village games: part II

Back in January, I unveiled a game that P and I play called (children cover your eyes):

Dove cazzo è?

Loosely, and cleanly, this means “Where the heck is it?” and these are the rules:

(1) I roam the village taking random photos.

(2) P has to tell me where I’ve found them–all of them.

(3) Loser cooks dinner and cleans up afterwards.

The last time we played, I underestimated P. Greatly. Go back here to see the photos he identified without a moment’s hesitation.

Annoying, isn’t he?

So now that I’ve had a few months to prepare, I felt I was ready, and we played again last night.

Photo Number 1:

Train on House No. 22, Calabria, Italy


This is what we call a “false sense of security” photo. Easy as it’s rather recognizable to say the least. Plus it’s on our usual walk with the dogs, so, as expected, he got this one right away. It’s the house of a Swiss couple that visits only in the summer if you’re interested, but no, I don’t know the significance of the train.

Like I’m wont to do, I turned up the heat:

Doorbell, Calabria, Italy
He threw out a guess (wrong) and then struggled for a few moments. I then made a strategic decision. I gave him a tiny hint–a photo of the door that’s across from it. Then it was pretty easy; this doorbell is within sight of the house he grew up in. He got it.

I gave him that clue because I felt safe, nay even a bit cocky, about the last photo that I was going to give him. Risky to be sure but I like to take chances.

Photo Number 3:

Sunshine Tile, Calabria, Italy

Hi sunshine!

At first there was a hint of recognition in his eyes, but that quickly turned into a squint, then a look off into the distance, and, ladies and gentlemen, I kid you not: the words “Dove cazzo è?” were uttered. Repeatedly.

I gave him clues, told him how close this is to our house (*very* close), how he doesn’t actually pass by there often (it’s the “back way” and there’s really no reason to go there ever unless you’re taking random photos for a guessing game), how it’s somewhere you wouldn’t expect (it’s outside the cantina of our 80+-year-old neighbor Anna Maria who doesn’t seem much the ceramic sunshine tile type . . .check the link for how she heats her house in the winter).

Niente. He had nothing.

HO VINTO IO!!!!!!!

That means I won, and I’m planning out my feast as I type. I’m thinking he should do Thanksgiving. What do you think?

30 days of thanks

Today I am thankful for:

My P. I’ve never been one of those girls that was always partnered off; indeed, I’ve spent most of my adolescent and adult life alone (not lonely even though in Italian it’s the same word–solo/sola!), and I’m quite good on my own. I *need* lots of alone time, in fact, and sometimes that goes over well in a relationship and sometimes it doesn’t.

So imagine my surprise when I truly enjoyed being part of a couple, and not only that, I’ve even managed to find someone who will play silly games like Dove cazzo è? with me and not think I’m strange. Or think I’m strange but go with it anyway.

That’s pretty special, I know it, and I’m so thankful to have found P.

If you’d like to read more about him (and see a photo), here are some P posts:

Amore Mio

Conversations with P

How a Jean Jacket and Some Wind Can Change Your Life
(story of how we met)

Let the Answering Begin: The Sequel
(Question 2)


[tags]calabria, southern italy, nablopomo, 30 days of thanks[/tags]

45 Beans of Wisdom to “village games: part II”
  1. Giulia

    That is so cute that you two can play games like that. I can almost hear you guys utturing those words to each other and giggling like little school children! Thanksgiving feast sounds like a good way to go. Of course, you must blog about it later on. 😉 You’re obviously very happy with “P” and that in turn, makes me happy. 🙂

  2. sognatrice

    Giulia, well I was definitely giggling more than P was this time around 😉 I think I’ll stick to Thanksgiving and get him to do one of his specialties…something on the grill I think 🙂

    And you know how it is with relationships, always ups and downs–but it’s so nice to really stop and remember and appreciate the ups, don’t you think?

  3. Giulia

    Yes, I couldn’t agree more about appreciating the ups!

  4. sognatrice

    Giulia, I knew you’d be with me there 🙂

  5. My Melange


    What a fun game. I would totaly do that…and really be into it too!!! Once for Valentines day I did a really fun *treasrue hunt*…I love doing stuff like that. Sounds like youve got a keeper there in *p*. I think the term is…soulmate. What is that in Italian???? And does *P* have a brother? 😉 I know this may sound steroetypical…but I have always imagined Italian men being a more affectionate and romantic lot…

  6. alexmom

    Dove cazzo e’?
    That’s what I love about the internet.Learning Italian expressions and idioms that they don’t teach us in Italian Class!
    I just have one question…..exactly how vulgar is the word *cazzo* and all it’s derivative expressions?

  7. sognatrice

    *Robin, have you read Eat, Pray, Love yet? There’s a great part on soulmates; I don’t know how you’d say it in Italian, or whether the concept exists. They use “uomo della mia vita” a lot, literally “the man of my life.” Yeah, they can be romantic 😉

    Oh, and P has two brothers, both married with children though 😉

    *Alexmom, VERY vulgar. Think F bomb. Actually it’s pretty much as low as you can go…shhh….

