Turning Points (Week 3 Recap - Oct 15, 2018)
Updated: Nov 22, 2018
This week we really started to hit our stride. I bought body wash instead of the cheap soap we’d picked up week one, and I got better conditioner. I started making a few dinner reservations. And we found a babysitter who WP loves so that we can pop out for an apericena or a pizza a couple times a week.
Speaking of which, we had our favorite pizza to date at Il Grottino a Testaccio. We’ve been to Ai Marmi a couple times and do like it, but the service is a bit chaotic, there’s generally a wait to sit, and there’s generally a wait for your pizzas too as they are pumping out a ton of them. Il Grottino is a much more relaxed experience. The crust is super thin and the flavors are pretty great. One of the pizzas we got had an egg on it and while usually I find this to be more gimmick than flavor, it was a super orangey-yolked, perfectly runny egg that added a pop of flavor. I’d get it again.
I finished teaching this week and had one of those moments you sort of wish you could script where I asked the students to share a takeaway from their two weeks with me. We’d spent the time exploring the the fundamentals of social enterprise from a practical standpoint - if you wanted to create a social enterprise to impact an issue you cared about, how exactly would you go about it? And the final comment of the seminar was from a student who said it was so much easier than she thought it would be to figure out how she could impact that issue she cared about right now. I asked if anyone else had that experience and almost everyone in the class raised their hand. Hooray! Job done. They may never start companies, but they feel empowered to change the things around them that are unjust.
I went right from that to an onboarding call for a new, remote, part-time role I just accepted (to be announced publicly next week). I debated a lot whether to continue to work during our travels, but ultimately decided this role was so closely aligned with my interests, and so flexible in terms of requirements, that it would be crazy not to take it. More soon!
To prep for my new life as a remote contractor, I found a cafe to work in. It’s so common to set up shop with a laptop in a coffee shop in the US, but I hadn’t seen many people at all working in cafes in Rome, so I tracked down an article with some recommendations and tried out Barnum Cafe. It actually was a great place to get some work done, but the location was inconvenient enough for me that I doubt I’ll be back.
The upside though was that on my way home I walked past Roscioli and picked up two amazing torts (artichoke and ricotta+pear) that we will be going back for at some point. (If you do go to Roscioli note that there is a salumeria and restaurant in one location and a forno/bakery a half block away...the takeaway stuff is at the forno. I only figured this out by walking into the restaurant, looking confused and saying “Panino?” at which point they gave me directions.)
This week also marked a turning point from us bumbling along ourselves vs being hosts. My parents arrived Friday afternoon. We had dinner at Roma Sparita for the cacio e pepe which comes in a pecorino bowl and is outstanding. The location is also lovely, on Piazza S. Cecilia with the church lit up at night. Make reservations and ask for a table outside. They have highchairs!
Oh and of course we had to take my parents to Trapizzino (the one in Testaccio) for the pollo cacciatore sandwich which remains one of the top things I’ve eaten in Rome. Apparently there is now one on the Lower East Side in Manhattan which I find kind of dispiriting though I’m positive I will go there when we’re back in NY.
The capstone to the weekend was my birthday dinner on Sunday. It was lovely having my parents here and celebrating with a few friends from Rome at a casual dinner at a trattoria in Testaccio. While there wasn’t anything dramatic we did to mark my birthday (no balloons, no singing, no over the top elaborate plans) in many ways it’s one of the best I’ve had in awhile. A few friends, a few gifts, lasagna. Because we’re living this relaxed, purposeful, self-oriented (self-indulgent?) version of our lives right now on this epic year long adventure, I felt so little pressure for my birthday itself to be special or amazing. It was just nice to have some people I love and like around and to be in Rome.