My New Life in the Basement

Greetings from the Italian suburbs, or rather, another crazy ass situation I’ve gotten myself into.

So here’s what happened yesterday. The landlord and his son came over to fumigate our apartment while I was there in the morning and then they came back to pick me up from school around 5. I agreed to spend the night at their house, but Nerea and Cristina thought the situation was weird and refused, offending Luca and his dad. I also thought the situation was a little odd, but they promised to take me to the doctor and buy me medicine, so I agreed. Plus, they’re a family so that diminished the chances of me getting raped and murdered.

I guess Luca’s dad is a doctor and we went to some clinic he used to manage. I looked like a sweaty mess and had a stain on my shirt resembling bird poop from a pistachio gelato incident that occurred an hour or so prior.

The doctor and nurse asked me a few questions and looked at my bites, but then Luca and his dad wandered in as if we were in court and they had to defend their side. So as I’m trying to tell the doctor my symptoms, Luca and his dad bring up their crazy cat theory again. So we have five people talking in Italian/broken Italian, English/broken English and then Luca’s dad storms out into the other room. Then Luca suggested that I brought something back with me from Switzerland! Crazy, bug-infested Switzerland. Maybe it was because it was hot or I was a little bit drunk, but I felt overwhelmed—and angry—and wanted to diffuse the situation, so I used the only card I had: tears. My crying calmed everyone down and they all assured me that it wasn’t my fault.

After the doctor’s, the evening took a positive turn. I went to their house, which was very nice and surrounded by woods, and Luca’s mom cooked us a delicious vegetarian meal that lasted two hours. We had vegetable pasta followed by a type of flatbread that is very popular in Perugia. We made panini with it using grilled vegetables and fresh mozzarella. After this, I was stuffed, but then came watermelon, ice cream, cookies and chocolate, not to mention the drinks that appeared throughout dinner: Prosecco, coffee, some sort of liqueur made of fennel.

Luca’s mom is incredibly sweet. They also have a daughter in her early 20s who ate with us, as did her friend. I had wanted to live with Italian people and my dream came true! It was definitely one of those situations where you feel like you’re in a movie: crazy circumstance leads to the foreigner dining with the family and their zany next-door neighbor.

After dinner, I retired to the finished basement, which I had all to myself. It’s nice and cool and has a TV and bathroom and not even any bugs. I kind of don’t want to leave this basement, but alas, I must return to the scene of the crime later today.

Oh, so what was wrong with me? Good question. I was so caught up in the heat of the moment at the doctor’s and so preoccupied with finding a cure that I forgot about the cause. It wasn’t bed bugs (like, the bed bugs) or scabies. So I guess it was probably regular mites that bit me. I have cream, pills and a special soap to take this week. So far it seems to be working—a relief! Unfortunately, I had to cancel plans for a beach weekend with friends b/c I need to stay out of the sun.

Sarah Mikutel