So this past weekend in fano, after sharing a bottle of wine and having a spiked espresso, I told Ricky that I wanted to drive the bike with him on the center bar. I got on and he begged me to be careful. I said yeah yeah, get on... So he got on. I put one foot on the pedal and the other tried to kick off for a head start before being placed on the other pedal. He begged again, be careful. I didn't get my second foot on the other pedal before we lost balanced and went crashing to the ground. We were laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. He got up to take pictures of me, laying on the ground grabbing my butt, and we both laughed ourselves sick. The police stopped by to see if I was ok. Won't be trying that again. My green and purple butt says not to. And as far as work goes...I feel like I understand more, but it's still not enough. Once I know what is being asked of me, I'm fine. The work itself is fairly easy... If I don't know how, they show me and I rarely ever screw something up. But it's getting the directions correct in the first place that is the most challenging. And it's almost impossible to tell them "hey, please speak slow" when tickets are piling up and orders need to get done. :/ if anyone knows of a way to speed up a learning process, I'm all ears. And yeah, practice practice practice. I am. I need a magic trick at this point.
OMG!!!! La prima volta ho wifi!!! Cazzo! San marino è una città di merde!! But seriously, I'm back. I. AM. BACK!!! =O After a 20ish hour flight (I had 3 layovers), I finally arrived in bologna where Ricky, my boyfriend, was suppose to meet me. I had not seen him in 3 months and was excited to the point where I was shaking when I stepped off the plane. My hands couldn't grip my bag and my knees felt like they were going to give any second. I go through customs, get my bag and exit into the main room (it's one big room for the entire airport since is very small). I quickly look for his smiling face and I'm so nervous I figure I can't see him. So I scan the room again, and nothing. There was a large crowd of people waiting in one area and I was sure he was one in the crowd... I just couldn't see him. But then, I glanced down and saw a neon blue sign propped up against the wall that said "Ashley Jeanne Cramer, look for the next color"... And the second my face lit up with a smile, the crowd of people looked back at me and smiled. They knew something that I didn't. So I see another sign and it directs me to another sign. I stop at a neon yellow sign that says "stop here... Can you hear my heart beating?" and my jaw drops and I cover my mouth. I don't see Ricky and I started to giggle at how ridiculously romantic this boy is. People are smiling back at me, people I don't know, and I become more nervous than before. But as soon as I turn around... "ciao amore" greets me with a bouquet of roses/lillys (he remembered my favorites) and I get a glimpse of his adorable face before I am suffocated in the biggest bear hug I have ever had. It was a good suffocation. I didn't need to breath in that moment... It was too perfect as it was. I hear a few "awww"s and my eyes well up, buti don't care. I'm in his arms again, after 3 very long months. I kept hugging him because I couldn't believe he was actually here in front of me. Walking out to the car, I realized he felt he same when he said " if this is all a dream, please don't wake me." :) :O I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!?!? Alright, so I spent my first day and half in fano, Italy, Ricky's hometown. We went to have an aperitif on the beach with two of his friends who made me feel very comfortable and welcome. The aperitif/bar/beach thing they have going on in fano is amazing! What a cute little city!! I met his amazing parents who immediately made me feel at home! They are absolutely wonderful! We sat down at the kitchen table for dinner and.... His mom had made passatelli AND piadina with squacquerone, my two absolute favorite traditional dishes!! How did she know?? Ricky told her. :) it was delicious and a great first meal. The next day, we went to the beach to lay out and swim. But upon leaving his home, Ricky told me that we were going to use a bike to go instead of his car because parking is impossible. I didn't mind, so I agreed and thought " I don't remember the last time I rode a bike, but I don't think it's something you forgot how to do". So he pulls one bike out of the garage and locks the garage up. I look at him. And then ask him where my bike was. He points to the bike he pulled out of the garage. So when he said we were going to use A bike to go, he really meant A bike. One. And I laugh so hard and tell him it's impossible. He calls me crazy and says its totally normal in Italy. He gets on, and tells me to go on one side and sit down on the bar in front of the seat, behind the handle bars. I tell him he is crazy, it won't work. And we take off! His arms are on the handlebars on either side of me, and his seat is high enough so that my head rests on his chest. It's really possible. He wove in and out of Italian car traffic as I screamed, twitched and feared for my life. He was laughing the entire way. I saw other couples doing the same thing, two people on a bike. So I guess it is totally normal and I am crazy. When in Rome/fano, do as they do, right? So we got to the beach in one piece. Omgggg!!! Italian beaches!!! Beautiful!! Italy in the summer is completely different from Italy in the winter. Completely. I am totally in love with italy in the summer. Its a different vibe, it's beautiful, is relaxing, and it is hottttt!!! I am still getting used to it. But we went to the beach, laid out, swam and then took another bike ride down the street to a restaurant where his mom cooks at. THE FOOD!! My god!!! The food!!! Stringhetti pasta and then a plate of freshly breaded and grilled fish and shellfish =O we went back to the beach and then back home to have dinner with his parents again, tagliata with rucola. After, we headed back to San Marino for work the next day. My alarm went off at 720am. I instantly remembered what this all felt like. My Italian vacation, all 2 days of it, was over. Back to work. And I was nervous. I don't know why except for