The other day my mom's friend was over and we and my mom were discussing plans for lunch. I told them that I would have to be back at a certain time so I could go to the gym before work. My mom's friend looks at me and asks, "Oh, do you belong at the gym?"
I thought this was a very strange way to ask if I had a gym membership, so I thought about it. My mind travelled back to my four and a half months in Rome. Months spent eating chocolate croissants and capuccinos with mountains of sugar every morning. Months spent eating pizza and pasta every day. Months spent discovering new and tantalizing foods such as canollis (I know it's not new but I never liked them in the states. The ones in Italy were a whole other story.) There was also something called suppli which was my snack of choice most days. It consists of rice in ragu sauce with a chunk of mozzarella in the middle and then friend in bread crumbs. My mouth waters at the thought of it and my taste buds groan and reach toward Rome, toward Il Delfino where I used to buy them. The point is, I didn't exactly eat healthy while I was abroad. To compound it, I didn't do very much exercising unless you count the innumerous miles I walked going to and from school, pubs, clubs, and of course restaurants where I filled my gullet!
But I don't regret it. While in Rome I watched Eat, Pray, Love which partially takes place in Rome. The protoganist had much the same experience as I did with food and lack of exercise and her advice was to simply buy larger pants! Brilliant I say! This is some advice I actually took when it came time for it, and believe me, the time did come.
Part of the experience of being in Italy is the experience of the food. The food is as rich as their culture and they use it as a centerpiece around which family, business and social life take place. It is not something to be afraid of or picked at for there is absolutely no room for calorie counting in Italy as it clashes harshly with la dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing.) And to that I raised my glass (and my fork) a thousand times in Rome.
But of course it was not without consequence. And so to the question posed to me, I answered: "Yes, I definitely belong at the gym."