Do you remember when we first met? When I began to dream of having a life with you?
It was April 2004. Our first night in Rome and it was raining. For some odd reason, I didn’t have my umbrella with me. Instead of packing it in a carryon, I left it in my suitcase. (I wasn’t the only one). As we walked to our dinner destination, it began to rain. While others in our group huddled together under umbrellas, I decided to take advantage of the situation. I politely decline and let the rain kiss me. I enjoyed every single drop as it fell and washed over me. I clearly remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m in Rome! I’m going to enjoy every moment and if that means walking the streets and getting wet, then I’ll just get wet!’
While that first night in Rome was just the beginning, it stayed with me. When I marvelled at the Sistine Chapel, dropped my camera on a gondola in Venice, or was in absolute awe at Lago di Como, it all stayed with me. After that trip I dreamed of living with you; knowing it was just a dream and it would never actually happen.
2 years later, unbeknownst to me, God would answer a prayer by sending me someone who would save me. I met and fell in love with and Italian MAN. He was everything you represented. Self assured, smart, somewhat stylish, kind of religious, stereotypical Italian, and… A mammone! Yet I fell…. hard.
My next trip to see you, was to make sure the life we would make together was going to be what I wanted. Little did I know it would be the life I needed. Yes, I dreamed of you but it was only a dream. It wasn’t supposed to become a reality. I wasn’t supposed to uproot my life without something to do. However, you made sure I was never bored.
Once we became exclusive in 2009, you took me by the hand and showed me everything I was missing. In the first 3 months, I was changed completely and it was just the beginning. You showed me my potential AND showed me who I truly was/am. You showed me how strong I was, mentally, physically and spiritually. I moved here with little-to-no knowledge of the language and yet somehow thrived and learned the language with the help of everyone on the street (and the occasional Peppa Pig episodes).
You made me do things I never thought I’d do. My first Easter, I hiked a mountain to attend Catholic Mass at an Abbey that is believe to have been in built around 996. (and I’m not even Catholic!)
I successfully had 3 healthy pregnancies in which my weight stayed in reasonable limit. Your deliciously organic food made it possible for me to nourish me and my baby without having to use the excuse of “eating for 2” in order to eat pizza and gelato. Perhaps this is the reason why I was able to have 3 natural deliveries.
You also made me realize that I was the only one putting limits on myself. Because of the other things I achieved, I also became a runner, more active in my church AND a super cool mom with PURPLE HAIR and real Italian mom friends! That itself is no easy feat, but you did that. You helped me see myself in ways I never dreamed.
A lot of people like to point our your faults, I prefer to focus on your good qualities. After all, no one is perfect and we shouldn’t judge each other on our imperfections. We should always look for the good. You have a way with people. You bring out the best in us… and for that, I say Grazie.
* photo courtesy of Michelle Bottalico Photography
This post was written as part of the Dolce Vita Bloggers link up. Thank you to Kristie from Mamma Prada, Jasmine from Questa Dolce Vita and Kelly from Italian at Heart for organizing a great community of Italian loving bloggers! In honor of Valentine’s Day, this month’s topic was: A love letter to Italy. To read more Love letters to the Bel Paese, click here.
14 thoughts on “A love letter to Italy”
Love love love this! I laughed out loud at the “…and…A Mammone!” part hahaha. I completely agree that we need to see the good, not just in Italy, but in life! Un bacione to your beautiful family! 🙂
Thanks for your sweet comment. Carlo was a big Mammone but luckily that changed rather quickly!
Sonia! First off, why haven’t you written for my Love Stories series?! I was loving the part where you kind of introduced us to your Italian man, I laughed along with LuLu when you wrote about how he’s the stereotypical Italian. You have a beautiful family and I really enjoyed reading your letter, I’m discovering how so many of the bloggers have had a love affair with the country that started long before they ever moved or ever happened to meet their Italian spouses. Interesting isn’t it?
Hey Jasmine! I also noticed that most of the bloggers had a connection with Italy before making the move. I think that’s what makes these love letters much more special. They’re truly honest because of how deep the connection goes.
I’d be happy to contribute to Love Stories, just let me know!
I love the mammone part! Gosh we all have one of them! 🙂 It’s so nice that you feel Italy has embraced you and helped you become more yourself. It’s great to hear you’ve won over the Italian mums as well! No mean feat! Thank you for joining up with #dolcevitabloggers this month! x
Hi Kristie! I got lucky with my mammone, he grew out of it very quickly! It took a long time to make those Italian mom friends, but I am really happy that my patience paid off!
Your love story sounds amazing! ♥️ I am also watching Peppa Pig in Italian with my kids 🤪😂. Piacere!
Thank you! Peppa was a staple in our home for a good 7 years. While it got annoying, it really did help with my language skills!
I love how you focused on all the good and the way that Italy has helped you blossom into your true self! I love the part how you said Italy helped you have 3 healthy pregnancies…I think the quality of the food and the dining traditions really nourish the soul on a deeper level. Plus you have the most adorable family! Thank you for joining us!
Hey Kelly! Thanks for your sweet comment. I learned very early on that if I thought about the difficulties of living here, I’d be miserable and I didn’t want that to affect my marriage. After all, it was a big deal for me to move 5,000 miles… failing was not an option.
As for the food, it really made a difference. I know if I would have been in Texas, I would have easily gained double the amount of weight.
Haha so fun to read! A mammone and peppa pig episodes – totally get you girl! You have a beautiful family 🙂
Aw.. thanks for the comment. Thankfully, my husband is no longer the mammone he once was and my girls are all out of the Peppa phase!!
This is fantastic! The whole last paragraph totally resonated with me! Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to reach more on your blog!
“You helped me see myself in ways I never dreamed.” I am starting to think Italy has done this to so many who visit step foot on it’s land. I believe it brings out the best version of ourselves.
Also, I cracked up a “mammone” hahaha!!!