Sneak preview of Ronchi78 manuscript …
It’s a kind of magic
Marilette Barbara van Heerden
[Pick the date]
Thank you note
I want to once again say thank you to Giacomo Bertacchi, Mirko Paletti and every single staff member in the beautiful homely restaurant called Ronchi78 situated Via San Maurilio 7 in Milano Italia.
You all have inspired me to be the best I can be by just existing. I truly appreciate all of you and love you all very much. Thank you so much for all of your unconditional love. I truly appreciate every single second I spend with all of you. You became my world and my muse of inspiration. Thank you very, very much.
What you brought into my life have been more precious than any gift anybody has ever given me, you paid attention to a girl with big dreams and inspired me to manifest it all simply by spending time with me. What more could I have ever wanted than just you.
You know me completely and even though in the beginning we had to use sign language to communicate, we found a way to and all the times we laughed together simply magic happened, a combination that melted in to one big firework of joy.
A world without you I cannot picture and I do not even want to know my life before you. You make me happy and shine the way I was born to and for this my heart and gratitude will stay with all of you forever and another day.
I love you very much. Thank you, you are all blessings from heaven.
I desired to start this book that was first a blog for one simple reason, that is unconditional love.
For about a while ago I could not have dreamed about anything that have happened in my life, to happen, not for one moment. I have fallen in love with the City Milano Italia, my journey in Milan have been more than magical because my whole heart had been stolen completely, firstly by the Duomo, second by a very warm, loving and absolutely beautiful Restaurant called Ronchi78.
My experiences in Milano Italy have only been absolutely incredible and a beautiful adventure.
Life is priceless andunbelievably exciting, there is not a day I will allow to pass without gratitude and a smile.
Before I arrived in Milano I had no idea even about the smallest tourist attraction, I never truly had any interest to ever visit Milano, my understanding of Milano was Fashion only, meaning cold fabric and I love to think of myself as a warm, loving, caring, joyful, sensual, hot blooded young lady. I had no intention to fly from South Africa to do shopping but I was persuaded by a friend to go and visit so I did.
I arrived in Milano the day before my 23rd Birthday on the 19th of October 2010. I did not have a map of the city at all, all I had was my 2 pink suitcases and my smile.
I had to take a taxi from the airport because I did not know how to use the Metropolitana, I did not even know there was something called a yellow line (giggle).
The night before my birthday I stood in front of the most beautiful Cathedral I had ever seen, the famous Duomo. My mouth fell open, my eyes nearly popped out from it’s sockets and I stood still, stunned… tears filled my eyes because I have never seen so much detail in one cathedral or any building. It was absolutely magical and it still is. It was love at first sight, it was home. The next day I entered the Cathedral and afrewards Ronchi78 where a meeting of hearts started with myself and the most important as well as most amazing Italians. It was an adventure, hearts colided that grew deeper over time and magic happened.
This book is a little, well a lot different than my first book called Running with Angels. My first book Running with Angels is about health where this book is an inspirational true life story about Milan, about a beautiful magical restaurant in Milan called Ronchi78.
This true life story is very unusual, one can call it a fairy tale, one can call it bravery one can even call it a little crazy.
This book is about a very unusual girl from South Africa and her name is Marilette, with a very unusual voice, with an enormous amount of talents, very innocent with childlike faith but wise and intelligent in so many ways, I am not trying to blow my own horn here, ehehehe but it is true.
Have a wonderful time reading because this book is a little bit of everything, you will experience every single emotion humanly possible and you will laugh so much that your stomach muscles will eventually start to cramp. This is our story for you to know that truly everything is possible, so dream big, always have hope and have fun reading.
So let us start with this magical story shall we? Oh yes we shall.
