Sunday, January 14, 2007

Recipe for Happiness

The days are winding down in Ferrara. I can count the days that remain on my two hands. The new students have arrived for the next semester and are taking the same first steps that we students took way back in September. At this point, I try to follow my brother’s advice and my own instinct to soak up as much of Italy as possible. I take walks around Ferrara down quiet medieval streets and soak up the life and the lack thereof. Older men group in the central piazza and chit chat for hours, all types of people zoom through the streets on bicycles, the pace of life promenades at a nice relaxed pace.

Sarah and I find ourselves with less and less to do, as we finish our exams and pack up our academic careers at the Universita’ di Ferrara. But the secret to staying content and satisfied is simple. We’re finding new spaces to hang out, reading in a local tea room for a few hours. We went out to the disco last night, and danced until the early hours of the morning, returning to a deserted, mysterious and memorable piazza della cattedrale. I’m planning on going for a bike ride along the city walls and visit the synagogue and Jewish cemetery. Most of all, however, we are embarking on culinary experiments. We’ll invite a friend over, and try something new. Usually it leaves us feeling quite delighted. This last week, for instance, we decided to make chicken skewers with vegetables in the oven and the spices, and juices just made the whole mix delicious. And then Friday night I decided to venture into Sicilian pesto (sundried tomatoes in addition to the usual pesto mix, a little less basil) which left both of us enraptured. All the while the conversation wanders from past to present to future but is always reflective and philosophical. Wrap up the whole experience with a visit to the Neopolitan gelato-maker down our street who, along with conversation, makes the creamiest, most decadent but light gelato I’ve ever tasted and you have yourself happiness. Plain and simple.

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