On Friday night, we deposited most of the girls at a local bar and four of us stomped into the night on a search for the Trevi fountain. We wove our way through the city, meeting a couple colorful locals and scowling to look more Italian ourselves, before we finally ended up in front of the fountain. Most of what I know about Rome I learned from The Lizzie McGuire Movie, but this was more magnificent than even the big screen could have prepared me for. We waited until midnight to make our wishes because, as Lizzie taught us, if you want something magical to happen you’ve got to set the stage.
This morning we had our first day of class, which meant waking up at the first sign of light in order to make the trek out to our university. We stumbled past the Sexy Shop to the cafe on the front of our building and ordered our cappuccinos at the bar. I made a valiant effort to distinguish which pastry I wanted in Italian but bear in mind that this was before we’d had our first Italian class, so I usually just made a rumbling noise when I felt I was expected to respond, relying instead on a series of theatric hand gestures to convey my meaning. My vocabulary at this point was limited to a couple phrases on the back cover of the dictionary left in our flat. I could say “You are this trip’s best souvenir” and “It was my mother’s dying wish that I see this” but not “right” or “left” so I ended up just poking at it with my finger until the barista handed it over. I had just taken my first sip of the life-giving nectar they call a cappuccino when the shop owner started speaking to me. I perked up, nose dotted with foam, and tried to distinguish what she was saying. I made the hand gesture that meant, “Please forgive my stupidity but I can’t understand any phrases that don’t also double as bad pick-up lines” and she switched to English: “You are Michele Morrow?” I scrunched up my foam-covered nose in confusion. “The actress?”
Michele Morrow is an American actress who stared in The Seer, a 2007 Italian feature directed by Luigi Desole. I don’t know if it was the crown or the blood-spattered wedding dress I was wearing that tipped her off, but I’ll take what I can get. A montage of me being mistaken for an Italian celebrity flashed before my eyes: adoring fans, an upbeat song playing in the background, designer shoes, limousines, my deceivingly compliant singing partner secretly plotting my ultimate downfall on national television! Then I realized that, wait, those were clips from The Lizzie McGuire Movie and if I’m going to be a writer I’m going to have to start getting some of my own material. Brushing the thought aside, I slapped on a pair of dark sunglasses and starting flipping through my phrasebook for the words ‘no photo, please.’