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Ask and You Shall Receive

I sat with Katie at the CinCin bar, my enormous rolling bag propped at my side, trying to find the silver lining to my increasingly frustrating situation. I had just left/been kicked out of the house I was living in after quitting my job as a nanny after only two weeks of employment, but that’s another story. I had no place to live, minimal funds, no job, and I could remember almost none of my Italian from classes only a couple years before. I was in a tight spot. Katie, on the other hand, kept telling me I would be laughing about all this soon enough, and although I was dazed, I was definitely not feeling at all jolly.

We made a game plan over a cappuccino, for myself, and a pot of hot water for Katie. She has her quirks. After we dragged my bag over the cobblestone streets to her house and stuffed it under her bed, we went in search of a hotel room where I could stay for a night or two while I looked for an apartment.

The first place we came across was a bed and breakfast near Piazza Sant’Oronzo. It was a bit more expensive than I would have liked, at 50 euro a night, but I was desperate, and tired, and also in need of a shower. We accepted the room from a sweet woman who was incredibly pregnant. As I was looking through the place, Katie and I told her in broken Italian my situation, and how I came to be here in Lecce, with no job, money or place to stay. Well, this lovely Italian woman felt for me and said she had a friend who may be able to help me out. On a tiny scrap of paper she wrote down his name, Stefano, and where to find him, across from P.zza Duomo. I thanked her profusely and, after showering, headed straight for his office.


She had let him know I would be coming so when I arrived we sat down together and had a long talk, in English and Italian, about what he could do for me. This man that I had never met before, offered me a room in one of the apartments where he collected the rent, and a job leasing four wheel bikes in Piazza Sant’Oronzo during the summer to tourists, with a monthly stipend that would allow me to stay in Italy for as long as I wanted.
I felt like crying, and when I made it back to my bed and breakfast , after a celebratory gelato from Natale, my preferred gelateria, I did. Happy tears, that is, and I felt my worries slide away from me as I drifted off into a mid-afternoon nap, very European of me.