by Diana Blass (American University)
FOOD IS THE ULTIMATE COMMUNICATOR. No matter who the person, or what the circumstance, it is always one thing that everyone can bond on. This past week I was able to experience this first hand when eating with a Moroccan, Italian, and an American all at the same table. My friend Lara, who speaks Arabic fluently with the Moroccan woman, invited me along to this three course meal, consisting of a traditional Italian pasta dish followed by a traditional Moroccan meat and salad course. It was interesting to see how the Italian and Moroccan meal was combined. I never before met this Moroccan woman, as well as her Italian friend, but I immediately felt welcomed as she shared her delicacy with me, a total stranger. The real struggle came though when I wanted to express to her how much I was enjoying the meal. But as I ate, I saw her smiling, and I knew that enjoying in her meal was simply enough. Conversationally the meal was awkward at times and there were definitely a lot of silences, but it was nice to know that people from all different parts of the world can share and speak with one another through the power of food.

From my stay here in Cagli, I've come to realize how food can be so universal. Speaking different languages and having different customs poses great problems when
meeting new people. Yet, just through sharing a meal, as silent as it may be, is enough to tell a whole life story.