Happy birthday to me!

It was not my first birthday abroad, but it was my first birthday in Italy. At some point in your life birthdays become less important and exciting, however I still get that flush of excitement when I wake up on my birthday, even at this age.

It was going to be a quiet birthday this year, because it would just be the two of us, since lockdown measures prevented us from meeting anybody else and it was a Sunday, which is usually a rather quiet day. I woke up quite early, probably the excitement, but stayed in bed to stare my boyfriend awake, who very sleepily wished me a happy birthday, because he probably sensed me smiling at him like a lunatic.

I had a not so festive breakfast, due to the lack of peanut butter (it’s one of my favourite breakfast foods), but I was very pleased with all the coffee that was being prepared by Davide and the dishes that had already been taken care of the day before (also by Davide), so that I wouldn’t feel the need to start cleaning on my birthday. Then, while I relaxed, cakes were being baked and pizza’s were being prepared rather feverishly.

It resulted in a spectacularly tasty pizza at lunch and together with a glass of red wine (yes, already at lunch), it felt as if my birthday had officially commenced. Then later in the afternoon I skyped with my family who had baked themselves a (I think) tasty chocolate cake and we would enjoy cake together on my birthday, despite the fact that we were separated by lockdowns and countries. I also had a delicious homemade chocolate cake in front of me, which may have been a little bit too much after a pizza, but it was my birthday, so there were no limitations. Secretly, there was also a little bit of limoncello, that had arrived all the way from the south, added to my last drop of coffee.

The weather was beautiful. Sunny, 27 degrees C., and we, especially I (Davide spent most of the time in the kitchen), enjoyed a lot of time outside, already moving back inside during the hottest hours of the day. It was so relaxing that I don’t even clearly remember what I was doing the entire time.

I do remember that at some point nearly everything that can be fried was being fried. It was a combination of Dutch and Neapolitan culture that drove Davide into, I hope, his first frying frenzy. I think every item in our pantry was about to be fried, if I hadn’t mentioned that the cake was already quite heavy. So we ended up with fried zucchini, potato and pizza (fried pizza is a Neapolitan specialty and incredibly delicious).

We definitely had some wonderful meals (and according to my Italian students, having incredible home cooked meals are a very important part of Italian birthdays) and I regret nothing, even though I feel I might still be digesting some of the food I had on Sunday. I also received some lovely messages and let’s not forget the huge amount of cards that managed to make their way to Italy and the small box with Dutch puzzles and licorice. All in all, it was a very good day.

From Italy with love,

Merel