I was sitting on a bench in Piazza della Republica. About 6 p.m. in the evening, the business men are walking home from work, or to meet friends for an appertivo, the piazza is entirely shaded by the arch and as the sun goes down, the city starts to cool. I was sitting there feeling a little sorry for myself (believe it or not!). My friend had left and I was all alone again in the city. Two men had been sitting beside me for a while talking together. I had on my earphones and was listening to music on my IPOD, so that I could suffer in private. (Poor, poor pitiful me) After a while, I was back to the luckiest person alive to be living in Florence, and looking forward to seeing Regine in August, and happy that I had made friends with her.
I took off my earphones, put a smile on my face, and within 5 minutes, the two men who had been talking together turned their attention to me. The benches are wide and concrete, and always crowded because there are not many of them. This bench was no exception this evening, and there were people at my back and both sides. The men spoke no English but inquired about where I was from, etc, etc. We spoke for a little while, and I of course was struggling along with my Italian. We reached a point in the conversation where I did not understand what one of the men had said. I was telling him that when the lady to my right, said, "He is saying that his nephew works just outside of Florence and makes beautiful terra cotta pottery.". She is American and her name is Gloria.
I laughed and thanked her for the translation, and the men begin speaking to her in Italian. She speaks beautifully, and so the four of us talked for a little bit, and then Gloria and I introduced ourselves to each other. Gloria is from Baltimore and will be in Florence for a month. She spent 9 months here a few years ago, and she speaks Italian very well. She is my new hero.
Gloria and I exchanged phone numbers, and we have already been to dinner together and see each other every day at the piazza. Isn’t that the damndest thing?