Stuff White People Like: Study Abroad Thursday, Mar 13 2008 

I have recently gotten hooked on the site Stuff White People Like.  This blog is hilarious — it examines white people from an anthropological perspective, writing in-depth about things like Bottles of Water, The Wire, Breakfast Places and Threatening to Move to Canada.


My favorite?  Study abroad.  Of course.

By attending school in another country, white people are technically living in another country.  This is important as it gives them the opportunity to insert that fact into any sentence they please. “When I used to live in [insert country], I would always ride the train to school.  The people I’d see were inspiring.”


If you need to make up your own study abroad experience, they all pretty much work the same way.  You arrived in Australia not knowing anybody, you went out to the bar the first night and made a lot of friends, you had a short relationship with someone from a foreign country, you didn’t learn anything, and you acquired a taste for something (local food, beer, fruit).  This latter point is important because you will need to be able to tell everyone how it is unavailable in your current country.

So true, it’s scary.  The arrival, the bar, the friends, the bar, the friends, the bar, the flings…

Well, I didn’t have a passionate affair with a foreigner (though God knows I wanted to), but it was QUITE a semester, nonetheless.  It was the best thing that I’ve done, ever.

And the thing I developed a taste for was blood orange juice.  I love blood orange juice — and you can’t find it ANYWHERE around here!!


Missing Italy Again Tuesday, Jun 5 2007 

I studied in Florence for four months in the fall of 2004, and I wouldn’t trade those months for anything. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier, or more fulfilled, than when I was in bella Firenze, and Italy as a whole.

On occasion, people ask me if I miss Italy.

My response? “Every day. Every minute.”

It just doesn’t leave you. And when I talk about missing it, I’m not talking about the alcohol-soaked nights (and days), clubbing until 5:00 AM and flirting with just about every American guy in the city. (The ratio of female to male students was about 5:1 overall, so guys were especially precious.)

I’m talking about the people: meeting the Greek guys, Klement and Soni, on the Ponte Vecchio, and going to get a drink with them (all the time thinking, “What am I doing? Are these guys going to sexually assault me?” We actually had a very pleasant afternoon, attempting to communicate in broken Italian and English.) I met so many wonderful shopkeepers as I searched for the perfect Florentine jewelry.

And the food — oh God! SUCH consistently amazing food.

The beauty of the city, the art spouting from the pavement in every direction, the feeling you get when you walk across a piazza or climb hills to view the city at its finest….oh god, I miss Italy so much. I ache, literally. I watched Under the Tuscan Sun last night (I had seen it once before, shortly before I went to Florence), and seeing the brief images of Florence almost made me burst into tears.

There is a thread on Bootsnall discussing what songs remind you of certain places. At first, I remembered my homestay in Normandy when I was in high school, and how it seemed like the only song they would play on the radio was “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy. EVERY time you turned on the radio, there it was!!

And then I began thinking about the dance music at the clubs in Florence. I hold that music so close to my heart. When I returned to Florence for Gleetalia in spring 2006, some of my friends and I went out to my favorite club, Maracana, and I was delirious with happiness that they were playing the SAME EXACT SONGS!

So I began to write about that on Bootsnall….and I realized that I could only remember a few of them.

This devastates me.

This is what I can remember:

–Eric Prydz “Call on Me”
–Black Eyed Peas “Let’s Get Retarded”
–Black Eyed Peas “Hey Mama”
–Beyonce “Crazy in Love”
–Jay-Z “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
–“Bodiqua, Morena, Dominicana, Rubiano….”
–50 Cent “In da Club”
–50 Cent “P.I.M.P.”
–The Game “Fresh ’83”
–Houston “I Like That”

I think in addition to that, there were the classics, like “Yeah!” by Usher, “Big Pimpin'” and “Ice Ice, Baby” and “Baby Got Back”….but I can’t remember.

This is really bothering me and making me upset, so if you can remember any other songs, I would really, really appreciate it.

Something I Like Sunday, Sep 10 2006 

I like those Yahoo! Personals banners that read “Did you forget how fun it is to flirt?”

Flirting is great.

I really have nothing to say that’s worth an entry….I did check out an apartment for the first time on Friday after work. It was in a great location — Somerville, about 12 minutes from Davis Square, which would be PERFECT (great area, plus enough of a walk to get some decent exercise twice a day). But aside from the apartment’s absolutely gorgeous three-legged cat (I’m serious), it wasn’t what I was looking for.

