by Melinda Gallo

Ben tornata!

Today, we woke up earlier. At least it was before noon. I went straight to the living room and decided after two full days of being back, it was time to put everything away. Looking at my many stacks of books on the coffee table, I realized that I did pack a lot of books. The one thing I did realize while organizing everything was that our magazines were fewer, but heavier.

Afterwards, I wanted to pick up some groceries at the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio. Only one girl at the bakery knew that I was going away. I generally don't tell everyone what I'm up to since we don't really have that close of a relationship.

I didn't arrive at the market until a half an hour before it closed. When I got to the ortolana (green grocer), she asked me, "Dove sei stata?" (Where have you been?) I told her that I went to California. "Ah...com'?" (Oh...how is it?) "Bellissima!" I told her.

When I saw the girl at the forno (bakery), she said, "Ben tornata!" (Welcome back). She told me that she hoped it was warmer than it has been here. I didn't find it all that cold, but a bit cooler than California. To keep her dream alive, I did tell her that it was much warmer. It wasn't completely true, but it was in the 90's for a few days when we were in LA. Other than that, it was in the low 70's in the Bay Area while we were there.

When I got meat at the macellaio (butcher), I noticed that they don't wear gloves. They handle the meat and the money with the same bare hands. I forgot how sanitary the US is in comparison. When I got my meat home, I washed it. I'll have to look up sanitizing meat on the Internet.

I unpacked all the groceries when I got home and noticed that there was some mud in the bag that contained my fruit and vegetables. The roots of the basil I got was packed with a small bag of dirt. How the vegetables were all so dirty. I don't remember ever seeing much dirt on the fruits and vegetables back in the US. I know I used to wash my fruits and vegetables when I got them home, but I know I didn't scrub them like I do here.

It was fun to go back to the market. It was like seeing old friends whom I haven't seen in a long time. I'm looking forward to my next visit and I hope I'll get to tell them all more about my trip.

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