Tag Archives: italy

Please Send Lactation Cookies

Despite the glistening fountain water the only moisture you’ll get is a tourist’s back sweat.

More content inspired by my trip to Italy:

Postcards to Mother

While lazing about the Italian countryside, I thought constantly of mother and how much she would have liked everything I was doing, so I took to writing little fake postcards to her in order to bridge the miles between us. Of course, they never got sent and oftentimes do not describe “reality,” but it’s the blog that counts.

Rome

Tonight we ate ham, so that was good. I’m staying at a stranger’s house. Hope she doesn’t kill us. It feels so empty here, so sometimes I close my eyes and cross the street. It’s very peaceful. Miss you.

I walked around in Rome with my backpack on today. Do salt stains bleach shirts? Everyone here seems to know I’m not Italian even though you said I looked European. Were you lying to me?

Saw a dumb fountain but was distracted by the writhing mass of human flesh worshiping it. You wouldn’t have liked it very much. The weather was hot and it didn’t look like a mountain.

My vest doesn’t have enough pockets in it to hold all of my allergy medication. Please send me a new one?  And Major Milk Makin’ Lactation Cookies?

Our couchsurfing host was very nice. She didn’t kill us and even gave us a key to her place. I wish the guy I am traveling with were you. Please send cookies.

San Benedetto Del Tronto

I’m at the beach. The only way to not fit in here is to be pale. I felt like I was in middle school again except for I was wearing pale skin and adventure sandals instead of purple every day of the week. You always appreciated my fashion and pastiness.

Saw a field full of dead sunflowers today and thought of you.

Our friend’s parents don’t speak much English and they remind me of you when you speak Spanish. They make up for it in kindness though, just like you, except that you usually have lactation cookies. Please send some.

There are a lot of tattooed and other “weird” people in Italy. You’ll have to ignore them if you come. I saw old men in speedos today and it was more jarring than watching a Lady Gaga performance. You might just avoid the beach altogether.

People here eat Italian food every day. I miss your meatloaves.

I bought an earring, a tank top, and some hair gel for Dad so he can look more Italian. I got you and the sisters matching snakeskin string bikinis. Brother already looks Euro enough. Hope you like everything. It all cost 50 Euro. Pay me when I get back.

My host’s dad was making penis jokes at dinner about the phallic bread we had. You would have disapproved just like his mother. Wish you were here to scold.

Bologna

Traveling companion has fallen ill. I’m feeling weak too. Both very hungry. Please send lactation cookies/medicine.

Mom, I dangled over the side of a cliff today, my feet barely scraping the side of a very deep ravine. I didn’t even want to do it but no one would tell me no. Wish you were here.

Do you remember the check Grandma sent me for my birthday? Could you put the money in my account? Italy is great.

Despite your reassurances that “everyone will know what I’m talking about” no one knows this kind of cheese you want. Are you sure it’s Italian?

Italy is wonderful. I’m not coming back to the states. I didn’t think I hated my family enough to stay abroad forever but it’s just that beautiful. I know you’ll understand. Email me with questions.

Egypt Again

Back in Egypt. Food turns to ash in my mouth. I’m hallucinating that I can hear crickets and didn’t even have the energy to kill the cockroach that was preening itself on the wall for an hour. Please send money and cookies. Sorry I said that I’d never be coming back to the states. What I meant was I am never coming back to Oklahoma.

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A Failing Grade for Italian Tourism

This is the sun setting over the Italian countryside near San Benedetto del Tronto. You may now weep from the beauty.

I returned from my Italian adventure at the ripe hour of 2:30 on Sunday morning, Cairo’s hazy smog clouds welcoming me in an open cough to its crowded haphazard streets. Upon evaluating to what extent my trip was a failure or a success based upon a numerical gradation of the number of goals I accomplished, I found that even with partial credit given, I only achieved a raw score of 45.45%, otherwise known as an F. Unfortunately this means I will have to go to Italy once again in the spring in order to try to achieve a passing score and graduate onto other countries.

