La Tela di Carlotta
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How I Met Your Father - Chapter 1

May 12, 2016

One of our first pictures together, taken with Photo Booth at his place.

I’ve been wanting to write about how I met Alex for years and the reason why I waited so long is that it’s one of those stories you only see in movies. I wanted to do it justice in writing. But today I found myself typing—it happens sometimes, one minute I’m doing something and the next I’m writing—so I might just as well continue.

It was summer of 2007 and although I had come to Marbella with my then-boyfriend—let’s call him boyfriend—my heart was free and very honestly so. In the two years following the breakup with my first love—a handsome, kind, loyal young man I was with for five beautiful and changing years, most of my adolescence—I was heartbroken and unhappy, and had come to the selfish conclusion that being with someone, anyone who made me feel good, was better and easier than being alone.

The guy I came to Marbella with was that someone. I wasn’t in love—unfortunately I can’t say the same about him—but when he suggested to spend the summer out of Italy, it seemed the right escape from a life that felt as tight as a pair of jeans washed in 60°C. I was bored and tired and demotivated. I needed a change (and to learn Spanish to graduate, and end my school chapter).

That change came in the shape of a summer job in a lovely Italian restaurant named Terrazza Dual in Marbella, Spain. Boyfriend and I would work there for the whole summer—except that boyfriend, with his great barman skills, got a better offer to work in a cocktail bar just a couple of weeks after arriving, and took it. There wasn’t much time to rest or travel, we were working, sometimes in different shifts so we wouldn’t even see each other during the day and the few nights we were off, we’d go out with our new friends. It felt good to be far from home, but I knew I was deceiving myself while trying to allow my heart to do some healing.

That’s when Alex appeared.

One June night, this handsome, blond, tanned, scandinavian-looking guy walked into the restaurant. I noticed him because he was blond, tanned and handsome. Duh. He ordered a pizza Dante to go, waited at the counter while bluntly staring at me with those dreamy, almond-shaped blue eyes, and then left.

He came back many other times throughout the summer: every time he would order a pizza Dante, sit at the counter and stare at me while pretending to play with what I later found out to be the first generation iPhone (it had just come out in the US and very few people in Europe had it)—that very iPhone is still on our living room shelf on display. And every time, as soon as he walked in, the staff would look at me and raise their eyebrows with a grin on their faces as to say, look who’s here. He had officially become the not-so-secret Admirer.

“When I walked into the empty restaurant, three girls came straight at me and I picked Carlotta. She was sooo gorgeous, in that red polo that showed her hourglass figure—it's the best body type, you know?—and her wavy, long hair loosely tied up in a pony tail. That night I went back home and told Cristina, a friend who was staying with me for a few weeks, I had met the woman I would marry and have children with. But it took me quite a while to find the courage to ask her out”.

Two months, precisely. Of waiters smiling and making jokes. Of cooks peeking from the kitchen not to miss the show. Of waiting for pizza Dante, sitting and staring. Of feeling flattered and somewhat excited. Of forgetting that boyfriend was waiting for me at home.

Two more months and it was time for me to go back to Italy. Boyfriend had left the week before to go back to Uni, but I had two more weeks to say goodbye to Marbella. Forever, I thought. For the first time in a long time, it felt liberating to be by myself, to let my emotions run free and to really—really—feel that unhappiness that I had patched for so long. I was sitting a lot by the sea, not eating much, speaking fluent Spanish and sharing lots of tears with my Argentinian friend Natalia. It felt sad and amazingly—masochistically?—good.

Two more weeks before going back to Italy. I’ll remember that night forever. An American guy ordered two pizzas to go, and we spoke for a long time about the beauty of bilingual children. He told me how his daughter and son, 5 and 3, could switch not only from Spanish to English, but also from American English to British English in a heartbeat. I told him how crazy I was about his gorgeous language, and how much I wanted to become as bilingual as age would allow in my lifetime. I didn’t know then, but I’d spend a lot of time with that guy and his wife in the years to come.

“I was still at the office working when Matt called me. He said, 'I just left Terraza Dual, you’re crazy if you don’t go and ask her out'. I knew he was right, I had known for a while. That was the night. I left the office, jumped on the first bus, got off as close as possible to the restaurant and walked the rest of the way listening to Sealion by Feist (it made me happy). A week before, my friend Ivan had told me about the supermodel theory of dating: don’t ask, just state what you want. That was it, I was gonna go in there and tell her to go out with me”.

That night, Alex walked in, sat at the counter, ordered his pizza Dante, and stared a me as usual. Inside, in his reserved Finnish soul, he knew he had to collect all his courage to ask me out. Me, the girl in the red polo he had stared at for the whole summer.

When he asked for the bill, after two months of nothing else than pizza Dante, please and thanks, he actually talked to me. I don’t remember exactly what he said or how he started, but I remember very clearly what came next.

“We should go out for lunch sometime”.

Just like that. He had broken the ice. Just like that. He had put into practice the supermodel theory of dating. Just like that. He had told me out to lunch.

Read chapter 2.

Comments

Erika • May 13, 2016

This is so unfair! You don't leave your readers hanging in the middle of the lunch break! Even if they know the rest! 😂

🌸 Carlotta • May 13, 2016

Haha, that was the idea 😉

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Terrible twos
The organs of the body: workshop for kids
Kids understand if you give them honesty
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
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The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
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Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
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Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

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On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

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Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.