Friday, May 24, 2013

Mélange de Légumes Vapeur

Giulio and I rolled into April with a quick trip to Florida to escape from the brutality of winters in Milan and to recharge with some sun, sea, and the well-fashioned American  ideal of CONVENIENCE. Returning to 'Mericuh on this particular occasion gave prominence to how much I have habituated to the Italian way of life. The first supermarket I entered left me transiently paralyzed, overwhelmed both by magnitude and the wellspring of possibilities. Aisle after aisle, option upon option. Fifty shades of ketchup. I didn't have to weigh my own vegetables nor bag my own groceries. And the clerk was embarrassingly friendly. 

We settled-in quite nicely with the aid of multiple mojitos, fresh fish, and key lime pie à la sea. We even had a cabana boy at one point, something I previously reckoned only existed in rap music videos.

But in an unfortunately ephemeral flash of yoga-meets Cuba-meets bedazzled bustier, we were back in Milan, back to work, and back to bagging our own bananas (which instantly felt like a major inconvenience).

The first weekend upon our return wasn't so bad; we managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the mountains and cap off the ski season in style. It was warm, the slopes were empty, and the snow was starting to melt, making for a slippery and supremely fun weekend: 

But then it was back to Milan AGAIN, back to work, and back to grumbling about the hassles of existing in a world without cabana boys.

Exam season picked up and I found myself in the unfortunately familiar situation of being hunched over my books and tempted by the possibility of gauging out my eyeballs with my mechanical pencil. I get quite deranged and unpleasant during these periods, bless Giulio for always trying to find small ways to sneak a little laughter into my days:

Meanwhile, my University came and went with some political issues. I won't bother elaborating, but people were so pissed that they toilet-papered the nave's double helix (paradox, I know). It brought back memories of me being an eleven year-old in the backseat of a police car when I almost got arrested for toilet-papering my neighbor's house in the middle of the night. (It was a bang-up job that would have put this scene to shame): 


Then we decided to renovate our kitchen: 


We were practically refugees in our own home. displaced. eating on floors (or at best the sofa). dragging around heavy objects.  inhaling a coal mine's worth of carcinogens. We had some moments that could have catalyzed some serious intra-relationship trauma, but I'm pleased to say we managed to keep the humor at heart and so, our relationship, intact.

We found ourselves in scenes like this one, dragging a duvet-cushioned, ancient two-ton dishwasher down three flights of stairs at 1am:

(I could not resist a fit of pants-wetting delirious laughter when Giulio angrily looked up at me from this precise position, sweating and hyperemic, and said, "It's like fucking Stonehenge".)

Anything that could have ended up absorbing into the upholstery of our sofa, did.

Spilled tea.

Pickles, etc.

Our kitchen had to be evacuated for five days which also meant evacuating our living room for five days. (Nice.)

This meant a new latitude for family dinners!

By the fourth day of our roach-eye view, I succeeded in accomplishing the untold- tipping my threshold of pizza consumption.  

And so, I was cornered into partaking in a veritable no-no:

the prodigious TV Dinner.

Not that I've ever been crazy about a frozen meal, but my now obviously inordinate distaste for pre-made and potentially forever-stored food, really underlines the impact of having lived for two years in a country ripe with food snobs. I suppose I'm pleased to realize that I'm still fresh enough an individual to be malleable.  

Things are all-in-all well these days. The kitchen renovation is finished and  so are the Légumes Vapeur. The poop has been wiped off my keyboard and put in my hands (with a maiden voyage into the peristaltic sea of gastroenterology). And alas, bagging our own bananas presents as once again, perfectly quotidian. 

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