the kindness of almost strangers

In the lead up to this trip, I’ve been working two jobs. My day job as per usual (with varying levels of enthusiasm and productivity), and nights and weekends at a restaurant.

This is the third stint I’ve worked at the Bouzy Rouge. It’s easily the best hospitality job I’ve had. Friendly people, great culture and – especially helpful in this case – great tips.

In a previous stint, I regularly served a group of ladies as part of a networking night. I came to know these ladies by name and often joined in on the discussion.

On returning to the job to save for this trip (two years later), I had the pleasure of serving them again. I told them all about my plans and those who’d been to the places I was going were full of well wishes and advice.

One of these ladies then requested me for a private function she was having at the restaurant. When I arrived on the night, she was there with her Italian husband and his whole family. They all knew I was starting in Italy. The Grandfather, Francesco immediately started teaching me how to order my coffee in Italian. The uncle told me about some of the better bars in the area I was staying in Rome.

Then the lady who was having the function (her name is Catherine) and her husband – a man I have never met – pulled me aside before the function had even started and said, ‘We just wanted to give you a little something to get you started. We’re so excited for you,” and handed me 50 euros.

I could not believe that someone thought of me enough to request me for their function, let alone hand over such a generous gift. People are just awesome.

The shift itself was a breeze – lovely people who were happy to be there and be with each other. They joked, they ate, they cried during speeches, and they said thank you a thousand times. I came away grinning from ear to ear and positively busting to get on the plane. If this is what Italians are like, I’m in.