I had an inkling Italy was going to change me long before I got there. I just didn’t know how much. A first trip one September and the die was cast. Perugia just happened to be my first stop. I was to stay a month to study Italian. The expat Australian lady who was my liaison and mother hen for the straggle of Australian students making up that month’s contingent helped us enrol and find our feet. I’d even met with her husband in Melbourne for lunch and a sort of pre-trip briefing session about what to expect. But nothing could have prepared me for falling head over heels as thoroughly as I did.
After Melbourne, the sheer magic of a living breathing medieval hill town swept me away. And then there was the food, the fabulous shopping, the even more fabulously stylish locals, parading arm in arm up Corso Vannucci for the evening passeggiata. Old world beauty wall to wall, still warm brioche in the morning, the etiquette of coffee drinking Italian style (never order a cappuccino after midday). I could go on and on.
I felt like the child I still was in a very sophisticated sweet shop. But I kept it together. Took it all in my stride really. I was having the time of my life. I was in love. I’d come home.