One of the reason in my visiting Cartcart was to give him a form of ‘hand holding’ in introducing him to Islam. We left home early on Wednesday to head visit one of the largest mosque in Rome. It was open to visitors only from 9.30 am to 11.30 am.
It was a very large place. We tried going there yesterday, but surprisingly, there were less than 5 people there and it didnt seem that there was anyone who could help us.
This time round, we were able to have an appointment with the ustadz. We waited about half an hour at the lounge area and I smiled at Cartcart. There were a lot of thoughts running through my mind. I was nervous and at the same time, raring to start the first step to overcome one of our first hurdles.
When we were called in, we walked across the corridor and entered the ustadz’s office. I saw a young lady with a head-dress, one stout looking man in office clothes whom I found out later was a translator and finally the ustadz himself in his robe.
“What can I do for you, sister?”
It was interesting to me as the ustadz was from Saudi Arabia, and he was able to speak in English but not in Italian, hence, the need for the translator. But we were all able to speak in English, there wasn’t any problems.
We spoke of conversion, he gave us a booklet pertaining the information. We spoke of marriage procedures, he asked me where I was from, then told us that I will need to have an official national marriage certificate and then have a ceremony in the mosque itself. Then I asked him if there were any courses on understanding Islam like the Darul Arqam, he said no, but he will give cartcart a contact on someone whom he could consult with.
We talked a for a little more, and then said our goodbyes later.
Cart and I both knew that there were alot of tasks in front of us. But I felt slightly better, now that at least we’ve started the first step. We looked at each other and promised that we will make it work.
Cartcart was adamant to cook some Asian food. On our way to his parents house, we stopped by a place called the Ricercaterre where food items from around the world were sold.
I saw some interesting items and recognized a few food stuff there, like the popular Meiji Panda biscuits, Dorito chips and Nissin instant noodles. But there wasn’t that much of variety of Singaporean daily foodstuff though. I dont think that I could get a dose of home here. Where can I have my daily Roti Prata and Nasi Lemak?
As this area is in a tourist spot, and you could see many different types of nationalities here, strolling and relaxing in the summer afternoon.
I liked looking at the buildings around here. As it has been around for a long time, the buildings looked rustic and full of character. I was even lucky to see a building with my name on it! 🙂
Beside Ricercaterre, there is a place called the Castroni which I liked to visit. Inside the shop is full of goodies like chocolates and sweets. Each time I visit, I’d be sure to get a bag of Gianduiotto chocolates and a box of Cremini Fiat. It’s really delightful!
The first thing that hits you as you enter the shop is the wonderful aroma of freshly made coffee. There is one area where you could buy ground coffee or have a cuppa. Mmm! Wonderful smell!
The biscuit display and the chocolate display alone was alluring enough to make my heart stop and my mouth water!
By the way, this is my current wallpaper 😀
A funny incident happened in Castello which made it memorable. I accidentally bumped into a Chinese guy and we both simultaneously said “sorry!”. Immediately I knew that he was Singaporean. It’s a typical Singaporean gesture, I think.
We took some time over at the area till Cart’s mum called him up and complained, “What’s taking you guys so long? The food is getting cold!” We rushed and then finally reached Cart’s parents house about 20 minutes later.
I have to admit that I was quite nervous meeting them again. They are future in laws after all and I do worry about what they think of me. We entered the house and I gingerly stepped and peeked in.
The only sounds I heard was from the apartment was the television. “Where’s everyone?” I asked Cartcart. And thats when his mum and dad came out of the room. His mum kissed me left and right while his dad shook my hand.
I mustered the miniscule amount of Italian that I knew
“Buon Giorno! Come stai?”
They replied back to me, speaking in rapid Italian. I looked at their face smiling, trying to fit the jigsaw puzzle with the bits that I can understand.
They were very nice to me. We had lunch together and over minestrone, they were pertinent and asked me some questions. Like how my dad was doing, how I liked the food they made (of course I liked it! Complimenti al cuoco!), how I liked my stay here.
We spent some time later relaxing on the sofa and watched TV. Cart’s dad wanted to rest for a while, while Cartcart joined his mum in making an espresso.
He came back with a cup of espresso and sat down beside me and held my hand while we were watching TV. I smiled sheepishly every time his mum walks in the room every now and then. It was hilarious that I am a grown woman and I still feel very self conscious.
Sometime later we said our goodbyes, and I waved to his mother as we closed the elevator door.
Cartcart : How do you feel?
Me : I’m fine, still a bit nervous
Cartcart : (Jokingly) Why? Were they mean to you?
Me: Of course not!
Cartcart : Mum was very nice to you. I think she likes you
Me : Do you really think so? Wow!
After the visit to his parents, we decided to stop by Gianicolo.
Gianicolo is a special place for the both of us. Cart took me here for the first time back in 2005 and we’ve made it a point to visit this place each time I was in Italy. Gianicolo was elevated, from here you can see many monuments such as the Vittorio Emanuele II below.
There’s a little gelateria in Gianicolo where we’d have ice cream and relax while just enjoying the view. I can still recognize the guy who is serving ice cream from since I first came here in 2005.
I remember an incident last year while cart and I were in Gianicolo in the evening. We were standing by the lighthouse admiring the view and lights of the monuments below when a bus stopped by the roadside and out streamed a bus-full of tourists snapping pictures with flash (!) at the scenery. I was stunned. They left as immediately as they came.
What odd people.
We headed to Larchetto Due again for a lovely and sumptious dinner. This time I tried having the salmone pasta while Cartcart had a variation of arrabbiata – Instead of chilli, it uses bell peppers. It was really delightful. I liked cart’s pasta better though, as it was tomato based. 🙂
The place was less lively today with no man playing the guitar and children with balloons. So it was a quieter dinner for us. It was still a lovely night, but in a way, I guess it was a reflection of what I felt.
Today’s experience was overwhelming to me. The visit to the mosque, the meet with the future in-laws. Cart even mentioned to me that he doesn’t want me to become a cleaner.
Suddenly something jolted inside and everything seemed more real to me. I may actually have to stay in Italy. Have a job in Italy. Spend my life in Italy. What on earth can I work as here? Can I really leave my present life?
And I panicked