So, today is Tuesday. Yesterday I didn't return to Rome because Fabrizia had arrived on Sunday and I wanted to spend more time with her, plus the Nonni wanted me to stay Monday night for the festa degli immigranti a Fontechiari (there will be another post with more details). Anyways, since the metro at Anagnina is closed, I had to figure out an alternative way to get back to Termini that wouldn't be too tedious of a commute, so yesterday I went to the tobaccaio to get a bus ticket and check the schedule for the buses from Sora to Frosinone in the morning. The plan was take the COTRAL bus to Frosinone and then take the train straight to Termini. facile, non?
Pretty tired from last night's festa, I woke up at 5:00, scrambled my things together, forgetting my retainer and my computer charger among things, and called Maria to bring me into Sora. I was there in time for the 5:30 bus, and just to be sure, when I got on the bus I asked the man if it went to Frosinone. He said yes it does, but not to the ferrovie train station, only to Piazza di Matteis. Great... So I started asking questions, saying I would go all the way to Anagnina I guess, but I didn't have a ticket, and I didn't know how to go another way, and yada yada yada, the bus driver wasn't giving me any suggestions on what to do, or anything else helpful, so I continued asking questions to see if I could get any helpful response, until a nice man probably 40 years old or so, dressed in a suit said he could help me (in Italian of course). I questioned this man numerous time just to make sure that where the bus was going, he was going, and where I was trying to go were all the same places, then I said Okay, I'll follow you, and I went and took a seat behind him.
I slept most of the way, and when I saw I was nearing Frosinone I stayed alert. Shortly after we were arriving in the center, and the man in the suit caught my eye and said the next stop would be ours. So I gathered my things and got ready to exit the bus, then swiftly followed the man after we got let out of the bus. He offered to carry my bags, but I politely said I could do it myself, and then we were off walking to where we could take a different bus to get to the stazione. He said we had about 10 minutes before the bus would arrive, so he pointed us in the direction of a bar where he insisted he buy me a cappuccino. Right as that was happening, a woman who he appeared to know from his daily commute appeared and offered to pay for his caffe and for the cappuccino ragazza (me) that she wasn't quite sure who she was... He on the other hand insited he buy coffees for all, so we went to the bar and drank our coffees while we waited for the bus to arrive. I drank my cappuccino relatively quickly, since they only got espressos, then we went out to wait for the bus. Waiting I stood there listening to the man and the woman speaking in Italian, and once again he offered to take my things for me, troppo gentile. The bus pulled up a few mintues later, we all climbed on and sat near each other, then once again he warned me when we were arriving, and we got off the bus together, the woman saying good bye and heading a different direction than the train station from us.
We walked into the waiting room and read the departure times, and he told me the next train would be in 15 minutes at binario 2. At this point I knew how to get into Rome, but he had been so nice, I didn't just want to say thank you then awkwardly stand 10 feet away, so we continued to travel together. Again he offered to carry my bags down and up on to platform 2, but I said I could do it. Waiting on the platform, this guy (I think his name was Francesco, so we'll just call him that from now on) seemed to know everyone. He explained how most of the men on the platform who he greeted were all polizotto or carabiniere and he knew this because he too was a polizotto. Soon he found a friend who came to stay in chat, and when the train arrived he insisted on grabbing my bag and told me to follow him so we could secure seats because he was sure they would fill up quickly for an old train with few seats had arrived. We rushed the door once the train stopped and he found us seats and put my suitcase above. His friend sat near us and as the train pulled away the talk of the tartufi and porcini mushrooms began.
This guy was telling crazy stories about mushrooms that I'm sure Nonna and Nonno would have loved to partake in. A white truffle was found once somewhere and his grandmother had it but wasn't aware it was a white truffle and she ended up boiling it with potatos that she was cooking... that got a good laugh. He also described mushroom hunting trips he and his father had been on and the kilos and kilos of porcini mushrooms they had returned home with... then I dozed off... and I think we all did. Arriving at Termini I started up conversation asking Francesco if he worked near the station, and if he had to make that commute every day. No and yes. Holy crap! I would die if I had to do that everday. Getting off the train we walked down the platform together, he insisted we have another coffee, I politely declined troppo caffe, and told him I had to hurry up to get to work. We shook each others hands, exchanged names (which clearly I suck at remembering), and I thanked him again for having helped me make it to Rome, then I told him maybe I would see him the next morning I'm hurrying to get back to work from Muto.
So nice. I guess I'm telling this story because this kind of kindness seems to happen all over the place in this country. He offered to buy me two coffees over the course of an hour and a half. The guy is married, so I swear it wasn't at all wierd, he was just being genuinely nice and trying to help me find a way to termini with out getting lost. I was relieved to have found him on the bus in Sora this morning, or else I never would have made it to work, and would be roaming around downtown Frosinone! Why is my summer nearing an end?? It can't be! It's just TOO soon to leave this wonderful country! But as Marc Penesso keeps telling me Italy has good and bad, but I keep thinking the good and the little things keep trumping the badness, so I am still quite content where I am :)