And Here We Go Again

I know I’ve been away from blogging for quite a while now. It’s time I made my return.

A couple months into my occultation, my heart was warmed to see requests for a return, text messages and facebook exclamations from friends, family, and acquaintances expressing their longing for another post. As big a smile they brought to my face, in practice I ignored them, like an uppity snob. This morning, after sitting in quietly to a conversation of New Year resolutions and goals the night before, I’ve decided I must restart now, before my readers are bitter, and I let too many months pass by to be able to undo it all. The randomness of my stream of consciousness brings me to say, if Tupac ever wants to come out of his occultation too, he should do so, before seventeen more years have passed and he’s lost his fan base to the new generation of whatever is going on at the moment.

My blogging decreased when the guinea pig migrated West for the summer, taking my inspiration away with him. But, it was the TSA tragedy that put it to a halt; finding my camera lens shattered after a long Tehran –> Franfurt, Franfurt –> Boston flight followed by three hours aboard the Dartmouth Coach to Hanover. With my guinea pig back and my camera as good as new, I am left with no excuses, and much to say. My more recent holiday travels were a merrier experience; the guinea pig proposed on one knee, I said yes, and no cameras were broken, although U.S. Agriculture did throw away my two kilos of smoked Persian rice I attempted, and failed, to smuggle into the country. What a shame. I put my backpack down to relieve my shoulders from the heaviness, as I stood by the belt waiting for the guinea pig to catch up and our bags to come out. As soon as my back pack went on the floor, a little beagle as cute as any puppy sniffed out an innocent bag of dates, which in the end, sent me and all of my luggage for full inspection, and my rice dinners to cancellation. Damn dog.

It started in Italy; I visited the guinea pig and his family in a small town a forty five minute train ride from Venice. Their house was tucked in the countryside, warmed with a wood burning stove, with a sour pomegranate tree outside their kitchen window, used only to infuse grappa, the region’s nurtured liquor, adding a few drops of antioxidants to their post-dinner guilty pleasures. Speaking of dinner, every meal illustrated my imagination’s hope, multiple courses, brought out one by one, one after another. Never did I think I would enjoy a white slice of pure pig’s fat, but lardo on bread surprised my taste buds with gratification.

My day in Venice included heavy fog, sauteed onion slathered sardines (of course fresh from the water and not from the can like the American conception of the small fish), and a lot of white polenta, although I prefer mine yellow. I find white polenta to have no flavor, which is probably intended. I trust Venetians, if not all Italians, have their reasons for continuously pairing it with seafood.

We found a small place across the station for breakfast, petite simple sandwiches of crusty bread and luscious prosciuttto, speck, and salami and cheese. It was filled with locals happy to have somewhere hidden from and untouched by tourists, getting a cheap but tasty drink before work, what seems to be the Venetian way of life. We walked in and I let the guinea pig lead; I learned that not many speak English in Italy. The shopkeeper stood behind a counter, with a display of sandwiches exhibited beneath glass. He interrupted the guinea pig before he could utter his second word towards our request, claiming he’s on his break. He then put a short stemmed glass on the counter, filled it with wine, and tipped it over into his throat, and let out an exhale of satisfaction, then asked what we would like. We were tempted, and ordered Cabernets for breakfast, because when in Venice, do as the Venetians do.

Breakfast in Venice

I won’t go into detail but I will say that my guinea pig’s Venetian proposal was not the cliche champagne on a gondola. It was the dessert to a full day of our style of excursion; simple and sweet, in San Marco Square on a satisfied stomach and tired feet. My tongue may have been still black from the cuttle fish in ink sauce dinner; but my fingers and toes were warm after the delightful mug of hot chocolate, and my heart was smiling.

And there you go. We’re engaged. If anyone had any doubts about whether or not they were smelling a love story between the guinea pig and me, I’m sure they’ve now been cleared out a bit. Not too shabby of a comeback, no?