Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Chocolate Breadstick

I've just finished my first semester exams (which explains blogosphere neglect) and PASSED EVERYTHING! Specialized knowledge evolved, general knowledge regressed. I reckon I've never felt quite so thick as I do these days, but I can proudly recite the different speeds of the action potential throughout the various fibers of the heart.

Anyway, there's been a host of goings-ons lately. 

Giulio took me to TermeMilano for a couple's massage. The venue was gorgeous and we were treated nicely, at least by Milanese standards. We were happy to have arrived early enough to enjoy the aperitivo which comprised an unusual assortment of goodies- wine and veggies (typical) and juice, yogurt, cereal, chocolate grissini, and hot cocoa (atypical). After a bit  a lot of noshing, we were taken upstairs to our private room and introduced to our masseuse and masseur. We were also each handed a pair of these:

It was in this moment that I realized this experience held the propensity to do great good or great harm. We stripped sheepishly and buried ourselves under the sheets of each our respective massage tables, face-down.

What ensued was unequivocally the worst massage of my entire life. I mean, I got the karate-chop technique and all. In hindsight, it was more akin to a back scratch- not the rich, body chilling back scratch that makes you all tingly, but the back scratch that makes you fidget and squirm and leaves you with a back more itchy than before. My anxiety amplified when the masseuse asked me to roll over, tummy side up. I felt the imminence of shame and awkwardness in that moment, though I still cannot explain why. Still, I followed her orders and rolled over. At this point I was nakey, with the exception of said see-through skivvies and the sheet that covered me. The masseuse continued my session by titillating my toes, then my calves, then my knees, then my thighs. And then, without a glimmer of hesitation, she whisked the sheet off my chest and torso as if she were performing the famed tablecloth/dinner table trick and my body was the dinner table. As I winced and lied there shivering and topless, she did the unthinkable and began to massage my belly. I tried not to squeek. or laugh. or cry. Call me prude, but I learned something about myself that day- that I am simply not the type to enjoy a bellyup/helpless/topless status while a random male has free reign to peek over at a random female rubbing my bitsandbobs. Furthermore, (and perhaps more importantly) I cannot conceive of a single individual on the entirety of this demented planet who could possibly enjoy a stomach massage. But that was that. And afterward, I consoled myself by stuffing my purse of chocolate breadsticks, and evacuating the premises. 

Then it was Carnevale. Unfortunately I can't show you a picture of the festivities because I was holed up over my books. Nor can I show you a picture of chiacchiere, the typical pastry of the holiday, because every time I purchased a bundle for photographic or artistic  purposes, I ate the entire bag before arriving back to my apartment. (This is notable considering I live directly above a bakery.) Anyway, if you're really curious, you'll just have to googleimage it. For good measure, I've included an old crappy photo of some treats from the local Sicilian Bakery.

Over the same week as Carnevale was Women's Fashion Week in Milan. Giulio and I went to a party on a side street of Via Montenapoleone (like, Milan's Rodeo Drive) and then had dinner with a court of models, designers, and otherwise fashion forward individuals. Amidst all of this shishi glamor was me, the unfortunately obvious black swan: greasy hair, study sweat, a muffin top, and a comparatively voracious attitude toward food and drink. But it was fun.

Last month, my roommate Yarden and I were walking to our local gym when we saw in the not-too-far distance an apparently glamorous woman having an emphatic but secretive conversation on her cell phone (as marked by her left hand stealthily covering the receiver.) As we drew near, we realized her phone was not only neon pink and made of shiny plastic, but also not even a cell phone, but an old-school handset with a curly cord that hung loose, disconnected from the dial pad (and, err... the wall?). She examined us skeptically in our workout clothes and then gave us a look as if to suggest we were in fact the ones who'd gone mad.

As a matter of coping with the stress surrounding our intense examination period, Yarden and I consumed pots of hot pudding, also known as "Italian hot chocolate". I highly recommend it.

we also dreamt of lobster dinners...

As an effort to assimilate, I decided (along with some friends) to take part in a local athletic event. We registered for the Stramilano 10K. Morning preparatory runs through Milan were wonderful, and the only opportunity for cityside solitude.

The event itself was well organized and heaps of fun. For a modest entry fee of ten euro, I received the best pre-race goodie bag ever AND partook in one of the most sensational athletic events I've ever experienced. I mean, women were actually running in full makeup while clutching designer handbags, people were dropping like flies after the eleventh minute (uttering dramatic phrases like "sono stanco"), and the majority I saw cheated the (untimed fun-run) course by bypassing any possible loop or corner. We also got these cool bibs which added an element of professional status to our ensemble.

Ahhh.. what else? Well, this happens several times a week, but that's nothing new.

This weekend, immediately following my final exam of the semester, Giulio and I retreated to the Ligurian Coast. We drove to Vernazza, the Cinque Terre territory that was devastated by mudslides last October. The city had been largely destroyed, but as we continued our way down the hill toward the seaside, we stumbled upon a gorgeous little seafood restaurant above the cliffs, which was one of the only places still in its fully operational state. 

We enjoyed a long lunch complete with Prosecco, fresh crusty bread, octopus salad, salt-baked whitefish with grilled vegetables, and spaghetti with sea-muscles; and all the while engulfed in an unparalleled ambience.
When we returned home, Giulio negotiated the most impressive parallel parking job I've ever seen.

Two days ago, a classmate of Yarden and mine graciously invited us to her home in Lake Como where we spent the evening chatting with her family, eating pizza, and feeling generally enveloped by love. It is also worth mentioning that her brother admitted to thinking I was twenty years old, which, truth or fable told, was a sentiment I accepted without skepticism and buried in an irrevocable part of my consciousness.  The following morning, we went hiking through the mountains  near Como amidst a fresh fog and sweet mist. Delight.

Which brings me to tonight. Thursday night. Family night. Yarden is in the kitchen making homemade pita bread, and it's all suddenly feeling a little more like home.


Anonymous said...

Delightful read!

Anonymous said...

I love hearing of your life and adventures!
Happy Easter! Love, Suzie

Elyse Homel Vitale said...

I love these stories! Vince and I just read them while having a cocktail. By the way, I'm almost certain we went to that restaurant in Vernaza. Can't wait to be in italy with you! Loveeeee.

Liv said...

So happy you enjoyed the post! The feedback keeps the posts coming!

The Schumanator said...

I demand documentation of Goolio getting out of that parking spot.

Liv said...

bahahah! the next day, the hybrid in front was gone, so we pulled right out no problem!

trish said...

As a stalker-in-the-making-thrice- removed, girlfriend of a dude friend of Megan Kalmoe's from highschool in WI, I came across your blog years ago when she hosted her blog on this site. I absolutely adore your sense of humor and love reading your posts!

Also, I think this is the crazy phone you speak of:


Liv said...

Hi Trish! Thanks for the note. That phone handset is amazing, I'm contemplating buying one.

Blogger said...

Purchase Luxury Gucci Handbags Online.