“At times it returns, in the motionless calm of the day, that memory of living immersed, absorbed in that stunned light.” — Cesare Pavese, “The Night”
Tonight, Italy was on my mind. The country where I spent 7 glorious months of my life bombarded my memory so much that I just had to blog about it. Perhaps its because this summer, my poolside reading list includes the book “La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language” by Dianne Hales. In fact, it’s also because several of my friends and acquaintances are visiting Italia this summer and, since I am apparently the “expert” in this case, wanted me to recommend the best places to wine, dine and explore. And it is definitely because I share a kindred spirit with two of the kids in the painting class I am teaching this week, Alessandro and Mariella, whose papà hails from Roma. Whatever the case, I am homesick for the Motherland and desperately wish to return in the near future.
It is hard to imagine that 6 years ago this month, I left what I now nostalgically refer to as the “Motherland” for a foreign country I had left behind 4 months prior. Tears streamed down my face as my flight took off from Roma-Fiumicino Aeroporto, as reality finally hit. I never knew that time away from all I once held dear could change a person so drastically.
My experiences in Italy, both studying abroad + living in a 16th Century convent in Orvieto and interning at a contemporary art gallery in Milano, certainly changed me in more ways than one. In some ways, I like to think I was healed from all the baggage that once weighed me down… feelings of imperfection and fear… no longer prevail in my life. Rather, a deep awareness for the world and people around me, coupled with an adventurous spirit and curiosity, redeemed me completely. Gli italiani are to thank, of course, for they are amongst the kindest of souls and would certainly go out of their way to help and love a stranger in need. Heck, I even tried to relocate there at one point in my life…
I hope to share my next Italian adventures with a close friend who has walked some of life’s rockiest paths with me. Until then, I will daydream until I can see the zigzag cypress trees on the hill below Orvieto, hear la bella lingua spoken at the morning open-air markets, touch the grapes that will eventually be made into wine, taste the creamy goodnesss of many licks of gelato and smell the aroma of fresh foccacia bread in the brick oven.
Non sono italiana, but I wouldn’t mind being one again… for life.