So yesterday I found myself playing lunch hostess to four adults and two cats. The cats stayed and the adults left. Every day I work towards improving my crazy cat lady status and Elora kindly offered hers up for the week while she goes looking at fancy houses in England!
After chowing down on burgers and a yummy dessert, I swore I would eat an apple for dinner and go to bed early. But no, I needed to drive down to the supermarket to replenish my Prosecco supply first. I managed to get my task done pretty quickly and it is so frigging hot here that I decided an ice-cold lemon granita would do the trick and cool me down. I paid my €2.50 and parked myself on a shady public bench next to an old woman who was cooling off with a gelato cone.
Let me paint a picture for you here…it was 6:00 p.m. and the gelateria was full of people just fresh from a day at the beach. Dogs and cats were lazily playing under shaded tables and all the locals were digging into their bowls of gelato goodness. Children were scattered about riding on plastic big wheels and small bikes and no one seemed to be the least bit concerned about spoiling their dinners.
Only 500 meters away, there was a posh, outdoor restaurant with linen table cloths set up for diners. In the very centre of these tables sat a couple who were clearly not Italian. If ever there was a neon sign that screamed “TOURIST”, this was clearly it. No one in their right mind here would ever dare to sit in a restaurant any earlier than 7:30.
It was in that moment that I finally realized that I am no longer one of them but I have become one of the locals. How the heck did that happen and when? I have been living here for going on five years and it had never occurred to me before how much of the Italian culture has seeped into my very existence. The very fact that I craved a granita and didn’t think twice about spoiling my dinner, heck, in Canada it was in fact dinnertime, made me see for once that the rhythms of Italian life has become natural to me.
Part of me wanted to walk over to that couple’s table and explain to them that if they really wanted an authentic Italian experience, they should tuck into a gelato and make dinner reservations for 9:00. But…if it took me five years to change my Canadian ways, then there’s no way I could convince a hungry couple to wait another three hours for their dinner!
But it certainly plays into my philosophy of life…
“Life’s short, so eat dessert first” 🙂