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I've been with an Italian for almost five years and I'm ashamed to admit my language skills are still tipping towards sub-par. His family, all based in the lovely Tuscan town of Piombino, speak no English at all and, while my ear has improved visit over visit, I imagined that I would be much further along by now.
Today, we live in jam-packed cities, yet ironically they can feel far more isolating than smaller, rural communities. I always ask people if they know the other people on their floor in their condo building, and generally their answer is: "not really." Everyone has to eat, so why not eat together?