Ma dai!

There were many processions, and flags, and throwing of said flags, and carousels, and dancing, and Salamanca (where the floor is always sticky, but which holds many hilarious memories), and that one old man in Blob, and the secret bakery (which was actually anything but secret) where Jonathan came to take your order, and the spicy pizza near Santa Croce which almost killed my taste buds, and the disgusting pineapple and bread salad from Moye (which should be banned), and melting ice creams, and I dread to think how many litres of prosecco, wine and spritz, and dinner parties, and ‘stolen’ hats, and delayed trains, and missed trains, and steamy hot buses, and close shaves with bus fines, and beach days tucked away under an umbrella in the shade, and mild heat stroke before finally developing a salmon-coloured ‘tan’…

…as well as all the usual laughing and crying, and crying with laughter, and high temperatures and sniffles, and finally understanding what ‘tachipirina’ is, and almost-exciting rendezvous with my doctor, and Festunta parties which were actually Fettunta parties, and markets, and leather smells, and leather bags, and mosquitoes, and Italian X Factor evenings, and falling off my bike a lot, and deciding it was safer to walk, and never getting paid on time, and messages from my landlord telling me to ‘let your hair out of your bedroom window tonight, like Rapunzel…’ so he could climb up it, and then locking my window at all times, and being homeless for a few weeks and taking up temporary residence in my office (my suitcases were there anyway), and using up my 15 minutes of fame (in a most appropriate manner) when I graced the cover of The Florentine for a month…

…and bringing a flask of tea to the Fiorentina football match, and riding around on a moto, and having my wallet stolen and then finding it again, loose change still intact –the dream, high-fiving tourists at the leaning tower in Pisa, tandem biking around Lucca, and seeing the Steve McCurry exhibition in Siena, and making Italians grimace at the taste of Marmite, and sitting on the roof with friends to watch the San Giovanni fireworks…

…not to mention all the weird and wonderful people I met, from talking turtle toys, to those who don’t eat anything coloured black or brown, from avid fans of metal detectors, to light-bulb-thieving flatmates, from those who yelled ‘Bella Mozzarella’ and ‘Complimenti alla mamma’, to Abdulla, with whom I ate breakfast for six months before work began, and all the other fantastic people who made me laugh and sing and showed me how to cook pasta the right way and how to make the perfect espresso, who fed me many dinners, who helped me with my Italian, became travel buddies, put up with my incessant photo-taking, patiently indulged my pedalo whims, accompanied me for a romantic evening in a five star hotel, hosted me, looked after me and insomma, became my friends.

Breakfasts overlooking the Florentine skyline, and trying not to giggle my way through ’50 Shades of Grey’, with Vincenzo next to me screeching ‘OH MIO DIO!’ every three seconds, and evenings at the opera, and becoming hoarse with singing at the Backstreet Boys concert, and introducing myself as Catriona before rapidly resorting to Caterina, Kate or ‘whatever you would like’, and failing miserably as a waitress when I handed the bottle of wine to the customers, explaining I couldn’t use the corkscrew and was leaving the job now anyway, and never collecting enough supermarket points for the swimming pool or ice cream maker, and celebrating non-birthdays and real birthdays, and climbing the Cupola too many times, and, and, and…

Life lessons learnt: I can’t take Florence with me, but my Florentine memories aren’t going anywhere. I don’t have a photo of everyone who has made the past two years what they were, but you all know who you are.

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One thought on “Ma dai!

  1. Catriona, this was the sweetest post ever. Obviously you won’t be able to ‘shake us’ and let’s get real, with social media we likely will know what each other had for breakfast, but you will be missed. Your bubbly fun personality is so wonderful to be around, and I predict great things for your future my young lady!

    xoxo Georgy

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