The first stamp on my passport came from Italy. I had just graduated from college, and was ready to experience the world. At the time I had two Italian roommates, Rosella and Antonella, who seemed so glamorous with their fur coats and immaculate makeup. I remember how on a Saturday afternoon the girls would spend an hour or so getting ready: hair straightened, leather boots, designer jeans, lip gloss just so. “Antonella, where are you going? Do you have a lunch date?” “I’m going to the grocery store. I need some eggs.” They never left the apartment looking less than perfect. “You never know who you’re going to meet,” they said. And in a loving way they tried to help me, offering gentle hints. “My grandma, she is very old. But she is still sexy. She wears see-through clothes.” One Sunday, as I was leaving for church, Rosella came rushing out. “Stop!” She whipped out a bottle of perfume and hosed me down. “Now you are ready.” And one night, as I was sneaking out in a rather daring v-neck top, I heard a cheer coming from the Italians’ room. “Fiiiiinally!!”
So I went to Italy for a week with my dear friend Sîobhan. Many things fail to live up to my imagination, but Italy was not one of them. Case in point: when you go to an Italian cafe and order a cup of hot chocolate, they bring you something that strongly resembles warm chocolate pudding. It’s thick and creamy, and comes in all sorts of flavors, such as hazlenut or banana. They serve it in a mug with a small spoon. There are few things more delightful than sitting down in a cozy cafe on a rainy evening with a cup of warm chocolaty goodness.
So here I am, in my tiny (but cozy) apartment, settling down with a really stupid (but excessively entertaining) book and a mug of warm chocolate pudding. Ciao! La vita é bella.