CHAPTER 1 Fell from the sky
CHAPTER 2 ROMA
CHAPTER 3 Scuola Italiano and the meeting
CHAPTER 5 A little danger
CHAPTER 6 Tradegy
CHAPTER 7 Come to me now
CHAPTER 8 Decorations
CHAPTER 9 Piazza Residence
CHAPTER 10 The boys
CHAPTER 11 The Concert
CHAPTER 12 Miracle
CHAPTER 13 Babtism
CHAPTER 14 The ring
CHAPTER 15 Protection
CHAPTER 16 A dash of fire
CHAPTER 17 Pasqua
CHAPTER 18 Confusion
CHAPTER 19 Retreat
CHAPTER 20 Diamonds last forever
CHAPTER 21 It’s a kind of magic
CHAPTER 1: Fell from the sky
I felt unbelievably peaceful as I was staring out of my window seat knowing that in a few minutes the aeroplane will be landing at Malpensa Airport in Milan Italy. I have never been to Italy but I promised my friend to visit for a full month over our birthdays.
I was looking more closely outside of the little window next to me in hope to see a little bit extra about this foreign country that I had no knowledge of, apart from my Art studies and research. I was optimistic, serene and hopeful for a beautiful experience and the fact that I was alone did not scare me at all.
As the minutes passed, I felt excitement and a little afraid. I knew that I was going to arrive within minutes in a Country I had no knowledge in how to communicate. I pondered about what my friend had told me before I departed from South Africa. He explained to me that there is a train called the Malpensa Express and all that I needed to do was to take that train from the airport to Milano Centrale, the Station in the Centre of the city of Milan.
I knew that I was not going to take the train after arrival because my experience with public transport was less than none, it is not safe to travel by public transport in South Africa and the thought of trying to find my way around with the use of public transport in a foreign country by myself made me feel nervous.
I felt more peaceful with the idea of taking a taxi from Malpensa Airport, find a service provider and then resting for a while in my hotel room before I had to meet with my friend for dinner that same night.
The aeroplane was then slowly starting to descend and I felt a jolt of excitement , my heart raced, my palms were a little sweaty and I was nervous, but a good nervous.
Passing through the passport checks and waiting for my two big pearl pink suit cases made me feel somewhat impatient. I was feeling exhausted at that point and all I wanted to do at that time was to call for a taxi to take me to the hotel so that I could get settled in my room.
My large suit cases finally arrived approaching slowly on the conveyer belt. I loaded them onto my luggage trolley and I sighed in relief, I felt a little lost and unfamiliar but happy.
While I was heading towards the exit the security guard stopped me and asked me if I will please open my suit cases so that he can check through it. Blood rushed to my cheeks knowing that he will be going through my personal things, I had no choice but to obey.
As the guard opened my suit cases, my underwear and tampax was clearly visible for everybody to see, I felt shy as well as embarrassed, somewhat exposed to be honest like I was being given an enema. My face changed into the colour of a tomato and the security guard looked at me, he smiled and said; “It’s ok.” I blushed even more as I closed my suit cases and I found my feet hasting forward trying not to think about the half exposed feelings I had at that time.
I swallowed once, breathed in deeply and walked towards any exit to find a taxi.
The rest of my travel to the hotel was peaceful, all went smoothly and once I was settled in my hotel room I could relax for a few hours before I was going to be courted through the Centre City of Milan by my friend that evening, the evening before my 23rd birthday.
My friend Christian arrived in front of the Hotel 21:30 that evening. He greeted me in front of the Hotel entrance and walked me towards his car. I blushed a little while he opened the car door for me knowing the gentleman he was and I felt somewhat excited. We spoke while we were travelling through the city; my mind was not completely alert of what Christian was talking about because my eyes and attention was aroused by the City. My eyes were studying all the buildings, appreciating the architecture and the art engraved into centuries old buildings. It was absolutely beautiful.
The car came to a stop in a parking area and my friend Christian took me to a very intimate and small but warm and quiet restaurant. It was almost empty as we entered for there were only one other German couple sitting a few tables away from us. It had warm brick colours, true Italian atmosphere and there were many wine bottles around the walls. I felt relaxed and comfortable while we were dining talking about many unimportant things, conversation was bodiless and shallow, not exactly arousing my nervous system therefore I indulged my attention to my surrounding and the excellent Italian tastes enveloping my mouth.
