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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

Two different count downs

Easter is five days away which is good news for me because my dreams of chocolate are getting more vivid… I could smell it in the last one…

Image from Yours Fondly
This year was definitely my toughest lent to date. I gave up all sugar, from not adding it to coffee in the morning to abstaining from all desserts (gelato included!) in the evening.

I spent the last 40 days turning down all variety of sweets … or accepting them (usually chocolate) to stash them away in my freezer for safekeeping until after Easter. But with only five more days, I can make it. However, while I am on the verge of succeeding in that one Lenten observance, I am failing in another.

Chocolate shoes
This lent, I also promised to write once a week. Writing for me is like running. I don’t feel entirely healthy unless I do it regularly. Yet, though I have been good at running lately (I completed the Verona half marathon in February), I have not been good at writing, as you may or may not have noticed.

Giulietta & Romeo Verona Half Marathon & They also had a chocolate festival
Part of it is that I am out of the habit, which is why I thought lent a good time to reintroduce it. Aside from the religious aspects of lent, I have also learned that 40 days is a pretty good amount of time to form a new habit or break a bad one. Lent would have been a good time to get back into the habit of writing…

This feeling of remorse for me is a bit reminiscent of last year. Some of you may recall that my Lenten resolution was to give up complaining about Rome (specifically the people and services in Rome). I did so poorly thought that I then decided to give up chocolate for the 40 days after lent. It was a sort of self-imposed “talking-to”. 40 days of not commenting on late buses, rude people, broken services or chaotic everything would have been good for me. But the habit was too engrained.

My brother in law also gets excited about chocolate
But perhaps again this year, I will impose a post-lent promise/talking-to: To write once a week for 40 weeks. It could work. I already have a lot of new stories about wedding planning in Italy.

And that’s the other count down: the count down to my big fat Italian wedding! Yes, dealing with the legalities of three countries, having people fly in from probably ten and working with a mixed bag of traditions, it’s going to be a total zoo and completely legendary. So far, no talks of a roasting spit in the front yard though which is good.

As you can see, a lot has happened since Mexico: visiting family in Toronto, getting engaged in Vancouver, searching for a venue in Umbria and Tuscany, finding a wedding dress in the weird underground wedding sub-culture of Rome… It's been a busy 4 months.

Castle of Love: the brochure of one of the venues we looked at...

But with wedding planning comes a whole other cultural experience of Italy which I would be happy to share: Living like an (engaged) tourist. Get ready puffy dresses, shellacked wedding cakes, cheesy songs and outdated traditions: here I come, or more appropriately, here comes the bride.