7:30 I wake up, not having slept well. One of the Italian girls was talking to one of the Italian boys outside the dorm window at 3:30 a.m. and I oddly woke up. I'm normally such a good sleeper, but I think I was worried about the day, since we had a lot of last-minute arrivals and more people than I was expecting. Too many people for this introvert, perhaps.
7:45 I'm dressed and preparing for breakfast.
8 The American woman who lives in Holland is at the table, since she has to catch a bus at 9. Two noisy but extremely nice French girls complete the group of early risers. The American couple from New York City (who are nearly my grandparents' age) come down next. There is a French couple who needs change for their payment the day before, and couple of German guys who ask me a question about renting a scooter. In the midst of all this, I keep the stove on for coffee and tea as desired, heat up pane in the microwave, and wash dishes and utensils as soon as they are used so that I can re-set places at the table which only seats 8. This morning we have 12 guests, I believe, but the Italians don't come down for breakfast (they were the ones up in the wee small hours of the morning, remember).
10 Breakfast goes until 9:30, and so by this time I have had a chance to finish all the dishes and clear the table and counters. I start taking sheets off the beds which have been vacated, but can't start the laundry because we're currently out of detergent. So I re-make the beds with new clean sheets and begin cleaning the bathrooms. Maria arrives and continues the laundry, then ever-so-swiftly helps me finish the cleaning. She says we can go to the market this morning, which in Taormina is held every Wednesday just up the street.
11:30 We are at the market, looking at jewelry and dresses, produce and plants. Maria is looking for a certain kind of flower, but they have sold out. She buys a swimsuit because they are much less expensive here than in a regular shop. They are made in China (interesting that the labels don't say "Made in China" but "Made in P.R.C.") or other such places, but she and I agree that swimsuits don't necessarily have to be high quality if one doesn't go swimming that often. I run back later and buy a strapless one, because avoiding tan lines is a never-ending challenge for me.
12:30 I read a little bit and take a short nap, but before I truly fall asleep I hear Maria outside my door saying "Katie! Pronto!" which just means that lunch is ready, not that she's rushing me. (That's what all Italians say when they're answering the phone, actually..."Pronto!")
2 We are eating without Piero this afternoon, which happens from time to time when he makes a trip to Messina or Catania. Ruggero has eaten already. He wanted so on the way home from the market his mother stopped at a Macelleria to buy hamburgers. She and I are having pasta con lenticchie and when I say that I enjoy lentils, Maria comments that they are good for you because they have lots of iron. Piero arrives then, with his cousin Sandro, and proceeds to make his own pasta with fish they had purchased that morning. They save me some so I can have it for dinner.
3 I go to get some ice cream, and later wish I hadn't.
3:30 I am still tired from the night before, so I stay in my room all afternoon. I can't sleep, so I read. I also poke around online, reading things about Italian soccer and Italian dialects. I discover a movie set in the region near Via Piana called La Cioceria. It's also dubbed in English under the the Two Women and stars Sofia Lauren. I start to watch that.
6 My evening shift starts, beginning with a request from Piero to email Hostel Bookers. They have a lot of problems with that agency: bad search results, bad reviews...most recently, the website allowed a same-day reservation which apparently is no good. So, being the English expert around here, I get to write the angry email. Well, I try to be polite but forcefull.
7 Even though we have no more reservations, it's good to have someone sitting in reception tonight because in walk two Belgian guys looking for beds for one night. I put them in the 6-bed dorm, give them their 40% discount coupon for the parking garage, and get them towels. I make sure they have keys and maps and the standard restaurant recommendations. I make mental note that I need to boil two more eggs tonight. I sit down to watch a little more of the Italian film and people start to come down to the kitchen.
9:11 As I write this, the Italian girls, the Italian guys, and the older American couple are sitting down to their evening meal. I'm only obliged to stay here until 9, but the couple cleverly came down to cook at 8:50 and of course I couldn't turn them away. Fortunately, I wasn't counting on an evening passeggiata but I could actually go out any time before mid-night and Taormina will still be bustling. So maybe I will.
P.S. I know this sounds very glum, but it was just a low-key day.