I miss Italy.
Asriel and I met on a trip to Italy, where we lived for 4 months in apartments, played music all day, and traveled extensively. I miss it a lot. And sometimes, in spite of myself, I still forget that I'm not there.
There should be some glaring signs that I'm back home in America. For instance, when I walk down the street these days I don't get run over by cars driving on the sidewalk because the streets are so narrow. There aren't old Roman ruins and other historical artifacts everywhere you look. I no longer have time for everything in the day (oh, how I miss those slow days in Italy). I can't pay 8 euros each way to get on a train that takes me 4 hours away to almost the Italy/France border. I no longer have wine with dinner every night, and dinner no longer takes me 3 hours to eat (or, maybe it does. No matter where in the world I am, I've always been a slow eater).
I can no longer walk 5 minutes from my apartment and see this:
And, of course, the food here (or, more precisely, the dishes that pass for Italian-inspired food here) really get me down. Don't get me wrong, I don't walk into restaurants (especially the chain restaurant I went into today) expecting authentic Italian food. Who would? But sometimes I just...forget...that I'm not in Italy.
One of the things that makes you really shake your head and say "Toto, I don't think we're in Italy anymore" (if you had a dog named Toto. I don't. But I digress.) is when you go into a restaurant and order a panino. I'm sorry, you order a panini. Despite the fact that "panini" is a plural, and a single sandwich is a "panino", it's called "panini" here. Today I wandered into a Panera and did just that. I ordered a Tomato and Mozarella panini. The menu informed me that it had tomato, basil, and mozarella on it--reminiscent of a caprese sandwich in Italy. The menu also said it had some kind of "sundried tomato pesto" on it, but I disregarded that in my mind. Already visions of Italian caprese panini were dancing through my head--nothing more than a gigantimous slice of fresh mozarella, with some tomato and basil slapped on top, between slices of delicious bread. What could be better? Forgetting that I was currently standing in an American chain restaurant, and not one of my favorite Italian cafes, I gleefully ordered it.
I came abruptly back down to Earth when I started eating it. Was it tasty? Sure. Was it anything remotely like the Italian version? Of course not! I had forgotten that I wasn't in Italy once again, and now instead of my fantasy caprese panino, I was eating some sandwich with melted cheese and a large quantity of some kind of sundried tomato paste (see: "sundried tomato pesto").
I miss you, Italia.
The first glimpse of the faces of your bloggers! We took this picture probably less than a week after meeting, on a walk in the hills near our apartments.