October 16, 2018
It’s been a long time coming. I have been away so very long from my friend, il mare, the sea. For nearly six months, I have been in the United States. There were so many people I wanted to see and unresolved issues that needed attention. But I never expected it to take this long.
My father moved into assisted living while I was in Italy. I wanted to see how he was adjusting and spend some quality time with him.
Since he is 94 years old, I never know if this visit will be my last. We spent quite a bit of time together in June and he seemed to be adjusting well. My siblings handled the move and everything else while I was away. All I needed to do was spend time with him.
Another reason for being in Minnesota: I am cutting the cord and selling my condominium. My home is in Italy now. I had been renting out my old condo to keep it as a back-up just in case living in Italy was not a good fit. How very adult of me! And I hated to leave the memories from times in my condo behind.
It took quite a while to sell but, when it did, I felt as though a giant piece of granite fell off my shoulders. I felt free.
I worked with several clients in Minnesota too. It was so nice to work with them in person. Everything went well and as of the 28th of June, I was basically done with the travel plans.
June 29th was my day to rest, to veg out on Netflix and eat chocolate. Then I received a phone call that changed everything. My daughter and granddaughter were in a horrible car accident. Nothing else mattered. As I flew to meet them, I questioned my choice to live so far away. I thanked heaven that I was on the same continent when this happened. I wasn’t certain that I could go home to Italy.
For the next three months, I was with my girls, doing what I could to help them both. I cancelled my flight home. I loved being with them despite the challenges they faced. And I miss them desperately now.
Before leaving my girls, my daughter encouraged me to continue to follow my own dream of living in Italy. She supports my choice and knows that I will be there for her and for my granddaughter when they need me, no matter where I live.
After our time together, I returned to Minneapolis. I closed on my home sale at the end of September and celebrated with my family and friends.
Next, I had one more, big task. When I moved to Italy in January of 2017, I gave away or sold nearly everything I owned. I moved to Italy with two suitcases and a backpack. However, I stored those few treasures that I could not give away.
Now I needed to sift through my special things and decide what to keep and what I could finally release.
I inherited my mother’s chintz china and I loved it. It reminds me of my mother and of our huge Italian holidays from my childhood. It reminds me of my bisnonna, my great-grandmother, making ravioli and serving it on these plates. It reminds me of those infrequent times where we laughed at the table and celebrated one another in our very Italian-American family.
Also, I inherited my grandmother’s dishes. I had used them when my daughter was little, before I had a dishwasher. These dishes, like the chintz, must be washed by hand. Eventually I just did not use them. It was easier to buy cheaper dishes and use the dishwasher in our fast-paced life. Yet, when I did use them, I felt my nonna was right there with my daughter and me. I didn’t want to give these dishes up either.
My great-grandmother’s silver is going to be with me in Italy. It just seems right to have it and to use it. Her spirit is there with me every day. She helps me cook. She is a big part of why I attained my dual citizenship and moved to Italy.
My apartment in Italy does not have end tables or a coffee table in the living room. I had inlaid end tables from Syria and my old cedar chest. They are going to Italy with me.
At one time, I owned well over 1000 books. I am shipping about 70 to Italy.
Artwork and posters and photos of my girls are being shipped to Italy. My little appartamento by the sea will now have more of my personality. Well, it will when they arrive in 3 months.
The weather is changing in Minnesota. The leaves are turning.
It even snowed already.
It is time for me to return and prepare my little place for my treasures’ arrival. It is time for me to sit on the promenade and watch the personality of the sea. I can think there. I can feel there. I can relax there and let go of the incredible emotions that have been my life’s blood while in the USA.
It is time for me to regroup, to see my friends in Italy, to walk the neighborhood and shop with my little grannie grocery cart. It is time to slow down, to eat well and to enjoy all the flavors of my new home.
The sea is calling me home. And I am answering. See you soon, Chiavari.
Ciao for now!
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