Ronchi78 It’s a kind of magic 1st Chapter edited version…


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.

Amore sempre


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 and unbelievably 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 its 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 afterwards Ronchi78 where a meeting of hearts started with me and the most important as well as most amazing Italians. It was an adventure, hearts collided 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 3 Confession

CHAPTER 4 Scuola Italiano and the meeting

CHAPTER 5 Tragedy

CHAPTER 6 Come to me now

CHAPTER 7 A little Danger

CHAPTER 8 Decorations

CHAPTER 9 Piazza Residence

CHAPTER 10 Merry Christmas

CHAPTER 11 Miracle

CHAPTER 12 The Concert

CHAPTER 13 Baptism

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 a friend of mine to visit for a full month over our birthdays.
While stretching my stiff  legs – I couldn’t believe it was already a full eighteen hours since I got on the plane at Oliver Tambo – I tried to take a closer peek at this foreign country that I had no knowledge of, apart from my art studies and research. I felt optimistic, serene and felt a jolt of excitement that rushed through me and I knew that I was heading for a beautiful experience.
I pondered about what my friend had told me before I departed from South Africa that I should take the train – Malpensa Express – from the airport to Milano Centrale.

I knew that I was not going to take the train after arrival because my experience with public transport had been less than none as 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, check in at my hotel room and to rest before dinner with my friend that same evening.

While I was going through the passport checks, waiting for my two big pearl pink suit cases, I felt impatient and at that stage, very exhausted and when my luggage finally arrived slowly on the conveyer belt, I felt relieved and a little bit scared at the same time.

As I was quickly heading towards the exit, a security guard stopped me and asked me to open my suit cases. Blood rushed to my cheeks, knowing that he would be going through my personal things.
My underwear and tampax was clearly visible for everybody to see and I felt shy as well as embarrassed, somewhat exposed and my face changed into the colour of a tomato when the guard looked at me, 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 at 21:30 that evening, greeted me at 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 of old buildings.  The scenery was absolutely beautiful.
The car came to a stop in a parking area and my friend Christian steered me to a very intimate, small but warm and quiet restaurant. It was almost empty as we entered for there was only one other German couple sitting a few tables away from us. The restaurant 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 and therefore I indulged my attention in my surroundings and the excellent Italian food with flavours that enveloped all my senses.
After a beautiful and elegant dinner, my friend Christian settled the bill and he proposed a stroll through the centre of the city which I gladly accepted.

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, 5 minutes 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 into 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 cathedral. 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, 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 nonna’s 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 Michael 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 Christian for lunch on the corner of via Torino, in front of the clothing store called Zara. The street and store are visible from afar when standing in front of the cathedral the Duomo.

I could see Christian much better in the light and I studied him very closely especially since we have for the past years only been communicating via internet video skyping. He was much taller than me, about 1.9m versus my 1.6m. Seeing us together must have looked funny, as I felt completely like a midget in his presence.  He was a very handsome, perfectly toned olive white skin Milanese Italian.  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 but he was going bold, a fact I found odd because he was only 29 at the time.  Except for the baldness and the length of this man, he was soft on the eye.

Christian took my hand and lead me right over the street into Via San Maurillio, a street that is tiny but beautiful with a brown/grey and warm stone shaped road.  Christian opened a door on the left side of the street and I took in the warmth and friendliness of this beautiful tiny restaurant filled with men dressed in black and white suits but felt a bit underdressed. I was dressed in black trousers with a pearl pink top, 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 had this very fascinating pasta dish which tasted divine and was in the form of little balls, but I have to admit that I can’t remember the name of the dish.
My 23rd birthday, entering the Duomo and having lunch at Ronchi78 was another beautiful experience. As we were about to leave I tripped and fell over the chair and felt ridiculously clumsy,   yet the owner made me feel better once again by smiling at me with big eyes and amusement.  I tried to help with the bill, as is the custom in South Africa but Giacomo looked at me in distress and told Christian to translate to me that women do not pay. Christian kindly translated to me what Giacomo told him 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 Christian 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.  It is funny how the spark is just not there when you meet somebody for the first time?
Afterwards I pondered about the situation, it was after all my birthday and 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 was not angry at Christian, 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 have never heard of him again but 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, 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, 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 that since I was in Milan for a month, I might as well enjoy it!

After I had a calming, physically as well as soul cleansing shower, I laid for a moment on my bed, decided that I had to go out and experience Milan some more, I wanted to do something special for 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 at least manage to buy a little map book the afternoon and only later on 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 we 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 again and he told me that he visited South Africa many years ago and that he liked it. (hehehe).

Giacomo,  the owner,  stood behind the bar counter and was still calling 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 at the corner table writing in my big leather dairy and what made him confused was the fact that I was alone.

 The colours of Ronchi78 are warm, elegant and welcoming. Wine bottles packed on a thick and long top shelf by the left side wall and little windows showing the outside street and in between the windows is the door for entering as well as exiting. On the right side of this little restaurant is a long and enormous wooden bar counter, classy and elegant and shiny.  On top of the far end of the counter is an old cash register, bronze, with keys one will need superman fingers to press.  Between two long walls, the bar counter and the door are the wooden tables and chairs. It was a Toscana style type of atmosphere with a little extra elegance, comfort and style and I found the place absolutely magical.
Little candles lit on every table brought about feelings of serenity, peace and romance.
While 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 of my birthday and 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 because I was unbelievably exhausted thus I decided to retreat to my hotel early.

