In Praise Of Gelato. And What It Does.

by Becky on May 18, 2013

in Food, Travel

Being inveterate foodies, we have our little haunts.  The petals and I love a little place on the edge of Born.  On another occasion, I’ll show it to you.  For now, I’ll give you a peek at what really good gelato does to a couple of girls I know.

Ice Cream Date

Ice Cream Date

Ice Cream Date

Ice Cream Date

Ice Cream Date

It’s all settled, then: gelato turns you into a supremely happy goofball, right alongside the other goofball who shares your birthday, your clothes, your hair nonsense, your Burt’s Bees, your love of the European ephemera you dream of repurposing for a DIY, etcetera, etcetera.


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Tessa and Millay in ruins

I never had a sister, a fact that used to bum me out when I was growing up. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to have a sister to be a sister, or to spot a real Sister when she enters your life. As I see it, there are three ways to recognize a Capital-S Sister when she ends up on your doorstep wrapped in Midori ribbon.  (My first one arrived when I was Goose’s age, and she’s still a Sister.)

Tessa and Millie looking out over wall_1364

One. A Sister will be interested in you–in your mind, your emotions, your tastes. She will want to know your thoughts, she will show concern for your feelings, she will respect your likes even if she doesn’t categorically share them. Such a Sister is a gift. When the universe tosses someone like this into your path, embrace her!  And hold on.

Tessa and Millay by bronze door_1768

Two. A Sister will be gentle with you. She will not belittle or denigrate you. In her presence, you will feel like an equal not only because she shows you respect but because she views you as a peer in the best sense.

Tessa and Millay on street_1735

Three. A Sister can be trusted with confidences of every kind. Sometimes it’s a terrifying risk to reach out to a would-be Sister in the hopes that she is what she seems to be. Ninety-nine percent of the time, your gut will steer you right. If you are blessed to have in your life a Confidence-keeping Sister, it’s probably because you are a Confidence-keeping Sister.

There’s always room for younger women to grow into the role. Raising a generation of Sisters–especially if they’re related to you and to each other by blood–might be one of the most important things we’re about in this short life, don’t you think?–showing daughters how it looks? Indeed, that might be the trickiest act of all: creating opportunities for girls in the same family to value each other not just as sisters but as Sisters.

Girls looking through wall at Sagunt

Living abroad has strengthened my daughters’ attachment (which is both rich and, at times, complicated), but I’m convinced that travel can involve something as basic as a trip to the local yogurt shop.  There’s something about just logging time together:  it acts as mortar.  What’s more, if you’re paying for the goodies, the girls’re on board.

What are your thoughts??

(Photos:  Sisters in the ruins at Sagunt.)

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Bathroom Girls

The friends, they’re an ocean away. But the siblings, they’re here. So what do you do on a night when you’re itching to braid someone’s hair and then take photos of your handiwork?

You do it with an Eleven O’Clock Sister.


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I have two daughters, both in their teens, both tall and statuesque.  (I know, I know, forgive me while I dote.)  Each is lovely in her own distinct way. Each has her own unique strengths and tastes. One adores vintage style and dreams about being an industrial designer. One listens to Bach while she does homework and occasionally breaks into song in cathedrals. My point: they’re different. As a result, sometimes they have to work to understand each other.

Which brings me to a phenomenon I’ll call “love” blogging. My older daughter, she of the waist-length hair and patrician features, stumbled upon an interesting blog recently. A Blog About Love chronicles the journey of a highly interesting couple whose first marriages ended and whose second marriage–to each other–has brought them not only happiness but wisdom, the pearls of which they share with those lucky enough to count themselves among the blog’s readership. But while it tends to focus on married love, the posts resonate on many levels. Indeed, my daughter has found the overall theme so inspiring that she now has resolved to be more loving and understanding, starting with her younger sister–a blue-eyed wisp of a thing who could easily have stepped out of a Celtic myth.

It’s impossible to overestimate the bandwidth of the love blog. Last night, for example, we were all sitting around as a family after finishing an exercise in Spanish reading and pronunciation (we’re living in Spain until next summer), and when my older daughter had an opportunity to get frustrated at something that might normally have prompted frustration, she turned to me with a smile, touched me lightly on the arm, and affirmed that she was choosing not to be bugged. “Since I’ve been reading A Blog About Love,” she reminded me, “I just want to be more loving to everyone.”

I know, right? The moment sounds almost cloying–like it could be fake!  But it wasn’t cloying.  And it most certainly wasn’t fake.  The evidence:  a seventeen-year-old girl chose love.  Because of a blog.  Naturally she was the greatest beneficiary.  After all, the kind of forbearance informed by the intention to practice love instead of something else always benefits the practitioner more than anyone else.

Thank you, authors of A Blog About Love.  Your message has currency, not only with the second-time-arounders but also with a much younger crowd as well, including a beautiful girl whose views of love have broadened as a result of having collided with you.  She, like your other readers, is gaining confidence that love is a verb–i.e., anyone can practice it with success.

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