thanksgiving, italian style

Florence Travel Blog

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Thanksgiving, Italian style was actually very similar to Thanksgiving, Asian style.  In that there was a giant roast beef instead of turkey.  And that there was cheesecake for dessert.  Unlike Asian Thanksgiving in that the waiter kept encouraging me to drink grappa for the digestive system until the little old man who owned the restaurant said to stop because I couldn't handle it.  Hahaha...they must get a lot of Japanese tourists in there to be able to recognize the Asian glow.

I was sad about missing my favorite of all holidays (food!  family!  football!) and the kick-off to the holiday season (how do people in other countries know when to start their Christmas shopping without Thanksgiving?  Do they just decide to go out and do it one day?) but it turned out to be pretty good after all.  Of course, not nearly as good as Christmas and New Years will be with all this company turning up!  Task sheets to come..I'm not kidding.

Sometimes Florence feels so full of designer stores and gawking tourists, it's hard to believe that this is where the Medici ruled, the former capital of Italy, the head of banking and birthplace of the florin and all those other great historical events.  Not to mention that whole birthplace of the Renaissance thing.  Speaking of which, art produced during the temporary reign of Savonarola and the era of no vanity?  Not cute.  I used to think all Madonnas and Childs/Adorations/Annunciations were pretty similar but now I realize there are two basic groups: gold and shiny and not gold and shiny.  Maybe the Dominicans were right about societal rules, but when it comes to art, give me lavishness and excess any day.

Also, in honor of my favorite holiday that remains relatively uncommercialized and focused on family and being thankful for the good things in our life, here are five things I am most thankful for RIGHT NOW.  And since you all know I am most thankful for my family, friends, and health, I'm going to skip those boring parts.  Not that you all are boring.  I love you guys, really.

1.  San Francisco weather.  It may not be tropical, and it can be unpredictable in its own way, but only unpredictable within a 20 degree range.  And although witnessing the miracle of snowfall was pretty cool, I imagine it gets old once you actually have to go to work and shovel your driveway.

2.  Having gone to Berkeley.  Not, as you may imagine, for the stellar education and lifelong friendships.  Although those were great too.  But right now, I am thankful because after spending 4 years in Berkeley, you don't have to worry about personal safety in Europe.  I can walk around at night!  I can wander off into the forests!  I have my UCPD emergency whistle and I've heard more safety lectures than the children of most police officers. 

3.  English as the international language of travel.  Yes, we are spoiled and lazy, and I do try and make an effort to learn key phrases in another country, but sometimes you just have to be grateful that if you're wandering around lost in a foreign city, at least you're looking for someone that speaks English and not Senegalese.

4.  My naturally low blood pressure.  I know I said I wouldn't include health on my list, but this directly relates to my ability to enjoy red meat, so it goes beyond health.  As neurotic as I am about my health, it's good to know this is the one area I never have to worry about.  Thanks, Mom!

5.  Water purification.  Do you all realize how lucky we are to have drinkable tap water?  I mean, without the sanitation system, we would be no better off than people who live in Africa.  Or southern California.  hahaha.  Even coffee, the other sweet nectar of the gods, would not be made possible without purified water.  Well done, city engineers.

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photo by: Vikram