I’ve been thinking about Florence — I really did love a lot about living with eight people. Of course, it became much more complicated than that because we were essentially each other’s primary social life (since we were so far from all the other Fairfield students). I’d love to live with a lot. And I saw an awesome ad on Craigslist for a huge house — but it seemed so good, they probably won’t get back to me.

My mom had a housewarming party yesterday — good fun. I played piano (just requests — did Let It Be, Yesterday, Piano Man (ugh) and So Far Away). Good food. And Sars came home for a few hours — I grabbed her and screamed and told her I wasn’t going to let go of her again. We’re going to have lunch on Friday, since her classes are over by 9:45 or so. Probably just South Station.

Kara and I went out to the Rattlesnake on Boylston St. the other night, as well as the Cactus Club for dinner. Both were fun, and the Rattlesnake has a really great deck on the roof, but we found that it was really the financial crowd — as in, “Are all the guys here gay or just accountants?” We did talk to a really cute guy for awhile, and he seeked US out (we were standing on the other side of a partition and he told us that he felt such distance between us and wanted to get closer). His name was Scott, he worked for a fishing company, he was blonde (and I don’t usually like blondes) and he was around thirty or so.

Unfortunately, talking to him meant talking to his unattractive, annoying friend as well. And he talked much more than Scott did.

One thing that I can’t stand is when people purposely exaggerate their Boston accents to make them sound cooler. It is OBVIOUS in a second when the fake accent kicks in. And this guy, the friend, he mentioned “Stahhh Trek.” Yeah. Awful. Most Boston accents have at least a hint of an essence of an R — I read about it on a site about regional linguistics. It’s like the R in “third” that is pronounced, only much fainter, and it’s extremely difficult for a non-native to master. (Which is why I’m not exactly looking forward to seeing anyone but Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg in The Departed next month.) But it’s SO ANNOYING!!

We left before them and went our separate ways (and let me add that I can’t wait until the orange line starts running on weeknights again, rather than the scarybus from Haymarket). Now, I have a bit of a hobby — reading the “Missed Connections” board on Craigslist. A lot of them are entertaining! And this is probably the most self-centered thing I’ve ever said, but YOU NEVER KNOW if someone might post something about you. After all, I’ve been making steady eye contact with this guy at North Station every morning as we wait for the inbound orange line train….he’s kind of cute….

Anyways, I saw one that read, “Southie: Did Kara get home all right? Posting as you left in a hurry last night. Hope you made it home okay.” Now, I did tell him I worked in Southie but didn’t tell him where….I don’t know. Kara wasn’t falling-over drunk but she had had a few drinks — she was getting picked up. I had to drive home from Oak Grove, so I wasn’t drinking. And this was posted the morning after we were out.

It could be him.

At any rate, I hope it was the cute guy and not the creepy guy.

I miss Italy Sunday, Aug 27 2006 

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?

Cute Florence Pictures Saturday, Jul 8 2006 

Here are the rest of postworthy pictures from Florence.

Artists emulating Botticelli by Piazza della Repubblica.

I put a coin in il porcino’s mouth while rubbing his nose to guarantee a speedy return to Florence. (I wouldn’t be surprised if it had the adverse effect, considering that I had never done so before, yet returned quickly twice.)

A little boy gets so excited to ride a motorino!

Sars and I check out the best deals in Florence!

Lisa has loved this guy since we were abroad. She visited me in Florence and we ate at Le Collinine three times. This guy is the cashier at the restaurant, and he speaks no English. Lisa loved him because he’s a tall Italian — but he always had TONS of stuff in his pockets. Hence, what was written on the placemat. Lisa was THRILLED when she saw this!

The crowd for the World Cup game — there were thousands of people watching!

U-S-A! U-S-A! (The game was a tie, 1-1.)

We had the best seat there — just hoping on a very comfy motorino with a perfect view! (We were also near the corner of American students.)

A kid with an awful rat-tail sat in front of us.

In Milan, outside our ONE STAR HOTEL, which definitely lived up to its rating!

Fashion in Florence Friday, Jul 7 2006 

On our last night, we got a little bored (especially because Sars and I weren’t drinking, so we didn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the city), so the three of us walked around Via Tournabuoni and checked out the clothes at the designer boutiques.

I pose at my favorite designer’s boutique.

I imitate a mannequin….

And another….

James sees a suit he loves at Dolce & Gabbana!

Sars points out that the Dolce mannequin’s fly is down.

