hard part is the racism and classism that seem to come with the “nanny” assumption. I feel so guilty that when I go out here with my friend who is Indian or with my sister-in-law who looks mixed that people treat them so badly no matter how we dress or who carries what. That’s what makes me so sad. America has it’s race issues of course, but they seem to pale in comparison to what people who look even a little non-white deal with here.

      • I agree with you totally. How sad that societies exist out there where how you look is used as a precept to how badly someone can assume to treat you. Based on how you write, I know that you and your friend are a champion to many without a voice in bringing light to this classism and racism. Dealing with it though on a daily basis, truly does suck. Your battles confronting it will hopefully broaden minds. Trailblazing is difficult, but so important. I wish you strength and humor throughout the rest of your tour!

  3. Anna says:

    Stunning photographs! Thank you for another blog entry. Always a good read. 🙂

  4. […] think we all find ourselves “so, so behind” on something at times; I know I do! Sweet anecdotes and gorgeous […]

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