Yesterday was Lisa’s last hurrah before starting grad school at UNH, so we went out with Janelle and Lisa’s friend Emily to the Saint Anthony Festival in the North End. This is pretty much the biggest of the North End festivals, and it was awesome.

I actually don’t go to the North End too often, especially since going abroad, but I know that Italian America isn’t anything like Italy. I didn’t think it would make me nostalgic or anything — but it did. It was seeing the word “Gelateria” illuminated in neon on Hanover Street. (Gelato here still isn’t like gelato in Italy.) I miss it so much — just walking down my two flights of steps, turning left, crossing Via de Benci and walking down Via dei Neri to get gelato at Neri. I would have gelato nearly every day in Florence….

I was thinking about it the other day. After living in Italy for a substantial amount of time, you never really get over getting away from the food. Italy IS food. Life revolves around it. And even in Boston’s neighborhood, it’s worlds away from the trattorie of Florence.

The festival was great. There was dancing in the street (though Lisa and I were the lone spectators that did the chicken dance), a little boy in the monk costume, a parade of Saint Anthony with ribbons with dollar bills attached to them (people attached them when they prayed to him), and TONS of stalls, food and games. And they got a lot of true Italian things right — like the chocolate-covered fruit skewers (like at the Santa Croce Christmas Fair during the entire month of December, even though it was a technically German fair) and especially the STALLS OF FAKE SUNGLASSES! Oh man, if nothing else, THAT was the most Italian part of the night!

I wonder if I’ll ever move back for a period of time. I’d really like to live all over the world. Who knows what will happen?

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