Florence Night Scenery Friday, Jul 7 2006 

The Ponte Vecchio from that little place where you can take the road down to right on the river, near the Uffizi.

The Ponte alle Grazie from the same position.

I believe this is the Ponte alle Grazie from the Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte alle Grazie again, from the Oltrarno….

I think James took this amazing picture. Again, the Ponte Vecchio, from the Ponte alle Grazie.

Goodbye Oil Shoppe Tuesday, Jul 4 2006 

Since I’m into my Florence pictures right now, I might as well post my Oil Shoppe-related post that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

I spent my first semester of junior year — fall 2004 — in Florence, and it was absolutely fantastic. It wasn’t until after fall break that we found out about a place called the Oil Shoppe, a little sandwich shop only a few minutes away from my apartment. We went and fell in LOVE with the sandwiches and went as often as we could.

The shop only sold sandwiches from about 11:00 to 2:00, or whenever they ran out of bread — the rest of the time, they sold varieties of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and wine, plus meats and cheeses that they used in the sandwiches. The man who owned the place was named Alberto and he made every sandwich to order. You would make a simple request — salami with parmesan cheese, for example — and he would immediately chew you out for choosing something that didn’t mesh well, and he’d make the rest of the sandwich for you, choosing everything down to the sauces.

The best part was when Alberto would yell at you — it made him like the Sandwich Nazi. Sometimes my friends would intentionally concoct something inedible and feign ignorance, just to hear what he’d say. Alberto was amazing. He would often say, “I am the poet of the sandwich.” One day he cut himself on the meat slicer, and, after bandaging his hand up and slipping a rubber glove on top, announced, “I am the doctor of the sandwich.”

My favorite sandwich was spicy salami with spicy sauce, pecorinato cheese, arugola, bell peppers and artichoke hearts, with oil and vinegar, of course. There were so many combinations — turkey with parmesan and truffle sauce, or prosciutto crudo with pesto….

I’ve been back to Florence twice since then. It’s completely different.

When you go into the Oil Shoppe nowadays, it’s obvious that it now caters ENTIRELY to American students. It’s covered in signs, all lettered in English. It’s a bit obnoxious. There’s now a kitchen in back, where you can get hot food. (That I don’t mind.) And the prices are different — 3.50 a sandwich, 4 Euro for a sandwich and a water — and the formerly plain white bags are now emblazoned with the shop’s logo. Not that much of a difference, but enough to show that the place keeps improving upon itself.

But worse things happen.

You can’t pick out a sandwich from scratch.

Alberto has a list of ten different sandwiches you can choose from — a certain kind of meat with a certain kind of cheese, with the appropriate sauce and accoutrements. (Hehehe. That word always reminds me of The 40-Year-Old Virgin.) You can’t order a sandwich from scratch. My favorite thing to do was to tell him the kind of meat I wanted and then for him to do “whatever would be good with that.” Now, if you ask him that, he’ll look confused.

I hate it! THIS is what made Oil Shoppe so good back in 2004! It was all about the attitude you’d get from Alberto! Getting yelled at by him was the best part. Of course, the freshly sliced meats and good prices were good incentives as well, but you can get amazing food all over Florence.

Alberto wouldn’t compromise for anybody or anything, so it really sucks that he’s sold out for better business. The perfect example of this is in the signs that have been added. I’ve seen people ask him for two kinds of meat, and he’s adamently refused. But now you can get “double meat” for a slightly higher price. There are also sandwich combo deals, as if we were at a Subway. Nobody self-respecting Italian orders a sandwich combo any more than he would order cappuccino past noon.

I’ve been back to Oil Shoppe on two separate trips since my semester abroad: in March 2006 for Gleetalia, and just now with Sars. Both times I told Alberto that I was a faithful customer in fall 2004, and the first time he was absolutely delighted to hear that and told me how excited he was about the changes. (The second time, he apologized for not recognizing me. I’d never expect that!)

But it’s so disappointing now. The essence of Oil Shoppe, and any other cult food place, is that you don’t expect them to compromise; you get great food and you get it THEIR way. But now they’re conforming to the standards of what American college students want, and I think it’s much worse that way.

I’m never returning. My lunch of choice in Italy is pizza for less than 2 Euro now, anyway. It’s too bad. I just hope that Alberto doesn’t expand Oil Shoppe into a franchise, because he is the REASON why people go there.

Florence Scenery part I Monday, Jul 3 2006 

Here are some lovely scenery pictures from Florence.

