It’s a cool, gray spring day here in Annapolis, MD. The weather report tells me that it’s not going to rain, but it’s foggy with a light drizzle. So much for that! I was hoping for some sunshine, but alas, that won’t be the case today.
My mind wanders to the view from the balcony of my apartment in Italy perched above the sea. It is a wonderful gift to have memories of my Italian family at Il Ritrovo and it’s thrilling to think ahead as I anticipate my summer visit.I think of Zia Marilu—our evening ritual with towels thrown over our shoulders, drying the wine glasses as they come out of “the machine” (that’s her term for the dishwasher). I remember my time in the kitchen with Salvatore, Sylvania, Roger and Theresa, immersing myself in the culture, food and life while I worked along side them. I would wait tables during the dinner service (well, really I was more of a hostess), tending to the American tourists who flocked to the restaurant. I also worked with the students who come from all over the world to attend Il Ritrovo’s Culinary School to experience Italian Cuisine.
I am living my dream. I love my husband, our life, family and home and wouldn’t trade it for the world. But how wonderful to have found my place in Italy as well!
Il Ritrovo reopened a few weeks ago after its winter sleep. I can see Salvatore, the chef, having his morning café with the dark sugar before overseeing the kitchen prep. Sylvania is baking cookies and Carmine and Paulo are chatting in the dining room, setting tables for today’s service. Salvatore, the waiter, paints murals on the walls in the morning before lunch while Ciro flits about singing “I love you, Baby” to every pretty girl that passes by.
As I look at the clock, I still remember the bus schedule to Positano. Once an hour, it takes us to town down through the tiny streets, then once an hour, it returns. I walk down the street of cobbled stones. It’s not a street by my standards, but a pedestrian walk that leads me home from the piazza. I open the door and go up the 90+ steps, past the lemon trees, past Marilu’s grandchildren playing in the garden and smell the delicious aromas coming out of her kitchen. I let myself into the third floor apartment and relax on the balcony—watching the boats floating in the sea below and feeling the warmth of the sun.
It’s painful, but I must shake off this pleasant daydream. Maybe I’ll have a caffé before I return to work!