Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rome’s Lungotevere: “The Name for Wendy’s Dog is Nana”

I should have known our taxi would try to screw us when I saw the red scorpion covering his right bicep, but he started the meter when we called from the hotel and refused to change it when I complained and so… forget it. I’m with my kids in a foreign country. You can keep the five extra Euros.
The Roman Lungotevere is a new hot spot down along the Tiber River on the outskirts of town, with little cafes and market stalls. It’s a place young people go to drink beer, lovers to stroll in the shadows, and gazers to watch water and sunlight and brick and stone fade in time.
My girls have a thing for bridges, racing over the top and peering over the ledge. An Ethiopian man selling knock-off Gucci handbags he has laid out on a blanket calls out to them, but they pay no mind and he lays back down, lights a cigarette, and falls asleep.
It’s a sleepy time, that’s for sure. A time for napping in the fading sunlight, getting ready for night, relaxing after the long day.
Yet, when you have little children, you never rest. Kinu is running a high fever, too much sun and bad water or something… So she gets to be held throughout the day. Exhausted, I stop to listen to some English Trivia at this little riverside cafe.
1. Where did the Seven Dwarves work?
2. What is the only muscle connected at one part but not the other?
3. What animal has the longest gestational period?
4. What is the most common form of car malfunction?
5. What is the national sport of Japan?
6. What is the name of the dog in Peter Pan?
7. What is the most commonly transplanted body part?
8. What age was Marilyn Monroe when she died?
9. What was the first man-made object to break the speed of sound?
10. What is California’s oldest city?
11. What was the first transportation vehicle to use the S.O.S.?
12. What was the first foreign product to enter the Soviet Union?
13. What two wicked Biblical cities were destroyed by God?
14. What object can X-Rays not see through: Wood, Bone, or Lead?

(Know all the answers...? Want to try? Don't google them, okay?)
I couldn’t believe it when Xian remembered the name of Wendy’s dog in Peter Pan. I was just flabbergasted. Who are these kids? So independent and strong, yet simultaneously weak and frail? Needing me every minute, but seemingly always pushing me away. Hug and Run. Hug and Run.
I need to be patient like stone, like running water, like an old bridge. My time will come. I have to know it will always come back around.

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