Tuscan countryside in the distance from Fiesole.

In Fiesole, a Tuscan hill.

The view of Florence from Fiesole.

The Ponte alle Grazie and the Oltrarno at sunset, with San Miniato al Monte up there.

A slightly askew shot of the Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset.

A dramatic shot of the city at sunset. It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

The view of the Campanile and the city from the top of the Duomo.

Santa Croce and, slightly to the right of there, my apartment where I lived when I studied abroad there! 😀

Blogger is being weird again, so it will probably be longer before I can get more pictures up here. Enjoy these for now.

Florence and Venice Monday, Jun 19 2006 

Okay, where we left off, James was being insane. Since then….

That night, we just couldn’t sleep. Well, James did, for an hour, but Sarah and I couldn’t, in spite of our earplugs. Once James woke up and we all kept tossing and turning, we just turned on the lights and decided to have a slumber party of sorts. We talked, told stories, etc….it was so nostalgic, playing sleepover games! (Don’t worry, there was NO truth or dare!)
We slept two hours. Then woke up at 6:15 to go to Venice.

Aside from being naturally grouchy, Sars and I grew out of that and had a great time in Venice with James. We started by walking through Santa Croce all the way to Piazza San Marco, stopping at this little restaurant called Osteria Vivaldi, which had good food (although wasn’t NEARLY as cheap as Let’s Go said) and was decorated in a Vivaldi theme, with instruments hanging from the ceiling. So cute — but you’d think that a place like that would play classical music and not early 90s hits!

We arrived in Piazza San Marco, and James dropped his camera while giving money to a gypsy (I told him “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?!?!”) and he was upset, but it started working again when we got to the top of the Campanile, the bell tower. We had GREAT views of the entire island and the lagoon, and if the day had been clearer, we DEFINITELY would have been able to see all the way to Slovenia and Croatia. We probably did; it was just a gray mass in the distance.

After the Campanile, we took plenty of pictures and took the water bus (WHY does that cost 5 Euro a trip?!) and went to Murano, the glass island, where we watched a demonstration and browsed the glass boutiques. Since we didn’t take a gondola ride (SO expensive), I instead got a pair of Murano glass earrings for 15 Euro — they are so me: pink and black glass spheres with gold shining throughout!

In the end, we walked around Cannaregio, including an area where absolutely NO tourists were (which was nice). Sarah saw a woman teaching her son how to ride a bike! We got some food, then took the train back. Sars and I were CRAZY TIRED, as was James.

So this morning we slept in and decided not to go to Viareggio. We might do that tomorrow instead. Today we got Oil Shoppe for lunch, and we’re about to go get gelato and climb the Duomo. We’d go see Santa Croce, but it’s closed by now.

Overall, Venice was great, and I was especially glad that Sarah loved it. But I am never going back there in the summer EVER again! Too many tourists. It was much lovelier in November — quiet and a bit gloomy with overcast skies. I think Venice is one of the cities that looks better when it’s not-so-nice out.

Paris on Wednesday!

Also, hello to a few people that I met in London and have been reading this! You guys are awesome. 😀

Bella Firenze Saturday, Jun 17 2006 

Okay, I’m going to start with the most vivid thing that’s happened.

James is a crazy, uninhibited drunk. Usually I enjoy it. That was until tonight —

When, walking back from the game, he saw one of the African guys with the sheet full of knock-off designer bags and goes, quite loudly, “OH, IT’S THE AFRICAN BOY AND HIS BLACK MARKET GOODS.”

“JAMES!” Sars and I squawked. We had to keep him quiet the rest of the way home. Since making a criminal angry is exactly what you want to do.

Other quote classics:

“Dammit, I got a mosquito bite RIGHT IN MY HAIR! Everyone’s going to think I don’t shower cause I keep scratching it!”

“I haven’t heard this song in ages. By ages, I mean yesterday.”

“It is obvious that I am not 100% sober right now.”

He also tripped in a crowd while holding the bottle of wine in his hand. And I have some video classics.

Right after I wrote the last entry, Sars showed up. Not a lot of time here (although James DOES have mysteriously free wireless internet!!! It’s probably illegal but AWESOME!!), so I’ll bullet the main events.

