God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

No More Domani

We are home now—home in San Diego, that is. It is strange here and Greve seems very far away.

Did I really, truly live there? Did I really fling open the shutters each morning to the quintessential Tuscan countryside of rolling hills, lush vines and old farmhouses dotting the landscape? If I squeeze my eyes tight and play memories on my eyelids, will I be there?

Opening the Shutters

Casey, the night before we left, cried and sobbed and held tight to furniture saying he wouldn’t leave. I wanted to do the same but had to be the grown-up, providing the pain of reality. Sleep was hard for all of us that night.

That morning we left at 7:15. The Viticcio truck was loaded with our 700 lbs of belongings—9 32 kg duffels and 6 carry-ons. Alessandro drove Ken, Casey and I in the SUV. Camilla and Casey played and laughed during the drive into Firenze—too young to grasp what would happen in just a short while. Children are such creatures of the immediate present.

Before Leaving Viticcio

Look Close--How High Can You Count?

I was afraid that we would have problems at check-in with our four luggage carts in tow—each piled high. Although I had checked several times with both Lufthansa and United, I still thought the check in person would not understand the rules. But—we were pleasantly surprised when the young man who waited on us had no problem. We needed to pay for two of the pieces but that was cheaper than shipping.

Beginning of Awareness

Check-in Line

Once that was done, it was time for goodbyes—that instant when it all became real. Saying goodbye to Alessandro was hard for Ken and I but nothing compared to the pain Casey and Camilla were experiencing. They are so young that they haven’t had experience in hurting. They stood with the widest, most forlorn eyes—just staring into the other. I thought my heart would break watching them. They hugged tightly—just squeezing the other close. It was an emotional moment.

Then we turned and walked to the gates and they left for their car and the drive home—without us. Casey repeated over and over—“Please tell me that I’m dreaming. Pinch me so I’ll wake up.” This was his mantra throughout the 26 hour trip to our front door here in San Diego. As for me, in the dark of the plane, I found unbidden tears rolling down my cheeks.

So—our tomorows are over. We loved them. What will we do domani? Where shall we drive? What will we see? What’s going on in the piazza? What flavors of gelati will there be? How will the vines have changed? What will the sunset be? Each day was new and different—something to anticipate and enjoy. But, now they are no more.

Ken asked me yesterday if I was ready to go back. If it were easy to do, the three of us would be on the plane—domani..


Jerry said...

Jane - as much as it must be achingly painful to be home - you did have a wonderful year that many could only dream of. Cherish the good memories and make many more!

Jane said...

Jerry, you are so right! I need to remember that. And home does have advantages--no gloves in the market, no ZTL's, corn-on-cob, a big refrigerator--plus, my son.

Jerry said...

I suppose it is the classic 'mind over heart pull'. Your heart tugs you back to Italy while your mind tells you that this is all for the good. For me I know which one would win out! LOL

Charlie said...

My wife and I are returning to the US from Italy after 6 years. Did you have any problems going through US customs with all your bags. We will be taking our maximum plus a couple extra big bags.

Barb Cabot said...

Jane, you have given each of us so much this past year. I cannot thank you enough for the adventures you have shared, the joys and exhilaration of discovery, the beauty of the land, all your photos so lovely, and watching each of you grow in your love for the country, the people and the journey. There will be so much more magic to come...it is not over. You have been a joy to read and I will dearly miss that connection but thank you so much for sharing this past year with each of us. Your words have touched so many. It's been so much fun please do keep posting as we want to watch Casey grow up and hear about the further adventures of Jane and Ken and Casey.

Jane said...

Charlie, 6 years--I wonder what your thoughts are on returning. No, we had no problem at all, in fact, customs was basically closed down by the time we went through. If we had arrived at a different time of day, perhaps it would have been different. You will be taking exactly what we did. Get a porter to help you and he just pushes the cart through. If you have more questions, my e-mail is jlparke@gmail.com

Palma said...


I'm sobbing...AGAIN! You gave Casey the greatest year, and Italy will be all that you remember when you go back. What cannot change now is how you will live more"Italian" in San Diego! The other good news is we'll get to see you more often!

Jane said...

Barb, you bring tears. Thank you for letting me know how much you have enjoyed our adventure and the blog. I feel deeply complimented by your words. Yes, I will continue to write but not sure exactly how. I tried to do one entry a week but don't think my life will be that interesting to share now--except for Casey. Do you know how to subscribe to Bloglines or other service that automatically lets you know when a new blog entry goes up? Think I will explain that on the blog. Be sure to keep up with Casey's blog as I am going to encourage him in that.

Jane said...

Palma, friend--see you soon!

Sandra said...

Dear Jane, Ken and Casey:

I have followed your journey thru your blog and expat italy; however I never made any comments. I am glad you are home safe. What a wonderful lifetime experience! These memories will be with you forever, cherish them. Casey had an apportunity that not many children in this country will ever have. Thank you for letting us be part of your journey, I enjoyed reading your blog.


Jane said...

Sandra, I have always wondered about the blog readers--it is so nice now to hear from some of you. Thank you for following our adventures and for enjoying them and for letting me know that.

Janie said...

Welcome back to San Diego! I can only imagine how hard it must have been to leave your Italian life. At least you have America's finest city to come home to!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane, how heartbreaking to read this and to think that I never got to see you on this side of the atlantic. I remember when I went to say goodbye to my husband, already ex and my jack russell. My new french boyfriend (friend of 20 years before) was waiting for me in the car with all my most urgent belongings in it waiting to take me to Paris.

I saw my dog belly up crying and my ex crying. I felt like I was splitting in two, 21 years of Tuscany. My past and my future were there it was a physical sensation. It was two months before I got to go back but my consolation that it is close and one day i might live there again. At least once a month I can go.

I feel for you!!!


Anonymous said...


Glad to hear you mad it home safely. I know it was hard to leave but hopefully you'll be back soon and often. It was great to see you all again at the Assisi GTG. Since then we've learned that we'll be returning too, to the DC area in late September or early October, after almost eight years in Europe. I'm sure it will be a big adjustment! Take care and we'll hopefully see you in Savannah.

Kevin & Kim

Anonymous said...

Dear Jane,
I am so lucky that I was at your table at the July get together in Assisi. I was deeply touched by your story and by what you are doing for Casey. Your writing is extremely beautiful and meaningful...and poetic - the way you capture the magic in even the everyday gestures of throwing open a shutter onto the Tuscan or Umbria countryside, of checking out what's going on in the piazza, or simply admiring the sunsets. I KNOW what you are talking about and am SO FORTUNATE to be able to live these moments every day and to see them with "occhi nuovi", something I wrote about in my blog. The perspective Casey has gained from his year in Greve will serve him well his entire life. He is an extraordinary young, but so mature, guy. I look forward to seeing you again next summer. We MUST have more time together - I would treasure that. Please feel free to use my private email: expat1628@yahoo.com

Jane said...

Shelly--(I think that is who you are). I enjoyed meeting you, too and yes, we will try to see more of each other when we come back. Thanks for the nice words about the entry. It is so much easier to write about Italy than the US. Italy just brings out pretty words and thoughts.