Dinner at the Biovey Restaurant in Bardonecchia
“I can’t believe it’s been three years since we were in that building. And you are as silly as the day I married you,” my husband said to me as we walked hand in hand past the municipal building where we had gathered three years ago with a handful of his closest family and friends to exchange rings, I in a midnight blue lace dress that his parents bought for me, him in the most excellent dress suit I’ve seen him with since I met him.
Never in my lifetime did I imagine I was going to be married in the Italian alps on a sunny winter day with all the snow around us. Growing up, I never dreamt of leaving my own country to live in another one that’s not mine, and more so, marrying a foreign man. That could have been the dream of many others who wished for a better life than the one they had in a poor, underdeveloped country of their birth, but not mine. I love my country fiercely, and it never occurred to me that I would someday leave it to be with a man I love instead.
In our efforts at being together, I set foot in 22 countries, almost always accompanied by my daughter, until we decided we have had enough. Countless fights and flights, and months of in-depth deliberations after, I got married for the second time, to much less flair and stress. It was followed by the simplest wedding feast attended by thirty people, out of whom only one was related to me by blood, my daughter. My then-future-in-laws bought the items I wore at local stores, and my then-future-mother-in-law lent me her jewelry. The rings were simple bands devoid of any detail. The flower shop at the neighboring town provided the local flowers. The photographer was a childhood friend of my then-fiance. My hair and makeup were a joint effort between the wife of one of my husband’s best friends and me. It was almost the exact opposite of my first wedding from ten years before. There was laughter as we exchanged rings instead of tears streaming down my face. That there were no tears in fact, was already a good sign.
The wedding did not mean the end of trials and tribulations. In the three years since, we’ve been through fights and arguments uncounted and perhaps one too often than to our liking; but our love, as much as the love and concern of family and friends from both sides, have kept us sane, and more importantly, together.
Our love story is not unique, and I am grateful, for even as I am one of the strangest people you will ever meet, I relish relatability and consider it as the thread that binds the fabric of our society.
“We have been able to superare many difficolta, and produced due bimbi meraveliogsi,” I joked over dinner last night while sipping wine and waiting for the second course.
Selecting a place for dinner is always a challenge for my husband as I am averse to expensive restaurants, calling them pretentious, even as the only one who is pretentious is me, trying to remember which utensil to use for which dish, what glass to use with what drink, where to put my table napkin, and acting like I’ve done this fine dining stuff all my life.
He managed to find a restaurant with low-key decorations, even as it had only nine tables, only six of which were occupied, and each item in the menu bore exorbitant prices accompanied by the smallest of portions.
Even then, we shared many little stories, judged every other patron in the restaurant, talked about our children and marveled at our 8-month old son who, one day decided to show to all of us that aside from being able to feed himself independently; drink water from a regular glass; copy coughing, squealing, laughing, and sneezing; poo on the big human toilet; walk around with assistance; wave goodbye, and do a high-five, CAN actually talk, using words like mama, hi, bye, nap, ear, nose, baba for food, and even call the pets by their own names. It seems we are going to be on a challenging ride with this precocious boy of ours. Sometimes I forget he is but some months old and relate with him as if he was a toddler. I especially love that he gets my humor, and we spend hours having a real conversation. I am both thrilled and afraid of the challenges that lie ahead.
This 2-hour anniversary dinner was, in fact, the longest I have ever been without him since he was born. It was not as easy as I thought it was going to be, as every mom and baby racked with separation anxiety can attest.
Still, I enjoyed this rare moment of aloneness with the man who has been through literally everything for my daughter and me. He is not as angelic as everyone thinks he is, while at the same time, everybody knows I am the roughest of diamonds, but together, we make quite the most amusing pair. Or so I think.
Now that I am done waxing all poetic on you, here is what we had for dinner, in case Italian cuisine is your thing or Italian language.
I usually do not take photos of the food I eat, but well, you know, I wanted to be relatable.