A year ago last Thursday was a Wednesday. On that day I sat between two German businessmen as I flew over the Atlantic Ocean. I know they were business men because I asked them; they were flying back from Iowa. I watched “Awesome Celebrity Weddings” on my personal television seated in First Class. I would later discover what jet lag and four complementary glasses of champagne do to a person when they trade their usual sleeping pattern for an inverse one overseas. I would also come to find out (especially on the flight home) that not everyone’s ticket gets upgraded for free.
A year ago last Saturday was a Friday. It was supposed to rain so I dressed warm and ordered an espresso from a baristaman who brushed my money aside flirtatiously and said, “You pay tomorrow” in his thick Italian accent. I sampled wine on a tour of an underground wine cellar and used my napkin to spit out anchovies on toast.
A year ago last Sunday was a Saturday. I toured a dairy farm, ate a seven course lunch and skipped dinner to go for a run. Later that evening I cheered on foreign half-marathon runners just two blocks from our hotel in Cuneo.
A year ago last Monday was a Sunday. After riding a bus for 4 hours I laid eyes on 55 thousand Parma hams being smell tested individually by the factory owner and his two workers. That night it poured down rain and after taking a hot shower I hand-washed my limited supply of cold weather clothes in anticipation of more rainy tomorrows.
A year ago last Tuesday was a Monday. On that day I saw a breathtaking bride and groom posing for wedding pictures along the Arno River in Florence. I received an e-mail that said, “HIMOLLYGLADYOUAREHAVINGAGOODTIMELOVEGRANDMA.” (She didn’t know how to use the space bar.) That night my roommates Monica, Teju and I laughed ourselves to sleep.
A year ago yesterday was a Tuesday. This day drizzled rain too. At a flea market I tried on clothes behind the curtains of peddlers’ filthy panel vans and even got a thumbs up from a bicyclist. I also climbed tilted stairs to the top of Pisa’s leaning tower and started my love affair with hazelnuts.
A year ago today, in the middle of the night, an earthquake tremor rattled our several-story hotel in Bologna. A 70-year old woman taught me how to fold tortellini and how to make homemade pasta without even using a bowl.
For some reason today (and this year) I feel like embracing the rain. I feel like drinking wine and saying “grazie” instead of “thank you.” I feel like having…making buttery rich pasta without even using a bowl. I just may. Tomorrow we’ll reconvene our adventure and I’ll share with you what happened a year ago to date.