Below I will evaluate the success of my trip objective by objective:

1. Eat Italian food. SUCCESS

Accomplished with surprising ease. In direct defiance of variety, Italians tend to eat Italian food every day, even eschewing other respectable ethnic cuisines like Mexican or Chinese.

2. Drink fermented Italian beverages. SUCCESS

I made my own Italian wine by stealing some grapes from a neighbor’s vineyard, mashing them up, putting yeast in my sock, throwing it all in an empty 7 UP bottle and letting it sit in the sun. When it was nice and bubbly I passed it an a bottle of Tylenol around and we had ourselves a great time.

3. Sit in a meadow and breathe. SUCCESS

After panting up a rather steep hill, I and companion came upon an old villa that overlooked the city and right in front of it was a steep decline that led into a meadow. I scrambled down it and sat in the shade of a tree for a few moments while my travel companion, who is not the meadow sitting sort, opted to wait for me. I could smell fresh mint around me and had almost achieved spiritual revelation when I remembered my companion and I crawled back up and we got on with our lives.

4. Nap on the beach in a one piece bathing suit. SUCCESS

My ten dollar public-swimming-pool-blue swimsuit I bought in Ecuador is not holding up great, but it sure does accent my pasty white flesh. When I arrived at the beach and stripped down to my swimwear, my Italian host’s parents asked me if it was my first time at the beach, and I grabbed her mother by her shoulders, stared at her with desperate eyes and said “In the sun…it’s my first time in the sun…”

5. Find something with little blue flowers on it to purchase and call my own. Place in someone else’s bag and claim they stole it. FAIL

Lots of crap to buy, nothing I wanted with little blue flowers.

6. Find cool gifts for the family to replace what I originally planned to bring back for them: pyramid keychains and little piles of sand. FAIL

Gifts are way too expensive in Italy. For the price of one scarf for my sister in Italy I could buy her an entire loom and weaving lessons in Egypt.

7. Get in as many people’s photos as possible while at touristy sites like the Colosseum and the Pope’s wax museum. HALF CREDIT

We tried getting in people’s pictures, but the angles proved fairly awkward so we settled for taking pictures of the tourists themselves. Vouyeristic? Possibly. Sue me.

8. Go to a hair salon and get my bangs cut. Refuse to pay and see what happens. HALF CREDIT

I didn’t go to hair salon since, as stated previously, it would have been expensive and the language barrier would have made the “not paying” thing more difficult to explain. I did, however, cut my bangs myself. Since no one notices I cut them, I believe  I have avoided a case of awkward bangs for the first time since I started cutting my bangs myself. Great success.

9. Speak with an Italian accent the whole time and see how many best friends I make. FAIL 

I opted to speak fake Italian and Spanish mixed together. I really felt I could speak Italian after having even one glass of wine, but it was interesting to note that Italians themselves continued to not understand me.

10. Verify my hypothesis that Spanish and Italian are actually the same language. HALF CREDIT

I’m giving myself half credit for this since if I spoke Spanish with people, they would usually understand what I was saying. However, these interactions were usually accompanied by wild hand gestures that corresponded to what flavors of ice cream I wanted, so I can’t say the theory was widely tested outside of ice cream shops.

11. Take a nap at least once. SUCCESS

Napped once in the bungalow, once on the beach, once in the hotel room, and once under a tree.

12. Claim I am the direct descendant of the last emperor and declare my rule over Italy via public service announcement. FAIL

13. Pretend to be German and wear socks with my sandals. HALF CREDIT

Though I did not pretend to be German, I did wear my adventure sandals everywhere. Italians do not wear adventure sandals. If it weren’t already painfully obvious by the pallor of my skin and hair that I was not Italian, my disgustingly practical footware gave it away even before I got to speaking fake Italian.

14. Coat myself in glue and then roll in macaroni. Run through the streets screaming like the famous Italian macaroni monster. HALF CREDIT

My colleague still managed to scare a child by almost running him over on a bike. The bike was unharmed.

15. Say “Mamma mia!” as many times as possible. FAIL

I only said it once and no one even heard me. They do say it a lot though.

