Tregua Santa Tregua

11 Apr

I’m sure you’ve heard “Home Sweet Home,” who hasn’t? Even in Italy you can hear “Casa Dolce Casa,” so it must be a somewhat universal concept (yes, English and Italian for me constitute universal, as in, my universe; if that is xenophobic of me, sorry. I have to put this disclosure because I get really fancy trolls on my blog who want to accuse me of all manner of cultural discrimination. I don’t discriminate, people. I observe and then offer sarcastic smart ass commentary. Two totally different things.)

Anyways, in my world home isn’t always sweet home. That’s why I think I’d rather adopt the phrase “tregua santa tregua.” Tregua, which could be defined as truce but colloquially is commonly used as “break,” as in “dammi tregua” or gimme a break (now you’re not going to have this song stuck in your head, are you? …sorry ’bout that) is one of my favorite words in Italian, ever since I became a mom. I added in the “santa” part, the holy part, because tregua is holy to me, rather than sweet.

Here are some of the ways you might catch me using this word in everyday speech:

“CRISTO SANTO DAMMI TREGUA!” a.k.a. “Holy Christ, Lord of all sentient beings, up on high, I pray you, please, allow me a moment’s respite so that I might not occupy a bed in the psychiatric ward, which could certainly be much better used by someone more deserving than I.”

Or a variation thereof.

Home is not particularly sweet on mornings like this morning, when my kids go so ballistic that I have to take not one, but two “mommy time outs” to breathe, lest I […] fill in the blank, I’m sure you can, especially if you’re a parent. This morning Paola screamed and thrashed for over a half hour because she wanted to keep sleeping AND wear her pajamas to school, so she was determined to keep taking off her clothes and throwing them on the floor. She’s a nudist, I’ve resigned myself. Olivia screamed and thrashed for over a half hour because she wanted to keep her pajamas on too (WTF, people! We do NOT wear pajamas to school in this house!) and has the resistance of a bodybuilder in rigor mortis when I try to defy her totally-irrational-even-for-a-three-year-old demands. Then there was Vincenzo, who at 5 has already happily adopted the sleep patterns of a teenager, and so when he got out of bed, he simply got out to announce to me and the world “I’m still tired” and then proceeded to go lay in my bed.

Viral? I need a website like this too. Except it would be called “Reasons one, two, and/or three of my aged five and under children are crying.” It has a ring to it, no?

Folks, my life is what is known in technical terms as a “shit show.” If you aren’t familiar with the etymological origins or precise definition of this concept, allow me to refer you to my all-knowing source of slang wisdom, Urban Dictionary, which defines the aforementioned terminology thus:

A description of an event or situation which is characterized by an ridiculously inordinate amount of frenetic activity. Disorganization and chaos to an absurd degree. Often associated with extreme ineptitude/incompetence and or sudden and unexpected failure.

Oh, people. The feeling of “extreme ineptitude and incompetence” I experience in getting my kids dressed and fed before school each morning is neither sudden nor unexpected. It is a ritual which is totally lengthy and just as reliable as a fine piece of Swiss watch craftsmanship.

However! Lest I scare you parentless beings away from the sacred art of child bearing and the subsequent life-long via crucis joy of child rearing, let me instead direct your attention to how four precious hours of kid-free time might profitably be spent:

doing absolutely nothing.

Well, almost nothing. Technically, if you were me last Sunday and you had a babysitter at your disposal for four hours, you’d go to the grocery store, hastily throw some random food items into your basket that equate to what is known around these parts as a “PEEK-neek” and then get thee not to a nunnery, but rather to a beautiful green expanse that gets vastly overlooked in the hurry to get to the more-famous but much more horrendous parking-wise Villa Pamphili, this green expanse being otherwise known as Villa Sciarra.

Villa Sciarra is one of my favorite parks in Rome. It’s green, quiet, lots of trees, fountains, walking paths, places to spread out a picnic (ahem, PEEK-neek, sorry), and not so large that you’re likely to get lost. You’ll encounter people of all ages and configurations: couples, families, singles, teens, tweens, elderly folks, all pretty much enjoying the place. And, I might add, it’s largely dog poop free which is pretty damn rare.

