Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another crazy thing I did that freaked out the Italians
So today is my friend Elena's birthday. She has this tradition of going to her favorite pastry place/pasticceria called Sandra's Angolo Dolce every Monday, Thursday and Friday at 8,20 in the moring and ordering the exact same delicious chocolate pastry and a cappuccino with foam. The idea was that I would bring a wrapped gift and a candle and pre-pay her breakfast on the day of her birthday. The only problem is that the shop is closed every Tuesday and Wednesday, and I wanted to plan a surprise for her for today which is Thursday. Therefore, I had to plan ahead. 

On Monday morning it was raining so instead of walking on the walls, I thought I would just walk over there and then do my workout at home. I wore my fugly gortex sneakers, wool socks and capri workout leggings with my hooded purple running jacket and huge telephone booth transparent umbrella. I explain how I was dressed only because in Brooklyn this would not have been noteworthy at all. In Lucca, however it means I was breaking every social convention in the world especially the commandment: Thou shalt not wear workout wear whence not working out and certainly not out in the world or in a store. I was further worried by the fact that in looking up the exact address of the store I came across some reviews on yelp that said that the people who worked there were cold and unwelcoming. Thank goodness, this could not be further from the truth. Shame on you judgmental tourists who bad mouth delicious pastry stores on the review site Yelp!

I had wanted to walk over with F, but T needed him to carry her Flintstone sized backpack loaded with ten tons of books and was not in the mood to be rushed. I walked as fast as my little legs would carry me, as I had only twenty minutes between the store opening and Elena's arrival. I was the first client of the morning and I was determined to be as charming and quirky as I could to get them to agree to my plan. I somehow was too jittery to notice the basket for the umbrellas outside the store, but I didn't want to leak all over the floor so I left my umbrella in what turned out to be a garbage can and got water marks all over their wall. Good one. So I explained to the lady behind the counter and to the owner what I wanted to do and then I had to get them to understand which client I was talking about since they don't know Elena by name. I pantomimed since my Italian level descends in proportion to the rise of my anxiety level. Luckily they recognized her by her order. The owner stopped in her tracks and said, "Oh the one with extra foam on the cappuccino!" And that's when I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. In hindsight I realize that I should have just brought a photo of her and I should have left my phone number with them. Come to think of it, I should have taken their business card and given them a reminder call this morning, but that is all stuff I would have done if I was back in Brooklyn. Here I fly more by the seat of my pants.

Today I didn't get a call first thing so I had all kinds of scenarios going through my head, but the good news is that it all worked out perfectly. Please join me in wishing many Tanti Auguri to Elena. She deserves it!

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