Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’

Dancing and Singing and Stuff


Memories for Mondays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

In the run-up to the Very Last Festa of the Season (to which barely anyone came because the evenings are now on the chilly side and everyone is a little festered out after all the summer shenanigans) there have been a few evenings of note.

There was the night procession from the village to one of the churches a way up the hill. Despite being dyed-in-the-wool atheists, Pooch and I are always up for a walk and so had every intention of joining the group and hoping that nobody would ask us to recite a Hail Mary or indulge in idle theological chit-chat.

However, once we discovered that this 2km walk would take nearly three hours one way, due to the pauses for prayer and a sing-song at every little shrine along the way; and that even when…

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Doing the Piazza Rock


Weary Wanderings for Wednesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

The village festa season seems to be suffering from a few fits and starts this year, if reports of last year’s back to back parties in the piazza are to be believed.

A few weeks ago it kicked off with a night of somewhat eclectic musical tastes from the live band. Old style waltzes and paso dobles, so beloved of gentlefolk ‘d’un certain âge’ in villages the length and breadth of France, and apparently also Italy, joined forces with 80’s rock anthems and 60’s ballads, with the odd Latin American ditty thrown in for added piquancy.

Excessive amounts of beer and constant urging from my Argentine neighbour had me up on the dance floor for much of the night, but even my efforts could not compare with the star of the evening. He must have been ninety if…

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The Trickiest Relationship of All


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Last Wednesday heralded the arrival of the other most important woman in Tigger’s life: my soon-to-be mother-in-law.

Having been lucky enough to avoid the six-hour round trip to collect her from the airport by dint of being a particularly feeble pregnant person, I was instead left at home to sweat it out in the kitchen trying to prepare a feast fit for the lady I am often reminded is THE BESTEST COOK IN ALL THE WORLD, EVER.

Pressure? Just a little.

But by some miracle I did manage to throw together a meal – in between lying on the sofa with my legs up in an attempt to still heaving stomach and racing heart – and was therefore able to greet her with a semblance of domestic goddess panache.

Panache that was slightly jostled when she immediately opened her suitcase and began unloading fast-defrosting cuts of meat, huge balls of cheese, endless sausages and even a few frozen chickens she had killed and plucked herself only days previously, into our fridge and freezer – Tigger’s assurances that food is not lacking in Italy having apparently fallen on disbelieving ears…

But after all that, and despite being able to faithfully report that she is short, round, very smiley and more than capable of providing enough foodstuffs to nourish a small village; I am at present unable to offer a more in-depth insight into what makes my mother-in-law tick because we are essentially unable to communicate in any meaningful way.

My Romanian has yet to get off the starting blocks (due in part to laziness, but primarily to the fact that Tigger and his family speak to each other in Hungarian dialect thus reducing my Romanian language exposure to almost zilch) and my mother-in-law only understands about seven words of Italian and speaks but one: cipolla.

A blessing in disguise? Maybe…

Because despite being tired from the journey, and undoubtedly a bit overwhelmed at being fed strange foreign gubbins by her strange foreign soon-to-be daughter-in-law, it only took our visitor about an hour and a half to dive into that hotly anticipated/dreaded question: so, where will you be baptising the baby?

“Our child will decide for itself if and where it wishes to be baptised when it is an adult.”

Said Tigger.

And I was, once again, reminded that I am a very, very lucky girl indeed…

That small and briefly frosty blip aside, my first future mother-in-law experience was not the torturous occasion I had feared it might be – although I confess to being more than a little relieved by the fact that for the duration of her visit she will be staying up the road with her (far more pregnant than me) daughter.

The very same daughter who has been putting me to shame over the last three and a half months by her utter bouncy nonchalance in the face of pregnancy. My in-laws inform me that it is nothing more than a question of national suitability – sturdy country girls from the Romanian hinterland are usually up trees picking fruit when their waters break.

“You mustn’t worry,” they assure me “we’re just more cut out for childbirth than you.”

And as I clutch my aching head, bend double over my churning stomach and try to avoid catching a glimpse of my grey and spotty visage in the mirror, I can’t help wondering if they might have a point…

This is Status Viatoris, fervently hoping that her bun’s sturdy Romanian genes are beating the feeble English ones into submission as she types, in Italy.

One of Us


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

When my future husband (aka Tigger) went back to Romania last summer to build his dear old mum a fence, he also had a rather more delicate task to carry out: that of informing his three-times-a-day-to-church parent that his girlfriend, as well as being ancient, was also a dirty dirty heathen.

Sadly there were no flies on that particular wall, at least not any wily and/or bilingual enough to report back, so I had to take my beloved’s word that the conversation went something like this:

Tigger: “Mummy, the time has come to inform you that my girlfriend, as well as being ancient, is also a dirty dirty heathen. How is that likely to work for you?”

Three-Times-A-Day-To-Church-Parent: “My sweet boy, if she makes you happy, then who am I to judge? After all, you’re the one who has to live with her and put up with her dirty dirty heathen ways. Just promise me that you will refrain from becoming a heathen yourself.”

Tigger: “No probs on that score, Mummy. I shall remain for evermore a good(ish) Catholic boy.”

The End.

Except, of course, it wasn’t.

Because when the time came to inform her we were getting hitched, she immediately wanted to know if the church ceremony would be in Italy or Romania.

Thus forcing Tigger to gently explain that dirty dirty heathens are certainly not permitted to marry in the Holey Catholic Church. We would be marrying in the local town hall – a place less concerned with one’s invisible sky fairy affinities, as well as being cheap and unfancy (just like us).

Three-Times-A-Day-To-Church-Parent was unimpressed.

So very unimpressed was she, that Tigger feared she might even boycott the wedding entirely.

Personally I just felt extremely sad that something so minor as my lack of invisible sky fairy affinity risked causing a rift between mother and son whilst seriously souring my future mother-in-law’s opinion of me before we had even met.

But sisters-in-law got involved, family talks were held, and eventually Three-Times-A-Day-To-Church-Parent rang to declare that Tigger had completely misunderstood.

She hadn’t been unimpressed at all! Not a bit of it! In fact it was all great! Super! Smashing! What could be better than a town hall wedding – it would be cheap and unfancy, just like us.

Didn’t Tigger know perfectly well that she loved all her children equally? And all her children-in-law just as much – even the dirty dirty heathen ones? Didn’t she always respect their choices? Because whatever made them happy, made her happy.

Oh! And by the way, son, is there really no way you can persuade your dirty dirty heathen fiancée to join the Holey Catholic Church and become one of us? It would be so much nicer…

This is Status Viatoris, now mildly curious to see what will happen when her future mother-in-law finds out she may eventually end up with at least one unbaptised grandchild, in Italy.

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