|My grandmother, Liberata Crugnale Berarducci|
All day long, I've been trying to decide what to write about today. There are so many things I want to cover, but I'm going to save them for when I get home. Tonight, I might just throw out some loose thoughts.
I saw that Anthony Bourdain quote recently, and it hit home with me. Travel of any kind can change you if you're willing to let it do so. I think it teaches us so much about each other and about ourselves. Five years ago, I wrote the first essay about my grandmother's journey from Italy to the USA, and since that time, learning more about what she experienced has been an obsession for me. That obsession led to the love affair I have with Italy. No matter our ethnicity, Americans know something about the culture of our ancestors, but we know a sanitized version of it, don't we?
i have wondered if I could survive what my grandmother survived. My little game of living in Italy for six weeks showed me that I could live there, but I had a lot of conveniences she didn't have. I also had a ticket home, and a loving husband who supported me.
|Due Torre in Bologna|
I have developed such a fondness for Bologna even though my history is in the Abruzzo region. I find the people in Bologna to be among the most genuine and kind that I've come across in any town in Italy. I miss Bologna a lot, but I know I'll be back soon, so that makes it easier.
|Down the street from my flat in Bologna|
My friend, Bob, asked me a few weeks ago if Italy had been as fruitful for writing as I had hoped. Yes, it has. I wrote some very difficult essays about my other grandparents and father that might never go anywhere, but I got them out. I also thought a lot about my book, and I decided was that the stories about those horrible times were not meant for the book. I found its focus on this trip, and the stories in it are the happy, funny stories that speak to what my grandmother taught me about life.
I hope some of you might want to read it when I finish it.
Finally, I want to thank those of you who have read this blog. I appreciate the comments and personal notes a lot of you have sent. I'm going to continue writing it when I get home because there is so much of life to share.
So, I'm leaving here with a heavy heart, but it's also a happy heart.
I'll see you on the other side of the world tomorrow.