Emily Rath

I am trying to be Italian

I am trying to be more Italian.

I am taking siestas.  Or at least going home for lunch, sitting in the sun, and drinking coffee.

I am trying to be Italian.  I am drinking a lot of espresso.  Not doubles like in the United States, where you feel it.  And you feel amazing.  But little single shots, again, and again, and again.

I am trying to be Italian.  I take three hours for lunch.  If class goes over, I get nervous.  If something impedes on my lunch time, I get nervous.

I a trying to be Italian.  I go to Nerbone, for lunch.  The man sitting to my left is alcoholic.  You can tell by his big nose.  Red, swollen.  Like the tomato covered meat I am eating.  We are both alone.

I am trying to be Italian.  I didn’t used to drink wine at lunch.  I wanted to.  When I read about nutrition it gets in the way.  I want to lose weight.  Alcohol gets in the way.  I go to Nerbone for lunch.  I eat tomato covered meat.  When I ask for a glass of wine, they say “brava.”  I think, I am doing well.

I am trying to be Italian.  I go to Nerbone for lunch.  I eat tomato covered meat.  I read the dictionary.  I never feel like my Italian is good enough, even when they call me “fluente.”  I go over words in my head, again, and again.

I am trying to be Italian.  I have fewer things to do, on my to do list.  I do fewer things.  I am practicing the art of doing nothing.  It is very hard.  I get nervous I am not doing enough, even if I have accomplished 15 things that day.

I am trying to be Italian.  I am trying to have loyalty to a certain meat vendor, or fruit vendor, or caffè.  I am trying to go places consistently, on the same day, or time.  Without this, they get very sad, and disappointed in me.

I am trying to be Italian.  I sit in a caffè, and drink my coffee slowly.  I stay longer, much longer, than when I finished.  I always feel guilty and like I shouldn’t be there.

I am trying to be Italian.  Last night I went to bed at midnight.  I felt awful when I woke up, eight hours later.  I am no loner on my circadian rhythm.  It makes me sad.  But

I am trying to be Italian.  I read too much about nutrition.  I am conflicted.  The grain brain, the paleo diet, ketosis… it all makes sense and works for me.   When I try to order prosciutto without bread people get confused and don’t know what to do.  So I give up.  Because

I am trying to be Italian.  I consider getting a cappuccino.  I want to eat pastries for breakfast.  But

I am not Italian.  I am not there yet.  I do not understand, most of what they do, how they think, or how they live their daily lives.  How do they get anything done, and how do they honor and love their work so much?  How do they stay slim in an ocean of carbohydrates?  How do they not get tired, and bored, of doing the same thing, everyday?

I am not Italian.  When I eat a pastry for breakfast, I am not satisfied.  I want more sugar.

I am not Italian.  When I have a coffee, I do not add tablespoons of sugar, or milk.  I like it black.  I like to taste the bitterness, and the black creamy espresso.

I am not Italian.  I do not thinking eating pasta, and grains is healthy.  I believe it is making us sick, emotionally and physically.

I am not Italian.  I love waking up at 6, and going to bed at 9.  Everyone calls me “nonnna” meaning grandmother.

I am not Italian.  I like doing many things, everyday.  I don’t know if I could ever have the patience and dedication to do the same job with the same people for a lifetime.

I am not Italian.  Drinking wine at nighttime affects my sleep.  I wake up tired,  and I have big circles under my eyes like them.  I don’t know if I can do this…

I am not Italian.  Walking is not enough exercise for me.  I like the gym.  Even if it is expensive, and uncommon.

I am not Italian.  I like eating alone.  Maybe because I am like the lonely Italian men, middle aged, and just needing their quiet time.

I am not Italian.  I like to run errands when I don’t have class.  But everything is closed.  I try to have siesta.  But feel guilty, angry, and hopeless.

I am not Italian.  I  do not wear heels, or dress up everyday.  I wear shoes with inserts, and carry a backpack to help my posture.

I am not Italian.  I do not like to argue.

I am not Italian.  I am not sure if I like consistency.

I am not Italian.  I cannot fall asleep in the afternoon.

I am not Italian.  My to do lists are never-ending.

I am not Italian.  I do not smile, as much as they do.

I am not Italian.

I am American.

And I hope, one day, I will understand.



A twenty-eight foot tall 14,000 lb. cream can sits on the sidewalk of Lower downtown Denver, alluring with its size but quaint modesty.  It evokes images of hot dog stands and donuts, the great American era during the 1920’s-1950’s with roadside monuments looming out of the landscape and beckoning road trippers to have a taste of summer and the American dream.  It’s romantic – the cobblestone, the intimacy of the outdoor seating, and the dates lining up for thirty minutes just to try Space Junkie, Snickers, and strawberry balsamic ice cream.

The founder Paul Tamburello named it after his father nicknamed Little Man, and his idea was not just to make ice cream which was sourced locally and brought the community together, but to create an entire experience just by the simple act of buying ice cream.  Clearly it’s working since anyone can just go to the grocery store and pick up a pint of Dreyer’s.  Instead people from all over Denver line up just for the experience of the twenty-eight foot cream can with happy employees inside, hand scooping and serving you an awesome cup or cone of Colorado craft ice cream.

Colorful New York












London in December


Everything is Nothing

Here I am in the land of gelato.  The land of great wine.  The land of beautiful people, masterpieces, and language.  Beauty and art surround me, engulf me, along with all of the tourists.  But I find myself at times, like today, longing for the past, longing for something or rather someone else.

