Siamo qui! We finally made it to Calabria! Bel ragazzo and I arrived in Malito Saturday evening after a rather uneventful and somewhat speedy bus trip (it only takes about 6 hours from Rome and the bus is so much more comfortable and clean then the train. For a one way ticket we paid €35 each but it is cheaper still if you buy return.) The bus thankfully was not full as we had way too many suitcases and carry on bags and bel ragazzo did get a little lecture from the bus driver...but here we are safe and sound.
I have some great posts prepared as I have been thrown full swing into village life, but here in the northern Calabrian mountains the internet is slow at the best of times. I have waited one hour to down load a photo and from the lack of photos in this post you can see that I have now given up waiting. Not to worry! There is no internet cafe anywhere in these parts but I'll figure something out.
I have only been here in Malito, experiencing the Calabrian village life for 4 days and already we have hit many hurdles...or to be more precise religious hurdles.
Bel ragazzo has a best friend who has a beautiful baby boy. The babies parents are not married so according to the Catholic church they are living in sin. They have decided to Baptize the baby but luckily it does not matter that they are not married. It is more important that the god parents lead a good, Catholic life. The babies father wanted his brother to be god father, but the brother is divorced and again that is a big no no for the Catholic church, so that ruled him out. They then decided that bel ragazzo would be the man for the job.
Yesterday afternoon, smartly dressed bel ragazzo and his best friend went to visit the parish priest. It was agreed that bel ragazzo would remain tight lipped about us living together - as even though we have no baby out of wedlock, we are still living in sin and this would rule him out as potential god father. We were not saying that he should lie to the priest, just a need to know basis... what the priest does not know will not hurt him.
So with this little white lie aside, you would think that church wise bel ragazzo was well on his way to becoming a god father.
The priest apparently asked bel ragazzo many, many questions - quizzed him as though he was sitting a school exam. The priest asked if bel ragazzo had been baptized - yes - had he made his first communion - yes - what about his confirmation - no. Hold on a minute...sorry to disappoint yet again, but bel ragazzo cannot possibly be a god father to this this baby if he has not been confirmed!
Bel ragazzo tried to reason with the priest to no avail. The only solution is that bel ragazzo gets confirmed - and quickly. They want to baptize the baby in 4 weeks. In 3 weeks there is a group of people making their confirmation in Cosenza. Bel ragazzo has to speak with the priest again on Sunday, and obviously he has to now attend mass at least for the next 3 weeks. He has to study and probably sit some holy test to make sure he 'passes' his confirmation and if all goes well he can be the babies god father.
Now we need to find bel ragazzo a sponsor. We need to speak with the priest on Sunday and see if I can do the job. I have been confirmed, but who moves to the other side of the world with their confirmation certificate to hand? Who even has a confirmation certificate? Who even knew that you need to be confirmed to be a god parent...or for that matter to get married? The priest claims that the 'rules' have changed as years ago you did not need to be confirmed to get married in a Catholic church (bel ragazzo said his dad was never confirmed and he got married without a problem.) Bel ragazzo has an older brother who plans to marry next year, and he too had no idea about this 'new rule' so now he too has to make his confirmation in the coming weeks.
Crazy if you ask me.
So to be the sponsor of bel ragazzo I need proof of my religious status. We have to somehow get proof on my confirmation and see if the priest will accept a letter written in English, faxed from my mums parish priest in Australia...if not then bel ragazzos mother will have to do the job as really, for a village of 800 odd people, pretty much everyone has some sort of religious mark against them.