by Melinda Gallo

Daily routines

I used to think that having a routine would be boring. I thought I needed to have so much freedom that I could be free to decide what I'd be doing at every moment of my day. But, I have come to realize that I crave routines. I like writing my morning pages every day, going to the gym a few times a week, running outside in the morning, and my Sunday lunches with Alessandro's parents.

Sundays are generally my lazy days when I give myself a day off from my routine. I still write, but I don't go straight to my computer to check my emails. I sleep in a little bit and I don't go running. After a few hours of reading and moping around, I clean up around the house.

I ride my bike to Alessandro's parent's house in Coverciano for lunch. I usually arrive before 1PM and his mother waves at me from the window of her apartment when she sees me ride up. I lock my bike up across the street from their building because she told me to lock it up to the palo (pole) on the corner. She buzzes me in and I walk up the stairs to their apartment. When I get inside, I kiss his parents hello, drop off all the empty containers from the week before, and put on a pair of ciabatte (slippers) that his mother gave me.

Every Sunday I look forward to my lunch with Alessandro's parents. I always wonder what she's going to make us and I'm so happy when I see the large plate of tiramisù in the refrigerator. This last Sunday she made one my favorites: verdura fritta (fried vegetables). I love anything fried because it's usually done in a light batter. She fried all types of vegetables, like carciofi (artichokes), pomodori verdi (green tomatoes), and fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers).

His mother knows how much I love verdura fritta and she told me that in Florence, they say, "fritta è buona anche una ciabatta (even a slipper is good fried)."

During lunch, we discuss everything from the cronaca (news) to sports and even to what's going on in our lives. His father asked me about my permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) to which I replied that nothing is moving forward. Growing up I never had meals with my family like these. My mother worked every day and was too busy to sit us all down once a week. It's not just the food that I enjoy eating with them, but it's the routine of us coming together to share the food and ourselves.

Usually after lunch, I help his mother clean up a little bit and we chat some more just the two of us while the boys watch sports on TV, which consists mostly of calcio (soccer) at this time of year. Not long after, I go into Alessandro's room and take a penichella (nap).

By the time I wake up, his parents have gone out for their Sunday stroll. And when I arrive in the kitchen, there is a bag filled with goodies for me to take home. Sometimes there's even a note telling me to get a few other things in the refrigerator she has set aside for me, like the tiramisù. Luckily, the cestino (basket) on my bici (bike) is big enough to hold it all.

The only downside is that I have to go over a cavalcavia (overpass) to get home and with the added weight of me and all the avanzi (leftovers), it can be strenuous.

All in all, I love my daily routines and I especially love my Sunday lunches: it is a time when I feel as if I am a part of a family and also a part of their routine as well.

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