Have you ever found that person that fulfils you more than anything else in the world can do?  Their love and beauty fill you beyond the time it takes to digest a gelato or drink a glass of prosecco.  While espresso and wine elevate you for a short hour, this person makes you fly for through life and dreams, endlessly.  This is whom I long for now, on a gorgeous Friday where sun and birds soar through Florence, wine courses through peoples blood, pasta e prosciutto are on every corner, and historical sculptures gaze pensively.  I look back at them lowly, with melancholy coursing through my blood, and hoping that this will get easier.


I have wanted to live in London since discovering its magic fifteen years ago. However I’ve only ever been here on family vacations as a tourist and for a handful of days this Spring on my own.  Perhaps it was fate. I have been forbidden by border control to do my original plan, WWOOFING (volunteering on an organic farm while you get free accomodation and food), and been sternly told by an understanding officer, “Emily, you can come into our country only if you have a nice vacation and ‘don’t go to the farm!'”  So, by chance, I am living my dream, by spending my summer in London.

As a twenty eight year old with quite a bit of worldly experience, I have to say that London is wild.  It’s diverse.  It is insane.  I LOVE it.  I am lonely and so so cold.  And it’s May.  But I am in LONDON.  There is an answer to any problem you have whether the answer comes in the form of a museum, a huge park, or a golden cider at the pub.  London has everything for everyone, which is overwhelming, expensive, and thrilling.

Here are a few things I have learned in the past several days:

1) In the center people move quickly.  Does anyone breathe?  Or stop?  I do not think I have seen anyone stop.  Except a tourist here or there.

2) The weather in Italy is tempermental.  It changes, daily.  The weather in Colorado changes even more.  They say if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait a minute.  The weather in England changes before you even have a second to think about the weather.

3) Londoners dress well.  Or differently.  Suits, ties, heels, trench coats, boots, 80s, hip, punk… It is a sunny day and everyone is dressed accordingly.  No umbrellas or raincoats in sight.  The clouds shift and suddently you are being sprayed by raindrops because you are the tourist relying on yahoo weather and didn’t realize yahoo weather isn’t BFFs with London’s tempermental clouds.  Like magic, the same people who minutes before were dressed for summer are seamlessly gliding through the streets with umbrellas and raincoats as if nothing had happened at all.  How do they do this?

4) Everyone is different.  You don’t realize you’ve been living in a bubble (called Italy) until your bubble bursts.  London is a pop up book, with pages of every color, size, shape, width, height, and personality possible.  Walk through Waterloo station and you get an education on the human race.  It’s incredible and I love the diversity.

5) It is overwhelming being on the streets.  Everyone is walking with purpose and knows where they are going.  They are dressed well.  They have their own style.  The buildings are tall.  You don’t know where you are.  Bank district?  Money seems more prolific here.  You walk around.  You don’t know where you are.  Shoreditch?  You see graffiti and rain.  You check your iPhone.  Your service isn’t working.  You stand under the shelter of a random building as you desperatyely jab your fingers at your hand held internet to have this electronic face tell you where to go, instead of, God forbid, ask a human being.

I have done my fair share of asking for directions.  Literally, everyday.  I promise you.  But sometimes you are so overwhelmed that you can only talk to your familiar friend, Google.  I am trying to rely on my phone less and even when it is there, fully charged, begging to be used, I ask people where to go.  It engages me with the outside world.  It challenges my shyness and fear.  How else do you expect to make friends, meet people, and learn which way’s up in London if your face is kissing your phone?

6) Men check you out here.  Differently.  Differently than in Italy.  It’s refreshing.  Most of them are subtle.  A glance.  Often the glance is confusing.  In Italy it is pretty obvious when someone wants you.  “CIAO BELLA.  Scusa!  BIONDA!  Ciao!  Ciao!  Hello!!  Where are you from!?”  Here it is a glance.  Do I have food on my face?  Does he hate me because I am American?  Am I dressed badly?  All of these thoughts float through my head like the red busses flying by in the streets.  But their shyness… oh God I love it!

7) Every neighborhood and every zone is different.  I have seen WAY too much of Oxford street, which I despise now because of the endless shopping.  It is shopping on steroids.  Shoreditch is gritty, real, colorful.  I love it.  Chelsea is elegant, open, and clean.  There is much to learn and see and do.  If only I had the time and money.

8)  Londoners are very kind.  Sure, I have met some very rude people (like the horrid woman selling bagels last night on Brick Lane…).  But I have been floored by people’s generosity and kindness here.  Last night I met the loveliest Italian lady who works at her Uncle’s restaurant.  The bouncer at a bar helped me with directions and was very sweet.  And all I was buying was water!  Today I overspent at the organic grocery store and had far too little money to pay for what I wanted.  But the manager just let me have $40 worth of products for free!  People are genuinely very kind here.  Diverse, separate, living their own lives, but unified and flowing energetically, together.

First week in London… more to come.

All my love,


“The only definition of a Londoner I followed was the people you see around you.  …They are laughing, rushing, coniving, snatching free evening newspapers, speaking into phones, complaining, sweeping floors, tending to hedge funds, pushing empty pint glasses, marching, arguing, drinking, kneeling, swaying, huffing at those who stand on the left-hand side of the escalator, moving, moving, always moving.  It’s a city of verbs.  It’s been exhilerating to capture all these words…”

-Craig Taylor, Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now – As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It, 2011

Bolgheri, Italy


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Caffè Gilli

Monday step 1: walk very quickly through the sea of tourists to make your way to Caffe Gilli. Step 2: drink the best cappuccino in Florence amongst roses, marble, and freshly baked pastries. Step 3: have a magical Monday!tumblr_no3lnphEBk1qakj1go1_1280.jpg


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