Italian Memoir

My Love Affair
With Italy
Part III

The heat continued to pound on our bodies, draining us of energy. Most nights I spent a few hours lying on my bed atop the covers wearing a sports bra and shorts, sweating, begging a breeze to blow so I could continue my sleep. By the time I went home my body had adjusted to the heat but in America, we have air conditioning, so it re-acclimated quite quickly.

The weekend was our time off and we took advantage of it. We took a train ride to Venice, the most beautiful city in the world. In Venice we got lost in San Marco, walked along the Grande Canal and made some of the greatest purchases in our entire trip. I even had the great pleasure of visiting Venice for my 20th Birthday, which I celebrated that summer.

Another weekend we went to a Sting concert! I’m not a big Sting fan; I didn’t even know that many of his songs but it was a part of a Summer Concert Events Series in Milan, so the concert was completely free outside the duomo. We all gathered together, drank cheap wine and sang as loud as possible to the tunes that we knew.

Strange things happen when you’re in a foreign country. I felt so much freer because I was so far away from everything! I could do absolutely anything here; there were no restrictions or ties like there are at home. It also opens up the possibility of meeting people you would never imagine speaking to at home. English-speaking individuals come together as if by force that can’t be controlled.

One night, we were riding the metro back to our flats and discussing Paris. I had the great pleasure of visiting a month before and Danielle, another tutor, planned to visit later that summer. A man sitting next to us on the train kept staring at us but this wasn’t uncommon. (Italian men tend to be a bit, well, sleazy; especially toward fair skinned, light haired women that are speaking English.) John and I reached our stop, bid farewell to the girls and headed up the escalator, the man from the train ahead of us.

The man turns back to us. “Man, these Italians sure do love their soccer.” He was an American!! It made perfect sense now that I realized it because he didn’t look Italian and he was staring at us because I was speaking in an American accent.

“Yeah. Where are you from?!” I wasn’t really interested in small-talk. I was just excited to have met another American – the first American we’d met since we arrived in Italy.

“Well, I live in Thailand now but I’m originally from Baltimore, Maryland.”

“Really?” John and I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. “We’re from Maryland too.”

He was just as shocked and sort of raised his eyebrows at us. “Wow. That’s pretty crazy. I’m actually from Hagerstown. I just tell people Baltimore because people know where it is!”

“I tell people I’m from Washington D.C.” I admitted. Most Europeans weren’t sure where Maryland was located, since it’s such a small state.

“Wait…you’re from Hagerstown?”

“Yeah, where are you two from?”

“Cumberland…”

“No way! My brother lives in LaVale! I’ve been there dozens of times!”

We stood outside the metro entrance and made friends with Adam, originally from Hagerstown, Maryland, living in Thailand and visiting Milan for a few days. It was an unbelievable coincidence!

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