My thoughts were not present with my friend Christian at all; my thoughts were lost in the city of Milan, the comfortable restaurant and the pasta I was eating.
After a beautiful and elegant dinner, my friend Christian settled the bill and he proposed to me for us to take a stroll through the centre of the city. I could not resist such a proposal and I agreed to take a long walk with him.
After several minutes of walking I realised that my choice in shoes had not been wise that evening. The magnificent and gorgeous streets of Milan are somewhat uneven and walking with high heels is a challenge mentally as well as physically. Let’s just say that my feet were killing me.
All I could possibly do at that time was to look down at my feet while we were walking so that I could pay attention and concentrate not to step badly and fall down. With every step my feet were in agony, I tried my best to follow Christian’s conversation but it was not possible. My focus was completely directed at safe steps moving forward and then the pain associated with it.
We finally came to a stop and I heard Christian say; “look up bella!” My eyes slowly left the focus from my feet on the ground moving upwards and feeling almost bedazzled by every second of upwards glance. My mouth fell open as my knees became weak. On the 19th of October 2010, 23:55 in the evening the night before my 23rd birthday, I met and stood in front of the Duomo di Milano in the heart of Milan.
Complete satisfaction flowed over me, I felt peaceful and in love with the remarkable Cathedral right in front of me. The attention that had been directed to the enormous pain in my feet suddenly turned to little puffy clouds and it felt as if I was floating about in heaven.
My eyes were studying every single detail carved into the palace shaped church. Every single story written in the bible was carved into the outside marble, one enormous symbol of absolute passion, patience and love. Saints as well as angels carved standing on top of this church then finally visible on the highest top is Mother Mary carved standing.
Tears were flowing slowly over my cheeks as I stood stunned, breath taken, grateful, in love and unbelievably happy.
The never ending flowing words spoken to me by my friend Christian still could not penetrate my ears; I was too lost in magic and thought. “Am I boring?”, he asked and my attention was directed suddenly back to him that left me somewhat annoyed before I replied; “No, it is just beautiful.”; “You can go inside during the day tomorrow but now, I want to take you back to the hotel because I must work tomorrow. We will meet here at lunch?” I thought for a second and accepted his proposal for lunch the next day on my birthday, “Yes Christian, thank you.” I replied.
The walk back to his car was not as painful for my feet like the first time because we took a shorter route back.
The words spoken to me by my friend Christian was still going into one ear and flowing out of the other as my eyes and my brain were taking snapshots at the City every second, it was magical.
The car came to a stop and I realised that we were parked in front of the hotel. “Thank you Christian, I had a wonderful evening.”, he was leaning forward towards me and I found myself outside of the car on my way up the stairs of the hotel. The sound of his car speeding away gave me relief because I kicked off my shoes immediately. I walked hastily into the lift and waited for it to take me to my floor. Entering my hotel room, I smiled and fell backwards onto the bed.
I felt in love with a City I knew nothing about, I felt excited knowing that I will be spending time in the most beautiful Cathedral I have ever seen in my life. I was peaceful and thinking about the evening, slowly drifting into my beauty sleep while my visually stimulated mind was processing all I had lived and seen that night.
I awoke the next morning with great optimism for a wonderful first day in beautiful Milan Italy and then I managed to get lost for a few hours. My friend forgot to tell me where the Metropolitana was or I simply neglected to ask, oh but it was wonderful getting lost, I tried to communicate and the older Italian mammas helped me, they were so helpful, even still today. I could only say “ciao” and “buongiorno” and use some sign language so they took me by the hand into the correct direction, onto the correct bus, towards the correct Metro yellow line and after a while I found myself walking up one flight of stairs standing right in front of the Duomo, a big bright smile appeared on my face and I was in love again, I had a jolt of excitement rushing me forward towards the beautiful cathedral.
As I entered the inside of the Duomo my heart melted even more, it was enormous! The quadroni dangling along the nave from this magnificent cathedral depicting of the life and miracles was breath-taking. Every step I took deeper inside of this brilliant beauty gave me goose bumps knowing that I was walking inside of the biggest Cathedral in Italy that took 6 Centuries to complete. This Cathedral was a symbol of art, patience and passion.
