Once a week I have a ritual that is entirely Italian: Lena and I walk to the Wednesday outdoor market in our town. I have come to rely on the stalls full of vegetables and fruits to stock my pantry and refrigerator, as I cannot find better prices or fresher produce anywhere during the week.
I love these trips: pushing Lena’s stroller through the streets of our town and waving at our acquaintances (the old man in the general store, the boy who works in the bottled water store), the arrival in the hustle and bustle of the market, the ritual of tearing off a number printed on thin colored paper from the stack dangling in front of my favorite vendors’ stall, the meanderings from stall to stall until my number is finally called, the routine of ordering in Italian as best I can and being helped along by the vendors (father, mother, and son, I think) who by now smile in recognition at me, love Lena, and know when my baby is due.
Today Lena and I arrived at the market during the morning rush, so while we waited for our turn to get fruits and vegetables, we wandered around the market and took some pictures.
At last it was our turn to buy fruits and vegetables! Afterwards we checked to see how our car wash was coming along. We borrowed our friends’ van this week while they were out of town and our persnickety old Honda was in the shop. I decided to get their van cleaned while we were at the market. The men washed it inside and out by hand… and all for the equivalent of $20. I’m coming back with our car next week!