Italy, new start, parenting, pork belly tacos, rigatoni con la pajata, roman cuisine, Rome, umbilical cord
Well, hello there.
I am back from our trip to Rome. It was a fascinating trip, full of surprises and lots of fabulous food and one late hiccup in the plan. We had never been away from the kids for a full week, and to land 5000 miles away pushed me out to the edge of my parental comfort zone. The edge is a good place to be sometimes. For all involved. But that umbilical cord… now, I’m sure you know that I do not mean the one that connected me to each of them at birth, because we did cut that one. I mean the unseen cord that stretches from my heart to theirs, and boy oh boy, it stretched until it hurt.
Of course, eating gelato by the Trevi Fountain with people I love did help me get over it for the moment, as did one great meal after another. I love to experience all the local specialties when I travel, and Rome had some great and memorable ones.
I was put in charge of choosing the restaurants (my pleasure), and communicating with all taxi drivers (mixed results). I did a crash course of Italian for Travelers before I left, but when put in a pressure situation, it all flew out of my head, except to tell them that “I am learning Italian, but I do not speak much”. I think I said that to everyone, no matter what they said to me. May have made them wonder what exactly I was learning in Italian. The other strategy was to say “Prego” at any time, since it seemed to have 12 innocuous meanings. In retrospect, I did OK at the communicating part, and we ended up where we were going. But maybe that is not saying much.
Other than the food, one of my favorite parts was strolling (roaming?) down the narrow back streets and impossibly narrow alleys, looking at the architecture above and the well-worn cobble streets under my feet. The knowledge that we could be run down by a zooming Smartcar at any moment just added to the excitement. I actually ran into one moving car (versus the other way around) but neither of us suffered any damage.
International intrigue, jane-style! I am not a high adrenaline kind of gal.
Unless you count eating Rigatoni con la Pajata, pasta with a sauce of milk-fed calf’s intestine cooked with tomatoes, salt pork, garlic and spices, and topped with grated Pecorino cheese. This was seriously one of my very favorite dishes. Amazing, complex flavor. Romans are known as “popolo mangereccio” (people who are fond of eating) and this apparently includes a fondness of eating every part of the animal, and I have to agree it is tasty. (Even better than Pork Belly Tacos from Mexico.)
I leave you today with a sense of relief that a tumultuous February has ended, and for me each month starts with a brand new shiny day called the 1st, which has always felt like a new start to me. Start by starting. And remember all the good things along the way.