Saturday, July 24, 2010

Buon Rientro

The last few days we are leaving our beloved Fiesole we are invited into the coffee bars for a final toast together. We hear over and over buon rientro, buon rientro. It doesn't really translate that well but it means "have a good re-entry". I like it because it doesn't involve the word home which right now feels ambiguous. I am up thinking about what a good re-entry would be and so I pop it in the google search to see if anyone else is blogging about it. The first entry looks promising "an outsider observing the reentry process" but then I realize it is a blog about the radical transition from prison life to life in society. Second one on reentry to the earth from space. Third about soldiers returning. Fourth, another about prison to society. Several more about space, then some about Muslims being denied reentry into America.

I'm sure if I were in a lighter state of mind I could make some really hilarious parallels with the aforementioned blogs but alas, I am not. I still am struck by how ignorant I feel about how to return to the country of my birth. I secretly fear that I can never go back. I have spent the last 15-20 years learning how to become an insider into other cultures so I wonder if coming back requires the same set of skills or an entirely different set that I don't have.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From Brividi to Lacrime

Last night was our last night at the campone. The place our boys grew up going to school and playing soccer. It over looks Florence and it is so beautiful at night. We were with one of our friends, Agnese and some others eating outside at the Festa dell' Unita ( a summer food fest with leftist roots) At the end my friend broke down crying and then of course so did I. Now with our friends, instead of goosebumps we are hugging, crying, kissing. There is so much emotion. One of the Italians starts rolling a cigarette. I suddenly want one. I've never smoked in my life except with my best friend when she discovered her husband was cheating so I know I'm feeling out of control. I realize it is one of the saddest times in my life.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I've heard an Italian word more in this last month as we are preparing to leave than in the last 10 years here-Brividi. It means goosebumbs. It has been a common reaction when we tell people in the village we are leaving. Our close Italian friends have known for months, but as we are leaving we are making sure to tell the people we've seen everyday at the Pasticceria, the baker, the legnaia, our favorite store clerks etc a special goodbye. Their eyes widen, they grab their arms and say, "You've given me goosebumps." The first time, with Lucia who works at the local grocery store  I even checked. Sure enough, her arms were filled with goosebumps. With eyes wide, full of shock they go on, "But you are Fiesolani now, you are so Italian, how can you leave?" Peccato-what a shame. Tears always come to my eyes. I feel deeply touched and honored to be called a Fiesolani (one from Fiesole).  I like who I've become here. I found myself here. And now...I'm heading to a strange planet. I hesitantly refer to it as home since it is my country of origin but I know that it won't feel like home when I arrive. I've changed too much and well, America has changed too. I not sure we will like each other. Goosebumps, now that I think about it, are a very appropriate reaction.