July 13, 2021
It is always difficult to leave my new home of Chiavari, in Liguria. This year my incentive to travel to the USA is stronger, however.
After 18 months of hardship in Italy, after 18 months of ambulance sirens causing me to jump, of mostly feeling locked in my tiny, one bedroom apartment, after a good portion of that 18 months being afraid of what covid was doing to the world and to me, I was almost ready to travel.
Still, I might not have made the journey if is wasn’t for my girls, my daughter, Stephanie, and my granddaughter, Maggie. Good Lord, I wanted to hug them. I could hardly wait to be with them. The pull was incredible.
Before I could leave, I needed the results of a needle biopsy on my thyroid. There had been a possibility that I had thyroid cancer. I had many tests done in Italy and finally, I had the procedure. Then, I had to wait 15 days for the answer. When I found that it was something simpler happening, something much less threatening, I felt released from the prison of my own anxiety. And I began singing that old song, “Well, I’m working my way back to you, babe, with that burning love inside.”
I took the train to Rome where I had chosen to fly out. I wanted to see some of my family in Rome.
I Stayed with Celeste and her son Daniele,
and, also, spent a good deal of time with my other cousins, Adelina and Martina. Martina is Adelina’s daughter.
Martina had been in Napoli until the night before I left for the airport. She brought her dog, Kalessi, over for me to meet.
Martina also brought these back from Napoli too.
I have known Celeste and her husband Vincenzo since 1971. They were among the first of my relatives I had met in Italy. We lost Vincenzo at the beginning of the Covid Pandemic. This was my first opportunity to see the family since that terrible loss.
I was forced to speak Italian all day with them. They told me I have greatly improved from 2 years ago when I last saw them. It felt so good to be with them. I truly felt a part of their family. Their warmth and caring were so soothing. And I felt the same way toward them as I do to my own siblings.
Besides all that, Adelina helped me obtain my Covid PCR test for flying to the USA. The States requires a test within 72 hours of flight showing a negative Covid score. That was helpful. I also printed my Italy Green Card there so that I can travel through the EU countries when I return. Grazie Mille, cugini!
When we said our goodbyes, I promised to return to see them in the Fall. It was time to fly to the USA.
All papers were in order, and off I flew Rome to Dallas to Minneapolis. The first flight was a breeze. But Dallas was no fun at all. Too hot and humid and, not only was the second flight delayed, they changed gates on us and then delayed it further. I hope I never transfer through Dallas again.
My sister, Patrice, met me at the airport in Minneapolis. We arrived at her home at midnight. I was a hot mess of no sleep, breathing issues from Dallas and all the humidity in the airport. Still my sis and I talked for two hours that night. And the dogs were a comfort.
Patrice and Diana
It has been a jet lagged week in Minnesota. I have seen 2 friends so far and am attending a group dinner with some cousins on my mom’s side this week. I will also see my father and some of my brothers on Thursday. I will surprise my father on his 97th birthday on Thursday. His dementia is progressing. I felt I needed to see him this year, to talk with him while he remembers who I am. Who knows what will happen by next year.
Left to right: Bro Michael, Papa, Bro Jim in back and Bro Joe on the right—dad’s 96th birthday photo.
On Saturday, my daughter and granddaughter arrive for one week in Minnesota. I can hardly wait to hold them both in my arms. They are here for some celebrations on her dad’s side of the family plus time with our side of the family. We will then drive back to their new home in Colorado when I will bask in the warmth of their love for a month.
I am feeling blessed to have this time with so many family members and with friends. I still hear the sound of the waves as I lay in bed at night. I think of the sea of Chiavari, the sound of Italian chatter around me and the flavors of true Italian meals. I will return, but for now, it’s a family love fest in the US.
More to come on Italy. It is now open for Americans to visit. Let me know how I may assist you in your travel planning. I look forward to hearing from you. Keep Italy in your heart and visit soon.
Ciao for now!
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Ciao for Now!
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