as california burns, calabria asks what the hail?

Over the weekend, as we were thinking about those caught in the line of wildfires in California, here in Calabria we also had some nasty weather. Quite ironically, ours came in the form of torrential downpours.

And so, right around noon on Saturday, thunder and lightning meant that we unplugged everything electric.

But the hail? Well that meant it was time for the camera:

P said he’d never seen anything like this in his nearly 30 years, as perhaps you can tell from his excitement in the video. Here’s where the video left off:

Stay safe, my friends.*

*Gah! I can’t stop saying it!

27 Beans of Wisdom to “as california burns, calabria asks what the hail?”
  1. Gil

    It seems that the World weather is getting crazier and crazier. The sounds in your video remind me of two ears ago when we had a hail storm while we were vacationing in Scauri. I was sitting in a beach house bathroom and all of a sudden I heard strange noises on the roof and thought someone was throwing rocks. I opened the door and the ground looked like the ground in your pictures. Too funny.

    The pinging is such a weird sound, isn’t it? I thought the same thing the first time there was hail here…that kids were throwing rocks!

  2. 11.17.2008

    i stopped watching the news about the southern california fires because i was getting depressed by the minute. so sad.

    the weather is definitely whacked. i would never have thought of hail in southern italy.

    odessa’s last blog post..sunday morning

    We’ve had hail here a few times in the time I’ve been here, but never this large or for that long (we actually had two different bouts of it).

  3. awedree

    Whacked is right! I live in the SF Bay Area, and we’ve been having 70-80s weather! In the middle of November! What’s funny is we have some of our coldest and nastiest weather in the middle of summer. Global wierding, I guess.

    Crazy stuff indeed. This is actually the first even chilly stretch we’ve had in November, which in itself is rare. Usually it’s much cooler by the first of the month than it was. Now it’s catching up, though 😉

  4. Wow that is some big hail.

    When I first moved L.A. I would freak out over these fires and the earthquakes. Malibu burned several times during 10 years I lived there.

    Those Santa Ana winds, plus a desert climate, brush and over development equals disaster.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Get your parks on – Villa Borghese

    Disaster indeed 🙁

  5. 11.17.2008

    It was soooo good to hear that Calabrian accent. It transported me in a second to my father’s town!

    I hope the cars weren’t damaged.

    Scintilla’s last blog post..Phantom Neighbours.

    Yeah, P was extra Calabrese there without going full-fledged dialect 😉 And I don’t know if any cars were damaged here, but I’m sure they were somewhere.

    I’m going to try to convince P to do an instructional Calabrese video…like I’ll say “I’m here” and then he’ll say “Sono qui!” and then “Sugnu cca!” What do you think? 😉

  6. 11.17.2008

    I’ll bet you I know some words in dialect that P doesn’t use. I was brought up speaking dialect to my grandmother in Australia, who having immigrated in the early fifities, was left in a dialect time warp of post-war Calabrian vocabulary. I’d love to hear P’s version!

    Scintilla’s last blog post..Phantom Neighbours.

    Oh absolutely! One example I have from my family (who left here about 100 years ago) is the word Papù for grandfather. Now they just use Nonno here, but back then it was always Papù 🙂

  7. 11.17.2008

    I saw coverage of the wildfires on the news this weekend. Pretty scary stuff.
    I love hailstorms (when I’m indoors and my car is safely parked in the garage). There’s something so dramatic about them. I don’t even mind when it rains or snows. Yeah, I’m funny that way.

    Milanese Masala’s last blog post..Will change come to Italy, too?

    I love storms too so long as they don’t mess with my electricity! You never know when you’ll get it back in Italy 😉

  8. Woohoo! That was some storm, reminds me of England! (and Umbria unfortunately). We watched a forest fire in the hills not far from here last year and it took a long while to get in under control using planes and helicopters to drop water, I’d never seen anything like it before. Those fires in California must be terrifying.

    amanda@A Tuscan View…’s last blog – the movie

    Yes, we have some scary wildfires down here too, but they rarely damage houses since, as you know, most Italians don’t build on wide open areas of land. Thank goodness, in that respect.

