The last time I left Milan, it was not so bad. I had been here a week and knew I would be returning and was ready to go home. This visit, though, is my last visit for the foreseeable future. There are many things that I will miss:
The sausage, especially mortadella. Even though I can find Italian sausage in the US, it is different here, more meaty with very little filler. It has an iron-y, liver-y flavor that is not masked with too much salt or paprika and tastes very much like what it is.
The red orange juice from the hotel breakfast buffet. It's like nothing I've ever had. It tastes only vaguely like regular orange juice, but is sweeter. I did find a carton of it at the pastery shop I have been frequenting and am bringing it back.
Also, the A-C-E juice that I love so much I gained a reputation for it among my project team on my last visit. It's orange, carrot, and lemon and is full of vitamins A, C and E.
Parmalat yogurt. It's not tart, and not because they add a bunch of sugar and starches to it. It's simply not tart. This may be a result of the selective irradiation of the milk to kill only harmful pathogens. With more of the natural cultures in the milk, it's possible that less encouragement is needed to culture it into yogurt. However they do it, their yogurt has a natural sweetnes and a smooth texture and none of the modified food starch, tapioca, guar gum, or other assorted bullshit that ends up in American yogurt. Oh, and it's made with full-fat milk. Nothing like a little cream to add body and flavor.
The surly food server at the cafeteria of the school I have been working with. I have heard him speaking English with the European students, but he does not speak English to me. Even though his insistance that I pantomime what I want from him is at least slightly annoying to everyone behind me in the line (try acting out "soup in a to go cup with a lid"), I will miss this daily routine. My fumbling Italian was always rewarded with a request to repeat until I pronounced it corrrectly, which has helped me learn more of the language. And even though I smiled at him every day at lunch time, I never ever saw him smile back. At me or anyone else.
The way everyone just walks everywhere. This may be the key to their good health.
And, of course, my project team. I have been embedded with them on these two visits for software training and for the first week of usage. They are full of energy and very easy to work with, even with the linguistic limitations. It has been wonderful fun being over here with them.
So now I must pack up and prepare to return home. Gareth will be waiting for me at BWI. This chapter in my life has come to a close. I will always remember what a fine adventure it has been.