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"I hate America", he said over the candlelit dinner at the Ocean Beach restaurant. "Well.. actually, California is very similar to Southern Italy. I just don't like the people," he continued. And so droned on the evening with one complaint after the other.
What had my friend been thinking when he arranged a blind date for me with this guy?
A couple of weeks later, Roberto called to let me know that one of his friends was coming to visit from Italy. Did I want to tag along and show him around? I considered my options -- at the very least, if Roberto started complaining again, I could talk to his friend. I had not other plans, so why not?
When Roberto showed up at my door, he looked better than I remembered. "What happened to him?" I asked my friend. "He looks... somehow... more attractive." Sure enough, this time Roberto was too busy showing his friend around to complain. This time, I saw a new, nurturing side of him, interested in seeing that we all had fun. Just about every weekend that summer of '98, we went out to explore a new part of the Bay Area. At the time, I was living in San Francisco, Roberto in San Jose and his friend, Livio in Berkeley.
Soon, our little outings allowed me to see these characteristics for myself. I slowly started to fall for Roberto.
What I didn't know, until recently, was that when Livio was alone with Roberto he'd make little comments like "Laura seems really kind, did you know she...." and so Livio continued on until one day, Roberto and I just looked at each other and realized that we were in love.
Getting his mother's stamp of approval
I still remember my first dinner. Roberto's mother spoke to me loudly and slowly in Italian -- she didn't realize that I really do understand the language. "H-O-W I-S T-H-E P-A-S-T-A? DO YOU WANT C-H-E-E-E-E-S-E?", so I just yelled back in perfect Italian "Signora, I understand Italian better when you're not shouting slowly!" A hardy laugh soon ensued.
I knew I had been accepted.
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