Ciao Bella!

Italy.

Where do I begin? Food. Mmmmmm yes. Let's always start out with the food, shall we?

The pizza, the pasta, the cappuccinos, the tiramisu, the ice-cream . . . . . . .

The pizza was made on bread so thin and so fresh and so warm that it satisfied every pizza craving I've ever had. The pasta was always made with this rich, creamy sauce that wasn't too heavy and wasn't too light. It was pasta and cream that was paired with cheese and mushrooms and peas and black pepper. So simple, yet so perfect. The cappuccinos were always served in a cute little cup with a plate and a small spoon. It was the perfect amount of coffee. And you only needed one packet of sugar. That's it. None of these tall, grande, venti fill you up with with preservatives Starbucks crap. (I'm sorry Starbucks, I still love you when I am outside of Italy! I am actually writing this blog from a Starbucks right now. LOL ) The tiramisu was the perfect combination of cake and cream which was so decadent and light. One bite would take you to a heavily bliss of delightful coffee and cocoa. Oh and flavors! They had strawberry tiramisu, chocolate tiramisu, and my favorite banana tiramisu! And last but not least the ice cream. The ice cream. There aren't enough emojis in the world to explain this ice cream! It was the best ice cream I've ever had in my life. And luckily there is a place in most large cities of the world called Amorino which is amazing and tastes just like Italy. If your taste buds are like mine, I suggest a pairing of chocolate, coffee, and hazelnut which is again, Heaven. ;)

I met my family in Italy after such a long time. In over a decade at least. Maybe even two. And seeing them after so long made my heart and soul so happy. My cousins and I all grew up together as kids. They were in the states often and I had visited them in Italy once a super long time ago. The best part is that when I saw them again, it felt like no time had gone by (except that they were married with kids now) but you know what I mean. ;) My Aunt took me down the streets of Rome and told me about the the past 43 years that she had lived there. It was so cute. She pointed out all of places she had been to and lived in.  My Aunt took me to the Fontana Di Trevi (which is basically like a really cool water fountain next to a really cool statuesque building). My Aunt said that if you throw a coin into this fountain you will come back to Rome. I had thrown a coin in that same fountain over 15 years ago and I guess it worked! This time I decided to throw two coins. One for myself and one for my future husband. (I know, I'm a cheesy hopeless romantic!) Anyways, my Aunty truly loves the city of Rome and seeing and spending time with her was not only a joyful experience but a spiritual experience as well. Although we should not be attached to our names or backgrounds or anything like that, it's nice to know where you come from. It gives you a sense of belonging. It also gives you a sense of acceptance. I know that all families may not be like this, but generally speaking, no matter what you do in life, no matter what happens, your family will always have your back. Even if you haven't seen them or spoken to them in years. Even if you are angry with them or if they are angry with you, the connection will never break. Even if some want it to break, it just can't break. You cannot stop someone from being your parent. You cannot stop someone from being your brother or sister or cousin or Aunty or Uncle. You just can't. So, embrace the connection. Love the connection. God put those people in your life and gave you all that connection for some reason and some purpose. . . .

Yikes! Back to Italy!
Out of the many places that my family took me too, one of them was the Vatican. And wow. Just wow. You know what? I've always had my biases. And I still do. I remember walking into the Golden Temple and thinking wow, the floor, the walls, the ceiling is all so intrinsically designed. I always thought to myself that the Golden Temple is the most beautiful place on Earth. (I still hold this opinion as I am biased by the way. ;) However, being in the Vatican reminded me that there are indeed other beautiful places on this Earth that hold so much culture, history, and spirituality. And I was very lucky to be in the presence of this Church and to appreciate it for all that it had to offer. I could not take my eyes off of the ceiling. I was literally walking with my head facing upwards. (I'm so surprised I didn't trip and fall!)  And when I came back to America all I could think is, "Why are our buildings so plain and simple and boring even though we have so much more technology now then we did back then?"

Another one of the most amazing places that my family took me to was Venice. It was surreal. It was beautiful. It was art. It was love. It was so amazing that I felt like I was on a movie set. There was one more thing that I was astonished by. I had been to Las Vegas twice in the past year. The Venetian and the Palazzo did a damn good job of replicating Venice. So much so that the buildings, canals, towers, and walkways looked identical. I recognized them immediately and I was very impressed. Did I go on the Gondola rides you ask? For 80 Euros per person, no ma'am! I am an Indian at the end of the day. :) I decided to save the Gondola ride for another time. Yes you heard me when I said another time. I threw the coin in that fountain. I am going back one day. ;) In the meantime we walked for free.  How else was I to burn off all of that ice cream?!

Speaking of which. An interesting thing happened in Venice. My cousins and I took a train from Rome to Venice which was a few hours. My Aunty loaded us up with snacks for the train. And when I say she loaded us up, she loaded us up! Why am I telling you guys about these snacks besides that fact that I'm such a foodie? You'll see in just a minute. I had a plastic bag with a full size bag of chips, apple juice cartons, and I think some bars if I remember correctly. Upon arriving in Venice, none of us wanted to carry this bag of snacks with us. And they were too big to put into my purse. So, I told them that I'd give them to the next homeless person I see. (Remember I'm Indian, I hate throwing away food!) After a bit of walking, sure enough I saw a few homeless ladies on the street begging for money. They were fully covered, they were wearing a burqa and hijab and the were saying "Assalamu Alaikum" with their hands out requesting money. (Dear Muslim friends, if I spelled this wrong, please forgive me. I googled it!) I happily gave them all of our snacks and they happily accepted and starting eating and drinking immediately. After walking bit more, I starting thinking out loud to my cousins. I said, "You know it's interesting. You really won't see any muslims or any immigrants for that matter begging on the streets of America because they would rather just go back to their country then to end up in that position." I have never once seen a Muslim or Sikh or Hindu begging on the streets of America. It's unheard of. Our communities would jump in and help if it ever got to that point. My cousin then said, "They were Syrian refugees, they don't have a home to go back to."

A Syrian Refugee?!

Flashback to news channels and social media bashing Trump for banning all Syrian refugees from entering the United States of America. All I could think was, "Wow, America is so big and so huge, yet we close our doors quite a bit, however Italy is so very small in comparison and they welcomed these refugees." No wonder the rest of the world doesn't like us very much.

Then another thought entered my head. . . . .

"Of all of the things that I could have given, did I really just give a Syrian Refugee a kid's apple juice carton and a bag of cheese flavored potato chips?!"



Bhull Chuk Maaf
Miss Kaur :) 

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