that I knew what I was getting myself into this time and I knew it was difficult. We climbed the familiar mountain and entered the familiar kitchen. I saw the familiar faces and this time, I was able to speak to them. Not much, but more than I was able to on my first day in February. Its an incredible feeling. But don't get me wrong, I am no way fluent or even able to understand most conversations. I just mean that I can finally see my own progress in learning another language and it feels good. They even complimented me on my progress... And compliments here are hard to come by. :) and for those of you who remember, this next sentence is for you...I am NOT joking when I say: guess what was waiting for me to clean when I stepped in the kitchen? What white box was sitting on the counter just calling my name? Screaming my name! That's right, the cuttlefish box. And guess who tried to avoid it for as long as possible but got called to clean it anyways? Yup, this girl right here. Hahahaha! My life. This is my life.:) After two days of work, my body started to ache like it did three months ago. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I do the same moan and groan that I did three months ago. I am back... Back to working my ass off. Literally. And I'm exhausted, always. But, I'm not going to complain. Because this time feels so different from the last time. I feel like I have a very small grip on the language, but enough to where I can communicate a little and I know that through this, I will learn a lot more. I got moved to the downstairs kitchen where its is an Osteria that has a much faster pace and very traditional dishes. I am extremely excited about this change. Its a beautiful summer, not a snowy winter. And I am also spending every second with someone I can't get enough of. I'm sorry for all the mushiness, but it is what it is. I'm in Italy for the gorgeous summer AND I'm totally in love. :D besides some sleep, what more do I need??
So.... Three months are winding down once again. My three months here in the states are done. I'm about to journey into round two of my European adventure. Except this time, I have completely different goals, expectations, and fears. This time is going to be different. Not even comparable to the last adventure for many reasons. 1- this time, I go straight to work. There is no traveling around first and then starting work in the middle of my trip. I go straight for it, head on. 2- I know what I'm getting myself into this time, more or less. Yeah, it will be a different experience with new challenges, but for the most part, I know what's in store for me. Which is actually both a blessing and a curse. It's great to know and feel comforted by the fact that I've done this, seen this and felt this all before... but what comes with that is the memory of knowing when it gets rough, it can be really really rough. No joke. I learned from last time that being completely removed from the comforts of home, a persons patience, strength, endurance and instincts are put to the test. Pushed and shoved even. Don't get me wrong, I am ready for this... But the memories of some of the rough moments are vivid and still fresh which makes me believe that ignorance sometimes really is bliss. 3- I am not going into this adventure with Ashleigh. I will be alone. But even that is half a lie... I will not be alone exactly. Which brings me to: 4- this time, I will have someone waiting for me at the gates when I land. Someone I have grown to adore deeply and appreciate immensely. Someone who is equally excited to see me as I am to see them. And someone who has shown me that life isn't just about work and persuing a career, but for having a love for life itself...to not be your own prisoner. This person has opened my heart after it was closed for so long. He has told me that trust isn't easy but it's still very possible. He challenges me and my stubbornness and makes me change my mind about things that ive been absolutely positive on. And he appreciates me, the way I am. It is no secret that a lot of my decision for doing adventure #2 is because of reason 4. Which may sound crazy! The Ashley back in December/January would've called me crazy. Ridiculous even. But I guess this is where we can recognize the changes I've experienced from within. Because I really don't think this is crazy. It's necessary. I must see where this road takes me. Its wayyy too strong to forget about. And its also oh SO heart warming to think of the moment that I land in Bologna at 12:35pm on July 8th and am reunited with Mr. Paolinelli. After 3 months... I will finally get to hug the person that has convinced me that love is worth the risks. So I sit here on America's Independence day, hearing the distant booms of the fireworks, and ponder my near future in Italia. Funny. For me, there is no place like home. But I want to get out and experience another life style and culture before I can feel any more comfortable here. I want to know what's out there and how other people live. And I want to know it well. I AM GOING BACK TO ITALY!!! :O Aside from my fears, I will be surrounded by amazing food, rich culture and history, and people that have a passion for living. I am excited for so many reasons: Ricky, cooking at Righi, eating piadina and squacquerone, Italian beaches. But I am MOST excited to be removed, once again, from my comforts and forced to think outside the box that I know too well. I live to be challenged... It's my addiction. I will be able to further my adventure into the discovery of myself, after I thought I learned everything I could possibly learn. I am going deeper into an experience that will not only benefit my career but also benefit my soul. I am fortunate. I am so lucky. Which makes all my fears and concerns minuscule and not important. I have way more to gain than to lose, so what is left to fear? As far as I'm concerned, adventure number 2 will be just as life altering as adventure number 1, just in a different perspective. I am jumping in, going head on. Ready and willing. Bring it. Because I know that life would not steer me in this direction if I was not ready. Adventure 1 and the aftermath prepared me for adventure 2 so I can only imagine what is in store for me. :D