–Sars showed up around 3:30, a bit more than an hour after she landed. The thing was, I was exhausted from a mere two hours of sleep the night before and walking around London for six hours or so without much of a break. So I went to sleep with my earplugs in and the eye mask on. She comes upstairs without a key because the guy at reception told her that I had one. So she knocks and knocks, and I don’t answer. She goes ALL the way down (a few flights), gets a key, comes back, comes in, and tickles me awake.
–We slept for a LONG time, then had Thai food for dinner.
–We checked out the bar downstairs and met two really cool guys from Virginia, Doug and Rob. They were awesome, and we hung out all night. We’re going to meet up with them in Venice tomorrow!
–Woke up extremely early. There were two other guys in our room (the night before, it was just me and SEVEN guys, a few sleeping only in their underwear and money belts!). Got a cab to Stansted and flew to Bologna. RyanAir SUCKS, but hey, you get what you pay for and the biggest discount airline in Europe doesn’t have much to offer in terms of comfort. Sars and I slept on each other on the plane.
–Took a bus to the Bologna train station, took a train to Florence — and missed the time to meet James by a few minutes, but totally ran into him by chance on the street! It was awesome.
–Spent the afternoon walking all around the city. Got gelato at Neri, which finally made it to Let’s Go! I’m proud — my roommates and I LOVED their gelato more than any other place’s.
–Went to dinner at Le Collinine with James’s friends — really nice girls. Then walked around by the river and took tons of pictures.
–Sars and I slept in earplugs from 11 PM to 10 AM. James kicked us once by accident, and he says we were so OUT neither of us stirred. We’re sleeping on pool mats and they’re incredibly comfortable.
–Woke up and James brought us GIANT cappuccinos from News Cafe, and croissants! We went to the market and I bought a skirt and a dress, then we went to Oil Shoppe and found out it was closed on Saturdays, so we went to Piazza San Marco and got pizza slices.
–Went to the station and got Venice tickets, then grabbed a bus to Fiesole, a tiny Etruscan city older than Florence on a giant hill overlooking the city. We went, and stayed, merely for the views — they were breathtaking.
–Got some dinner (I had pasta with wild boar sauce and some spinach), then met up with the girls and BOOKED it to Piazzale Michelangelo — what a walk!! Very strenuous. We went to watch the World Cup, but it was tough to get a good seat, so we walked to right beneath the piazza to get a seat at the other large screen.
–WORLD CUP: ITALY VS. USA. I can’t believe I got to see this game IN ITALY. And it was awesome. We actually ended up sitting in this little American corner with tons of other students, and Sars and I sat on a Vespa. Lots of fun. It was a tied game, 1-1. Would have been 2-1, USA, if they had allowed a goal that kind of resulted in a penalty. CRAZY game and SO much fun. We just got back.

Tomorrow: Venice
Monday: Maybe the beach at Viareggio (just me and Sars)

We are having the BEST time.


James is taking a shower and he just screamed, “OW!! FUCK!!” at the top of his lungs. Hopefully he’s okay.

Best of Gleetalia: #5 and #4 Thursday, Mar 23 2006 

I don’t have pictures from either of these, so I’ll just run through them.

On our first night in Florence, I was up in the hotel bar when Dwight came by and said he was meeting his friend from home at a club. I asked him which club. “Mara…cana?” I absolutely FREAKED out when he said that, realized that it was Wednesday, the night that we always went, and I knew right then and there that I HAD TO GO BACK!

I changed quickly and met the group downstairs — Dwight, Joe Duffy, Alison Rivers, Liz Chatel, Cameron, and I BELIEVE that’s it…. Since our hotel was right in front of the train station, it was a quick walk — and I showed them Lorenzo de’Medici, Fairfield’s tiny Florence campus.

Going in, it was UNREAL — it felt so AMAZING to be back! It was still a free cover, but drinks were 5 Euro instead of 3 — but they were normal-sized drinks, not the dinky ones from before. The men were as sketchy as ever — one of them actually pulled me by my HAIR at one point!! Joe had to be my pretend boyfriend a few times to scare them off. Heh. But the best thing was the MUSIC — it was exactly the same as a year and a half ago. I had the most fantastic time, drank my usual red bull and vodkas, which I always drank at Maracana, and we stayed on the dance floor for hours — until 3:30 or so. (I’ve closed down Maracana as well as Dolce Zucchero in the past, and they go until about 4:30.)

Between the city, the dancing and the alcohol, I felt high. That’s how it felt.

In Rome, we went out to a place called Dar Poeta for dinner. The group was me, Kelly, Dwight and Juice. The place was listed in Let’s Go as a place where you wouldn’t find any other Americans, and you know how I believe in Let’s Go!