  9. carol

    So nice to hear your voices……and I love the idea of a *Calabrese dialect tutorial* I’ll definitely sign-up 🙂

    Hah, well you know how P is…so we’ll see if I can convince him 😉

  10. 11.17.2008

    Global warming at work again!! But, nah, there is no such thing as climate change??!!!!

    Um, would you make a video of Ps voice everyday and just let us play it over and over and over?

    There is nothing nicer than the sound of Italian being spoken- like angels singing:)

    And look at you- a YouTube video. HOW impressive 🙂 I have a video feature- but I am lucky I can figure out the setting to take a good picture. Maybe by 2030.

    Hah! P would be *so* embarrassed by that suggestion. Really YouTube is an easy step once you take the video-taking plunge…which lucky for me is easy peasy with my camera. Otherwise, forget it!

  11. Imani

    Oooooohhhhhhhhh that Calabrese! Music to my ears!!! Thanks for that Michelle. It was a real treat and a great way to start my day. I’ve GOT to get back to Calabria on one of my trips to Italy. Maybe next time.

    Yes! Come on down!

  12. 11.17.2008

    Wow, that’s some crazy hail!! The excitement in P’s voice is just adorable…the weather…not so adorable! I miss hearing native Italian and more importantly Calabrese so much!

    I think a Calabrese tutorial is a fantastic idea…I’m in!! 🙂

    LuLu’s last blog post..Altilia, Cosenza, Calabria

    I’m not sure I could go back to life without Italian and Calabrese every day…come back soon LuLu!

  13. 11.17.2008

    my ex lives in socal and i was going to call, but how do you decide to do so or not if they never call anyway–or only know how to communicate via internet. i’m sure he’s fine, right. so awful what they go through. i have a hard time coming to ur blog, b/c it just really makes me want to come back and visit. really thinking about it with my sis for July ’09 🙂

    Ugh, I hope he’s OK, Bren. Definitely tough decision on whether to call…I say do it. You’ll feel much better, and hopefully he’ll appreciate it too.

    On coming to Italy…I think you know how I feel about that 😉

  14. Ma che carini che siete!!! So funny when I realize that I’ve known you this long and yet haven’t heard your voice until now…

    Also funny that “pieces of ice” fell in Calabria before Boston!

    paul of the clue-by-four’s last blog post..Friday free-for-all: whites didn’t elect Obama, people of color did

    I have to say I think both our voices were a bit “off” from reality there, but close enough 😉 And yes, isn’t it weird to hear someone after so long? I thought the same thing after seeing one of your videos…cutest laugh ever, I believe?

    *So* true about the ice falling here before Boston! Gah!

  15. anna l'americana

    E si, che carini che siete!! E cosi tanto che non sento il Calabrese come si deve – ancora perpiacere, ancora!!!!

    E che cacchio – mi ricordo le 2 volte che ha nevicato a Roma mentre ci ho vissuto e quanto eravamo spaventati! (per 2 minuti, poi subito alle guerre con le palle di neve!) Ma grandine in Calabria? Questo e troppo.

    Michelle, subito con la grandine e l’espresso. Farai la prima “Grandine di Cafe!”
    Pardon my pun. I couldn’t resist.

    Hah! P tells me all the time how people used to gather up the snow (on the rare occasions it fell) and eat it…don’t know if they put coffee in though 😉

  16. 11.17.2008

    Paolo has a lovely voice!

    saretta’s last blog post..Grey Bird on a Grey Day

    I’m rather fond of it myself, Saretta 🙂

  17. 11.17.2008

    Wow, those hailstones are huge. We get hail occasionally, but it’s never bigger than a sunflower seed. Did the dogs go crazy or did they sleep through it?

    flurrious’s last blog post..The Dog Ate My Blog

    They were excited every time we opened the balcony door, but they weren’t going anywhere near outside. They’re generally good during storms–fireworks are Luna’s downfall, but Stella doesn’t mind those either. She often watches with us on the balcony 🙂

  18. 11.17.2008

    I was in Calabria this last Saturday, attempting to help pick olives when we were ushered by the pounding rain into one of the nearby huts. And from the door we watched all that huge hail hitting the ground. I am glad I was inside!!!

