I’m sure that each one of us has an association when it comes to Italy, whether it is Italian football, fashion, or food. One thing is certain – this country doesn’t leave anyone cold. The covers of this book hide my Italy, my ordeals at the immigration office, falling in love with pesto and limoncello, relations in the academic world, and painful lessons about dinner etiquette. My Italy actually begins in Finland, moves from a gray dormitory room to the mysterious and colorful old city of Genoa, from there to the cliffs, fishing villages, olive groves, and pine nut forests of Northern Italy.
I don’t know yet where and how my Italy will end.
A multinational circle of friends is seated at the table and the room is full of delectable aromas, emotions and gentle music. It’s a cozy evening in August with red wine and the sounds of the Mediterranean Sea.
When the first piatto (plate) is empty, Gloriana asks a question whose actual significance and the only correct answer is known only to the Italians, not to me.
“Yes, of course. Thank you, Gloriana, I would love some more,” I say, passing my plate.
Gloriana stares at me for a moment and then looks towards the stove in puzzlement. I direct an equally helpless look towards Andrea that says “But she offered!” Not knowing the local cultural norms is enough to push the atmosphere off balance.
“Ok, if you really want some, I’ll put more on the plate for you,” says Gloriana and doles out a bit more. I’m the only one eating, red in the face, cursing myself and vowing never to visit Gloriana again. The company has run out of conversation for the moment and the silence is only pierced by the sounds of my fork against the plate. I feel as if all of them have turned their gaze towards me and are watching me eat.
- ISBN 978–9985–9931–7–0