by Melinda Gallo

My new naturopata

I went to see my new naturopata (naturopath) yesterday because I wanted to get a few cromopuntura (colorpuncture) treatments, which is basically agopuntura (acupuncture) with light instead of needles. I had tried agopuntura and benefitted from it greatly, but knowing that I was going to get needles poked in me stressed me out each time. A friend of mine told me to go see her agopunturista (acupuncturist), but when she explained that the average number of needles she had at any one time was 30, I almost fainted. My agopunturista never put more than 10 in me at a time.

I took a taxi to her office because it was in Le Cure, an area nearby but on the other side of the viale (big avenue). When she told me the name of the street, I thought I misunderstood her. She said, "Piazzola," but on the map it said, "Piazzuola." The Florentines are a little lazy in their pronunciation at times and sometimes drop the "u" when it's mixed with "o." I don't know how long it took me to realize that "via Calzaiuoli" was spelled like that. All my friends say, "via Calzaioli."

I arrived early and walked around outside in the rain. A few minutes before my appointment, I walked up to the glass door where it said to ring the bell, which I didn't see. A woman came to the door and let me in. I told her with whom I have an appointment and she informed me that she's the one I'll be seeing. She was an energetic and friendly woman who shook my hand vigorously. She told me to sit while she was finishing up with another patient.

She takes me to her office and I tell her that I'd like to try a cromopuntura treatment. "Non mi piacciono gli aghi." (I don't like needles.), I added hoping to make my case a little stronger. "Ma tu hai le origini cinesi!" (But you have Chinese origins!), she said, giggling as if I were joking. "Sì, ma non mi piacciono lo stesso." (Yes, but I still don't like them.)

She tests my body using biofeedback while I place my finger on different vials in a wooden box. She later tells me that I have a few intolleranze alimentari (food intolerances) and that my body responds better to cromopuntura than agopuntura.

She prescribes me a few things I'd never heard of and we schedule an appointment to do a cromopuntura treatment the following week. When I go to shake her hand, she pulls me slightly forward to kiss me goodbye on both cheeks.

After I left her office with my laundry list of items to take, I took the bus back to Piazza San Marco. I walked to my local farmacia in the rain without an umbrella. There are two farmacie within about 200 feet of our building and I picked the one I thought would more likely have prodotti omeopatici (homeopathic products).

I walked into the farmacia on via dei Servi where a white-haired, but rather young-looking, woman comes out to help me. I hand her my ricetta (prescription) and she turns around to quickly look on the shelves behind her.

"Ho dei fiori Bach, ma questi australiani non ne ho. E poi questi prodotti omeopatici, devo ordinare." (I have Bach flowers, but not the Australian flowers. And these homeopathic products I'll have to order.), she said sliding my ricetta back to me over the counter.

"Lei potrebbe ordinarli per me?" (Could you order them for me?), I ask. "Certo, se mi lasci la ricetta." (Sure, if you leave your prescription with me.), she responds, wanting to grab my ricetta from me. I explained that I still needed it, so she copied down the items to order.

While she was writing down what I needed, I looked around the farmacia. I consider most things quite normal in there, like shampoo, baby food, diapers, body lotions, lip balm, and perfume. But, some things, I probably wouldn't have expected, like mosquito repellent, cosmetics, and ear plugs, which I have learned are necessary when living in the city.

She handed me back my ricetta and told me to come back next week. "Ma non sono sicura di averli per Lei perché non posso chiamare la mattina." (But I'm not sure I'll be able to get them for you because I can't call until the morning.) I told her that I'd go and try to find them sooner because I wanted to start taking them sooner. She kept the piece of paper and I told her that I'd return if I didn't find them sooner.

I went to a small erboristeria next door because I didn't think that I'd be able to find what I wanted at the farmacia. I showed the woman my ricetta and the first thing she asked me was, "Che cosa hai?" (What do you have?) I was surprised by her indiscretion and decided to not answer the question. "Questi fiori australiani ce l'ha?" (Do you have these Australian flowers?) "No, per quelli devi forse chiamare Milano o ordinarli via Internet. Non si trovano così facilmente a Firenze." (No, for those, you'll have to call Milan or order them via Internet. They are not found that easily in Florence." I felt a little disappointed, but walked out buying one of the bottles of fiori di Bach on my ricetta from her.

I walked around the corner to the other farmacia where the man called un magazzino (a warehouse) while I stood there. He ordered each item and they had it in stock. He told me to return tomorrow.

When I returned today, he had all of my rimedi naturali waiting for me in a bag. My impatient side let out a sigh of relief, and I rushed home to begin taking my prodotti omeopatici as prescribed.

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