Learning Italian: The ancient Italian coffee machine and an Expat accident

It was a dark and cold morning much like every morning during winter in December. Lazily I slung my legs out of bed, wrapped la sciarpa around my neck, slipped on my furry slipper Crocs and headed to the kitchen for morning coffee.

When I told my Sardinian mother that our electric coffee maker was broken, she happily opened the door to an old wardrobe and gave me one of hers. You see, in Italy every house has at least three; the one gifted to us is roughly 25 years old and I was proud to brew the morning’s coffee, daily, until nine days ago.

Jennifer Avventura My Sardinian Life

The culprit aka la caffettiera

My scream pierced the frigid morning air and Hub flew out of bed faster than a lion chasing a long-awaited meal, it gave me just enough time to turn off the flame and rip my boiling hot pajama pants off. When he reached me I was naked from the waist down, standing in a pool of steaming hot coffee with painful tears streaming down my face.

The gift, the ancient Italian coffee maker fell from its perch on the stove and spilled its boiling hot liquid down the front of my thigh, then did a fast flip as the bottom of the coffee maker scorched the outside of my calve. Small splashes of scalding coffee fell to the top of my foot making an abstract form of burnt skin on canvas.

“Che cosa è successo? Oh mio dio!”
“It’s hot, it’s hot, I didn’t know what to do.  There’s no skin! OMFG! The skin?! OoooooooHHHoooooooo. It hurts.”

He helped me to the bed, and in all honesty I don’t remember much after that. The fog cleared twenty-four hours later and I learned that the lovely neighbour heard about my plight, and was given an ancient secret potion that is brewed in the mountains of Sardinia. Hub religiously administered the potent medicine to my leg, through my heavy protests and tear-stained face. The neighbour spared only what she had left, leaving her household bare of this essential medicine, I am eternally grateful at her kindness.

We have since finished the secret brew and have switched to natural aloe vera. It’s a lovely miracle that my Sardinian mother has a giant aloe plant growing in her forest of earthly delights. Daily, Hub chopped large leaves of the golden liquid and administered it to my healing burn.

That was nine days ago.

A large aloe leaf, sliced in half sits slippery upon my wound, as I type this post. It’s a slow process, one I have never experienced in my life and one I hope to never experience again.

Today was the first day I tied my shoes myself, touched my toes, went for an hour walk and had a beautiful hot shower without the plastic bag duck-taped to my leg, and most importantly, all the above relatively pain-free.

The locals in town have been very helpful in offering advice and well wishes. I am a stubborn one, and during this nine-day ordeal, I still made it a point to get the daily groceries and enjoy the lovely December sunshine.

“Oh, Signora, che cosa hai fatto?”
“Ho bruciato la mia gamba.”
“Con cosa?”
“Caffe.” As I stimulate with my hands the turning of the ancient Italian coffee machine.
La caffettiera?”
“Si, Signora. Sopra tutta la mia gamba.”
“Devi andare a Cuppodia. Li, c’e una donna che si prenda cura di te. E ‘doloroso, ma non ci saranno cicatrici. Ho sentito che brucia l’ustione con una bruciatura.”
“Vai al Cuppodia.”

A woman in Cuppodia who can take care of me. It’s painful but there won’t be scars. Words from every local in town is that this mysterious healing woman burns the burn, with another burn!

Yeah, I don’t do pain very good and decided to pass on the mysterious woman in Cuppodia. I said my thank you s and have a nice days and limped on home with fresh bread and local tomatoes in my recyclable shopping bag.

Words learned:

  • cicatrici – scars
  • la caffettiera – Italian coffee machine (possibly only known as such in My Town, Sardinia. In other parts of Italy it’s known as La Moka).
  • bruciare – to burn
  • And that sometimes, ancient remedies are the best.
  • Scarpa – shoes and sciarpa is scarf. Thanks my virtual friend. 🙂

Have you had any expat accidents? Did you prescribe to the ancient forms of medication? Tell me about it in the comment section below.