A few meters walking down the marble isles I saw a sculpture of Christ on the cross, in front of this sculpture was a long table of white candles where a person can pay a few cents for donation, take a white candle and burn it, then one has the option to sit on a wooden bench and pray. I took a candle and lit it then I retreated and sat on the bench and I prayed. Tears filled my eyes, gratitude filled my heart and I was enormously happy. I thanked God for granting me with the most beautiful sights, experience and visit to a magnificent Cathedral and City that stole my heart in an instant. Seeing how Archangel Micheal as well as all other angels are drawn into the thin and long stained glass of the windows, sculptures and statues of Saints and angels, statues of mother Mary and Christ everywhere was overwhelming to my soul. Every sphere of this beautiful Cathedral had been more than magical to me, I felt so peaceful, in love with the surroundings and safe.
I sat in the Duomo for about 2 hours before I had to leave to meet my friend for lunch.
I met my friend on the corner of via Torino, in front of the clothing store called Zara, a street and store visible from afar when standing in front of the cathedral the Duomo.
My friend Christain and I walked down Via Torino talking about my morning experiences and his work. I could see him better at this time during the day, especially when the past years have only been internet video skyping. He was much taller than me, my height is 1.6meters while his are 1.9meters. Seeing Christian and I together was similar as if when looking at the sky at another person. He was a very handsome perfectly toned olive white skin Milaneses Italian. Milanese; meaning that he was born and raised in Milan. The Milan born and raised Italians are very tall and slim unlike the Italians born in the southern parts of Italy. Christian had brown eyes, perfectly straight teeth and he was going bold, I found it odd because he was only 29 at the time. He was a very attractive man, accept for the height and baldness, he was beautiful.
We suddenly started to walk faster as Christian told me that we must get to lunch because he had a short amount of time before he had to go back to work.
I was looking and walking past a store called FNAC where Christian took my hand and lead me right over the street into Via San Maurillio, a street that is tiny but it is beautiful. I was noticing the brown/grey and warm stone shaped road then Christian opened a door on the left side of the street and I was looking at this beautiful tiny and warm restaurant filled with men dressed in black and white suits and I felt a bit under dressed. I had a black trousers with a pearl pink top on, a thick leather belt, white and pink pearls and an enormous black Gucci bag. I looked funny I suppose but the owner named Giacomo made me feel welcome immediately!!!!
I ate this very fascinating pasta dish, It tasted divine but I apologize I cannot remember the name of the dish, the pasta itself I remember were in the form of little balls.
My friend told me “Happy Birthday” I replied with a kind thank you and we had lunch at Ronchi78, for me the first time. As we were about to leave I tripped and fell over the chair, I felt ridiculous because I was clumsy and stared at by everybody, yet the owner made me feel better once again, he was smiling at me with big eyes and interest it was somewhat overwhelming and made me blush as I ooked down at the floor. While myself and Christian were standing in front of Giacomo by his cash register I took out my wallet to help pay. Giacomo looked at me in distress and told Christian to translate to me that women does not pay. Christian kindly translated to me what Giacomo told him to translate to me and I nodded.
Christian and the owner Giacomo had a quick discussion in Italian where I heard Christian telling Giacomo something about South Africa and I knew that Christian was explaining to him why I tried to pay in the first place, it was because I was not European.
Giacomo had an even bigger smile on his face and all that he told me was “miss Vuvuzela”. I thought that it was very sweet of him to make me feel so comfortable, because the football world cup had been in south africa earlier that year, and the Vuvuzela is the typical South African soccer horn.
After lunch my friend had to go back to work again and told me to continue walking down via Torino, I did as I was told and I bought my first pistachio gelato, oh dear, it was divine, I was in heaven.
I was walking, tasting and my eyes were taking in the beauty around me when I then received a text message from my friend explaining to me that he does not want to see me again because I am not apparently his cup of tea; luckily I was still eating my Gelato so I did not care too much.
