Exploring life and the world with wide eyes and curiosity.

New Faces, More New Friends

How often do any of us put ourselves in the position to meet so many people in so many ways in so short a time? How readily do we open our lives to the touch of strangers?

I came here to Italy wanting to have relationships and experiences, and to gather images. I have done all of that in greater ways than I could have imagined and I now carry the faces of new friends with me. Their eyes, their voices, our conversations and our laughter will follow me as I leave this place behind. Most I will likely not see again. Some I may. But they have all become a part of my life by stepping into my days here.

Please meet some of the people I’ve met since January.
On New Year’s Eve I wrote about the new friends from my first six months here in Milano.
It is harder to leave them than I had imagined.

MARY - Italian. She's 85 and has been working at the cemetery for 15 years. She works with the priest in the small chapel, preparing for the memorial masses. Her "Rotondo" handwriting started me on a quest for classic, Italian penmanship samples.

NINNI & AGNESE - Italians, from Sardegna. Dear-hearted, they own the Carlotta Cafe and serve memorable meals.

ANGELO - True Milanese Italian. My "History Buff on Wheels". He showed me some of the one-lane farmland roads that have become my balm and my delight.

SARA - American. An artist, sculptor and creator studying fashion design in the Summer courses at NABA. Her work is poetic and rich and I anticipate very creative work from her!

MICHELANGELO & TERESA - An Italian and an American, in Venice. They've been married for 15 (or more?) years and are the only sellers of the most beautiful glass beads in Venice.

BRUNELLO - Italian. We had a freezing-cold bike ride together in the middle of January. Brrr!

SIGNORA ADA - Italian, and Venetian restaurateur. She's an imp with a sparkle in her eye.

ALESSANDRO - Italian. He'd love to move to the U.S.

NICOLETTA - Italian. A WOMAN on the bike path! A rare sight, so we talked about it.

ERIK - Italian, with Sardegnan family roots. He served me octopus and potatoes several times.

EWA - Polish. My first independent, spontaneous friend here in Italy.

CLAUDIO - Italian, from Genova. He and his wife, Marina, hosted me for an impromptu city tour and lunch.

LUIGI - Italian. Industrious and resourceful, gathering firewood and compost along the canal to carry home on his bike.

MELTEM - Turkish. One of the "Aperitivi Girls", we know each other through the Italian language classes.

SANDRA & MATIA - Turkish and Italian. Sandra and I met, like many others, in our Italian language class. With our interests in Art and Design, we have much in common. We traveled to Bologna together, with Matia, for a wintertime, city-wide Arts exhibition.

MAUREEN, BRUNELLO, NOEMI - 1 American and 2 Italians. Brunello and Noemi are with NABA, and there were several of us together at the Mayflower Pub, relaxing at day's end.

GERRY & CONNIE - Americans. Goofy cousins visiting Milano for one night before they move on to Venice.

ANAIS & HER FRIENDS - French. Anais and I were in Italian language class together. Her friends came over for the weekend to celebrate her birthday.

ASHLEY - American, from Chicago. She's studying photography at a school nearby.

CARLO & VICENZO - Italians. Dressed like jailbirds and co-guests at an impromptu aperitivo.

ROBERTO - Italian, from Milano. He was our beloved and silly Italian teacher. He made the 3-hour-a-day class a kick-in-the-pants. We all joked a lot.

MARIA - Italian. We met at an ONAV gathering and enjoyed an animated conversation. She's a dear.

CESARE, MAUREEN, ROBY, VALERIO, ANTONIO - 4 Italians and an American girl. I was surprised to find that I had been seated at a table of men at a wine-tasting event.

NINO - Italian. His oil paintings are exquisite and two of them will hang in my home in Seattle.

MARCELLO & RAFFAELLA - Italians, from Bologna. The three of us have an American friend in common. That bond alone opened their door to me. They invited me in and we talked for hours. A lovely couple offering cooking tours of Italy, through Bluone Cooking Tours.

TANIA - Italian. Leader for NABA's Fashion Design Program. A fine, bright woman that I've only caught a hint of.

EARL & MATHEW - Americans. Long-time family friends, here for a whirlwind tour of Italy and lots of pizza and pastries.

MARINA - Italian, from Genova. We met when I bought hat forms from her at the antiques market along the Naviglio Grande. Later, she and her husband hosted me for a day in Genova.

EMILIO - Italian. A friend from my cycling community.

FEDERICA - Italian. A fellow student from the wine-tasting class.

EUGENIO - Italian. The teller from my bank.

GIUSEPPE - Italian. Another ONAV wine-tasting student.

THE APERITIVI GIRLS - French, Australian, Turkish, American. We are linked by our Italian language studies and have gotten together once-a-month or so. We speak in multiple languages at our table.

HASSAN - Iranian. A fellow language student.

KERYN - Australian/New Zealander. Another of the group of women that meets for aperitivi now and then. We traveled to Verona together for a weekend.

LOREDANO - Italian from Veneto. He's a painter with a studio along the Naviglio Grande. If you scramble a few letters of his name, you get "Leonardo".

ZIBBY & HANNAH - Americans, daughters of friends back home in Seattle. We had less than 24 hours together, but they were full of conversation and curiosity.

MAKO & QING SHENG - Chinese. We ate our lunches side-by-side, then strolled the antiques market together, 2 Chinese and 1 American speaking Italian, our common language.

THUSHAN - Sri Lankan. Our "portiere", Thushan keeps our office/apartment building running smoothly.

MARIO - Italian. One of the regional heads of ONAV, the National Organization of Wine Tasters.

ROBY - Italian. "My favorite bartender", which makes it sound like I'm always at the bar… but he hosts many of the student social evenings at his Mayflower Pub, so I've been there a number of times. Or sometimes, when walking by, I'll stop just to say "hello".

MAURO, SANDRA, MAUREEN, SANDRO - 3 Italians and 1 short American. My landlords and a friend of theirs, all from Sanremo on the Italian Riviera. We were in Monaco for the day.

MEGAN - American. We met in Italian language class and have remained friends. She came here with long-range plans, but is heading back to the States as soon as it's cool enough for her kitty to fly.

ROCCO & GIANNI - Italian. ONAV wine tasting students. One night, class was getting out very late, close to 11:30 at night, so several of us left early to head to the subway before it closed. Gianni had a nice red wine in his glass still, so he walked down the street, into the subway and onto the train, sipping his red. (Never in the U.S.!)

OZDEN - Turkish. Another friend from my Italian language classes and one that joins the group for aperitivi.

SALLY - American. A dear friend and art lover from Seattle that came for a visit and "Maureen's Eye View" of Italy.

SALVATORE - Italian. Comically stereotypical while trying to "score" on the 2-hour train ride. He said it was a hot day and that's why he was unbuttoning his shirt down to his navel. Yeah, right.

VALENTINA - Italian. Another friend from the ONAV wine tasting class.

MAUREEN, QUENTIN, BEATA, PAOLO - 2 Americans, 2 Italians. We met at NABA and ended laughing through the evening and planning a cycling tour of Italy for the future.

OMAR - Italian. Omar sat next to me in the ONAV wine-tasting classes and speaks a bit of English. If I didn't understand what was said in class, I could glance over at Omar's notes and see if I could understand what he had written.

PIERO - Italian. We saw each other a couple of times along the street and exchanged a nod and some music.

  1. GaryJuly 31,10

    Wonderful to get to know some of the people who enriched your time in Italy. Glad you had that incredible experience, but it will also be awesome to have you back in Seattle!

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