  8. Proud Italian Cook

    sognatrice, I had fun reading your stories and how you met P this morning while drinking my coffee! I’ll be back to hear more!!

  9. Ambra Celeste

    That is so sweet! It appears that you are so lucky to have found someone like him, but I am certain he feels he is the lucky one too! Yes, I would definitely pick the thanksgiving feast for him to impress you with, but for one thing. Does your Italian know how to cook a whole turkey??? Any time I mention a whole turkey around here, I get an incredulous expression from whichever Italian I am talking with.

  10. qualcosa di bello

    what genius!!! i do love to cook, but once & awhile…

    i don’t know if D. would go for it, but he loves a good competition!

    please be sure to keep us updated as to what P. cooks!

    poor alexmom…my very comprehensive italian teacher *does* do idiomatic expressions from time to time, including the one you mention!

  11. sognatrice

    PIC, glad to see you here, and I hope to see more of you (and your recipes) 😉

    Ambra, uh, the whole turkey/chicken thing completely confounds him. It’s just the two of us, so last year I made a half of a chicken (yes there’s a story about the turkey…stay tuned!), and probably will again this year, if not just pieces. I was really joking about Thanksgiving…I’m *far* too picky about my filling, sweet potatoes, etc., to let it up to an Italian 😉

    Qualcosa, yes, you have to play on the competitive spirit! P likes to cook anyway (as do I), but it’s the cleaning up part that is both of our downfalls….

  12. Minnie

    I love it. What a cool idea! I’m totally doing this with BS. Tonight. Do you think he’ll be offended if I take a photo of the laundry room?
    I say he’s 100% responsible for Thanksgiving.

  13. sognatrice

    Minnie, hilarious!!!! I could *definitely* stump P with a close-up of the washing machine!

    Seriously, I am being completely selfish by keeping him OUT of the kitchen on Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday and it has to be just as I want it or ain’t no one gonna be happy 😉

    I’m thinking he’s in charge of What’s Cooking Wednesday for tomorrow, to be cooked tonight…let’s see what he comes up with….

  14. Stefanie

    Whoo! Good work, lady. 🙂

    I totally relate to the “alone but not lonely” thing, and I wonder myself whether I value my independence and my alone time too much to be part of a couple. I’m always glad to hear about people who felt the same way but still found someone who “fit” for them.

  15. Jane

    You are a very luck girl indeed. Like you, I NNED my alone time. That’s my time to grow and discover and create. But I sure would love a partner who could honor that need and have fun with me at the same time.

    Happy Tuesday!

  16. witnessing am i

    I do not doubt the wonders of your P, but that is a game that I would think appeals to many. What is wonderful is that you both can win and lose, and challenge each other in the process. There are so many surprises for each of you when that occurs. You are both winners in that.

    And both incredibly lucky.

  17. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita

    You are a lucky girl indeed. And how cute is Anna Maria? haha

  18. Taffiny

    Lovely lovely post.
    Cute game.
    And I am glad you have P too.

    I need a lot of alone time too. And it is …(what was I saying? I just saw the cutest fluffy grey squirrel trying to hide something in my flower bed. I hope that was a nut and not a plant bulb of some sort, as he didn’t plant it, and ran off with it instead.)

    I look forward to reading your P stories at another time, because for now I better go work on my own story, for dear Sognatrice you are totally clobbering me with your speedy voluminous numbers (of words).

  19. sognatrice

    *Stefanie, I know what you mean; I questioned for a long time whether I could even be happy with a partner, but it’s working out really well without a lot of thought on it even. I’m baffled, and quite lucky.

    *Jane, you’ll have that partner when he’s meant to come into your life, if he’s not there already….

    *Witness, lucky for sure, and yes, winners one and all 🙂

    *Maryann, she’s adorable indeed!

    *Taffiny, ooh! Fluffy grey squirrel! Yeah! We don’t really have those here 🙁

    Don’t worry, though, my P stories will always be here, and right now, I need to write up another 2000 words before I quit for the evening. *sigh*

  20. cheeky

    I *love* that you stumped him. Ha! It’s nice that you enjoy each other so.
    I like my alone time too.

  21. Janet

    What fun you two have 🙂

  22. chris & erin

    this is great! I love little games like this one. I read this out loud to Chris. We have learned (and regularly hear) this phrase since being in Italy 🙂

    and your 30days of Thanks is a great reminder each day for us all

  23. sognatrice

    Cheeky, now I just feel more pressure for Round 3….

    Janet, every now and again 😉

    Erin, glad you enjoyed! The 30 days has been great for me so far, and it’ll be great to have this record someday as well 🙂

  24. Tui

    How fun is that! What a great game. I’ll have to try it with Angelo. Sounds like you’ve found quite a special guy. 🙂

  25. Sara

    Great game! Great prize, too.