Last Sunday it was a delightful 18 degrees (that’s around 64.4 for you fahrenheit people out there) and let me tell you, this was pretty much my idea of heaven.


Here, then, were the gastronomical components of my PEEK-neek:

1 – mini bottle of prosecco. Not just any prosecco, however. No, no. This was GIOIOSA prosecco. Otherwise known as the Italian equivalent of two buck Chuck prosecco. But frankly I couldn’t be bothered to buy a whole bottle of semi-decent mid-range prosecco, because, please, let’s drink responsibly here. Plus, Gioiosa? Joyous prosecco? Come on. I’m a sucker for marketing, and when you slap on in little letters “et Amorosa,” now we’re talking not only joyous, but also loving. So, you know, it’s all good.

Too bad my store didn’t have “Rich” prosecco, because, cans? Yes, please, that would be fun. And, is that Paris Hilton? I do believe we are now reaching our cruising altitude in terms of class, my friends.

1 – white plastic made-to-look-like-wicker basket of ricotta. I love me some ricotta.


1 – decent sized portion of pizza bianca. Pizza bianca is just soft, salty and rosemary-sprinkled bready goodness. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

1 – apple. I come from Washington State. Represent.

1 – chocolate bar. Milk chocolate. I know this is sacrilege. I don’t care. Dark chocolate is, as my kids would say, “bleh.”

It–the tregua–it was holy, and it was lovely. Thank you Villa Sciarra. Mwah!

I told you it was holy.


IMG_20130407_160155As above, so below.



10 Responses to “Tregua Santa Tregua”

  1. Sara White April 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    No no, milk chocolate is not sacrilege. Milk chocolate is the best thing ever!

    That park looks great, I really need to check it out sometime.

  2. wondrousnora April 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    What’s wrong in wearing a pajamas to school? No, really. At least they are going to realize it is not appropriate and can make a different decision the next day – or not 😉
    I often brought Valerio to daycare wearing MY pajamas under my coat. Ok, it is a sweat suit. But still…
    And I brought him with his pajamas on once. He was 6 months old and wore one of those cute onesies you gave him 😉

  3. Taryn April 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Love Villa Sciarra! My favorite park in all of Rome!

  4. mbrovelli April 12, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    Tregua Santa tregua — adding it to my list of favorite phrases! Brava! Thanks for always making me laugh uproariously after a hard day at the salt mines!

  5. Un'americana a Roma April 12, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Sara! Yay for milk chocolate! Foodies always call me out on my trashy love for milk chocolate. You know, 80% cacao is so much more high-brow and sophisticated. I’ll take a Hershey’s anyday.
    Villa Sciarra is fab and a great less populated alternative to Villa Pamphili or the Gianicolo.

  6. Un'americana a Roma April 12, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Honey today my girls wore galoshes to school, both of them. The teachers frowned and then breathed big sighs of relief when they saw me dumping four little 3-year old shoes on the table. I say “Stamattina non c’e’ stato verso.” They get it. Thank God.

  7. Un'americana a Roma April 12, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Yay for Taryn!!!! Maybe one day I’ll run into you there!

  8. Un'americana a Roma April 12, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    The salt mines! Love it sister!! Makes me think of the million times my three year old twins have made me watch Snow White recently. Actually I’m growing to love that movie. Sheer genius when you think about it, when was it made, back in the 30s? Anyhoo, salt mines. You should sing “hi hoooooo” when you go to work, that would be fun, no? At least you wouldn’t go unnoticed. Super pretty profile pic BTW!

  9. wondrousnora April 12, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Ahahah great. I LOVE your girls.
    Next time you can bring them to the teacher in their underwear (if you are lucky) and put their clothes on the table 😉

  10. Un'americana a Roma April 12, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    HA that’ll be the day. The teachers already tell me how desperate they are because Pao Pao won’t keep her jacket on, EVER. “It’s too hot, mommy!!!” E gia’, cara mia, perche’ semmo nel monno dei visiti a cipolla qua, anche quanno fa 40 gradi…

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