A Kitchen in Italy: a play in three acts

ACT 1, SCENE 1 (The curtain opens on an empty apartment; the floor has just been put in – look at that snazzy fake-wood tile! – and the doors windows are all hanging in position but lacking frames. The main character is industriously setting up what appears to be a small classroom or art studio in one corner of the room, while her partner flits about holding a measuring tape up against various items in the room, equally industrious. The materials the main character is setting up include two sets of cabinet and countertop sample cards, a stack of photocopied kitchen plans, and an assortment of colored pens and highlighters.)

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Mid-week house visit: the floors are in!

The boyfriend, working shifts as he does, has lots more opportunities to go visit the house than I do and the big news this week is that they started laying the tile for our floors. We have been eagerly witnessing the neighbors’ tile go in over the past few weeks (would dearly love to share it with you, invisible internet friends, because some of their choices are…. choices… but that does seem a bit disrespectful of their privacy and so I shan’t) and this week the boyfriend returned from one of his solo expeditions to report that finally our tile is going in too!

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The Last Normal Day

I remember the the last normal day really well, because it coincided with a lovely day out hiking with friends. In fact, the juxtaposition couldn’t have been more dramatic if I’d planned it: a lovely Sunday out, long anticipated in my planner and so I can remember the exact date very easily. A good hike on a glorious sunny day in the hills, and a long, multi-course lunch of local traditional food — one of those types of lunches that movies like “Under the Tuscan Sun” will have you believe are an everyday occurrence when you live in Italy, but which are actually fairly rare. And then The News.

I want to take a few steps back, though, because when I think about it, it’s completely mindboggling how quickly things happened. We went from “oh man, poor China, that’s so crazy what’s happening over there” to completely disrupted lives literally in the space of days.

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Volunteers for the local Red Cross were included in one of the first few waves of healthcare workers to be assigned vaccine appointments here in northern Italy, so here I am, two days after my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine!

For what it’s worth, I went through quite a bit of internal wrestling over this: did I, a healthy 34-year-old who does one to two ambulance shifts per week, really deserve a coveted vaccine slot? If I didn’t take mine, would it truly go to someone more deserving? My mother, my boyfriend, and my closest friends basically unanimously voted yes and probably not to the above questions, respectively, and so when the long-awaited email asking for our name, date of birth, and Italian health code came through, my shaking hands typed in the info and tripled checked it.

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Tile day!

Dearest internet, we did it! We chose all of the floor coverings and bathroom tiles for the new house* and it didn’t even take seventy billion hours! Only, like, sixty-nine billion hours. Not even.

(*The house is actually an apartment, but I will continue calling it a house. Not because I’m under any illusion that it is a house, but because it just sounds more natural to me. To ponder: is that specific to my US/suburban upbringing where most people did, in fact, live in houses? Do people who grow up in a big city find it natural to say, like ‘when we move to the new apartment’? Note to self: find person who grew up in a big city to ask.)

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After the storm

Good morning, world! I write to you from one of my favorite kinds of days: I call them after-the-storm days in my head, because they’re the type of day that feels to me like taking a deep, restorative breath after a storm of activity. They’re usually accompanied by finally getting enough sleep after a few nights of short-changing sleep in favor of whatever the storm of activity involves. For example, this week has so far featured:

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