Evil Orange Chucks, A Gelato University & Bagged Ice-Cream

Posted on July 17, 2011

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Dear Approval,

I got something right with nana finally!!! She only likes when I make her coffee! She complimented me and insists that I make it for her after we have lunch. I am so happy that I finally have done something that she approves of. I love the way that she hides sweets and cookies of the kids for her and I during our little coffee breaks after lunch. The last week was so much fun at the house. We have gone to the beach almost everyday and took some bike rides to the park. The kids and I really understand each other and when I am away from them I miss their little giggles and them running around like maniacs! They are constantly surprising me with their English and each are saying little sentences more and more! I feel so proud when they use phrases correctly it is such a wonderful feeling. The other morning Tommaso came over to me in the kitchen to ask for some help to find his book. It was the first time that he spoke to me in complete English without me having to ask him to! I was so excited that I hugged him right there on the spot and kissed his little mess of hair on his head! He had just woken up and hadn’t even had his daily bowl of cereal when he came over to me while I was making coffee for myself and said, “uhhh…Lexie? My book…Where is it?” Shocked and smiling I helped him find his book and kept telling him, “Bravo Tommy!!!” We found it and he curled up on the couch to read. I sat at the table and stared at him with joy and then asked if he wanted to eat with me now or if he wanted to wait. “Wait.” He tells me without looking up from him book. Va bene!

I can speak to Matteo in my normal fast-paced English and he understands everything that I am saying! It is incredible! He mostly answers in Italian but throws in a few English words which is so great. We were getting ready to go the park but nana was missing a small red key-chain and told us that we could not leave until we found it so we turned the house upside down to find it. I had no clue exactly what we were looking for (I though I was looking for a large red BUTTON!) but I understood it was red so I looked for anything and everything that was red. I emptied some basket full of pencils, markers, cards and toys and found a small red heart key chain and asked Matteo, “hey…is this what we are looking for?” and he ran over with excitement in those eyes and shook his head yes and replied, “Hey! You found it!” Again I was so happy that I hugged him for speaking so well! He probably thought I was just happy that we were going to the park. Teaching them how to use “me”, “I”, “you”, “him”, “his” and “he” is NOT easy but they are truly getting the idea and practicing more and more and I could not be happier!

I helped them put on their matching blue helmets and we peddled to the park. I brought the basket ball in a plastic bag and balanced it on my right handle bar. It was not that heavy but my balance was a little off. Tommaso slowed down to make sure that I was alright and I told him that the ball was a little heavy but I was ok. He told me to pull over and he tried to show me how to adjust my gears on the bike! He thought I was telling him that my gears were too “heavy!” I laughed and explained that it was the ball I was talking about, not the bike! He laughed and shrugged and got back onto his bike. I told him thank you anyways and he called over his shoulder, “you’re welcome!” and he raced off. These kids are so smart! We played a little basketball and played a “shark” game once we had the park to ourselves. Matteo and I scream and run around on the playground while Tommaso plays the “shark” and tries to catch us while making crazy shark sounds! I have no clue what kind of sounds a shark makes but I tell him he does a great job! We laugh and laugh until we are out of breath and require a water break. By then nana has joined us at the park and began talking to another nana that just arrived with some of her grandkids. Nana didn’t approve that we played so hard that Tommaso had sweated through his shirt. It is HOT outside..what do you expect? I told her that I would ride home on the bike to get him another one and she handed me the keys and gave me the look like I was supposed to have already packed extra shirts for them both. For the park? Who knows…but I rode home like the wind (I always wanted to say that!) and made it back in record time and changed Tommaso before she even knew I was back inside the gated park.

Yesterday T’s brother and his girlfriend and kids joined us at the house for a beautiful lunch outside. T and S had just arrived around noon since Friday they had a wedding to attend (that T told me was the most gorgeous wedding that she has ever been to; besides her own of course!) The ten of us sat outside in the patio in the shade and enjoyed a wonderful spread of  pesto pasta, turkey, fresh tomatoes, eggplant, potato, and oven roasted onions with some fancy spice. We also shared a nice bottle of some pink wine that was extremely fruity yet not sweet! It went well with the lunch and I couldn’t help but laugh that I was served with “the children” at the end of the table before the ‘adults.” They put the wine in front of me but it feels funny to be treated like such a child at the same time. I know that it is mostly to help the boys but it feels strange to sit at the “kids table.”

