The last of my days here have been quite emotional. I worked my last morning at the bakery on Saturday and it was so hard to leave. I am having trouble articulating how much this experience has meant to me, with all I have learned, I will never forget it. I am going to miss everything.
I’m going to miss Domenico and Nicola, who would start work earlier than anyone else. They were awesome and so fun to be around.
And the Porciatti family. I’m going to miss Giacomo, and how he would always talk so fast I could never understand him. Errico, who never said much but was so very kind. And Paola, who was so welcoming and fun to hang out with.
And Lina, I am going to miss her the most. I can’t put to words how much I loved baking and selling bread with her. We would talk about everything, especially since she knew all the gossip. She was very particular about how the bread looked (never hesitating to tell me that what I just rolled out was ugly). But she was so generous and kind, and taught me how to make all sorts of desserts.
I’m going to miss the coffee we would drink every morning at 5:30am. (Our second serving of the day).
I’m going to miss the radio that was always on. I got to know some hit Italian songs pretty well. I’ll also miss how everyone (even Lina) would sing along to Lady Gaga’s Alejandro. Especially when Nicola would start dancing.
I’m going to miss lifting the heavy trays and sheets of dough all morning long. Well, maybe not. But it sure was good for building upper body strength!
I’m going to miss the flirtatious old men who would come in for bread every morning. The clients were my favorite part of the job.
The only thing I’m not going to miss is waking up at 2:30am. Then again, I’m going to have to do that again at our bakery in Chicago.
On my last day, Giacomo and Nicola taught me how to make Pan di Santo, a special bread they make in the fall, especially November, the month of the saints. It has raisins, walnuts and lots of spices and flavors.
And around 5:30am they popped open a bottle of Spumante. I asked why and they said, why not?
And I made my own crostata! Lina and Paola then sent me home with homemade marmalade so I could make it again at home.
They also gave me all of these gifts which were so unnecessary but incredibly touching. The most thoughtful one, the one that made me cry, was a pair of four leaf clover earrings for luck. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. I just can’t believe how incredibly generous they were, to let me come to their bakery and work and learn, to treat me like family, and then give such a beautiful gift. I was speechless, and I still am. I could not have asked to work with better people. They were just wonderful. And this is why it is so hard to leave.