A quick introduction:
In October 2004, while exploring Secondlife , Cartcart and I happened to bump into each other. We became friends and then quickly fell in love. I decided to meet him in August 2005 and again in June 2006 while he came to Singapore for the first time in December 2006 .
I was hesitant to go to Italy this year because of several factors. One of them being my mum discouraging me to go as she believes that the flight money could be better used for our wedding ceremony. I agree with her point of view. But at the same time, I thought that it would be good to give him some form of ‘hand-holding’.
So I chickened out in telling both my parents about my plans until the day before. Which probably isnt the best thing to do as for the past weeks before my flight, I was feeling extremely guilty. When it was time to go, both of them were very concerned but resigned in the fact that I had already made up my mind in going.
Chatting with the cab driver on my way to the airport diverted my thoughts. At length, I reached the airport, checked in and passed through the security check before boarding the 12 hour flight to Amsterdam.
Amazingly this time, the flight was more bearable to me. Perhaps it was because I was more used to it and the fact that each seats on the plane had an entertainment center. The person beside me spent the entire journey playing chess while I watched some amazing movies that I didnt manage to catch. Like Happy Feet, Letters from Iwo Jiwa and Udon.
In time, I was on the transit flight and finally reached Rome in the morning and after what seemed to be an eternity waiting at the baggage carousel and then a baggage check by the curious security guards.
security guard 1 : Come here. Whats in the bag?
Me : My clothes of course
security guard 1 : Open the bag please and let me see your passport. Hmmm …
security guard 2 : Pass me her passport. Hmmm …
Me : …
After the strange baggage check, I entered the arrival hall and finally saw cartcart waiting for me. What a most warming sight. It was worth the 14 hour flight just to see him smile at me. The web just cant compare to seeing a loved one in real life. I miss his comforting hug.
We took the car to get home. As we drove by, I remember the highway, the fields, and the rustic buildings. But when turned into a lane which I did not recognize, I asked him curiously, where we were going. “Its a surprise! You’ll see!” It was when I saw this lane and I grinned.
It was a pretty lazy and relaxing day. We made lunch together and then I passed him the newspaper from where I was interviewed on Secondlife Relationships. We lounged around home and I saw the changes that he’s done. After I slept away my jetlag, cartcart took me out for a quiet dinner out at at restaurant called Il Cortile. I read somewhere that to never say no when someone asks you out for dinner in Italy. Mainly because of the really good food!
When we reached the place, there was a large range of food that you can choose from at the main table. There were those which I recognized, fritata with zucchini, potatoes with rosemary, roasted bell peppers, stuffed aubergine, all sorts of insalata and others. There was another table full of desserts. Tiramisu! Chocolate cake! Panna Cotta!
The next day, I joined cartcart with a couple of his friends. We drove to an area in Trastevere. We met Fabrizio first. He has been friends with cartcart since they were 8. I knew him beforehand from Secondlife and our chats on msn. He walked towards us and I was stunned momentarily when he kissed my face left and right. It was something that I wasnt used to. But its an Italian culture to do so between friends.
We went to an ice cream shop and I looked at the colourful ice cream being displayed and we decided to have an aperitif and gelato. I sat there completely mesmerized by cartcart’s and Fabrizio’s conversation. The Italian language really sounds melodic to me.
Fabrizio started to talk to me in Italian. I could understand parts of his sentences but I wasnt fluent enough to converse with him. I tried to use the phrase book that I carried with me but the conversation changed when Fabrizio and cart decided to ask me about Malay words instead!
Fabrizio had to leave soonafter. Cart and I decided to have a walk around the area before meeting up with his other friends. I liked walking around the area. Everthing seemed so peaceful and idyllic. There were people lounging around relaxedly. The temperature was noticably cooler than in Singapore.
We passed by a shoe shop and my eyes noticed an attractive pair of shoes. I looked closer.
Gah! 146? is about $300 Singapore dollars! This wasnt even branded shoes even.*dies*
We came across a stand where magazines and newspapers were being sold. Cart wanted to buy the Secondlife Guide book. We were quite lucky as the stand was still operating at 8.30pm while most stands would have closed by 7.30pm.
We sat down on the bench and flipped though the book. It was the Italian version. I’ve seen the original version back in Singapore but it was nice to read together with cartcart as we recognized some of the residents whom were featured in the book.
It wasnt long after that we saw Paolo and then Luigi soonafter. Paolo was another person whom I knew beforehand from Secondlife, while Luigi taught mathematics in a university.
We headed to a place called La camiceria. We ordered a variety of food. From appetizers such as Mozarella cheese with artichoke and ricotta cheese with honey.
To Funghi Pizza and Camicia Pizza. I’ve left the fork and the knife as a size comparison. Yes! This is the size of a personal pizza! The Camicia Pizza was interesting to me. In Italian, camicia means shirt. Cart tells me that the cherry tomatoes on top was supposed to be the buttons. The camicia pizza was supposed to be a play with the calzone pizza as in Italian, calzone means pants. Personally for me, calzone pizza resembles a giant sized epok-epok .
We ended with desserts of sbriciolata and tortino ai cioccolato. I listened to the conversation. I was tickled to hear to Paolo and Luigi speaking in english. They tend to add extra vowels in their words and sentences, giving it a rather adorable effect.
Cartcart also tells me of a Roman culture whereby people may sound rude, but it was for the spirit of fun. I listened while the three of them poked fun at each other, some moments being over the top.
Another thing that I observed was that the Italians had a slower pace of life when I noticed the topics that they talked about. They were more attentive to the things that I’d normally take for granted. One example – I remember cartcart and Fabrizio standing next to a tree, looking up and pointing for at least 10 minutes. I found out later that they had found a bird nest and were trying to find the birds. I dont know of any Singaporeans personally who did that!
Paolo offered to take us to his home to see his cats and I said yes! I loved cats. When we went over, I was amazed to see three grown men being enthralled and completely entertained by two kittens.
It was an interesting night.
Here’s a short clip of the day :