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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

Living like an Italian

Perhaps I should have called this blog just that, "Living like an Italian." Some of you might be sick of me talking about Italy; however, I have already made my disclaimers about this passion/delusion, so to those people, all I can advise is: read a different blog.

Sunday was my latest plunge into this obsession. After watching the Italy v. New Zealand game (1-1... va be'), I attended Italian mass at Holy Rosary Church, followed by the annual Festa Italiana. This year, they celebrated the region of Molise, a region in the central-to-south,eastern part of Italy.

The festa was somewhat small, but not lacking in quality. There were about 10 stalls featuring some of the staples of any proper Italian festival: an espresso/cappuccino stand, a gelato stand and a homemade pasta stand.

You don't even have to ask: yes, I partook in the gelato. Not only did you have the choice of having it served in a mini pineapple (so fun!), Dolci Gelati also bowed to the Italian tradition of halving your portion and giving you another flavor. (Side note: I have found that this is totally against American custom. A second flavor in the U.S. means a second scoop, thus doubling the portion and, as I suspect the true cause behind this logic, doubling the cost.) The gelato was the best I have had outside of Italy (and I have had a lot).

Pina Colada and Banana Chip flavors!

In addition to these staples, there was also "porchetta," a spiced, boneless pork panino that it quite popular among my carnivorous friends. (I have to admit, as a vegetarian, it made me a little green).

You don't see the roasting pig rotating on a spic in this picture, deliberately.

Another fascinating aspect of the festival: a brick oven on the back of a truck! Mobile home cooking! It was genius.

Italians take their cooking seriously.

There was also a performance by Il Mastrogiurato, a medieval troop that did formations and flag juggling. It was more interesting than I make it sound... perhaps the picture will do it more justice:

Lastly, there was a raffle to win free airline tickets to Italy (I didn't win, which is why I am here writing instead of on a plane).

And if that wasn't enough italianess, after the festival, I met up with the rest of the pseudo-italian Mardellis and we went to dinner at, you guessed it, an Italian restaurant: Sorriso.

Pretty good pizza. Although, ruccola on almost any pizza makes it taste authentic.

I'd like to think I dreamt in Italian that night, as a nice way to round off the day.

Who says you can't create la dolce vita wherever you are?