Picture this: It’s Summer in Florence, you’ve had three glasses of red wine — ideally Barolo — and your Italian is feeling VERY FLUENT. You end up in a Santa Croce club, have one too many free tequila shots and end your night on a stoop, inhaling the best Kebab you’ve ever had in your life — fries included — with friends and strangers at 2am. If you know, you know.
But it’s looking like it might be a hot minute until someone can take us all dancing and for juicy vegetarian kebabs under Florentine skies…Italian lockdown has been extended until May 3rd, and I’m trying to keep my cool, but the cabin fever is getting real — even for a homebody like me.
April, man. WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN. Well, I’ll start with the heavy stuff because I’m human.
Last week, I “celebrated” 10 years since losing my brother Antony. One decade. This one was harder than the others. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. And — as I’m sure many of you already know — time does not make the cut any less deep, you kind of just get used to the permanent damage and live with it, pain and all. Missing someone and knowing you’ll never see them again FUCKING SUCKS MAN. I’M SORRY FOR SWEARING.
Being stuck in the house and forced to listen to my neighbor’s FULL VOLUME ITALIAN RAP BATTLES (WHY THOUGH, WHY) made this one extra hard. But let’s focus on the good and STAY POSITIVE cause we all need as much positivity as we can get: IT WAS KIWI’S 10TH BIRTHDAY this weekend!
It’s hard to believe she’s been hanging out with me for the past 10 years. How wild that I’ve kept her alive and well THIS WHOLE TIME. We’ve moved 11 times. 11 TIMES IN 10 YEARS. It went something like Montreal to Florence to Montreal to Vancouver to Montreal and back to Florence once more.
Kiwi’s seen all of it. The mistakes, the pregaming, the panic attacks, the jello shots, the studying abroad, the bad haircuts, the heartbreak, the friends, the bad jobs, the relationships, ALL OF IT.
And I only got Kiwi because IN 2010, I HAD A PASSIONATE SOUTHERN ITALIAN BOYFRIEND — his name was Massimiliano and had a cute blue motorcycle, #memories — who said to me “Secondo me hai bisogno di un piccolo cane bianco.” Translation: I think you need a small white dog.
So what did I do? I got myself a little almost-white dog and trained her with the help of an old book from the 80s called “How to train your dog” that I found in my Nonna’s basement. I think she turned out great. HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIWI, YOU’RE SO ANNOYING. I LOVE YOU.
Besides the 10 years of missing Antony thing and Kiwi’s 10th birthday, I’m also excited to share that I’ll be celebrating MY 30TH BIRTHDAY — YEAH YOU GUESSED IT —IN LOCKDOWN! DON’T BE TOO JEALOUS, WE CAN’T ALL BE THIS LUCKY.
Obviously, this wasn’t exactly how I envisioned the next decade of my life starting. I was thinking something along the lines of Ibiza and whiskey sours, but it’s looking more like Netflix, sushi and white wine. But you know what? I still have a job, a house and my health, I’m BEYOND THANKFUL and will focus on ordering THE MOST EXPENSIVE SUSHI I can afford. So like, regular sushi.
I am SO RELIEVED to be leaving my 20s behind. I was a bit terrified at first, but I’m feeling good about it. IS 30 REALLY THE NEW 20? AM I STILL ALLOWED TO LISTEN TO TEEN MUSIC? IS IT OK TO BE AN AVID TIKTOK FAN IN YOUR 30S? WILL THEY STILL LET ME INTO THE CLUB? I have so many questions. To everyone who has been through it, do you feel the same? Do you miss your twenties? PLEASE LET ME KNOW!
Now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest, let’s move on to the important stuff:
MY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR QUARANTINE
I didn’t realize how much I missed reading until this whole lockdown thing got real. A solid hour of reading every night has been life-changing. I’ve seen others talk about what they’ve been reading during this quarantine, and I thought I’d do the same. Instead of choosing new books, I’ve mostly gone back to my favourites. It’s kind of like comfort food for the soul.
GIOVANNI’S ROOM – James Baldwin
It’s Paris. It’s late nights and whiskey. It’s an American boy and an Italian boy. It’s romance. It’s tragic. It’s heartbreak. One of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITES. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I FEEL YOU, JAMES BALDWIN.
WHAT DO YOU WITH AN IDEA? – Kobi Yamada
This children’s book teaches you everything you need to know about believing in yourself and your ideas. If you have kids or creative adult friends, BUY THEM THIS BOOK, I BESEECH YOU. If your friends are artists, writers, freelancers, whatever—just get them a copy and thank me later. Protect what you believe in.
The PLEASURES OF THE DAMNED – Charles Bukowski
My Bukowski love is forever. The women! The drinking! The writing! The suffering! I LOVE THIS MAN AND I LOVE HIS POEMS. I’ve had this one for years and always keep it on (or near) my bedside table. If you want to read poetry, but don’t want it to be lame and don’t know where to start — THIS IS WHERE YOU START. It’s about SINNERS AND SAINTS AND WHISKEY AND GIRLS AND WOMEN AND CREATIVITY AND LIFE. TI AMO CHARLES.
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN – Simon Winchester
MAN, I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s MADNESS. It’s about making the first-ever edition of the Oxford dictionary. They turned it into a movie last year BUT I DON’T WANT TO RUIN MY LOVE FOR THE BOOK AND START PICTURING MEL GIBSON AND SEAN PENN AS I READ so I’ll never watch it. Read the book first.
ON THE ROAD – Jack Kerouac
This one’s a classic and the perfect way to escape your quarantine reality by imagining your sexy runaway life on the road. I read so much (too much) Kerouac as a teen. A few years ago, I bought the Italian version, but it just didn’t read the same. Get this book in English and feel all the feelings.
If you’ve already read one of these, LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! If you have book recommendations for me, PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW!
I guess that’s it! I’ll end this post with my VERY FASHIONABLE FACE MASK. Nobody is allowed to leave the house in Tuscany without one these days. So here I am, trying to be a CUTE JAPANESE GIRL. How do Japanese girls look cute in these? And I have a really hard time breathing with this mask on?! Nurses and doctors are heroes.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share some of your book recommendations below!