Interlude to the Farewell America Tour

December 6, 2016

Moving to Italy has been a dream of mine for years and years. When I was 19 years old, I spent nearly a year in Europe. I left Minnesota with a round trip ticket and $200 and stayed that long. I love the entire continent of Europe but Italy holds my heart.

Now I am only 36 days from arriving at Rome Airport where I will begin my journey as an Italian in Italy for at least a year. I should be so excited. I was excited. I probably will be excited again. But right now, I am filled with second thoughts.

Leaving my Italian-American family in California was so heartbreaking. I know I won’t see them for a couple years if I choose to stay in Italy. Maureen will not fly there. The others have their own priorities. And, when I come back for a visit, I will go to Seattle to see my daughter and granddaughter. Or I will go to Minnesota to help with my father who is slowly losing his memory.

Right now, I am actually in Seattle. For the past 5 nights, I have had mia nipote, my granddaughter, all to myself. My daughter has been away for business and I have loved every single minute with my girl.  Even getting up at 630AM to get her to school in the morning has been fun (Those of you who know me well know that sometimes I go to sleep at 5am!). We pick out her clothing, play with her hair and pack her lunch together. I get loads of hugs when I drop her off and pick her up and I have missed that so much since they moved to Washington State.

I was able to attend and film my granddaughter’s musical performance on Saturday. This kindergarten group and the others rocked some very difficult songs. I was so proud of her.

After the performance, we went out to lunch ourselves and then headed for the movie Moana.  We got there early and it was a blustery day so we went across the street for Hot Chocolate. That was a treat that she doesn’t get every day.

Moana was also really fun. I offered to buy her popcorn but she said, “Nonna, I had popcorn yesterday. I don’t need it today.” Her mother has taught her well.

Over the weekend, we cooked together, did arts and crafts and watched some kid shows on Sunday. She practiced her piano and even helped her cat to play the piano with her.

My daughter will be home soon. I miss her too. And she is not feeling well. I am still a mom. I want to take her pain away. But more than anything, I want to take them both with me to Italy. We all have citizenship. She could find work there. But it would not be the work she wants or the pay she needs. She will visit but not often. She has her own life as does my granddaughter.

How can I leave them?

I feel like I am not being a good mamma and nonna. I am not a being a good daughter either. I should stay home and take care of my father. Isn’t that what a good, Italian daughter does?

Guilt holds me back. I should be here. I should take care of others. I should I should I should!  However, when I venture below the guilt I find another emotion even stronger than guilt. It is my old friend FEAR.

  1. What if my daughter is seriously ill? I should be there. Or is it safer for me to stay in the USA vs. adventuring alone into the unknown?
  2. What will happen to my father? I should be there. Or is it easier to hide in my need to make sure he is all right instead of thinking about what I need to do?
  3. Magnolia will miss me and I will miss her desperately.  Or am I afraid I cannot move forward without her unconditional love and those wonderful hugs?
  4. How can I leave those who need me?  Or is it that perhaps they can do just fine on their own but I wonder if I can do fine by myself?

FEAR is a very strong emotion that we all must face. When we step on any path we have yet to walk, most of us can think of numerous reasons we should not walk on it. We can’t afford a vacation to Italy. I can’t take a week off to visit a friend. I don’t even want to think of a move—it is too much work.  How can I possibly move to another country where I really don’t know what will happen?  FEAR tortures me often. It hides under other emotions. It disguises itself as logic and sensibility. If I don’t look beyond that first impression I stay stuck where I am. Does FEAR hold you back too?

I love my family so much, all of them. I have taken many steps to take care of them all. It is time for me to move out from those shadows and follow my own bliss. I can charge an airline ticket home if something goes wrong. I can come back to the states if I cannot make it alone in Italy. I can SKYPE with My Girls in Seattle. I can face my fears.  I need my mantra from DUNE once again.

I must not fear.

Fear is the Mind-Killer.

Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

And Italy!

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And I will explore it, experience as much as I can of it and of myself.

Will you join me? Will you face whatever is holding you back and take that leap of faith and explore Italy? Spero di si. I hope so.

Ciao for now!

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