Afterwards I pondered about the situation, it was after all my birthday, I have at that moment only been in Italy for 24hours not knowing how to get back to my Hotel or where I actually was but when I found my way back to the Duomo I was grateful and I knew that I will manage to get around eventually.
I did not get angry at my friend, I was quite peaceful, my mind was at that moment still busy processing all the new around me so I could not really worry too much about him, but I forgave him at once and told him afterwards that it is alright, we can remain friends but I will never be with him again because I will never be able to even think about doing to another what he had done to me, It was very rude and careless.
After that I never heard of him again I do hope he is blessed with goodness, wisdom, light and laughter though.
So it was still my birthday, and I found myself walking inside of a building called The Galleria. The beauty of the City Milan astonished me; every corner was like a new surprise for me as I would admire and appreciate like a child discovering something new and wonderful for the first time. I was walking and found Myself standing in the Centre of the Galleria, noticing that it was a shopping square shaped in a little cross with four exits, then in the centre a very high and beautiful ceiling. I had the choice to go back towards the cathedral, left or right or straight ahead. I decided to walk straight.
As I walked through the galleria I found myself standing in Piazza Scala, and I saw the statue of Leonardo da Vinci, My heart leaped with joy once again and I then decided to sit and stare at the statue of Leo da Vinci for a while. Sitting in serenity by the statue of Leonardo da Vinci, silently speaking to the statue in my head saying “so, I guess it’s just you and me.” I giggled at my silly self and decided to take a taxi back to my hotel where I had a lovely shower and I thought to myself; “Well, I am here for a month so let me make the most of it.”
After I had a calming, physically as well as soul cleansing shower, I laid for a moment on my bed, deciding that I want to go out and experience Milan some more, it was my birthday evening so I wanted to do something special with myself. I found my way easily taking a bus to the Metro and made my way once again to the Duomo, where I looked starry eyed at this enormous beautiful Cathedral once again and my mind started to see the City alive for the first time. Being alone and unfamiliar my mind made my surroundings magical. It is as if the Cathedral; and the buildings came alive with friendly smiles and I blushed. At this point in time I felt it wise to stick to the things I knew and took a walk down Via Torino again, I really tried to remember where I had lunch with my friend that afternoon because it felt so warm and safe inside Ronchi78, yet my heart dropped, I felt discouraged because I have within 24hours been lost so many times, I did atleast manage to buy a little map book the afternoon and only later realized that the map book were written in Spanish. (Giggle)
While I was walking peacefully down Via Torino my head turned right looking down a street that looked familiar, and it was, it was the street of Ronchi78 where myself and my ex friend had lunch that same afternoon, ohhh my heart raced and I was so excited, it was wonderful. I was so relieved and I didn’t hesitate to enter this beautiful and warm restaurant that kept me curious and interested from the moment I set foot in it.
The kind waiter helped me, such a friendly person, he told me that he visited South Africa many years ago and that he liked it hehehe. Giacomo the owner standing behind the bar counter still called me miss Vuvuzela, I was so happy because I felt safe, the atmosphere felt unbelievably peaceful, kind and loving, the people so warm and friendly, I was floating on a cloud called number 9. Giacomo looked confused because he saw me sitting peacefully in the corner table writing in my big leather dairy, what made him confused was the fact that I was alone.
I looked at this remarkable and astonishing warm setting of this little place my eyes and heart saw and felt to be so magical. The colours of Ronchi78 are warm, elegant and welcoming. Wine bottles packed on a thick and long top a shelf by the left side wall, little windows that shows the outside street and in between the windows the door for entering as well as exciting. The right side of this little restaurant was a long and enormous bar counter, classy elegant, on top of the far end of the bar counter is an old cash register, bronze, with buttons one will need superman fingers to press. It was absolutely beautiful. In between these two long walls, the bar counter and the door were the wooden tables and chairs. It was a Toscana style type of atmosphere with a little extra elegance and comfort and style.
The little candles lit on every table brought about feelings of serenity, peace and romance.
