I know it has been almost a year since we have seen each other in person, but I want you to know that since we first met at the age of 18, you have forever left an imprint on my heart and soul. It could be cliché to tell you this on Giorno di San Valentino, but I love you. Your allure, culture, people (one particularly that I’m especially fond of) and rich history have changed my life forever.
At the age of 18, we only met briefly, for about 4 giorni, if I remember correctly. Being close to 30, I can say that my memory is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but you opened my eyes to much more than a cappuccino and street vended gelato. I mean – Wow…the Colosseo, the Vatican, Penne al pomodoro, la Fontana di Trevi… and so much more. I only had a small glance at you when I was young, and little did I know that we would cross paths again…where a crush would turn into an undying love.
Let’s fast forward to almost 10 years later where I sold mostly everything I owned (including the Louis Vuitton bag here), quit my job, subletted my apartment in Los Angeles and took off on a plane to you. A part of you that is tucked away in the hills of Genoa and home to my other love. After living in your beautiful countryside for almost two months, participating in the every day Italian life, traveling by motorbike along the beautiful Ligurian Coast, and eating foods that fed my soul (and actually somehow shrank my waistline) – I can say that I’m desperate to return to you. You have changed my life in so many ways, that now living in New York City will never be the same. You can say that I’m a girl in a large American (but strongly multi-cultural) city that has manufactured the Italian culture into my everyday life. There is not a moment that goes by that I don’t think about the next time we will meet again, and how I subconsciously count the days until I can one day, officially, call you my new place of residence.
Now, I do not know all of your flaws (that is true) and you may say that I still am in the honeymoon phase of our love, but if it’s a fight you put up, that’s fine by me – because in the end you are worth my time. Because of your innate beauty, I have learned what matters more to me when I compare you to my American life. There is something about the culture and the people that call you home that are by factual stereotype “loud”, but also incredibly charming and emit a sense of family and belonging. There is no pressure and you do not have to force to have a good time. It’s natural & normal and I actually prefer your well thought out dinners as opposed to an American take out meal or quick run through the drive-thru (even if sometimes I crave this). There is love and preparation put into the meals and a strong focus on who your with and not just what you are eating. This is where I find my own little happiness (however, the food is always incredible). If you were to ask me where my favorite restaurant is in New York City, I really couldn’t tell you. I have a few spots, but by cooking almost every night (if Roberto permits), I think I frequent restaurants more when we have visitors. A NYC Bagel and slice of Joe’s Pizza is still something I will crave when we part, but I can fairly trade this for Foccacia al Formaggio di Recco and Pesto alla Genovese. I much rather prefer to cook a large meal (yes, I really love cooking thanks to you) and having good company over to the apartment.
From insight and research, I know that your economy is not booming. I know that jobs are hard to come by and that money is held onto tightly. For me, I have only had personal experience with one economy, but I can say that you have taught me frugality in a way that allows me to see beyond dollar bills and into clear view what really matters in life. Yes, we need to get by, but we also need to LIVE. I think this is the most important thing for me. There were many years of my life beyond our first meeting where I walked through a fog with jobs that pushed me to my limits and no boundaries for taking in the small joys of life. I recall a time where I worked 12 hour days non-stop… and I ran myself into the ground. I know many people who have been in that situation, especially in New York City, and I know that many Italians work very hard, if not harder. However, somehow there is a strong attitude and awareness that when the work is done, the work is done and it’s time to focus on life. I love that about you, even if my perception may be wrong. You have inspired me to separate my thoughts and give focus to one thing at a time. My relationships and my happiness in my personal life thank you for that.
I could write a book about my thoughts about you, Italia, and how you have added that certain sparkle to my existence. However, I will save some of those stories for another day on this blog. For now, thank you for your embrace and keeping a fire in my heart to keep pursuing you.
Until we meet again (alla prossima volta),