After lunch we had some juicy watermelon and S made some coffee. When I brought it out nana refused it since I did not make it! She told them that I made the best coffee and that she would rather wait for me to make it than even try his! Big laughs escaped our guests and I went back to the kitchen to make her the best cup of coffee that I could. T was in the kitchen washing the dishes from lunch and asked what I was doing making more coffee and I explained that her mother only likes my coffee! She laughed as well and gave me an approving smile since we both know that nana does not like anything!! After the coffee was made I brought it out to her and she thanked me and called me “tesoro!” Which is like calling me a sweetheart. The funny thing is that the word actually means, “treasure” so the translation is even better! She called me her treasure. She asked me to bring out some cookies (biscotti) or something sweet to go along with the coffee so I did what I was told. Someone had brought some hazelnut biscotti that changed my life! I love, love, love hazelnuts with anything and on everything so these biscotti were amazing! I had three and then stopped myself from reaching for a fourth. I had to leave the table to control myself! I helped clear the table and changed the kids to go to the beach with the family. I had a train to catch back to Rome at 4:30 so I gathered my stuff by the door. T asked if I wanted to take some pasta home since there was so much left over. I agreed and she gave me a huge container that could serve four people and told me not to worry about it if I didn’t finish. She packed it into a cooler bag with some ice and handed it over and said, “Here. Your dinner!” I smiled and thanked her. I used to really crave and love pesto but here, every time that I have had it I don’t feel 100% after yet I still keep eating it! The type that we have here is made with pistachio, not pine nuts, and there is never garlic so I am unsure what is the ingredient that bothers me. BUT I continue to eat it anyways…I did not have it for dinner last night. In fact I skipped dinner all together! I had some crackers and a plum and then Mickey and I enjoyed four flavors of gelato after midnight! Gelato for dinner. Yes. And then gelato for breakfast? You better believe that is what I did. When I am away from the family it is like a mini vacation and I treat myself to all the good stuff. Late movies, home-made popcorn, pizza and ice cream. I am a “fat kid” at heart with great metabolism so it works out.

The gelato that Mickey and I chowed was not my absolute favorite but the fact that he surprised me with it makes it all the better! It was coconut, pistachio, melon and strawberry. When he called me and asked the usual, “Do you want me to bring you anything?” I couldn’t wait to ask him to deliver gelato. He told me that he didn’t know where to go but he would try. He tried to offer me “bagged ice-cream” and I knew what he was trying to tell me but just to give him shit I played dumb. He was trying to explain individually wrapped ice-cream bars and popscicles….I knew this but the fact that he said, “ice-cream in a bag!” made me laugh so hard I just had to keep him going with this conversation. When he arrived he told me that the gelateria sucked and he didn’t get any and offered me champagne and told me, “I know that you like the sparkling wine.” He is so sweet to me but all I wanted was gelato damnit! He turned and then presented this huge white container full of the flavors! He was joking with me! I asked him what I was going to do without him and he just shrugged and pulled me in for a tight squeeze. We talked again about this trip to the island of d’Elba. I really hope that we get to travel together in the next few weekends! It looks like such a gorgeous and I cannot believe I am going to say it….eeek…”romantic” place to be with someone. A little holiday weekend get-away sounds amazing. I told him that I hope that we go for sure but for him not to promise me anything if he cannot get away from work…

My head felt a little spun when I woke up at 6:57am (my body clock is set on “Matteo time” and I wake up at this time every morning) but I was happy to realize that I was home in Rome and that the house was quite and empty. I let myself sleep in until 11am and finally emerged from my bed. I remembered that there was no food in the house so after I made some coffee and turned on the TV once I got really hungry I went for gelato! Vice is seriously the BEST gelato in Rome. Hands down. I walked into the heavenly place and read each flavor carefully before I made me decision. I landed on blueberry cheesecake and cinnamon plum…cheesecake mirtillo and susina e cannella! Here I almost always will get the whipped cream since it is so fresh and fluffy! I was confused when she asked me which kind of “panna” (cream) that I wanted..it sounded like she said “baileys?” or “classico.” I asked which was better in my choppy Italian and she told me “classico.” I nodded and thanked her. I skipped out the door smiling with every bite and thanking the Gelato Gods for making me so happy in this moment. Seriously, the only person that might love gelato more than me is my own sister Z. We had a conversation just last night for over 15 minutes about gelato alone! We agreed that perhaps in our future that we might invest in the real Italian imported machinery to make this exquisite treat and go crazy with creating fancy flavors and experimenting with crazy infused concoctions! I have to say that creating drinks as a bartender is really fun but I can only imagine that creating gelato flavors will be the most inspiring culinary extravaganza! This will happen. Friends, family and fans..be ready. Gelato is coming to Reno in the near future. My favorite place Vice does not have their own website but plenty of people have written about this sacred place in Italy and here is a link for a fabulous write-up: http://www.parlafood.com/ice-ice-baby-vice-gelateria-in-rome/!!! True story. I researched Gelato machines and found a Gelato University! I am coming back to attend a Gelato school!!!

