It’s you

The French Canadian film Cafe de Flore opened in Melbourne yesterday. I’m listening to the soundtrack now as I write this, I liked it so much. I won’t give the game away but, if you believe in the idea of soul mates, you have to see this film.

Supercinema Firenze

I talk a lot about my passion for Italy. But talking about me doesn’t come as easy and in a sense Italy’s at the centre of that too. So here goes. What feels like a thousand years ago, I met the love of my life on my first trip to Italy. It was a whirlwind. Just a few months. Not even. But then I went home and life went on, as it must when you’re at a tender age, and I lived without him. Except I didn’t. I kept him close. A scrap of handwriting in my purse. A phone number. He was there. Over the years like so much wallpaper. And I thought of him every day. Maybe just for a moment but I thought of him. As I got on with life.

Then, one day when I probably needed it more than I ever had in my topsy-turvy life, he reappeared. Out of the blue. Over the phone. He left a voice mail at my desk. Back then I worked in a big open plan warehouse office in South Melbourne, one of those spaces architects like, and as I listened to the message it was like that rush effect thing in the movies when the camera zooms in really fast. (If you know what I mean.) And the rest as they say is history.

Rooflines....Via Porta Rossa

But I think you know already, ours isn’t going to be the love story extraordinaire of Cafe de Flore. We left our run a bit late for that. And if Italy herself – with her warmth and love and style and beauty and food and art – was all I had to look forward to when I go back that would still be more than enough. And as crazy as it gets sometimes this tightrope, this living with a foot in both camps, head in one continent heart in another, I’d do it all again tomorrow, uguale. Subito.

Not that I’ve got much choice! 😉

Instead I think it’s like they say in the film.

Some things are written in the stars.


Comments 23

  1. paninigirl April 26, 2012

    I love this post, especially the way you say “living with a foot in both camps”. I hear you, loud and clear. Right now I’m sitting in my apartment with the beautiful views of Luuca, staring at the snow covered mountains of the Garfagnana off in the distance, listening to the noon church bells ringing. Sheer bliss, but at some point I’ll have to return home again…

    • janinevasta April 27, 2012

      It sounds like you’re ‘home’ in Lucca, Janie. A dear signora I’ve known since my first time in Italy (she owns the hotel I first stayed in!) says I go back to Melbourne but I come home to Perugia. It really helps though to know you’re not alone in this!!! Thanks for keeping me company! Jxx

  2. Cathy April 26, 2012

    I think I have to see this film Janine! It sounds lovely. It is hard when we feel divided like that. Sometimes I feel like my heart is in two places (here in Italy and home in Australia) although I am located here. You never know what the future holds Janine.

    • janinevasta April 27, 2012

      I really appreciate your words Cathy! The future is another country you might say…we just don’t know. I really feel this year is a turning point. I’ve been carrying around a dream for a long time now. I can imagine your pain too. You can take huge consolation in living in the most beautiful country in the world but the call to home is hard to shake sometimes. Jx

  3. Malou April 27, 2012

    Wow! What a great love story. The future is indeed hard to tell. At times we think we know what is in store for us but life is not a straight path, there are bends to which we can be blindsided by amazing surprises. 😉

  4. Shelagh April 27, 2012

    Oh yes, these are wonderful themes. Some places pull you in to an extraordinary degree, and then you have a piece of your heart there forever. If you live in a few such places, you end up with bits everywhere! I used to look on this as a kind of curse, not being happy in any one place because there was always that quiet pining for one of the others…now I look on it as a blessing – I have more than one place that makes me feel like I’ve come home. Lucky.

  5. Debra Kolkka April 28, 2012

    One thing I miss when I am in Italy for months at a time is going to the cinema. Movies are dubbed here and my Italian is not good enough to enjoy a movie. Also it seems wrong to hear a strange voice come from a face you know. I will look for the movie when I return to Australia.
    I always hate leaving Italy when it is time to return to Brisbane, but sometimes it can be very difficult to complete the most simple tasks here and it can be extremely frustrating. Try going to the post office, or a government office and see how much you love Italy. I do need to go back to a country that functions well occasionally.

    • janinevasta April 28, 2012

      Thanks Debra. I think half of the Italian cinema going public thinks like you do!! It’s in French, so Cafe de Flore you just might find in a Florence art house cinema? Still, if I were in Florence the inside of a cinema is probably my last resort!

      I have had to deal with Italian bureaucracy too. In Italy and in Australia. I hear what you say of course. Once again, the long suffering locals would agree. But on the other hand, you don’t have to deal with that everyday, and in exchange you get the culture and the warmth of the people, the good bread, the great coffee you don’t have to pay a fortune to enjoy, the understated elegance on the streets, the art. Not to mention the passion. 😉 I think you’ve got a fabulous balance going on. And the great thing is is how you share your world so generously on your blog. Jx

  6. lisadenunzio April 29, 2012

    Seems like many Australians have a love affair with Italy. That is as succinct as saying ‘so many Americans have a love affair……’ I do feel there are many (Good) blogs from Australians about living in Italy. Wonder what is the connection? A lovely post. My best, Lisa

    • janinevasta April 30, 2012

      Ciao Lisa. Interesting point…I think the anglo-saxon cultures have a special love for Italy…I think being a country of emigrants and being so so far from Europe might deepen the passion for some Australians. When you have your origins in Italy, as I do, it can almost feel like you have really no choice in the matter. That the yearning and sense of belonging and love comes from somewhere deep inside. It’s magnetic. I think you know what I mean.

      Thank you Lisa too for the compliment. I’m really pleased you like this post especially. Jxx

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