“Hell is a Place in Which you are Constantly in Fear of Running out of Toilet Paper” – Pope Francis

It’s been a weird day. The morning started with Enzo’s mother hitting on Owen. She spent the night at the house. “Bello. Bello. Bello,” she said the moment she saw him, the meaning made unmistakable by Donatella who helpfully put in, “She thinks you’re handsome.” In case it wasn’t clear, she called him “bello” a couple more times and then started trying to set him up with her seventeen year old niece. According to Owen, the most awkward part of the whole ordeal wasn’t the sheer number of times she called him handsome, but was the way she watched him eat his morning cereal.

It also appears that I’m being haunted by the ghost of toilet paper rolls past. For anybody that hasn’t heard about my Statia experience by now, I spent a summer on a very small island panicking over dwindling toilet paper supplies. I’d be lying if I said toilet paper security wasn’t at least part of the reason why I’d chosen to come to Italy over some other place. But it appears you’re never safe. I assumed Donatella noticed the dwindling supply of toilet paper in the cabinet so it wasn’t until the last roll was used up that I asked her if there was any more stored somewhere in the house. Not realizing that the cabinet was empty, she thought that I just hadn’t been changing the roll. It wasn’t until we were both standing in front of the empty cabinet that she understood. “Oh, Enzo will have to go out tomorrow,” she said.

But he didn’t go out tomorrow. He went out two days later. In the interim time we rationed napkins from the dinner table and I fulfilled one of my early predictions and had to use the bidet. It wasn’t great. Even more confusing for me, is why Donatella keeps her clothes in it.

I really like my host family. I think I don’t say that enough. It’s true that today Donatella knocked on my door and when I said “one second” she came in anyway and had a conversation with me while I was shirtless. But the imposed familiarity isn’t all bad. She talks to me sometimes the way my real mom does. “Did you get in a fight?” she asked, a few days back, when she looked into my bedroom which was strewn with floors and a tangle of blankets from where I’d fallen out of bed. “Yeah,” I replied. “The clothes won.”

She also likes to joke about me being “Queen of the House” whenever they go. Her and Enzo went out tonight and she knocked to tell me they were leaving. “You can throw a party now,” she said. “Go crazy!”

Behind her, Enzo put in, “But don’t forget we’re coming back” which seemed a lot like what my actual dad would say in that situation as well.

Owen and I went to Bologna yesterday. It was exhausting. Mostly because we’re still refusing to pay for a bus. So we left the house around 7 and walked an hour to the train station before taking an hour and a half train into Bologna. Again, the train ride was probably my favorite part. Bologna was nice, bigger than I was expecting, but my favorite part of visiting the city was by far the market, where I bought ten items of clothing for as many euros. One is a pair of jeans that feels like actual torture against my skin, but the other things aren’t bad. I got a couple new shirts out of it anyway and a lucky pair of jeans that fits – though it is mildly bedazzled.

My time management skills when walking continue to be poor. As our time in Bologna came to an end, I took out my phone to see how far I’d wandered from the train station (having walked to it already to make sure I could find it, before wandering off again) and google maps said I was 35 minutes away, which was deeply unfortunate given the fact that our train left in 20 minutes. So I sprinted the rest of the way back, with two bags of clothing flopping wildly in my arms.

These pictures are all from a beautiful walk I found in Fiesole that leads me to an actual forest/park.

Just because I have a mild concern that you’ll forget my face.

One thought on ““Hell is a Place in Which you are Constantly in Fear of Running out of Toilet Paper” – Pope Francis

  1. When Tovia, Erica, David and I went to Bologna many years ago, We could not find a toilet. Hope you didn’t have a similar problem. Check with your Dad to see if he remembers.

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