Day one in Italy. Stepping off of the plane in Rome with a backpack strapped tightly around my waist, I took a deep breath and grinned from ear to ear. My journey has begun. As with most of my life, I did not know it was beginning until almost after the starting gate had fired it’s shot. I had grabbed the last seat on the last flight of the day into Rome. And my dream became reality in one last second at the flight desk.
Wandering around the Rome airport to find a bus to Pescara, I was quickly reminded that not knowing the language of this country I was in would be a challenge, even within an international airport. Finally after countless conversations and google searches, I found my way to the bus feeling quite accomplished as I set my bag down to take the window seat. Pulling out of the airport I battled between the exhaustion of a night with no sleep and the excited desire to see as much of the country as I could. In the daze between waking and dreams I gazed with heavy eyes at a countryside full of outlying towns. Some sat with stoic bravery upon mountain tops, while others nestled softly into the sides of rolling hills. I was entertained with the feeling that each held it’s own unique stories to tell.
This country is as a beautiful and charming woman; easily claiming the love of all those around her through the effortless grace of simply being herself.
My hosts in Pescara are Lucia and her husband Giovanni. Lucia mimics the traits of her country. Beautiful with an effortless elegance in her manner. Giovanni, or Gionny as his wife calls him, has a boyish grin and smiles most of the day. The two are kind and wonderfully playful with one another. They are a rare couple that you see as the emblem of “true love.”
They serve me my first Italian meal of soft mozzarella, tutti di mare, and newly baked bread. Basil from Lucia’s balcony garden adorned a tomato salad with aromas that made my mouth water before the first bite. Their home is an apartment at the top of a tall building by the sea. Though I know we are in a building with many others, the plethora of windows and balconies within their home create the pleasant illusion of being guests to the heavens.
After dinner and a leisurely talk on the main balcony, we take bicycles out for a long ride along the seashore. Riding a bike along the outskirts of Pescara make me feel quite at home in this city. In fact, there are many small things about myself that blend with the people here. In this country I am not always the first to be cold. The familiar freckles on olive colored skin. And being made fun of for washing my feet before bed and taking two showers a day in the summer months will not happen here, as it is common place. I feel that I could live a happy life off of tomatoes, olive oil, mozzarella, and fresh bread.
Roots are important. Sometimes you do not know what they are or understand them until you begin the search. Sometimes once you do, you begin to understand a little bit more of who you are through the people that were before you. At times, your future may have roots in the past.