After I spent two euros on my gelato breakfast I went to one of the few places that are open on Sunday to pick up something for lunch later on. I chose some pizza with zucchini flowers and sardines (strange I kinda like them finally! Salty little devils they are.) a rice suppli, and eggplant parmesan. My total came to 8,99 and I only had exactly 8 euros on me to I had to explain to the cashier that was all that I had. I guarantee that if they were males I would have gotten that extra fried suppli for FREE but since they were ladies they just adjusted my bill, took one of my items out and gave me a new total. I guess I didn’t really need two fried rice balls…I walked home still in a good mood from my gelato and ate my fried goodness all the way home. After my fingers were good and greasy I managed to drop my keys in front of my door and almost lost my entire bag of food to the floor! I made it safely inside and washed my hands. By then it was after 12:30 so I turned on my laptop to check my messages. I have been writing with this guy named Emanuele about an apartment for my sister for when she comes to visit me. We did the countdown and they (our best friend Frank AKA Sarah!) are coming in exactly 60 days! It is insane to me that they come in 8 weeks! I remember the countdown when I was still in Reno and those 8 weeks flew right up and out faster than hairspray lit on fire! I had a message and he had asked me to meet him near a metro stop at noon. Oops! It was 1pm by then but I wrote him back and asked for 2pm and he was quick to reply and agree. I changed my shoes (biggest mistake this day) to some worn orange chucks and walked my ass all the way there in the heat. My feet began to rub and ache after only 15 minutes and I was nervous to witness the damage that I was causing my innocent feet. I wondered about my temporary tattoo that was on my right foot and hoped that it had not rubbed all the way off! The boys saved me a sheet of “girl” tattoos and I made them laugh when I surprised them with my sparkling chick fairy tattoos on my foot.

I arrived at the metro stop and once I paused I knew that my feet were suffering worse than imaginable. Luckily, there was a tent with a shoe display so I began trying on any shoes in the 10 euro section that would not only NOT hurt my feet worse but something cute! This was an easy task but nothing was in my size in the colors that I wanted and the ones that I did like the damn buckle was broken! Really!? I really wanted these white wedge sandals but they were a tiny bit too big and I was not going to complain about another pair of shoes even if they were the price of a TIM card for my damn phone. I kept an eye out for the guy since I was right behind the newspaper stand where we were to meet. When I unleashed my hot swollen feet the blisters that I inherited were the largest that I have ever seen!!! You know when the chucks wear out in the heel and its a hole in the inside…yeah mine are like that…and not meant for long walks anymore. Not that I would throw them out but I think they are not allowed without socks for the rest of their dirty orange life. The blisters are the size of my entire back of the ankle. FML. The sales man who was helping me got another guy to help fix the shoe buckle for me in the correct size and handed them to me to try on. They are a solid light grey with mean studs and they fit right. Sold to the woman with twin blisters in daisy dukes and the Gucci shades. Once I went around the corner I waited for the mystery guy to meet me to show me the apartment. I sat on a flower box and couldn’t help but notice the fake Louis Vuitton bags matched my shoes incredibly…the checked grey and off-white…?? Maybe I will buy a fake purse off the street of Rome after all….

A good-looking stranger approached me and I was surprised that he was cuter in real life than his photo! He has long hair but a nice smile on his website but in real life he was built, tan and had short hair with (always!) fantastic sparkling eyes with long ass lashes. I asked where we were headed as he checked out my new shoes and asked if I just got them. I explained that my chucks killed me (without too many details of the disgusting blisters hiding under the strap!) and he just laughed and probably thought to himself, “what a girl!” He opened a car door for me and I stood back and evaluated the situation. I have never got into anyones car that I just met!!! He assured me that it was not far but he just took his car since it was so hot outside. True. He seemed normal enough and all the reviews that I read about him and his place were very reassuring. I put on my seatbelt and checked him out of the corner of my eye. He has a (perfectly tight..not too tight!) white tee on with a cartoon of Pluto and nice jean shorts and black Nikes. Ray ban babe-slayers. I swear every single Italian has these shades! I think I might even want a pair even though I can get them anywhere in the states….

We drove for a few minutes and arrived at his place. It was a sweet little pad with good sunlight for it being on a lower level and he showed me around. Large bathroom, large room and tiny kitchen but perfect. He offered me something to drink,”beer or beer?” he asked and smiled sincerely at me. “I guess I will have beer.” I told him and laughed. It is summer and he seems like a nice boy…nothing wrong with a little Italian beer to discuss details of renting the space. We sat at the little kitchen table and made an agreement that it would only cost the girls 400 bucks for the TEN DAYS! The original offer was 70 something a night…!! What a steal…It is a little farther than I wanted BUT this might be the best deal and it is a nice place no doubt. We finished our beers and ending the conversation talking about San Francisco. He tells me that he has been all over and he thinks that San Fran is even better than anywhere in New York! He has been doing this AirBnB.com business for over three years and gave me a little history background of the company. It actually began in SF!

The guy couldn’t believe that I walked all the way over there so he insisted on taking me home. He said that he couldn’t have me, “on his conscious if something were to happen to me in the heat!” I agreed and was happy to be driven home than suffer in my new shoes. We said goodbye and I assured him that I would be in touch with him and make sure that my sister would as well. Sweet deal for them no doubt! I go to see another tomorrow but I have a feeling that this one might be their crash pad…

Lex

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Posted in: When in Rome