About Exploring the Old and the New

This week we had an assignment that is easier said than done: find a non-Italian restaurant and take a picture of the sign and menu. In Italy, all of the restaurants seem to have the same variations of pasta and meat dishes. However, among the signs advertising gelato, pizza, and sandwiches, I managed to find a Japanese – or, rather, Giapponese – restaurant. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be adventurous enough to try their sushi, but it was nice to find something that reminded me a little bit more of home. Although I love Italian food, we Americans are spoiled with the variety of ethnic foods we have readily at our disposal on a daily basis.

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Prior to finishing my assignment, my fellow “roamers” (that was a terrible pun, I know) and I stumbled upon my favorite shop thus far. At first glance it appeared to be a simple used book store, but further inspection revealed two baskets filled with old postcards for the modest price of one euro apiece. These postcards featured landmarks not just from Italy, but the rest of Europe and the Middle East as well. Most of the postcards had messages hurriedly scrawled across the backs, nearly all of them in a different language. Even though we couldn’t read the messages, the five of us thoroughly enjoyed looking through these little artifacts. Some of the postcards dated back as far as the 1920s, and others were as recent as the 1970s. It was fascinating to see some of the contrasts and similarities between sites and destinations then and now. We easily spent close to an hour looking through those two baskets and each walked away with multiple postcards. There’s something about looking at used items that stirs feelings of connectedness in me. It makes me wonder about the person who previously owned the item and their emotional attachment to it – was there any? Did they receive it as a gift? If so, did they like the person who gave it to them? How did this item end up in this shop? A few of the postcards were in English and reading the mundane sentences written on them made me realize that while things have changed, they are still somehow the same. Sometimes it takes a glimpse of the past to remember its place in our world.

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