by Gypsy Racco
Posted on September 21,2014
Being in my beloved Italy is like the exquisite pain of a precious and delicious love affair... loving another completely, whilst knowing with certainty, that you must say goodbye eventually. I understand fully the gravity of the word 'bittersweet'. I've learned to say goodbye so many times since I was young (as we all have)... from my first love, to the unexpected death of my first daughter. In some ways, in these mid-years of my life, it's gotten easier to let things go - let people go, with the hope that we will connect again in what's left to be of my life. In other ways, it's gotten harder... with the knowledge and understanding that - one never knows if they'll see someone or some cherished place ever again.
I am saying goodbye again to my bella Italia - my strangely familiar past-life connected homeland (as I am NOT Italian - in fact, I am of Scottish, Irish and Native American Indian descent, and proud of it). I must comment on the culture that I love so dearly...
I love the way the Italian people greet one another on the streets and in passing with 'buongiorno' or 'buonasera'. When you meet someone for the first time, they kiss both of your cheeks and with that, it is easy to feel warm and welcomed. At night, it is not uncommon to be seen with your family out for a gelato even as a teenager. Elders are respected and young people always seem willing to offer their seat on the Metro or the train to someone older, or female.
And here's a funny thing that I much appreciate, especially being a Los Angelonian (where the intricacies of ego and body-consciousness prevail)... all women, of all ages, weights, sizes and body-types (with or without evidence of having had babies, etc.), wear their bikinis to the beach! And none of them seem the least bit self-conscious! Brava!!! Everyone seems at peace with the process of aging in some small way. And after all, death or age comes to us all.
And then there's this... I don't see any kids on drugs! Yes there's vino... but my American friends seem to enjoy this more than my Italian friends for some reason. The sense of community that we are all desperate for, still exists there, and that's why I don't think young people there (in general) seek drugs for comfort. People eat fresh foods (and they still eat together). They enjoy simple things. They "roll with the punches", whether it's a late or canceled train, the lack of 24-hour convenience markets or whatever else comes their way in an ordinary day. They don't EXPECT immediate gratification as we often do here in the States. And... In general, people seem more well-adjusted because they've learned the delicate balance of patience while still wanting the best (as is human nature).
I am both exhilarated and wounded by my love for Italy. Desperate to make sense of the emotions piercing my heart with my departure. Until we meet again... Arrivederci! Baci é abbracci!
As some of you know, I love tea! But not just any tea... not soft white tea, or berry blends with no caffeine, not even green tea... I love dark black teas with lots of raw sugar and milk... scalded just right, like only the Brits know how! Tea that can put any coffee in the morning to shame... tea that makes you dance with anticipation while you're brewing it! (Well I do that anyway). It's not that I'm hating on all those mild and delightful teas (boring!!!)... they have their time and place... it's just, I am like most people - constantly on the run, wearing 10 different hats, getting no sleep and trying to stay awake while staying healthy.
So here's the solution, my friends... a blend of all organic, fair-trade: Pu-erh tea from China,Green Earl Grey blended with Italian bergamot, Assam from India and "English Breakfast" (combining Assam, Ceylon from Sri Lanka & sometime Kenyan teas). I know this sounds complicated, but it's really not. Groundwork Coffee Co. has all four of these loose leaf teas. I usually start with 2 scoops of English Breakfast, 1 scoop of Assam, 1 scoop of Green Earl Grey and 1 1/2 scoops of Pu-erh. Now let me tell you about Pu-erh... (and I'm quoting here)
"Drinking pu'erh tea is purported to reduce blood cholesterol. This belief has been backed up by scientific studies not only demonstrating experimental results of lowered LDL cholesterol in rats, but discovering specific mechanisms through which chemicals in pu'erh tea inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol. Pu'erh tea has been shown to have antimutagenic and antimicrobial properties as well. It is also widely believed in Chinese cultures to counteract the unpleasant effects of heavy alcohol consumption."
I'll leave you with this. I started drinking Pu-erh tea (hidden in my yummy blend) over a year ago and within that year, my cholesterol went from 230 to 170 (with no real changes in diet)... so I'm a believer! And why not, it's delicious either way! So put away your coffee cups and come have some biscuits and tea with me!