the first month: a little bit of honesty [various, italy]

Today marks the end of my first month living in Italy.

A month ago, I left with the expectation of traveling for a year, the hope of continuing for five and the dream of doing this forever.

Within a week I wanted it to be over, wanted the lessons to be learnt so I could be back in the comfort of something familiar.

Except of course I never want it to be over

So far Italy’s been marvellous.

mailbox in veniceMouth watering pastas and pizzas with ingredients that roll on and off the tongue – fiori di latte, erba cipollina, pomodori, aglio, pepe nero…

Architecture and monuments that actually take my breath away – the grandiose duomo in Florence, the barricaded old town of Lucca, the surreal leaning tower in Pisa, the luxurious Venice, the quaint riviera…

And the little moments that make me feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be – walking around at night delighting in cioccolato-stracciatella gelato, jogging through Tuscan olive groves while “buon giorno”-ing everyone I pass, enjoying real homemade Italian meals cooked for me in little Italian towns… absolutely marvellous.

But it’s also been hard.

I’m not quite where I want to be just yet. I’ve made some progress (like living with some Italian guy in a little Tuscan town), and I suppose a month out of forever isn’t even that long, but being the magical thinker and type A personality that I am, well, trying not to fail at my own expectations for myself – that’s the hardest.

But today marks the beginning of my second month living in Italy. AND, as a totally amazing sidebar, I feel like my big picture is coming together and that’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever known: I always knew what I wanted, but now I can see it happening and know who I want it to happen with.

I can handle a bit of discomfort for enlightenment like this.  Off I go.

I cooked steak today!

…ish. But I did it!

It was my turn to make dinner and all we had was red meat. Now, I’ve never prepared red meat before. Like, ever. As in, the closest I’ve ever gotten to cooking red meat was throwing a Calgary Stampede burger on a bonfire. And ok, I’m sure I fried up a bit of bacon before. But that’s it.

I mean I’ve prepared other meat dishes. I can make you delicious salmon, red snapper, even sole, which, let’s face it, is completely tasteless. I’ve been known to whip up some good chicken here and there though I don’t eat it that often, and my spicy prawn dishes have been to die for.

But never carne rossa.

It haunted me. It poked fun at me in its giant frozen clump way. Continue reading I cooked steak today!

When she held up the bag of cucumbers sans label, I just shook my head confused [larciano, italy]

Fun fact: when you go to a grocery store or supermercato here, you have to print out little scan labels for fruits and veggies by yourself. None of this ‘the cashier knows every 5-digit number corresponding to every type of everything’ stuff.

Every bin of tomatoes, apples, you name it (except mushrooms, which come sealed in little packages) will have a tablet featuring the price and the ‘key’ number that corresponds to it.

You take your zucchinis, put them in a little plastic bag (with a little plastic glove), put them on a fancy computer scale, choose ‘vegetable’, press the number/image ‘key’ that matches your particular ‘green’ and a label sticker complete with product name, weight and bar code gets printed out. Continue reading When she held up the bag of cucumbers sans label, I just shook my head confused [larciano, italy]