A few days ago, whilst doing some grocery shopping, Sean and I were discussing the merits of different hair styling products. As we tried our best to decode the Italian labels in front of us, another shopper stopped dead in her tracks just behind us.
“Sorry…are you American?” she asked.
Naturally we were all a little taken aback by one another’s English, (which led to some otherwise awkward interaction…like forgetting to even introduce ourselves by name) but I for one felt a rush of gratitude to be speaking in English to someone other than Sean. She wished us well on our travels, and recommended we try out Domenico’s in Pigneto for gnocchi–a Thursday tradition in Roman kitchens. We parted ways, only to meet up again in the wine section (go figure), at which point we actually exchanged names, nervous laughter, and phone numbers. Ah, the romance of Rome…
Later that night, Kathy invited us via WhatsApp to join her and her fiancé, Davide, for dinner the following evening–an invitation we eagerly accepted. Davide is a local, and met Kathy while touring the US with his record label. Long (romantic) story short, she moved to Pigneto and now teaches private English lessons. We swapped stories of lingual mishaps, and had a total Step Brothers “Did we just become best friends?!” moment when I told Kathy I had purchased Harry Potter in Italian to help myself learn the language: precisely what she did upon moving to Rome!
Having dinner with this couple was such a treat, and the conversation flowed so easily we felt as if they were old friends by the end of our primi. We gave Davide the reins, and told him we wanted to dine as the romans do…to say we were not disappointed is a gross understatement. We feasted on varied bruschetta, gnocchi with a tender pork and tomato sauce, rosticini (grilled sheep skewer–new fave), a custard dessert I can’t remember the name of, aperitifs, and, of course, espresso. Truly a delightful, authentic, dinner.
As we were finishing up our coffees, they began talking of all the wonders of Rome at night, which at that point was not something we’d seen much of. They asked if we would like to go into the city with them and see some of their favorite spots. It was already verging on 10pm, and we had literally just met these folks, but no more than a brief hesitation later we were at their flat, picking up their adorable pup Morfeo, and piling into their car.
Part two, coming soon.