It’s no secret that the Mediterranean Diet is considered one of the best daily habits you can get into concerning your eating; it’s a buzz phrase in the North American dieting world. It involves fish and fresh vegetables, fruits and dried fruits, nuts, and lots of good healthy whole foods in smaller portions than what North Americans have gotten used to gluttoning themselves on. This sounds wonderful and tastes fantastic, but I can tell you from personal experience, I’m not sure where in the Mediterranean they fashioned this diet upon because it was not in Rome. They use salt in everything; croissants- jam, chocolate or crème filled, for breakfast; pasta, panino or pizza for lunch and the same for supper though usually with a greater possibility of some sort of meat. Throw in your typical cheese, yogurt, alcohol, gelato and copious amounts of Nutella easily available on every corner, and this is the Mediterranean diet I see in Rome. Vegetables of the tomato, spinach and artichoke variety are found only on your pizza, pasta and panino. Of coarse the restaurants have a wonderful variety of added seafood to the carbs and I cannot speak for what people make in their homes, but in grocery stores and in general the theme is salt, carbs, dairy, sugary carbs, chocolate, carbs, Nutella and procuitto. Personally I have discovered the true secret of the Mediterranean Diet is actually the aforementioned smaller portions and the need to walk much more. Or perhaps that is the tourists’ version. This wonder diet shall remain a mystery to me, but as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em. “Vorrei un pezzo di pizza Nutella, per favour.”
“Okay, bye, talk to you later.”
So ends a more or less typical North American phone call. There were a total of three “bye”s said between two people. From my eavesdropping on Italian phone calls, it probably fair to say that this is about the same average ending to a conversation. In English we have a whole selection of words we can chose from to end a conversation. For example: bye; later; see ya. Italian really only has “ciao” which limits the diversity of sound of a conversation, but even with three or four uses it still sounds pretty normal. But I have also heard some people take this to a whole other level with the use of “ciao”. I remember specifically one young lady (which is likely the problem right there), and I remember her because I had to try so hard not to laugh. She was ending a conversation on her phone and it literally went like this: “Ciao! Ciaociao. Ciao. Ciao, ciao, ciao bella! Ciaociao. Okay, Ciao!” And this is assumedly as the person on the other side of the phone was saying the same thing at the exact same time. While she was extreme, I have heard a large enough sample of people string together four or five “ciao”s and it starts to make me giggle. I don’t know if this is going to be a habit to pick up, but if I return to Canada and finish my chat with you in a chorus of bye-bye’s, you’ll know that I’m doing at the Romans do.