Italy – The Low Down Adventure
I expected to fall madly in love with Rome. Like a love at first sight affair – big emotions, heart racin’, mind blown… awestruck by sites, drunk and delirious from the food and wine, lusting over super-stylie beautiful people. But it didn’t happen. At least not like that.
I’m comfortable being on the road nonstop. In fact, it’s more than comfort – I love it. I love landin’ in a new country, discovering new tastes, smells, people, and of course, office supplies. It’s one big adventure that has me reelin’ from start to finish. My body tingles – I react to hearing languages foreign to me, the faces new to me, the air hot and humid or cold and wet, it puts me on alert. I embrace the new landscape, I sink into, and I f’in love it.
But Rome? What’s the deal? Don’t understand, don’t get it. Why you wanna bust my balls and question why I came back for Italy Round 2? I got so much love for you. I do. But walking around for three days and finding nothing? It makes me feel cheated, it makes me feel empty. I was starved, both figuratively AND literally – after a two-week elimination diet, I was reintroducing foods. (I know - in M’THR F’IN ITALY!!)
Day four, I discovered a cute independent bookshop. Silvia, the shopkeeper, was super nice and helpful, but it was all very professional. No instant-best-friend connection like in Chile or Brazil. I placed an order and left. This small win felt HUGE and definitely deserving of a celebration dinner. Flipped the switch and changed my attitude. BRING IT, ITALY. And just like that – a feast! I wandered around the Jewish Ghetto until I found the perfect restaurant, Ba'Ghetto. I gave in. Screw the elimination diet. I ordered what my heart desired – Jewish Artichokes, Concia di Zucchine, pasta, wine, you name it. No. More. Suffering.
A week later when I returned to collect the goods, Silvia asked if I had dined at Ba'Ghetto. She’d seen me. That random crazy chance sighting in a city of 2.8 million people felt fated – fated that our paths crossed to create something great. We connected. Like BOOM M'THR F'RS. I got to the heart of a Roman! My mind started racin’ and within minutes we confirmed a collab – the concept, the paper, the design.
Sometimes you have to work at relationships. Slowly. Bit by bit. Like peeling an artichoke, where you peel leaf by leaf till you get to the heart… my connecting with Romans took the same form. And sometimes the ones that are built over time are built to last. I got a return date with Rome. Maybe it’s meant to be this way. Another chance to connect with a local to discover how locals do. Is it the love story I expected? Na. Is it a love story gone wrong? Who knows.
What I do know? I’m headed back for a feast so ravenous that it’ll make me feel a bit guilty, indulging to the core. Because when the grubbin’ is that good – your body craves more. You’ll go back for seconds, for thirds, and you may find that with every bite, you’re actually leaving a little piece of you behind.