The gentleman driving the taxi back to my hotel, spoke to me in almost perfect English and I mentioned as a matter of fact to him that it was my birthday. Immediately he offered to take me out for a drink. I knew I shouldn’t have, but I kindly accepted and we went to a wine bar.  It was fun, he was a gentleman and took me back to my hotel afterwards.  He explained to me how to take the metro back to my hotel during the day from the centre, what the street name was 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, I would 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 an universal charger.
I started at the basic shops to gather information as to where I can find a proper electronics store and found myself walking into a Supermarket. There were obviously no chargers but a very 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 Maurillio street – the street where Ronchi78 is situated.
When the employees in FNAC told me that they were sold out with Universal chargers, my optimism levels dropped and therefore I decided to play on the Wii Party in store –  it was an amazing spirit lifter and a while after I have danced, giggled, laughed and amused everyone with shaking my butt,  I took the exit out of FNAC standing once again in Via Torino – magically floated into Via San Maurillio and I found myself back inside Ronchi78.

I entered and Giacomo told me that Christian (ex-friend) was down stairs having lunch.  My heart immediately stopped for a second on the spot and then I shook my head and used some hands signals to say: “no thank you”, “I want to be by myself.”  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.  I cannot exactly remember what dish I had but no meal coming from the kitchen from Ronchi have ever tasted terrible. 
I saw when my friend Christian descended from the bottom of my new best restaurant 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 too shy to ask Giacomo, so I rather played it safe in my corner.
Christian noticed me and I looked away quick to avoid eye contact. I looked up and Giacomo was looking at me from behind the cash register while Christian was paying and he pointed with a finger toward Christian again signalling to me if I do not want to speak to him.  My head moved quickly to left and right, letting him know that it was still a NO, and he nodded once again with a smile on his face at me.
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 him 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 about Italy. 
Time was nearing 3pm and I was still scribbling in my dairy. Massimo, the head waiter, came to my table and told me that Ronchi would be closing at 3pm but they would be re-opening at 8 pm in the evening. 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 and 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:  “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 knew that the amount had to be more. No need arguing with an Italian man, so I just shrugged and thought to myself:  “Oh well, I won half way”.  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 Ronchi was my famous ex friend and a friend of his, waiting for me. I almost went into shock as my friend Christian tried to have a conversation with me, walked backwards trying to end conversation and almost bumped a lady bicycle rider off her bike. I then turned to look at Christian and said; “ciao” with enormous feelings of embarrassment once again. 
I had a feeling of dismay, decided to go back to my hotel and giving up on my universal charger quest, when I suddenly noticed an electronics store very near my hotel. Surprisingly this was a shop with a universal charger so I bought it and it worked perfectly when I returned to the hotel.

I was exhausted and I felt odd, had the feeling of missing everybody at Ronchi78 already so I decided to have supper there again that evening.   The thought of seeing them excited me and I so wished I could tell them about my experiences since I arrived, but of course communication was a problem and it made me feel frustrated not to be able to communicate with everybody in Ronchi78, so I told myself that it was time to self-study Italiano.

I went back to Ronchi78 that evening at about 9pm and as I entered, Giacomo made his vuvuzela signal immediately, 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 when two men entered the restaurant.  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 to my chair. The taller stranger of the two was 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 and his other friend.
I was speechless 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 about an hour, getting topped up with vino by the tall, generous, possibility to be friend or acquaintance stranger, I almost went into shock as he and his friend 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 and 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 could speak good English. I was more than willing to talk at that point. 

“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 because 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 at that point, so I stayed naive and replied: “That is beautiful, please to meet you, my name is Marilette”. They stared at me for a moment and for the next half an hour the conversation turned into a pronunciation game, named “how to pronounce Marilette”. Eventually I became somewhat annoyed and told them that my second name is Barbara, a common name in Italy.  Finally the conversation changed from how to say my name into something more worthwhile talking about. 
“Where are you from and why are you in Milano”? San Carlo asked. “I am from South Africa and I don’t know anymore why I am in Milan”, was my reply. He tilted his head backwards looking at Giacomo.  Giacomo gave a grin back towards him and I really still did not know what the secret sign language was about. He turned his head and face back towards me and asked me why I love Milan and Ronchi, upon which my face lit up with joy,  explaining to him  what the Duomo meant to me and how I felt entering 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 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 completely born with and all natural, I was nothing out of the ordinary in Milan. One could assume for me being in Milan for a modelling contract but my interests, passions, experiences and depth of heart spoke differently. 

San Carlo supposedly, according to my appearance, assumed that I was in Milan purely for the fashion, but realised that my interests were not exactly that 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 week’s course for my month intended stay. I listened and my brain stored all the valuable information he had told me. 

I was having fun talking to San Carlo and his friend until I heard music drifted from downstairs. My attention shifted immediately from my company towards the amazing fun filled melodies that spoken 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”.

My shoes made a “tick tick” sound while going down the first line of steps towards a corner wall.  I then turned one quarter right and another 5 steps down and saw the singer in the far left corner, as well as all the other Italian people in the centre of the room either sitting at the tables drinking or hovering around the Italian artist while he is playing his guitar.  Everybody was having a festive time, singing, dancing and drinking!  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, I became emotional, my heart filled with so much joy, tears poured 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 realised that I was blessed with two magical gifts on my 23rd Birthday, the Cathedral – my beautiful Duomo – as well as Ronchi78 and the strange fact was 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 on a number of people I hardly knew. What I love about the Italians, are 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 and 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 did not even want it back….. Keep it forever and another day.

Chapter 2: Roma

Posted on: November 12, 2012, by :

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