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.

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.

Bolgheri, Italy


Day trip Cecina, Hotel Sileoni


A great way to spend the afternoon wine tasting with Le Macchiole

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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Piazza Santo Spirito






Facendo la Modella

Il mare del legno buio

Una montagna delle scatole su

Una sedia come un torre

E una ragazza con la sedia giù

Lei siede sulla torre

In una vasca di luce dolce

Lei nuota in dolore

Mentre tempo passa in gocce a gocce

Lei siede con un corpo ardente

E i muscoli del fuoco dentro

Ma c’è un bosco dei pensieri

E un mare calma nel centro.


English version:

The sea of dark wood

A mountain of boxes above

A chair like a tower

And a girl with the chair below

She sits on the tower

In a bath of sweet light

She swims in pain

While time passes in drops to drops

She sits with an aching body

And muscles of fire inside

But there is a forest of thoughts

And a calm sea in the center.

Just passing the time. Naked.

Is that the feeling of hunger or pain?

five minutes pass and I’m already insane

from calves flexed and knees akwardly bent

has it really only been ten minutes I’ve spent?

with aching shoulders and muscles sore

is there honestly two hours more?

of twisting arms and neck strained

every poor muscle, tighter and pained

all weight on a foot and this dead tingly hand

body and mind heavier, the longer I stand

screaming silently in an unmoving head

tummy now growling and hand fully dead

hurting and impatient, how much more can I take?

thoughts swimming shallow when Tim finally says break

a few tiny minutes for my body to restore

but I must stand here naked

for an hour and a half more…


Below is another poem I wrote in my head while modeling.  Three hours in silent unmoving nudity is a long time to think about anything, really.

Yesterday was my last day in that painful pose.  I did 4 weeks/20 days/40 hours/2,400 minutes that same position.  My body started to adjust to the discomfort and I formed the perfect knots and twists in my back so I could stand there comfortably.  Now I need to use my hard earned work money to get a massage, although every time I mention needing a meseus to anyone the men at the bar I work at say “ah, io posso farlo!”  (I can do it).

Heather comes next week and Anne leaves.  It’s weird with all these people coming and going, and Kyle and I are just… here.  It is never really enough time to feel lonely because there is always someone new living with us or visiting, but it is just not the same as having a group of friends.

On a lighter note, I am almost done with Wicked!  I’ve been reading about that wicked witch so much I’ve had dreams about it, which is fun.  Five weeks left and then I go home. Home.


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