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.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Home in Greve-in-Chianti

As I write this, I sit beside a sparkling pool, surveying the beautiful, green, vine colored hills of fabled Tuscany. We are home! And nothing has changed. Life transforms slowly here, sometimes taking generations.

Yesterday we were greeted at the Florence airport by friends and a big Snoopy balloon being wildly waved by Camilla as she welcomed Casey’s return. The two children haven’t parted since then—except for the 12 hours Casey slept last night. My fears that they would be shy at first were totally unfounded. As predicted by others, they took up right where they left off—in Italiano--Casey speaking with the musical Toscana accent, considered by many to be the pure language of Italy. Have you even been jealous of a nine (almost ten) year old? It’s a humbling experience!

It is so right to be here and as if we never left. In the past we have gone back to places where we have lived and found that returning was not possible—we were different, the place was different, relationships were different. We were once again strangers, left out of a place where we belonged.

Not so here. As I walked the property in the quiet of late afternoon, the months drifted away and the day became just another day in our life here—the same as the days before. The sense of belonging was complete and unchanged. Signora Franca and Sara hugged tightly and we hugged back—it was so good to see their faces and smiles once again. As we run into the workers here--Mario, Danny, Adrien, Andre, and others--their faces light with recognition. They are as happy to see us as we them. I marvel how a single year can run so deep but it does. Returning to our “real” home last year took weeks before adjustment took hold. Yesterday took seconds and, already, the thought of never wanting to leave permeates our hearts.

Last night we had a simple meal with “the family,” Nicoletta, Alessandro, Signora Franca and Camilla. It was good. In the afternoon, the children swam, roller bladed and laughed a lot, as no time was needed for reacquaintance. Casey was running on adrenalin after the long flight here and so collapsed once his head hit the pillow. Today I haven’t seen him since he ran out the door three minutes after climbing from bed. It is pure joy to see him so happy.

Later today we are going into Greve to see old friends and enjoy lunch at one of our favorite places, the small Enoteca Fuoripiazza. It will be good to see them once more. Tourists sit outside; people who belong sit at the tables in the cool, small inside. We will sit inside.

Tonight we will eat again with our Italian family—a time of good wine, good food, laughter and catching up. And tomorrow?---------it will come.


Terry (teaberry) said...

Jane, Ken, & Casey,

Welcome home!

Tourmama said...

Jane et al - you have no idea how much I envy you as you return to your Italian 'home". You are truly blessed. (not to mention having the luxury of enough miles to travel in business class with the flat beds!)

Enjoy every second of your journey. And thanks for taking us along.


Sandrac said...

Wow, what a wonderful beginning to what should be a wonderful visit. I love the photo the red-tiled roof-top -- I wish I were there!

Mary Thomas said...

Welcome "home" to all of you. You so well identify the sense of belonging through your well-chosen words, Jane. It is ALWAYS a highlight to read your entries! May every day speak to your soul and to your heart. How I look forward to meeting up.

Thanks also for your good wishes. I am improving slowing but am still quite mobility impaired.

A fond embrace,

girasoli said...

Welcome home. What a wonderful way to start your trip this summer. Enjoy each and every day.

Anonymous said...

You are back in your element. Your writing is filled with the descriptives that flow so easily when you are in Italy. Happy that you are "home" again! Barb Cabot

Ice Tea For Me said...

Jane you write so eloquently. Aren't children amazing in their relationships? Adults can sure learn a thing or two.

Your writing makes my heart yearn for you to be back in Italy permanently. Iknow you're torn between the two countries.

Enjoy all your old haunts and dear friends.

Anonymous said...

I have tears in my eyes after reading about your re-entry into life in your Italian home. It's such a lovely feeling knowing that you truly belong somewhere.

I am so glad for you!


Anonymous said...

Absolutely perfect!

Thanks to our visit with you last year I have such a good visual of you there.

Tomorrow I'll be thinking of you at the Saturday market in Greve.

I hope the remainder of your visit is as wonderful.

Hugs, Sheena

Chiocciola said...

This is so great! I am almost tearing up! How nice for you to be back in a place you love, with people you love. Enjoy these months and have FUN!

Anonymous said...

Yay! You're in Italy!
It looks lovely :)

Sandra said...


I am glad you made safe! So jealous...Enjoy for us as well. Hope you have a marvelous time.


We Love Italy said...

Hello Casey, Jane and Ken
I've really enjoyed reading the anticipation of your trip and now your arrival to your second home. Thanks for sharing. We know exactly what you mean when you say nothing has changed! We too arrive in Italy for a month August 31 - same place, same friends/family. Looking forward to reading about all the new memories you are creating in Italia! Your friends in Seattle, Jill, Larry and Daniela

Jane said...

Caro Amici
What a wonderful, warm feeling to open my e-mail now and find ALL these messages. You have brought tears to my eyes with all the good wishes, nice things said and the knowledge that we have friends who care so much.

Today we went to market and were welcomed by so many people--some I didn't even think would remember us. I think that when you are here in winter, maybe you are remembered.

Grazie Mille

Diana said...

wow Jane... it seems like this is really home to you. Your descriptions of Casey's activities make it all very real. Welcome home to Italy. I think it might be where you belong.

Jerry said...

Jane - I think you're remembered for many reasons, the least of which is 'because you were here in the winter'! I am pleased to read about you 're-entry' and that it is as if you hadn't been gone. I guess it isn't always true that you can't go back!

Jane said...

Thank you, Jerry, for the remembering thought!