Gone are the carefree days of spring break. Hello to Roma dog poop-laden sidewalks and cranking out a Giovanni Verga novel in a matter of hours. Goodbye, yee ‘ol beautiful English-speaking folks. Buongiorno, italiano. How I’ve missed thee and your passato prossimo and l’imperfetto conjugations…
Good thing I had some darn good food throughout the past week to get me back in this Italian mindset (not that it’s difficult at all :)). But before we get to the chow, let me start by telling y’all about my foot issues. And my identity crisis. From a distance, I am 99% sure I look like an 82-year-old woman. I’ve self-diagnosed myself (with the help of webMD, natch) with a strained Achilles Tendon. This little physical ailment of mine is due to a number of reasons:
- My stupidity and desire to pack “light,” which led me to bring only my Hunter rain boots and moccasins on my ten-day holiday.
- The fact that I brought not my current pair of running shoes, but my pair that came before ’em, so I could “just throw ’em away!” at the end of the semester. And you thought you were doing someone a favor, Anna…seriously?
- Pounding and pounding and pounding my poor little feet on the treadmill day in and day out and walking through the
streetshills of Rome for hours on end, all in Asics so holey they could probably join my church congregation and countless other pairs of shoes (well, actually not that countless — I did have a weight limit coming over here!) with nada support.
I had (thankfully) scheduled to be in Roma last weekend, and as frustrating as it was to spend the beautiful spring days inside reading my Italian lit novel(s) and catching up on episodes of Modern Family, this was bound to happen. Seriously. As I look at those three points above, I can’t help but almost be grateful in a way. Grateful? I know what you’re thinking. At first I was furious, too. Here I am, in one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world and I can’t walk with any shoe with a back on it? I ran for 6:48 minutes and suddenly felt the pain creep up my tendon to my thigh and hip. As annoying as it is to ice and elevate my foot for 4+ times a day, as guilty as I’m feeling for not being able to take advantage of the gorgeous weather, I could sit and wallow in self-pity. Or I could look on the bright side.
5 Reasons I’m Happy…Right Now (IR Version — i.e. “Injured Reserved”)
- This “injury” of mine happened during a time where I have 2 low-key weekends at “home,” in Roma…before all the walking around, hiking, and biking that’ll be done when my parents come in a few weeks.
- All of my bones are intact, meaning (as far as I know), no broken bones that’ll require a cast, a cane (MOM), or a motorized scooter with a blazing orange flag sticking out the back.
- While I am very uncomfortable taking this many sequential days off of running (or at least some form of cardio), I’m taking advantage of the time off…to recuperate both physically and mentally (and I hope to be more psyched up than ever to run when this thang’s over!)
- This minor roadblock is teaching me patience. And the fact that things won’t always go my way. Supposedly, a kid from my program was just in the hospital (and had to miss a springbreak trip to Greece!) because of a lung infection. And I really was angry at my situation?
- More so than anything, this was kind of a wake-up call for me to take care of myself even more so than I do today. I eat healthy, complete heart-pumpin’ cardio workouts most days of the week, have added regular stretching into my routine, and make sure to get enough sleep. But do I get in enough calcium? (Bone mass peaks around age 22 — yikes!) Am I really getting the variety of vitamins & nutrients my body needs to perform at its best? Am I putting my ‘tootsies in the supportive, fully-functioning sneaks they should be in so they can carry me from mile 1 to mile 500? These things are the things I’ll be workin’ on…
Chow ‘o the week (still in that Ireland speak, obviously)
1. A chocolate croissant.
The words are so simple, but this
dessert breakfast was anything but. The complexity of the flaky layers of fresh-from-the-oven dough paired harmoniously with silky, oozing Nutella. The sugar crystals and confectioners’ sugar sprinkled on top were just the icing on the cake croissant 🙂
Oh my lanta. I am actually quite glad I hadn’t discovered earlier that these are in my building(!) Who knew that the best bakery item I’ve had throughout my 2+ weeks here would be at Rinaldo’s Cafe in the basement of my campus building? I was telling Linnea about these — and she was laughing hard when I told her I have never actually made audible “mmm!” noises while eating. Well, I did. This thang was just that good.
2. Taste-testing at the Ingresso Mercato Trionfale.
(Sidenote: This was before I realized I had anything really wrong with my foot. But due to the slight ache in my heel at the time, I decided I should wear my Asics. Which meant I
couldn’t shouldn’t really wear my normal/skinny pants. Which meant I was haulin’ out the yoga pants for a “sporty” style. Hah! I totally fit in with all the stylish Italians that day.)
On our walk around Roma on Friday, Julie and I stopped at this little market semi-hidden in the arched walkway of an open-air building. My dad and I had actually run past this on his visit, but when we returned later, it was closed. Julie and I had fun meandering through the different stalls: everything from steroid-infused eggplants (kidding of course, but they were huge!) to…wrapping paper? We were even offered samples of a butcher’s fresh prosciutto and mortadella (both delish!).
3. A spinach and mozzarella panini at Forno Campo de’ Fiori
There was a line to order at this sandwich shop, located mere steps from the Campo de’ Fiori market (located in the piazza of the same name). I took this line as a sign that the food was good, especially since many of the customers looked like locals!
Where the Italians lead…follow. I was so happy with my sandwich — can you believe the fact that it was slightly too cold for my palate didn’t even bother me? Then it must have been good!
Since the piazza was packed (leaving no room to sit on the fountain, as many smart & hungry people were doing), Julie and I plopped ourselves on the periphery of the piazza, in the semi-shade/semi-sun.
That is…until the shop owner came and asked us to move (we were supposedly blocking him from business…whoops…)
Crisp bread with (semi) warm, flavorful spinach and (semi) melted mozzarella…mmm…. But I’m really not making it sound all that great with all those “semi”s, am I? How cruel of me. This place was delish!
4. A chocolate shot at the chocolate bar.
Now, what you’ve all been waiting for — a video of me taking a chocolate shot at a bar in Trastevere that specializes in, well, everything chocolate!
Rather than a bar where people linger over cocktails and chat with friends, here you basically stand in a line, take your shot (while simultaneously taking a video and/or pictures), and peace out. I had been wanting to go here for ages!
We chose the 2nd one on the right side of the “menu.” I saw nocciola (hazelnut) and my eyes lit up. I thought a chocolate shot meant you took the shot and then proceeded to slowly nibble (and have time to savor/enjoy) the chocolate shot glass that it comes in (I know, right?!). I was wrong. The bartenders kindly demonstrate that, nope, you’ve gotta take it alllll in one shot!
Enjoy the video — and please don’t laugh, or do, but don’t tell me. (It’s a whole lottttaaa chocolate to put in your mouth at one time!)
Since I’d been peskering my friend to go with me for weeks, she — and now you all — know I can die happy. I only wish Layne was coming to visit so I could take her there — but for some reason, I feel like I’ll be going back at least once before the end of the semester…