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Comfort in a Hock of Ham
Kiesa McCoy
The initial culture shock quickly subsided when I become aware of what Perugia had to offer, and more than that, what it wanted to give me. When I letthe Italian culture sink into my pores and become a part of who I am, the comfort and love I’d been yearning for, being so far from home, found its way to me in the people I pass everyday and thefriends I have made along my journey, and as farfetched as it seemed at the beginning, by the end, these people were a part of my Perugian family.
Window-shopping has become a part of my dailyroutine, and not just shopping for clothes. My eyes dangle and my mouth waters at the decadent window displays in the pastry shops as cakes and an assortment of candy covered nuts pile up in mounds oneon top of the other, creating a spectacle for anyone who passes by. I laugh as I pass the catty souvenir stores, and I linger at the bookstore windows, desperately wishing I knew what the titleswould divulge beneath their covers. And then, when I walk by the butcher on Via di Priori, and an entirely new feeling takes over. I used to be consumed by the feeling of guilt and sadness whenever Isaw a dead creature in a store window, like I had contributed to its death by simply looking at its carcass; but as I look through the glass at this butcher shop there is less guilt in my stomach as Ifeel a small smile begin to stretch across my face.
The butcher behind the meat is in his mid-sixties. A grey, slightly balding head has replaced the full, dark hair of his youth. The skin onhis face has begun to sag: a slow decent into old age, each line holding wisdom from his many years. He models a dime-sized mole on the right side of his face, peeking out of his hairline, just shortof his temple. Everyday he sports a maroon colored apron, accenting his perfectly white shirt, a seemingly ironic color choice for a butcher.
At first glance, his rough features make him seem...
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