Something a friend said on the weekend made me realise I already have a life in Italy.
Talking about a website she thought I might like she said of the blogger, ‘She also has a life in Italy.’ Also? You mean you think I have a life in Italy too, I thought to myself. Me? The girl who jokes (well, half-jokes) to herself that if she doesn’t get there in life then at least she can ask for her ashes to be flung over the stone balustrade of the gardens at the end of Corso Vannucci, with a few reserved for sprinkling later at the church in Fontignano where Renaissance master Il Perugino was laid to rest!
But inadvertently or not, my friend makes a point. My life in Italy might not be the one I would chose. Not yet anyway. And it’s not even close to full-time. But it’s there. Esiste. And it’s all my own work. I’ve carved it out, a little bit at a time. Not letting the long hours in airports and planes and trains – many with a small child in tow and many before her time – get the better of me.
I have a life in Italy because I’ve left my mark on the place. There are people who miss me when I’m not there. Shopkeepers and baristas and sales ladies recognise me when I go back. They remember how I take my coffee, the outfit I bought on sale last season, my daughter’s favourite thing to eat. They’ve seen Marabella grow up and remember us for the odd contrast of her long, blonde hair with her mother’s radical, ultra-short do. I farewell my best friends and my favourite things in all the world when I leave. I’ve lived out dreams there already. Lots. In Italy, as much as in Melbourne, I have a past and a present. The next chapter is in the pipeline. Watch this space.