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.