The Fashion and Economic Engine of Italy

Trip Start Aug 08, 2006
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Trip End Oct 11, 2006


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Monday, September 18, 2006

Milan, ITALY
Capital of Italian Fashion

My second visit to Milan was made ever more special when I got a chance to spend time with Arturo, Raffaella, and their 7 1/2 year old daughter Beatrice. Milan always had a special place in my heart: it was the first Italian city I ever visited nine years ago.

While a medical student working on an exchange research scholarship in Berlin, I was invited to visit Italy by these friends in 1997. Raffaella, Arturo, and Giovanni took good care of me, as they showed me the myriad beauty of northern Italy -- from Milan to Venice to Cinque Terre and Tuscany.

Now that I was back in Italy, I wanted to pay a visit again to these special friends, whom I had met in Dallas. When I got into Milan, Raffaella called to tell me she was going to be late doing her last surgery at the Obstetrics-Gynecology hospital. However, Arturo was at home awaiting my arrival; he was not on call in the OB-Gyn and Urology departments until the following evening. They did not look any different. We embraced each other warmly. Arturo even exclaimed that I looked the same after nine years. They took me to very fine Milanese restaurants, where I had a chance to sample northern Italian cuisine, which was very distinct from central or southern Italian cooking.

It was also very special for me to finally meet their precocious, intelligent daughter Beatrice, who already could speak three languages: Italian, English, and Spanish, at the age of nearly eight. She even made a cute sign, "Tony's Room," that was posted on my door. Their two maids, of Colombian and Salvadoran extractions, were very helpful in doing my laundry and tidying up my room.

One time, Raffaella and I contacted Giovanni to invite him out to dinner with us. He told us he was sick with the flu, but the symptoms he gave us were incongruous to the presumed diagnosis. Upon further questioning, we concluded that there was something else he wanted to do.

Three days in Milan was just too short to really catch up on old times with these special friends. Future reunions would have to be planned, perhaps in America or again in Italy....
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