Sitting in the little corner in Ronchi78, paying attention to every detail of this restaurant and allowing myself to feel how this little restaurant made me feel was overwhelming. I fell in love with Ronchi78 the evening on my birthday. The welcoming smile of Giacomo the owner and the kindness of the head waiter Massimo added to whatever I allowed myself to feel for this beautiful restaurant.
I did not have a late evening there at Ronchi78, I was a unbelievably exhausted thus I decided to retreat to my hotel early. The gentleman who was driving my taxi spoke to me in almost perfect English, while we spoke I mentioned to him that it was my birthday so he offered to take me out for a drink. I kindly accepted and we went to a wine bar, it was fun, he was kind and took me back to my hotel afterwards and explained to me how to take the metro back to my hotel, what the street name is and all the little have to know things. That night I went to bed feeling happy knowing that as long as I know how to get to Piazza Duomo and to Ronchi78 and back to my hotel, I will be alright…
The next morning after my birthday…..
I woke up optimistic about the day knowing at that time how to properly travel from my hotel to the Metro, from the Metro to Piazza Duomo and from the Duomo to Ronchi78 and then in reverse. I also knew Via Torino street but I had a problem, my laptop charger did not want to work in my hotel so I had to buy a universal charger. I had no idea where to buy a universal charger so I decided to get started on my Universal Charger mission.
I started by the basic shops to gather information as to where I can find a proper electronics store and I found myself walking into a Supermarket.There was obviously no chargers but every helpful Italian that could speak poko poko Inglese directed me to a store called FNAC.
FNAC is a large electronics store situated right down Via Torino and across Fnac is Via San Maurilo the street where Ronchi78 is in.
Once again I did not know this information, I walked with my GPS all day finding places, when the employees in FNAC told me that they were sold out with Universal chargers, my optomism levels dropped therefore I decided to play on the Wii Party, it was amazing it’s like Zumba, I want a Wii Party WOHOOOO!!!! A while after I danced, giggled, laughed and amused everyone with shaking my butt cheeks on the Wii Party, I took the exit out of FNAC standing once again in Via Torino when I saw the street where Ronchi78 is in, I magically floated into Via San Maurilo and I found myself back inside Ronchi78.
I entered and Giacomo told me that my friend (ex-friend) was down stairs having lunch, my heart immedietly stopped for a second on the spot then I shook my head as well as hands signalling: “no thank you”, “I want to be by myself” I replied to Giacomo with a smile and a relief. Giacomo was talking so loud it was impossible for Christian not to hear him, he then nodded to me fast closing both his eyes after the last nod as if he was agreeing happily and understanding at the same time.
I was sitting in the far corner of Ronchi close to the kitchen and decided to have lunch, it was wonderful, I cannot exactly remember what dish I had it was too long ago to remember but no meal coming from the kitchen from Ronchi have ever tasted terrible.
I saw when my friend Christian decended from the bottom of my new best restuarant on the planet and I became amused that there was a bottom section too. I was curious how it looked down stairs in Ronchi but I was to shy to ask Giacomo, I had no idea how big it was at the bottom of Ronchi or how may men in suits were going to stare at me so I rather played it safe in my corner.
Christian noticed me and I looked away quick to avoid his eye contact. I looked up and Giacomo was looking at me from behind the cash register while Christian was paying and he pionted with a finger toward Christian again signalling to me if I do not want to speak to him, My head moved quickly left and right letting him know that it is still a NO, and he nodded once again with a smile on his face at that time.
As Christian was walking away he turned to look at me and my eyes were burning into the table I was sitting at for the second time, determined not to have any eye contact with Christian or to even make room for uncomfortable conversation.
He left and I sipped on my glass of red wine winding down my lunch peacefully, writing in my leather Dairy some notes on writing my first book.
Time was nearing 3pm and I was still scrubbling in my dairy. Massimo the head waiter then came to my table and told me that Ronchi will be closing at 3pm but they re open at 8 pm in the evenings. I blushed as I looked into the direction where Giacomo was looking at me making the Vuvuzela sound smiling warmly at me. I gathered up all my things and placed it safely into my bag reaching for my wallet and moving towards the cash register towards Giacomo. I had been alone and this time I had to pay but I was very happy about it because I could tease Giacomo about the fact that I am a woman that was about to pay. I called over to Massimo the head waiter and asked him to translate for me because I wanted to say something to Giacomo. He agreed immedietly and all that I said was; “You see, now I pay”. I gave a little giggle to declare that I got my way.
