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Posts Tagged ‘Agrigento’

AnnaMaria arrived in Agrigento yesterday and I received an email from her to say that her apartment was beautiful but that she was dead tired. I know just how she feels. It’s probably the way I feel each time I land in Rome – it feels like home. She and I met in 2009, just after I returned from my winter living in Orvieto. I was feeling completely lost and disconnected – not adjusting well to the reentry into American life. She is the antithesis of me: dark, slim, dignified and subdued (albeit with a biting wit and sarcastic sense of humor that she reveals only when she knows you well). What we have most in common is that we know where we really belong –Italy. Me in Umbria, she in Sicilia. We know that one day we will become permanent residents of this wild, crazy and spectacularly beautiful place. This we know for sure. It was such a lovely and warm evening in San Francisco, so after work I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner in her honor. I strolled up and down Union Street and stopped in front of Pane E Vino Trattoria. Through the window I could see they had a few small tables near the front where there is light so I could read my book. (I always have to bring something to do in case I get self-conscious about dining alone). The proprietor is Italian, all the waiters are Italian, the elderly couple next to me were Italian, the older couple on the other side of them were Italian (he immigrated to San Francisco in 1948 – I was eavesdropping). I recognized a guy from Milano I’d met a few times at my Italian conversation meet-up. I spoke to my Venetian waiter in Italian, but first I apologized for my sub-standard skills. Like most Italians, he was kind and said “No, no, you speak very well, Bella”. Gotta love those Italians! I sat there eating my delicious Melanzane alla Parmigiana and a perfectly grilled side of asparagus with a glass of Chianti, just listening to everyone around me speaking Italian. Couples, families, a man and his mother. I noticed on the wall above me a ceramic sculpture of the moon and sun. It made me think of my artist-friend who sculpts versions of this symbol in terracotta. That’s when I felt the tears well-up in my eyes. It’s not sadness, exactly, but not really nostalgia either. It’s hard to describe, but it always catches me off-guard. I’ve been back from my last trip for almost a month and thought I was past the culture-shock and let-down that grips me. I thought I was doing okay, but I guess I was deluded. Walking to my car, I thought about AnnaMaria again. Not one-single ounce of my being is jealous of her right now. On the contrary, I’m happy for her, proud of her, admire her for taking the leap-of-faith and going to Sicily for 2 months. I know what it takes to do that – the confidence to know what makes you happy and the courage to try to obtain it. I want for her what I want for myself; to find a way to stay in Italia forever. Complimenti, AnnaMaria!!! by Toni DeBella

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