Back in Italy, the countdown to America begins

I absolutely could not sleep last night. My flight from Cairo arrived in Rome at 8:30 p.m. My bus from Leonardo da Vinci was at 9:30 p.m. which didn’t give me a lot of time to get off the plane, through Passport Control, into the john, to the ATM and then the bus. Fortunately, everything fell right into place.

On the bus, wifi was sporadic so I didn’t waste my time. I pulled out my laptop and watched videos of the Beatles first arrival in America along with classic Frasier episodes. When the computer battery died, I whipped out my iPhone and listened to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder.

Upon arriving at my apartment, I set about unpacking. It was nearing 1:00 a.m. and I was wide awake. I was also famished but the apartment was void of food. No restaurants were open and all-night convenience stores are non-existent in Alba. I was stuck eating stale cranberry biscotti. They seemed to hit the spot.

Eventually, though, I went to bed. Today I unpacked and did two loads of laundry. I ran to the store and stocked up on groceries. As I walked around, doing my errands, I felt a sense of melancholy–I am leaving.

Perhaps it’s the awareness that I’m leaving that is conjuring up a love for Alba that I didn’t feel before. Perhaps it’s that sense of a loss of sorts that arises when something is coming to an end. One tends to glamorize and rhapsodize over the experience; even the negatives seem less important. As they should.

I plan on renting a car for a few days to hit some of the local towns that I’ve been told of for years. It’s kind of funny how I am just now exploring these areas, right before I leave, when I’ve had a year to do so. But I’ve spent that year on more crucial things…

I first had to get settled. Of course, I had to do my research in Poland and Ukraine, my primary impetus for coming to Europe.

And let’s not forget the travel–Switzerland, Germany, England, Morocco, Israel, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, San Marino, Egypt. And around Italy.

Don’t forget the visitors from Oregon. Five different sets. I loved it.

And, of course, there was the time with my family and the trips to hook up with my brother. Four times I saw him this year, more than we’ve ever seen each other in the thirty-eight years since we met in 1978.

So, now I will casually explore this area. The towns are tiny, so they will not require all day tours. Perhaps it’s best that I saved them for the last. My final weeks will be spent with my family, listening to the music of their voices, indulging in the local delicacies. I will truly soak in the flavor of my ancestry, just as I did for seven weeks in Ukraine.

A coffee here, a photo there. A walk through ancient piazzas. I will envelope myself with my history. Who knows when I’ll come back?

 

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