    I love your blog and wrote a small blurb about it in my post (appropriately called) “I love your blog” so my friends can check you out.

    Thanks for the good southern flavor!

    Bev’s last blog post.."I Love Your Blog" Award

    Thanks Bev; it’s great to see you around the Italy blogosphere 🙂

  19. 11.17.2008

    We unfortunately get hail more often here in the north. This is one of the reason we are wary of August storms– the grapes are swelling on the vines, 90% of the work has been done and a round of hail can destroy entire annual incomes in a matter of minutes. One storm was so bad (it took place early, in May) that it killed an entire town’s chicken and rabbit population, rendered the entire area into a winter landscape, and by July, the trees were just starting to bud again. During that storm, the hail was larger than golf balls and more than 20 centimeters thick on the ground. Suffice to say, the stuff scares the hail out of me. Stay well you too, Michelle….

    This hail actually did quite a number on the olive trees; pieces of hail were sharing the nets with olives knocked from the trees in the storm. Quite an incredible site.

  20. 11.17.2008

    That’s pretty big size hail. I’m so jealous of you living in Italy. It sounds so romantic. Our hearts are with the people of California as well. Stay safe.

    Teresa’s last blog post..Tamales

    Thanks Teresa, and thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  21. 11.17.2008

    Good gracious hope you and your fellow Calabrians stayed indoors.
    Those puppies will put a dent in your noggin!
    Stay safe.
    Waving at you from New York

    Frances’s last blog post..Train of Thought

    We were definitely indoors. Scary stuff out there!

  22. 11.17.2008

    little man is quite jealous of your weather!!!

    qualcosa di bello’s last blog post..tangible

    Hah! He can have it!

  23. 11.18.2008

    I also loved hearing the Italian, the accents, and your voice! Wow, hail in Calabria! I don’t remember having hail ever here on Oahu, but there has been a rare hail storm on the Big Island. My hail experiences consist of once hiking in Colorado (not fun) and a few hail storms in Northern Italy, interestingly all transportation related (on a train, in a car, and waiting for a boat).

    girasoli’s last blog post..the needle and my eyelid

    Too funny! I’m *very* glad I was home for this one. At least I felt safe 🙂

  24. 11.18.2008

    We’ve had a couple of hailstorms like this – always in summer, oddly enough. I loved the video!

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Wow! And thank yous…

    Summer hail doesn’t sound very fun to me….

  25. That was cute. My P was equally impressed, although not as enthusiastic! lol He was more worried about the cars!!

    Cherrye at My Bella Vita’s last blog post..Sila Fridays: Driving through the Mountains

    Actually if you listen closely in the video P is worried about cars too…just not ours since we don’t have any 😉

  26. 11.26.2008

    Ah so you get hit with hail the size of golf balls too! Thought it was only something which happened up here in the north of Italy! Still, at least it only happens every thirty years or so down with you.

    I remember, when I was first here, seeing quite a few cars covered in pock marks, and was left speechless when I was told that the damage was down to hailstones!

    Incredible, but true!



    Alex’s last blog post..Expat B&Bs in Italy

    Crazy, isn’t it, Alex? I haven’t seen many pockmarks from hail here…lots of *other* imperfections on cars though 😉

  27. 02.18.2010

    Hi Michelle!

    Hope you’re doing well over in Italy!!! I’m slowly making it through your blog, but this one particularly caught my eye, and I decided to comment on it. The same year, during the summer, I was in Urbino, and we had some pretty crazy weather. It was raining torrentiously at times, and quite a few times we also had hail. The lightening was flying around all over the place. During one hail storm, I was by myself in the house, and was quite afraid of being alone. lol Very interesting weather though! The year before that, during the summer while I was studying there, they had really crazy lightening and really bad rain storms.

    Stay safe over there! lol

    Thanks! It seems the weather has taken a turn for the better…hoping it lasts!

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. 

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