16. Stare at my travel companion on the train when he’s not looking at me and then look away quickly when he suspects something. Repeat continually. HALF CREDIT

Instead of staring, I would fall asleep right as we boarded any form of transportation and my mouth would instantly gape open, something equally disconcerting.

17. Politely ask flight attendants to not make eye contact with me and explain I usually sit in the first class but there was a misunderstanding with my company and they booked the wrong ticket. FAIL

18. Blend in with the locals by covering my face in pizza sauce. HALF CREDIT

I unwittingly walked around for a while with some food bits on my face, though I don’t think it helped me blend in with any locals.

19. Pick and eat my own wild mushrooms. HALF CREDIT

My companion and I stumbled upon a park/orchard and we ate figs and plums right off of the trees. We called it foraging but I’m not sure if that term is properly used if one is gathering fruit in an orchard.

20. Make a new facebook friend. SUCCESS

My Italian host friended me on facebook and I accepted and her family has insisted on us coming again next year for a week. I don’t know if they are sincere but I, for one, am sincerely not ashamed of taking them up on the offer. I have proclaimed them welcome to my home in Oklahoma, but I don’t think I’m in any real danger of them accepting.

21. Fight a wild boar to the death. Eat its flesh. HALF CREDIT

I did eat boar on a bed of polenta in a medieval city, washed it down with a beer and was then married off to someone against my will, just like a real medieval lass.

22. Purchase a new spear and go truffle hunting. HALF CREDIT

I ate something with truffle oil on it and it was delicious. It was the food equivalent of being hugged on the mouth by a mushroom.

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Pasta, Pizza, Espaghetti

Has anyone else noticed Italy looks like a boot? Weird.

So I’m heading to Italy today. In 25 minutes I will be leaving my house to bake in the noon heat for 10 minutes before getting into a cab taking us to the airport and then getting into a big ol’ airplane and flying away for a short 9 day trip where I will sample the wonders of Rome, San Benedetto del Tronto,  and Bologna.

Goals for the trip:

1. Eat Italian food. This one could prove to be difficult. I hear Italian food is hard to find and usually expensive when you do. Luckily, there are some great websites that have miraculously located places with passable fare.

2. Drink fermented Italian beverages. I’m no alkie but sometimes the fact you  can only choose between expensive crap and cheap crap here in Egypt gets annoying. Besides, I hear there are more than 4 beer choices in Italy. Rumor only? We shall see.

3. Sit in a meadow and breathe.

4. Nap on the beach in a one piece bathing suit.

5. Find something with little blue flowers on it to purchase and call my own. Place in someone else’s bag and claim they stole it.

6. Find cool gifts for the family to replace what I originally planned to bring back for them: pyramid keychains and little piles of sand.

7. Get in as many people’s photos as possible while at touristy sites like the Colosseum and the Pope’s wax museum.

8. Go to a hair salon and get my bangs cut. Refuse to pay and see what happens.

9. Speak with an Italian accent the whole time and see how many best friends I make.

10. Verify my hypothesis that Spanish and Italian are actually the same language.

11. Take a nap at least once.

12. Claim I am the direct descendant of the last emperor and declare my rule over Italy via public service announcement.

13. Pretend to be German and wear socks with my sandals.

14. Coat myself in glue and then roll in macaroni. Run through the streets screaming like the famous Italian macaroni monster.

15. Say “Mamma mia!” as many times as possible.

16. Stare at my travel companion on the train when he’s not looking at me and then look away quickly when he suspects something. Repeat continually.

17. Politely ask flight attendants to not make eye contact with me and explain I usually sit in the first class but there was a misunderstanding with my company and they booked the wrong ticket.

18. Blend in with the locals by covering my face in pizza sauce.

19. Pick and eat my own wild mushrooms.

20. Make a new facebook friend.

21. Fight a wild boar to the death. Eat its flesh.

22. Purchase a new spear and go truffle hunting.

That about covers it. Wish me luck on my adventures that will likely center around deciding which restaurant to eat at next; nothing too scary. I probably won’t be blogging while in Italy, but as soon as I get back I will go into a blogging frenzy that won’t stop until I’ve communicated all of the awesome thoughts I had while abroad, which are bound to be many.

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