Giacomo looked at me with a grin, amused and annoyed at the same time as if being defeated but then he smiled and said; “Only 10 Euro”. I was a little confused because I know that the amount had to be more, Oh well I won half way. I did not exactly know how to argue my case with Giacomo to pay my full and correct amount because he could not speak much English so I nodded and gave him the amount he asked me for. We both had a sense of challenge and fun with that experience and I felt amused. I then moved towards the door greeting them all as I exited Ronchi.
Standing outside of Ronchi was my famous friend and his best friend waiting for me. I almost went into shock as my friend Christian tried to have a conversation with me. I walked backwards trying to end conversation also not paying attention to as where I was going and I accidentaly bumped into a lady busy driving her bycicle, Ohh dear I almost killed her. I then turned to look at Christian and said; “ciao” with enormous feelings of embarrasment once again.
When I walked into Via Torino I realised that I was still without a notebook charger, I made a sigh in discouragement and took the metro back to my hotel giving up on my universal charger quest.
I was walking down Via San Carlo towards the direction of my hotel and I suddenly noticed an electronics store. Surprisingly this was a shop with a universal charger so I bought it and it worked perfectly when I returned back to the hotel.
I was exhausted and I felt odd, I had the feeling of missing everybody at Ronchi78 already so I had to have supper there again that evening, besides it was a Thursday, why would I want to stay in and write? The thought of seeing them excited me just to let them know about my experiences since I arrived, but ofcoarse communication was a problem and that made me feel frustrated not to be able to communicate to know everything about everybody in Ronchi78, so I told myself that it was time to self-study Italiano.
I went back to Ronchi78 that evening about 9pm and as I entered Giacomo made his vuvuzela signal immedietaly, almost as if he had been expecting me, it was absolutely adorable and I was happy. It somehow felt like home, like family, warm and happy unconditional acceptance as well as unconditional love, everything felt so right.
I was peacefully sitting in my corner trying to self-study Italiano and two men entered the restaurant, always around Giacomo. I felt shy because I noticed how these two strangers and Giacomo were speaking fast in italian and looking towards me at times. I felt like leaving but a magnet pulled me down keeping me rooted onto my chair. The taller stranger of the two were very handsome, he had light blond/brown hair, a perfectly toned face and his posture was elegant. He also seemed arrogant and like he thought the sun was shining from his bottom but he glanced and smiled in my direction and I blushed unwillingly.
He then started to move towards me slowly and I began to panic, not knowing if I should run. He stood confidently in front of the table looking at me with a bottle of wine and topped up my wine glass. He then moved slowly back to the bar counter to join Giacomo ans his other friend.
I was speachless but I relaxed and started to write again in my dairy, looking up solemnly when this tall and handsome stranger came to top up my wine glass all of the time pretending to play waiter over me.
After what was about an hour, getting topped up with vino by my tall, generous, possibility to be friend or aquintance stranger, I almost went into shock as they sat down at my table to talk to me. Obviously I was feeling a little too relaxed after a few glasses of wine thus going in to shock could not be an option therefore I decided to speak to them. What else could I do, they were sitting right in the front as well as next to me so my choices at that time had been limited.
I felt relieved after I heard the first word exiting this tall and handsome Italian’s mouth, he coud speak good english. I was more than willing to talk at that piont.
“My name is San Carlo” he seductively introduced himself to me “and this is my friend San Marco, What is your name?”. A few things went through my mind before I answered bacause I know that San before a name means Saint and I knew that these two strangers were no saints, I was not willing to give my knowledge away so I stayed naive and replied: “That is beautiful, please to meat you, my name is Marilette”. They thought for a moment then the next half an hour turned into a pronunciation game and the game is called “how to pronounce Marilette”, eventually I became somewhat annoyed and told them which is the truth that my second name is Barbara also common in Italy for a name of a woman, phewww finally the conversation changed from how to say my name into something worth more talking about.
