Most of the Italians we meet are brusque but friendly, which means I fit in perfectly, and feel quite at home (“except you’re not friendly,” Jessica says).
People call me “madam,” which makes me feel distinguished. When people in the US call me “ma’am,” I just feel matronly. Amazingly there are no women with gray hair in Italy, other than myself, of course. Which makes it easy for the driver to find me when I wander off. I’m pretty sure all he has to say is, “She has gray hair,” and everyone immediately knows he’s talking about me.
Dinner our first night takes three hours, which Jess thinks is about the right amount of time for a meal. “We only have thirty minutes for lunch at school!” she says to a waiter, who shakes his head in frank disbelief.