Thursday, May 16, 2013

Are You Homesick?

"You may have the universe if I may have Italy."
~ Guiseppe Verdi

You will probably never believe this, but the first time we came to Italy (1996), I was not that anxious to come back. To tell the truth, Mike liked it a lot more than I did, and as funny as that seems, when we went to Ireland a few years after that, I liked it better than he did.  Of course, I think the fact that we visited only large cities — Rome, Naples, and Florence — had a lot to do with it.  Our experiences were wrapped in the hassles of large-city tourism.  I don't want to get into all of that.  It's of no consequence because, as anyone can tell, I am quite obsessed with this country, its people, culture, food, language, cities and towns.

Over the last week or so, a few people have emailed me and asked if I'm homesick yet.  I talked about it a few weeks ago, but I thought I'd answer that question tonight for a few reasons, one of which I'll tell you in answer to the question.

The long answer is that I am not homesick in the way I was a few years ago in Prague. We have enjoyed almost every moment of this trip even with the nasty weather.  The best part has been being in this apartment in Sulmona.  The people who own it, Novelia and Peppe, are absolutely wonderful and have been so kind to take us to different towns and to introduce us to their family and friends.  One of the reasons I am answering this question tonight instead of doing a more in-depth piece is that it is almost midnight, and we just got home from a dinner hosted by Novelia's sister and her husband at their home. The invited us in and treated us as family.  That doesn't happen everywhere.

I do, however, miss certain things.  Missing Jason is not new since he lives across the country from us, but the distance and what it represents is more daunting when there's an ocean between us.  I'm sure some of you think I'm nuts for missing Riley, but I have had a dog since I was five years old, and being without one is hard. Thankfully, we Skype with Jason weekly and have done so with Mary and Riles a few times, too.  Of course, I miss my friends both in Las Vegas and around the country.  Yes, we stay in touch via email and Facebook, but I like my morning coffees, shopping trips, phone calls, and chance meetings at the market.  

The obvious givens (and coffee) out of the way, here are the five creature comforts I miss most:

5. American television.  Yes.  Yes.  I know that's a horrible thing to miss, but I do get tired of CNN International, BBC, AlJazeera and Sky News.  "I need a little Duck Dynasty," I said to Mike a few days ago.  "Happy. Happy. Happy," he replied.  (If you don't watch the show, you won't get the joke.)

4. Las Vegas weather.  One of the reasons we moved to Las Vegas when Mike retired was the weather.  We don't have to deal with cold, snow, high humidity or rain on a regular basis.  Yes. Yes.  We do experience some of them on rare occasions, but not day after day after day after day. "It's raining," Mike said to me this morning.  "Is that new?" I replied.  After about an hour or so, the sun came out, so we went out.  "It's not so bad right now," I said as we got into the car.  "Now that we're out," he retorted, "it will start raining again."  We drove to Pacentro, went to have cappuccino in a small cafe, walked out to stroll through the town, and the rain came down.

3. My recliner.  I'm sorry, but I do miss the old La-Z-Boy.  The furniture in Europe is, for some reason, a lot lower to the ground that American furniture, and sitting and standing is a hassle at times.  That said, if the stuff were comfortable, its low-slung seating might not be so bad.  

2.  My own bed.  Nothing is as comfortable as one's own bed.  Besides, just like the sitting room furniture, beds are very low to the ground here.  I guess the good thing about that is that if one falls out of bed, at least he/she will not risk breaking anything from a long fall.

1.  My shower.  (Shocked you with this one, didn't I?)  The showers here are quite small, and I'd give anything to have one that ha a footprint larger than a kitchen sink.

There are other things, but they are, like the five above, just things.  As Americans, we are lucky to have those little comforts that so many others in the world don't have, and then I look at the things that are so important to them, and it sure gives me pause.

I hope I didn't bore you too much tonight.  


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