Sunday, September 16, 2012

#7 -- My Lifesaving, Waitstaff Friends

When I talk about my disease of compulsive overeating, I speak not only of the actual eating disorder, but also the emotions and actions that go along with the eating disorder that do not actually involve eating. Just as an alcoholic can be a "dry drunk," so can I be an noneating overeater. Why do I take the time to explain that here? Because during my initial time in Italy, I was hardly the person I wanted to be. I was anxious, obsessive over my food, as well as my travel plans, and sometimes a very difficult person. I expected a lot, especially in restaurants, where I wanted staff to help me negotiate meals, and to do so in a common language -- they have no obligation to help me as I want, nor do they have any obligation to speak my language, as I am on their turf! In short, in my first days in Italy, my disease was giving me a whooping, even though I was not overeating.

Then, when everything seemed overwhelming, and part of me wanted to run home and hide, I was blessed with the gift of friendship and help from waitstaff. There were many I could mention, but in trying to keep with the theme of avoiding writing about food per se, the breakfast experiences I had seem most notable. There were my friends in Rome, pictured below with friends and food and the restaurant:

Below is my server, who took my email, and may contact me when she is in New York -- I hope she does!:

And my wonderful chef:

I had similar help in Florence:

Tina, my server:

Mario, the chef:

The restaurant:

I had "conversations" with Tina. Sure, they weren't complicated, but they covered the basics. She asked me what I saw in Florence. I detailed it all, and she responded, "Tutti!" Mario tried to give me an extra egg. I said, "No, no, no." He said, "Yes, yes yes." Eventually, he took it away, and I showed Tina my old picture, with my extra weight. She responded, "Ah, Enrico, solo due uovo per ti!" I ended up exchanging emails with Mario -- I hope he writes!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Nickolai, in Venice. In Venice, I couldn't find a breakfast restaurant serving the type of food I eat at an appropriate hour. So I ended up buying my food from a sandwhich shop -- salad and grilled chicken, prepared to my liking!

Here is Nickolai...:

And the restaurant logo:

The food was good, but the food wasn't the story. The story was friendships and conversations with others who saved my life! I tipped and tipped and tipped -- they tried to stop me, but I am persistent! I hope I meet my friends again!