Funny how Christmas has a way of dredging things up. I had an orphan’s Christmas that first year in Perugia. By December I was living with a Signora anziana in Via Ulisse Rocchi. I had a room with a desk and not enough heating, but the Signora was kind and staying with her rather than in a hotel meant I could hold out in Perugia just a little longer. Even than I was never one to return home when my itinerary said I should. I’d extended and extended again from two months to three, then four. I’m still notorious for the eleventh hour partenza rimandata. I did again earlier this year. Un po’ capricciosa lo so. But I simply wasn’t ready to leave. So I didn’t. That February morning lying in bed while we should have been on the bus to Fiumicino I felt like a weight had been lifted. I had a reprieve. A few more days. It made all the difference and none at all. But my Italian friends were dead impressed.
Then, like now, I knew how to dig in my heels. I got my first Christmas in Italy. My first panettone on Christmas morning. I left my first love (the one that got away worse luck, but who remains the love of my life) at the bus station a few days later. By New Year’s eve I was back in Australia. A few days on the beach and then back home to the real world, come niente fosse. La festa era finita. The party was over. Or so I thought. For a while anyway.
I love the stories of people braver and wiser than me who knew how to really listen to their hearts and knew how to stay put when they found their place. My bookcase is full of them. It’s the one lesson I want to teach Marabella more than any other.
Have you done it? Stayed when it was time to go? Or, like me, wondered what might have been if you had? Share your story by leaving a comment at the end of the post.