Saturday, April 16, 2011

Return from Over the Rainbow

A week ago today, we were sitting at the stunning Trevi Fountain in Rome.  Ron and I made our wishes and threw our coins into the magical waters guarded by gods.  We tossed the Scottish coins from the tiny tartan drawstring bag that my daughter and her husband had filled with their own private wishes hoping to come true

We found a spot in the shade and sat watching the parade of people tossing coins and snapping photos.  Ron (ever the shutterbug) utilized his international hand signals for “Would you like one together?”, and we even watched a team of pickpockets use metal detectors to steal coins from the fountain when two patrolling policewomen weren’t looking.

We savored waffle cones filled with gelato (I don’t know exactly why this is so much better than ice cream, but it is!) and wandered looking for last little souvenirs.

I could rave about the marathon flight home….9 ½ hours over the ocean (and the 2 Valium that barely scratched my anxiety) another 5 ½ hours from Boston to Phoenix (the Cambodian monk sitting by me with his sweet calming energy as I tried to avoid going postal from claustrophobia), and the 1 ½ hour flight from Phoenix to Salt Lake City and the month-old baby girl directly behind me screaming (I hear you honey, and I feel the same way!).

But this is what I would rather remember about Rome and the green hills of Italy:

Waking every morning to clear blue skies, the breath-taking old-world vista from our balcony (no high-rise buildings) and the frenetic hum and hustle of pedestrians, teeny cars and snazzy motorbikes 

Strolling the cobblestone streets to explore the endless alleys lined with beautiful old buildings, food vendor-carts, shops, art galleries, ristorantes and palpable possibilities…

Roman Sunday in the middle of the busy promenade; stopping in my tracks to appreciate my handsome husband against the backdrop of the glorious Coliseum, and falling in love with him all over again.

Escaping tourist etiquette to Hard Rock Rome for real booze and an OMG cheeseburger …and Glenda, the bubbly Italian waitress with just the right touch of California in her smile.

Discovering my adventurous heart and romance again in the drama and peace of Positano; magnificent and quaint all at the same time.  Sticking my feet in the midnight blue water of the Mediterranean and feeling like I always do around water; that I have in some ways come home.

Sharing the days and nights, talking and laughing with the man I love so much. We are two weird little peas in a pod! We basked in the craziness and kindness of all the Italians we met; strangers who instantly felt like friends.  They enriched our journey and left their mark on our hearts.

Becoming a citizen of the world by expanding my knowledge of another place, a different culture, another time in history, and of a very sweet way to live.  I am so much richer for all I saw, smelled, felt, watched and witnessed.

And finally, how much I love HOME!

It was one of the first times I had been so far away for so long…long enough to experience the pang of homesickness.  I grieved that Mom would not be waiting for my stories.  I tried to love Italian food, but honestly, I missed the option of a different cuisine on every corner.

I missed the cleanliness, the prosperity and relative modern conveniences of American life.  I understand why people swim oceans, risk everything, and dream of coming here.  I get it….more than ever.

Near the end, I longed to return to the reality that I have built for myself; my family, my children, my career, and my cozy little home on Turpin Street.

I will bask in rich memories and someday soon, plan another adventure; out beyond the fence to follow the yellow brick road.  I will run through the poppies and perhaps even meet the Wizard.  But Dorothy knew, and so do I…there is no place like home.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post - so glad that you accomplished all that you wanted on your trip! Last weekend, I watched 'Eat, Pray, Love' and thought of you and Ron. And you're right...there's no place quite like home.

    Glad you're back!