Young&Fabulous is about to become Giovane&Favoloso—in approximately 48 hours, I will be saying “arrivederci” to the United States and “ciao” to Italy, where I will be spending the next four months! 

Having been to Italy twice as a child, I know it’s the place for me.  By fourth grade, I was already involved in a sensuous love affair with i panini tartufati—(I think the fact that my ten-year-old self craved truffle sandwiches eerily foreshadowed my love for culinary delicacies and Italian culture). 

Now, as an “adult,” I find most of my favorite material things to be Italian—espresso, gelato, art, shoes, fine dining (especially al fresco), ancient cities, gardens, romance… the list goes on… (Perhaps this is all cliché but no shame, ever.  While most of the aforementioned items are not niche interests or particularly unique, I’ll argue that I love espresso more than the average American and am willing to prove it if anyone doubts me). 

But before I leave for il bel paese, I think it’s worth mentioning how ready I am for a change of pace.  Last week, I left my comfortable routine behind in northern California and went to one of my favorite cities, New York City, to visit family and friends before my friend, TGS and I go to Italy.  This year I have established my (again cliché) routine of attending classes, studying, going to the gym, cooking, spending time with friends and family, going to the farmers’ markets, volunteering, etc.  I live a completely satisfying and well-rounded life in California but the best way to describe it is “comfortable.” 

So, I thought that before leaving the States, I would phase into all of the changes that are sure to take place.  I figured that in New York, I would have tons of places to go, people to see, and treats to eat.  Well, well, well, there was a new sheriff in town this week and her name was Irene.  Although she didn’t actually have her way with the part of Manhattan in which I was staying, she seemed to be an imminent threat to the city.  Almost all of New York’s fine establishments (AKA bakeries, coffee shops, museums, monuments, restaurants) closed for a few days.  All of the city’s small grocery shops were locked with grates and chains.  Even window-shopping was a no-go because the sparkly valuables and haute couture fashions had been removed. 

Things seemed rough when there was only one coffee shop open on Saturday but by Sunday when there were ZERO coffee shops open, I was getting a bit stir-crazy.  As opposed to being overwhelmed with the sheer number of exhibits to see, shows to watch, restaurants to try, and cookies to sample, I was underwhelmed.  There was nothing open… except for the gym.  While I was thrilled to have my playground at my disposal, I realized that I need a change.  I am ready for more exciting destinations rich with history.  Even if that means skipping a workout or doing something that I hadn’t scheduled into my day-planner, that’s ok.  Because it will probably include trying something tall, dark and handsome, such as a doppio espresso with a hazelnut-chocolate biscotto…  On that note, why wait 48 hours to say “arrividerci?” Might as well say it now.

Arrivederci and peace out ‘merica.  It’s been real.