That about sums up my trip to Modena so far, but it has been far more enjoyable that the title alone would make it seem. I have had an absolutely delightful time since my arrival yesterday in the early afternoon. Davide (the boyfriend of my good friend Jonathan) picked me up at the train station and brought me to his apartment, where he made me an amazing pasta dish and then took me on a little tour of Modena. It is quite an interesting little town, and I find the architecture to be strangely uniform throughout the central city, very sober, but very pleasant. There is a refreshing lack of extraneous detail on most of the buildings, and the color palette is quite warm. Almost the entirety of the central city is pedestrian only, making for great strolling. We enjoyed a coffee and then found an inexpensive place to get our haircut. After the nightmare cut I had in Hamburg last month (they apparently thought I wanted to look like Christopher Walken, despite bringing a picture of myself with the haircut I desired), this was an amazing surprise. The guy was so precise and did such a good job that I was sad I couldn’t come back to Modena for the haircuts alone. And all that for 15 euros! After that, we went to meet Jonathan at the train station where he arrived in the early evening, then went back to Davide’s where he had prepared a delicious dinner of all kinds of Italian things, some of which I recognized. We were joined by my lovely blizzard boarders from last winter, Carla and Cinzia, and another friend of Jonathan’s, Stefano, for a tasty and boisterous dinner. I love how animated and friendly the Italians are, and it was amazing to me how willing they all were to dive in and communicate in whatever language was necessary. The Germans seem much less accommodating in this manner, and sort of uptight at the necessary imprecision of communicating in a language they are not masters of, but the Italians really seem to get the point, which is not about correct form, but about communicating by whatever means necessary. I felt especially welcome here and it was a joy to be at the table with our various mixing of languages and words and signs, all helped along by copious amounts of good wine and food (and cigarettes of course, we are in Italy after all). At several points during the evening we were joined by friends who would stop by. First, a couple of competition circuit burpers (I kid you not) who stayed for a few minutes explaining their craft and leaving us with a demonstration so powerful that people on the street below applauded. Later in the evening after the meal a few more friends of Davide’s stopped by for more smoking, drinking, conversation and laughter. The whole evening really took me back to the time in my life when I was living in France, and dinner parties were the way to socialize. I kind of miss that spirit a bit, it is co warm and such a great way to connect with people.