“Where are you from and why are you in Milano”? San Carlo asked, “I am from South Africa and I dont know anymore why I am in Milan”, that was my only response to him. He tilted his head backwards looking at Giacomo most probably exchanging a glance towards Giacomo I could not read because I could not read his facial expression with his face turned away from me. Giacomo gave a grin back towards him and I really still did not know what the secret sighn language was about. He turned his head and face back towards me and asked me why I love Milan and Ronchi, I then explained to him that what the duomo meant to me and how I felt enetering Ronchi78. He laughed out loud realizing that I love Milan because of the Cathedral and not because of fashion. According to them I was unique and strange. With my tiny glass 8 figure, long brown hair, big round and long eyes with the colour not exactly set, changing according to my emotions and puffy pink lips completey born with and all natural, to them I was nothing out of the ordinary. One can assume for me being in Milan for a modelling contract but my interests, passions, experiences and depth of heart spoke differently.
San Carlo supposidly according to my assumption realised that I fit the profile for being in Milan but my intersts were not exactly what was normal according to Milan standard so he told me to visit some Cities in Italy. He also noticed that I was self studying Italian and suggested to go to a school on a 2 weeks coarse for my month intended stay. I listened and my ears swollowed as well as valuably stored all the information he had told me.
I was having fun with San Carlo and his friend untill I heard music drifting upwards from downstairs of Ronchi. My attention shifted immedietly from my company towards the amazing fun filled melodies filling my ears and speaking volumes to my soul.
I packed my study material away and I asked Giacomo if I may go downstairs. He smiled nodded his head up and down and replied “Si”.
Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, the sound my shoes made going down the first line of steps towards a corner wall, I turned one quarter right and another 5 steps down the stairs I saw the singer in the far right corner in the bottom of the lower section of Ronchi78, as well as all the other Italian people in the center of the room either sitting on the tables drinking or hovering around the Italian artist while he is playing his quitar singing and they all were singing from within their stomachs outwards having a festive time. The guests that I viewd from the top of the steps booked for Musica dal vivo, a form of Karaoke with a artist playing from his original quitar and they were all having so much fun, they were all happy, being festive, it was magical….. I was standing on the stairs seeing the happy smiles and the joy, the laughter, the love and I fell in love with Ronchi78 completely right at that moment, so much love filled my core being I became emotional, my heart filled with so much joy, tears pouring down my cheeks with happiness, knowing that if I am not going to be part of this forever I will not exist, I knew already by then that If I had to leave ever I will die of a broken heart!!!! That night I relised that I was blessed with two magical gifts on my 23rd Birthday, the Cathedral my beautiful Duoma as well as Ronchi78 and the strange fact is, is that I entered both of them on my Birthday.I cried again out of gratitude.
On the 22st of October 2010 my heart was lost unconditionally for a number of people I hardly knew. What I love about the Italian language is, is that some things should be left unquestioned. Just accept things as they are without asking why?
I felt so passionate about Ronchi78 at that time because my last happy memory as a family died at the age of nine. Being given everything, also struggling and battling life, taking worry as well as responsibility onto my shoulders as a really young child, just trying to survive and to keep sane with all the bad that had happened and to try smiling trough all these experiences.
I did survive I did pull through and I am too grateful and happy today because I have seen and lived through the worst already. If it was not for God I would have not been here today, I am so grateful.
I fell in love with a Region I love more than windsurfing, with a warm Italian family restaurant I always imagined family to be like and have, and a cathedral considered a masterpiece and an art in so many forms, I cannot imagine living without… I am more in love with Ronchi78 I cannot imagine a world without the People, without the guests and without the Festivity.
I have never experienced a Restaurant in my life with so much passion for excellent cuisine, wines, music, singing, festivity and so much warm and loving openness.
My heart was stolen and I do not even want it back….. Keep it forever and another day.
Chapter 2: Roma