“We’re going to Milan tomorrow,” said Hannah with a nonchalant tone…like “oh yeah…” “By the way…” “I almost forgot to tell you…” AAAHHHHHH!!!! I had studied about Milan in my college Italian class. Though I could hardly remember a thing, I was SO EXCITED! I have never been obsessed with clothes…but Milan is a major fashion capital. For some reason Italy was making me think about the whole idea of using what you wear as an artistic expression of yourself.
We had a quick breakfast that morning…but one that I will never forget. Francesco heated up some croissants in the oven, and made espresso. I wanted to make out with my croissant. It was SO DELICIOUS, and the texture inside, sort of melted like cheese, and the coffee was just the right amount of black and the right amount of sweet. Cheers to the little things in life. 😀
At the train station we had a minor crisis thinking we’d miss the train. One ticket machine was working out of five or six, and there was a large group of people, all in a rush to get their ticket. Divide and conquer. “This is Italy,” Hannah said, “Nothing ever goes according to plan here. You can’t just say, ‘Hey! I think I am going to go here today!’ and have it be a smooth experience.” I find it interesting, really. For me, it felt like an adventure! The adrenaline rush as we had less than 5 minutes to get our tickets, validate them, then run to the train. But it made me wonder what it would feel like to actually live daily life here, and have things break all the time, have people jump in before you, and always experience some sort of chaos. We made the train on time, and the two hour ride was wonderful. I soaked in the view, Francesco read the newspaper like a real adult, and Hannah tried not to speak too much because she was beginning to feel sick (insert panic button here).
The Milano Centrale railway station is giant, and regal, and looks like Italy. It was breathtaking to be there. It was a beautiful sunny day, and my clothes were keeping me warm, so I could actually enjoy walking outside. Francesco’s brother and some friends picked us up to go to lunch together…This was better than any tourist tour, or any exploring! I was in a car filled with Italians, speaking Italian, being Italian. “WHAT IS MY LIFE?!” I thought. I managed a few sentences in their language, to which the reply was always, “Brava!” It is odd to be congratulated every time you speak, but I could quickly get used to it!
We went to an Italian restaurant, something that was not packed with tourists. I felt it was a super chic, awesome restaurant, but Hannah informed me it was a normal restaurant. I was feeling all fancy for a moment! I was unsure what to get, so Francesco recommended a spaghetti with all kinds of seafood (calamari, clams, shrimp…). “I will never be able to eat spaghetti again,” I said. Leave it to Italy to make spaghetti right. The texture of it, the combination of flavors, and the white wine made me appreciate this country deeply. We had tiramisu for dessert. I had told Hannah I could not leave Italy without trying tiramisu! For some reason, though I am lactose intolerant, tiramisu is one of those desserts I can enjoy without getting sick later. It was as indulgent as I wanted it to be. I loved it…SO MUCH.
After what was maybe 2 or 3 hours we headed to the center. We walked around, and took pictures. I had not realized it was Hannah’s first time in this city, which made it so special for us to be exploring a new place together! (She has traveled so much already!). We saw the outside of Il Duomo Di Milano, a massive cathedral which I JUST found out is one of the largest in the world and took over 600 years to complete. But I had the most fun at La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II right across from Il Duomo. I clearly remembered the picture in my Italian book about 7 years ago.
I could not believe I was there. I had not even planned on going to Milano during this trip! There are so many fancy stores here, yes. But I was fascinated by the people. Most of them looked like models, or at least like they knew how to style outfits for a living.
We headed over to the train station where Hannah and I shopped at Kiko, a Milan make-up store. I came to Italy during Black Friday…Mamma Mia! So I won’t tell you about the train ride, but I WILL tell you about DINNER. God bless Italians, and may their agriculture forever prosper so they can keep making orgasmic meals for hungry people.
Francesco, who at this point became the Santa Claus of dinners in my mind, brought home an entire pizza for each person. Because sharing a pizza like we do in America is NOT an Italian thing. I was uncertain about my pizza without cheese…but…I cheated on my croissant from that morning with my pizza. I had an affair with every.single.slice. I LOVE PIZZA. Real pizza. Pizza that comes to you in a box, from a pizzeria, in a city, in Italy. At this point, food was all I could think about. It didn’t even matter that I am lactose intolerant and my pizza can’t have cheese. The dough, and the sauce, and the vegetables…Each thing had its own spotlight. Plus, it is normal here to order a pizza without cheese. Hannah said even Francesco eats it that way sometimes. Oh, the things we learn when traveling.
I went to bed that night feeling like I would never be hungry again. But I wanted to stay hungry. I wanted to keep craving, tasting, and savoring. I wanted to garnish my dish, to sip on my coffee, to order dessert. I wanted to keep living life with this much hunger, eating slowly but without hesitation…uncertain of the ingredients, yet completely sure that next bite will be just as good as the one before.