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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

I'm so American

Being the overwhelmingly stereotypical American that I am, I suppose it won't come as a great shock to many people that I had never been to big chain, burger joint, Fuddruckers.

I further proved how well I fit into my culture by ordering a veggie burger, burying it under about half a head of lettuce and 3 tomato slices from the "Fixings" bar, putting some honey mustard dressing on the side (to dip the tomatoes in), separating it from the bun and eating this whole burger concoction with a fork and knife, while using the top piece of the bun as an accompaniment to what was essentially now, a salad. Uncle Sam would have been proud. (photo = pre-Karen)

On Sunday, perhaps to balance out my "American-ness," I donned a Swedish persona and tried out three different goodies that I had bought from Little Sweden, i.e. IKEA.

[N.B. To my Swedish friends out there, I hope that this statement does not offend. I don't presume to boil your country down to one furniture shop. However, the food store within IKEA is probably as close to your culture as I have found in American suburbs.]

I made swedish pancakes (that I botched), drank Elderflower drink (good, but I don't know what it is), and ate toffee-flavored candy laces. I have no idea if any of this is authentic, but it was all new to me, and I enjoyed pretending that perhaps these were items I would have picked up at my grocery store across the way from my little apartment in Stockholm.