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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

My Date with D.C.

I tend to view relationships with cities no differently than relationships with men.

There are those that you have huge crushes on, that take your breath away when you see them, but that you know are just eye candy and not really suited to your style of life. That's Barcelona for me.

There are those that are intriguing and intellectually stimulating, that seem to match you in a lot of ways, but that don't seem to understand and relate to the full breadth of your personality. Paris, for me, falls into this category.

There are those that are surprisingly open, intrinsically kind and undeniably handsome. They fit you quite well, offer you a lot, and you know that you would want to revisit them in the future, but that live so far away that you know it probably wouldn't work out in the end. Buenos Aires.

There are those that are like old friends; they know you very well. Being in their presence after a prolonged time apart makes you happy, and maybe you can even see the two of you together one day, but not quite right now. Montreal.

And then there are those great loves: the ones that you dream about no matter where you are or how many years have passed since you saw each other. These are the ones that you compare any future relationship to, whether or not you mean to. This is the one that, even if it never quites works out, you yearn for them and hope that some day fate matches you back together... Bella Roma. Those of you who know me knew that was coming.

And then there is D.C. I have not known how to categorize my relationship with D.C. I think to me it has been the blind date that I have always been reluctant to go on.

"Karen, I know who you should meet! You are both international and love culture. You are both suited for the big city lifestyle. You both encourage walking and public transport. You'd be perfect for each other!" Thanks, but I'm kind of busy at the moment; maybe some other time...

"Karen, I know who would be great for you! You would love him. He lives close to your family. You know the same people. You even have the same east coast mentality and foreign spirit." Thanks, but I am not really interested right now. I have my heart set on someone else...

"Karen, I know who you'd be perfect with! He is organized and tidy. He takes care of his appearance. Foreigners love him. You'd be great together!" You know, thanks, he sounds great, but I am still recovering from my last heartbreak. I just left Rome...

Each time, I would make an excuse not to consider D.C. As logical and obvious as the connection would be, I was never intrigued. Truth is, I could never quite convince myself to give it a try. I maybe thought him too familiar, too accessible... maybe even too American.

Then, like so many relationships, fate stepped in. And I found myself thrown into the situation. And I have to admit, that our first month together has been pretty nice, much better than I would have ever thought. He has kept me plenty entertained with things to do. We have been to a ton of ethnic restaurants, salsa dancing, an Asian festival, an Italian concert and Bollywood dancing performances, satisfying my appetite for foreign cultures. And, like all good relationships, I still feel like we have a lot to learn from each other.

I still have to say that I'm not sure that this will be a great love for me. But it is definitely a good fit for now. And as fate has also shown, sometimes destiny, more than desire, better knows what is right.


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