104. My Perfect Day

What’s your idea of a perfect day? That is this week’s discussion question. Every Friday for the past two years, I’ve sent out a topic to a group of friends and coworkers, and on Mondays, a group of us meet over lunch to discuss.

I always try to compose questions that can be interpreted in different ways, and part of the fun is seeing not just different answers but different approaches to the question. My idea is to construct an imaginary day, stuffed full of my favorite things. Here’s what I will say when we meet tomorrow:

“I’m in any town in Italy. I go for an early morning run as the sun is rising, through the sights, sounds and smells of the town coming to life (the clanking of porcelain espresso cups against their saucers, people sweeping in front of their shops, little kids in uniforms heading to school, workers getting on buses.)

Then I have a hotel breakfast and have the courage to order three cappuccini. It’s market day wherever I am, and I buy some beautiful fruit and cheese, and some little item that looks like nothing on a table with hundreds of others but I treasure when I get home, like espressino spoons or a bowl or pillow with a picture of a dog on it. Maybe I have a porchetta sandwich at the market.I have another cappuccino, even though you’re not supposed to after 11. I take lots of great photos and walk and walk and walk all day, at least ten miles, which allows me to order whatever I want for dinner, calories be damned. Something catches my eye and makes me think, which leads me to write a blog post that night.”

I had three possible trips to Italy on the horizon for 2020. My friend Lisa and I were going to spend a week at the beach in Gaeta, staying at our favorite Hotel Serapo.  Ben and I were going to hike in the Dolomites, or maybe even do a piece of the Cammino di Francesco, the 324 mile walking path that St. Francis took from Florence to Rome. There was even a chance I would explore Calabria with my daughter Maria. But now, of course, all plans are off due to the coronavirus, which for some reason has hit Italy particularly hard. My next perfect day will have to wait a while.

My little disappointment, of course, pales in comparison to the terrible personal and economic hardship Italians are facing, not to mention the strains being placed on community and family life, particularly for those who are ill or who have lost loved ones. I can’t even begin to imagine.

I read in the New York Times that Dr. Walter Ricciardi, of the World Health Organization, is advising the Italian government on steps to take to stem the epidemic.  I had the good fortune to host Dr. Ricciardi at Swarthmore College in November, to give our annual lecture on the humanitarian aspects of medicine, when he was visiting scholar at Sidney Kimmel School of Medicine in Philadelphia. I had no idea, of course, that this crisis was looming in just three month’s time. He’s a brilliant and wise man, and a kind one, too. I know the Italian people are in good hands.

7 thoughts on “104. My Perfect Day

  1. This is a wonderful blog and your photos are terrific, Gigi. I’m glad I could find it after hearing about it in photo class. I’ll have to think about my perfect day. Certainly taking photos would be part of it! Joy


  2. Gigi, enjoyed my “first venture” into your Blog and the “Perfect Day”. Will be great to finally meet and discuss all things Italian…Antonio


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s