My Italian Diary: Roncolo Part 1
6 July 2018
I asked him, “When we first met, did you ever imagine that we would be living together in your mom’s house in Italy three years later?” We laughed. It would be a pretty tough situation to guess.
We arrived to the home I’ve come to know very well over the years. Every inch of the walls covered by rare paintings, photos, and ceramics. Countless sets of plates, and glasses decorate the copious amount of furniture that fill every space. Bottles of wine older than the house line every stairway. The curtains damp with years of cigarette smoke; The marble floors, cold yet eternal.
We decorated the table with grilled vegetables, meat, cheese, and of course, Lambrusco. Davide’s mom could not understand that I’m just not into the taste and texture of meat. I don’t crave it, nor does it satisfy my belly. I am with veggies how most people are with meat. She planted an entire garden of vegetables for our arrival, and was yet always confused when we wanted to eat them. She has a very strict diet of pasta, butter, meat, and wine. She doesn’t drink water, and absolutely no vegetables. We knew staying with her while looking for a place to live would be challenging, but we were up for it.
We tried to stay out of her way, while simultaneously helping her in every possible way we could. I mowed the lawn, Davide cleaned the pool, we cleaned the house, and the garden, anything possible. Not being able to drive stick just yet kept me much more housebound that I was comfortable with, though. I went on 2 walks per day to try and detach myself from the house, especially when she would start to become a little territorial, which I understood.
The first few days were spinning by. I hadn’t yet realized that I moved halfway around the world. On the 6th, we ate and were welcomed by our friends at our favorite bar — slurping down Aperol Spritz like water, laughing, trying to keep the weights off of our eyes. The next day, we celebrated the wedding of Davide’s childhood best friend, who also helped me through some very difficult moments in past visits. We gave everyone a wonderful concert, and partied right into my birthday until 5 am. That wedding is still one of my favourite memories. We ate like royalty, drank like sailors, and laughed like wild dogs the whole night long.
The was terrified that all of the pasta, pizza, and bread I was eating would recreate that terrible endometriosis pain that I fear will strike any moment of the day. To my surprise, my body was finally starting to feel regulated. I was finally able to absorb nutrients properly, and I had no pain! I still chose to stay away from the meat because I know that it’s one of the things that usually gives me inflammation, depending where it comes from. “How can I not eat all of this meat without offending Davide’s mom?” I would think to myself at every meal. Every day, her and Davide went for a swim in the pool. During this time, I would quickly prepare any vegetables possible from the garden so that I could just have a tiny taste of meat, to avoid offending her, and still have a full belly with wholesome goodness from the garden.
I did everything I could to show her how grateful we are for her hospitality while we look for a place to live. There were many moments where it felt like it was never enough. I tried so hard to just bite the bullet and not say anything to Davide because I knew he would defend me, inadvertently creating a fight between him and his mother, and it would all be on his shoulders. In any challenging moment, I hear my mom in my head, “Kill ‘em with kindness,” she always says. Whenever I felt that I was going to burst, I would run up the mountain to the park, and stare at the breathtaking view of the castle and the valley below. On the way down, I would eat as many wild blackberries and fresh, plump figs as possible — until my stomach couldn’t handle it anymore. I found my happy place — my escape.