Just about two years ago, I saw I had a new subscriber to Em-i-lis. It was a beautiful Italian name, so I assumed she was a friend of my sister and had heard about my blog through Elia.
But Elia had no idea who Elisa Valentina was. Hmm. Several months later, Elisa V started leaving comments after some of my posts, and we began to know each other as I replied and she did too.
Last year, I sent Elisa a birthday card, and also a bottle of jam via Elia as we crossed paths in London.
Elisa and I exchanged Christmas cards in December, and as we share a mad love of shoes and shopping, have emailed pictures to each other of favorite finds as well as pics of our families.
We very much wanted to meet in person this year, and I was sad to tell her that our plans were taking us not to Florence but to Rome. Would she want to come, I asked hesitantly.
She said YES! She and her partner would love to come to Rome and spend a day with us.
As if in a movie, we arranged to meet at the Trevi Fountain at 10:30 this morning. Eli and I recognized each other immediately and hugged like old friends. She hugged Tom, I hugged Markus, the boys shook hands, and there you have it.
We walked all around together, chatting away about a delightful variety of topics, before heading to Grappolo D'oro, the slow food "ristorante romana" where they'd made a reservation.
Markus, who is a wine and olive oil journalist (you all want to be that now too, right?!), chose a lovely Prosecco with which we began and a delicious Cesanese to follow.
The food was scrumptious! One of our two best meals in Rome. Dessert, coffee, more walking and then Tom took the boys home to pack while I got some alone time with my lovely friends.
As we walked, I kept thinking how small the world in some ways becomes by virtue of the Internet. A Florentine woman looks on Food52 for a muffin recipe, sees my handle, clicks on it, discovers that I write a blog, tries it out and likes what she reads.
I'm so thrilled that because she started commenting, I have gotten the chance to know this marvelous woman and her partner, who is really wonderful too. I know that we will all see each other again, and I look forward to it so much.
We're never too old to make new friends, to learn from others, to be inspired. Sometimes, all you need do is put yourself out there; the outcomes can be unbelievably rewarding and happy.
What a perfect, happy last day of a very special trip! Grazie mille, Eli e Markus!
PS- We also made friends with the owner of and a waitress at Brassai, the cafe where we had breakfast every morning. This morning was a delicious, delightful goodbye.