It was a tiny place in Trastevere, a very authentically Roman neighborhood that I wish I had more time to explore. The place was tiny and the moment we walked in, I knew it would be great because nobody even tried to speak English to us!! It was WONDERFUL!

We started out with the famous bruschetta, and got a huge platter of twelve slabs of bread, each covered with something different: olive paste, tuna and tomatoes, zucchini paste, this amazing cheese and corn, and so many more kinds that I can’t remember. Then we got pizza, since that’s the only thing on the menu. Mine had so many things I can’t remember, but the sausage I’ll never forget — that was the best damn sausage I have ever had in my life. Forget Santarpio’s, the awesome place in East Boston with their famous sausage pizza — nothing can beat Dar Poeta!

But more than the food, it was the overall experience. Everyone was young, yelling and laughing. One guy bumped into my chair and threw a “Scusa” over his shoulder — that’s such a small thing, but I loved it! And at one point two guys with a bass and an accordian came in and played music — it was so great. Such an authentically Italian atmosphere!

Best of Gleetalia: #1 Tuesday, Mar 21 2006 

On our first day in Florence, I decided to ditch the tour and was joined by Luke (who’s been to Florence before) and Jeff (who was just sick of the whisper device). We spent the morning walking around the city, just seeing the sights and taking a few pictures.

We then went to my beloved Oil Shoppe for lunch. (That’s Alberto on the left!) I was surprised at how much it’s commercialized since I left — now you pick a sandwich from the list (in English) on a board, with substitutions, if you’d like, and he makes it. The bags are no longer plain but emblazoned with the logo, and they now cost 3.50 Euro (as opposed to 3). But the sandwiches were still delicious.

Also, Alberto was thrilled to hear that I was a customer from way back in fall 2004. His face lit up, actually. It was nice. I chatted with him about all the changes and he told me that he’s always working on improvements! Above all, I pray that this doesn’t become a chain. The Oil Shoppe is what it is because of Alberto.

The three of us then bought a bottle of wine and sat on the steps of Santa Croce, right by my old apartment (where Erika Ludwig lived when she studied in Florence over the summer — she was in my room!!!!). It was so great.

I don’t know what was so great about this day. It clearly wasn’t the most adrenaline-filled experience or the most beautiful setting. But it felt so wonderful to just be in Florence, to just sit right on the Santa Croce steps, to drink (amazing) wine for so cheap, and to be back where I spent the happiest four months of my life.

We proceded to drink two more bottles of red wine that afternoon. You can see the purple evidence on the insides of our lips.

Gleetalia was AMAZING! Sunday, Mar 19 2006 

There’s so much I have to say here….

Gleetalia was amazing, every aspect of it. Being in Italy felt like the most natural thing. It was weird — I felt almost emotionless! Never hyperventilating with excitement; never distraught to leave. It was just natural. Italy’s my place — well, Europe’s more my place. I did have the best time when I got to my old apartment on Borgo Santa Croce and hugged it. Twice. I wanted to go in, but didn’t — it’s time to let it go.

A few things have changed in Florence. The Oil Shoppe, though still making delicious sandwiches, has commercialized. There are three kinds of bread now, there are lists of specific sandwiches for you to choose from (Alberto doesn’t do a lot of making sandwiches from his mind anymore), there’s a deli in the back (and less seating), the price is now 3.50 for a sandwich instead of 3, the bags now are printed with the Oil Shoppe’s logo. I chatted with Alberto for a bit — he couldn’t believe that I was a customer from fall 2004! — and he said that he loves his place so much, he’s always working on changing it, improving it for the better. I just hope that the Oil Shoppe doesn’t become a chain. Alberto is what makes the place what it is.

A few other things changed — I saw a few new stores on Via dei Benci. And at Maracana, Wednesday nights had no cover and 5 Euro drinks, not 3 Euro. They were bigger, though. But the absolute best thing was that the music was EXACTLY THE SAME! With the exception of Gasolina and My Humps, this could have been the same playlist from a year and a half ago. Bodiqua, Crazy in Love, Crooklyn Cran, P.I.M.P., Fresh ’83, Let’s Get Retarded, To the WINDOWWWW TO THE WALL, all the songs that we LOVED.

I’m doing so much stuff right now but I plan to blog about my top five moments a little bit later. Until then, VUOI VOGLIO BENISSIMI, I MIEI GLEETALIANI!