Posted by: roamingolivia | October 22, 2010

London: ups and downs in the first week back + pesto dripped on my head

This week has been really manic, so I don’t have strong recollections. This blog post is more or less going to be a kind of free-association rambling, and then I will click publish. You can ignore all errors in syntax and punctuation. It’s Friday evening!

So, things I will miss about Italy – besides my friends (which is what one misses most everywhere):

  1. Getting to give people judgmental looks. You can just stare people down in Italy if they are doing something you don’t like or think is weird. You can give someone a dirty look if they are buying weird things, or if they are annoying you. And you don’t feel bad because everyone does it to you if, say, you wear the wrong kind of socks or buy too much beer (by their standards) at the grocery store because you’re meeting friends at the park and there is no way for them to know that but they judge you anyway. In the UK, you’re supposed to pretend everyone else doesn’t exist, more or less.
  2. Fresh pasta. No explanation needed. In general amazing food.
  3. Warm temperatures / the sun. I feel okay about this one because Milan gets really cold for the winter too (I got snowed in there for THREE DAYS last year, interrupting my Christmas plans etc etc.).

Things that I am loving back in the UK:

  1. Soup. I love soup. The lack of soup was a major obstacle for my life in Italy. Soup is a MAJOR industry here (there are 3-4 brands of prepared, relatively fresh soup in the refrigerator section of any major British store here, and they each make 5-10 types of soup, and most of them are good). I eat soup about 10 times a week (not kidding). Most meals that I eat that are not breakfast and not soup are due either to (a) a social activity centred on a meal, or (b) because I didn’t have time to pick up or make soup. I have bookmarked 3-4 places near my office that have soup, and my lunch decision is based almost entirely on their soup menus. Although sometimes I have a Leon chili chicken wrap.
  2. No one is staring at me with mean looks related to my socks or beer consumption.
  3. I can live with all my things. I get to have a hoodie, which I didn’t bring to Italy because it is bulky and you can’t wear it outside your house so it’s a waste of valuable luggage space. Ditto on sweatpants. And really old t-shirts. And my bazillions of books.

Some things that are annoying about London are the frequent breakdowns on the Tube, and how big it is (i.e., travel time) but that is fine because now maybe I can read the New Yorker every week.

And on to my weird story of the day:

Last night, I was taking the train up north to a different city. I started smelling pesto really strongly and inexplicably. No one around me was eating. Then something dripped on my head. I ran my hand over it and it was wet, and a bit oily. I smelled my hand. It smelled like pesto. I looked around, to see who amongst my neighbours flung pesto onto my head. Probably the same person who’d been eating it? No luck.

A few seconds later, I heard a drip next to me. There was oil – pesto-smelling oil – dripping down the side of the train. I tapped the woman next to me and said I was going to move to another seat because there was something dripping on me, and I thought it was pesto. She asked where it was coming from. I pointed up to the shelf above our heads. She said it was her stuff up there, and she didn’t have any food. I shrugged and moved.

I sat down for a few minutes, then got up to get the computer cord out of my suitcase, a few feet away on another shelf. I came back and looked up and saw a big droplet of oil poised to fall on me in my new seat. I got out a tissue and wiped it, and sat down. There was no discernible sign of any pesto anywhere, and no source was ever identified. Is Italy following me? In a gross, disconcerting way? I hope it doesn’t start with red wine dripping soon. That is really a disaster for clothes.


  1. […] and October passed quickly, with wrapping up in Milan and moving back to London, and then when I got back, I settled back into my London routine, moved into a cute flat […]

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