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.
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.