    Isn’t it nice to have someone to play with, I mean really just play?

  26. Erin

    That is the sweetest game and I think I might have to try that with my hubby : ) I love it.

  27. Maricello

    What a charming game, and beautiful photos!

    Just dropping in from NaBloPoMo land to wish you well!

  28. sognatrice

    Tui, I’m not sure if you live in the town where Angelo grew up in, but that makes it even more fun 🙂

    Sara, it *really* is; thanks for reminding me 🙂

    Erin, it’s fun, light, and it also makes you pay more attention to your surroundings. I love it too (especially when I win).

    Maricello, thanks for stopping by! Hope your NaNo is still going well 🙂

  29. Karina

    Sognatrice, I was going to say pretty much what Stefanie said, about being alone, and wondering if I’ll ever be able to find someone I’m comfortable enough with to give up that independence…but she already said it so well. haha

    The game sounds like fun, and I love the appreciation you two seem to have for each other, and for your surroundings. It’s inspiring.

  30. Rebecca

    what a cool game to play! Sounds like P is a particularly observant man though….

  31. Shameless

    I must remember this one … although Lyon is pretty big and I’m not sure my better half would be able to guess right! lol

  32. Sparky Duck

    soon you will need a blog just for all the awards you win

  33. Jen of A2eatwrite

    Lovely game and lovely story! And I’m loving your grateful lists.

  34. SabineM

    Lovely photos as always!
    Can’t wait to hear of the THanksgiving feast!!

    It is fabulous to find a soul mate. This month is our 15th year Wedding anniversary, been together 17 1/2….The minute I met him, I knew he was the ONE! And I HAD NEVER EVER EVER WAnted to EVER EVER get married….but one day I met went away!

  35. sognatrice

    *Karina, guess I just refer you to my response to Stefanie’s comment then 😉 As always, thanks for coming by and taking the time to comment!

    *Rebecca, he really *is* observant and also has a spectacular memory (particularly spatial), which makes this game so challenging. I have a bit of an advantage in that I walk the village in random hidden parts a lot more frequently than he does, although he used to do it all the time as a kid…so if something has changed in the last 15 years, I have a better chance of stumping him 😉

    *Shameless, you can always put a distance-from-home limit on it….

    *Sparky, now now. No need to be jealous of winning a dinner and clean-up by my OH (if that’s what you’re referring to)….

    *Jen, it’s been such a pleasure writing the “thanks” posts; I’m so happy I decided to do it.

    *Sabine, aw, how cute! I have to admit that I didn’t really think I’d ever be half of a longterm couple–I remember telling my (horrified) grandmother that I’d look into artificial insemination to have children if I got to a certain age and it didn’t look like it would happen naturally. When I was 18!!!!!

  36. nikinpos

    I like this game!I think I’ll take a load of obscure photos so tha tCarlo will be entertained on the long floight we’re taking !

  37. sognatrice

    Nik, fun for the whole family really–you while you’re taking the photos, Carlo while he’s racking his brain trying to remember where he’s seen that, and then you again as you watch him squirm…and Poppy gets to enjoy it from all angles 😉

  38. Anthony and Lisa

    I love checking in on your blog every day! My family’s Italian and we lived in Puglia for many years so I love reading about ANYTHING Italy related.

    And I LOVE Pasta and broccoli!

  39. sognatrice

    A & L, thanks so much for stopping by–and I hope you weren’t offended by the pseudo-Pugliese pasta con broccoli!

  40. Anthony and Lisa

    Not offended at all! Love the pictures on your site too – just makes me want to be in Italy more than anything.

  41. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    Loved this post.

    I do spend a lot of time by myself and get a little anxious when I don’t have any alone time.

    However, sometimes I do worry I will be by myself the rest of my life. That would be uhm, too much alone time. ha.

  42. sognatrice

    *A & L, so happy to hear it 🙂

    *NYC, point taken. There definitely is a limit to the alone time I can take–friends and family are pretty good at that time too 🙂

  43. Wanderlust Scarlett

    Love that! HA!
    You get him.
    Yes, he should do Thanksgiving…
    you have that dinner over there? Did you tell him the story of how it began? Does he like it?

    How sweet. Love all the photos as usual, and today I am thankful that your CAMERA FAIRY has blessed us all by blessing you.
    Ripple blessings.


    Scarlett & V.

  44. sognatrice

    Scarlett, no we don’t have Thanksgiving here technically, but we do in my house! Anyway, I’ll be making it as I know how to make all the good stuff 😉

    Indeed, P has already paid up via the Pasta with Broccoli 🙂

    I heart my Camera Fairy too!

  1. [...] For past rounds of this game, see Village Games I and Village Games II. [...]...
Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake