Said goodbye to my beloved cousins last night. Maurizio and Daniela and their two children, Stefano and Celeste accompanied me to downtown Ascoli Piceno so I could once again revel in the beauty of my favorite place on earth. It was a warm (for me!) evening.
Stefano had asked if they could see me one last time. The previous night I had taken my aunt and uncle out for dinner to celebrate my uncle’s upcoming birthday on the 12th of November–two days after I leave for America. A subsequent text from Stefano asked if we could get together. Saturday I drove to Ascoli.
Although I had a lump in my throat the whole evening, again, I knew that I would be returning. I knew that my heritage was deeply ingrained in my heart and the smiles and warmth of my family would remain, never to abate.
When it came time to say goodbye, Daniela hugged me twice. Maurizio put his arms around me and held me longer than he usually does when we part. He wished me well in my job search along with a bon voyage. I turned and walked to my car.
After returning to my cavernous-seeming apartment, I decided to have my favorite spaghetti dinner one last time at Spritz Cafe–and to say goodbye to the people there. They had indicated they wanted me to come by one last time. After savoring my mountain of spaghetti, I paid for the dinner. The waitress, Evelina, gave me a big hug and wished me well. I walked out of the restaurant.
As I walked down the street, again I felt the lump in my throat. Why would there be a lump in my throat just as significant for the proprietors of this little restaurant, relative strangers, as there would be for my family? I suppose it reflects my approach to relationships. Truth be told, I will probably never see these people again. Yet, they played a small role in an important period of my life. I’m not embellishing their impact, just acknowledging that they provided an intrinsic value during my expat time.
It’s now Sunday. I am completely packed. My bus leaves tomorrow for Rome where I will spend the night before getting up really early to catch my 7:30 a.m. flight–Istanbul-San Francisco-Portland. I still have to say goodbye to Faustio at the pizzeria, Osmondo at the kebab shop and Eugenio at the pasticceria. I’m sure I’ll have a lump in my throat then, too.
Despite the emotion I feel, I’m pretty much able to brush it off and not allow myself to wallow in melancholy. The future is coming rapidly and I’m excited. Ultimately a new job and home, my friends and family. My beloved Oregon.
And functioning internet service. Hey, let’s get our priorities straight, right?
The weather is seventy degrees and sunny with nary a cloud in the sky here along Italy’s Adriatic Coast. Makes it difficult to believe it is “the holidays” and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Last year at this time it was easy to forego Thanksgiving because it didn’t seem like winter although Christmas was a little more difficult.
Soon I’ll be home and able to celebrate both. Until then, I wait…