To be fair, I was warned.
I was told it was contagious, and once I had been exposed, the chance of returning to life as it was before was remote.
And so it was with all this foreknowledge that I packed my bags and headed for my first trans-Atlantic flight to see the sites of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales eight months ago.
I can still gush endlessly of my time in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and how it was truly my girlhood dreams come to life. The history and majesty and literature that I had soaked up for almost five decades was laid before me and I feast still on tiny, quiet experiences and monumental deathbed memories. I am certain that in my dying moments the sights and sounds of London will be with me still.
But it’s true,
I did catch the bug.
And now, knowing how small our big blue marble truly is, I’m off again.
I’m off to Italy.
In my life before being bitten, I was thrilled by the delights of Florida. Even as I write this, locked in the deep freeze of southwestern Ontario, I like the idea of a Planters Punch poolside on the Florida coast. I still believe that ice cream always tastes better when it takes the shape of mouse ears. And any three-hour flight that puts you in clear view of palm trees is a very good thing.
But oh, what delights await in Dante’s Florence. Or amid the mighty columns of Rome. The holy sites in Vatican City or in the cliff side show stopper that is Cinque Terre.
And don’t even get me started on the olives, cheese and prosciutto.
Where England filled me up with dreams made real, Italy is going to fill me up with pasta, seafood and antipasti.
I did not grow up in a time of world travel. The world got smaller after I hit my adult stride, and honestly, I am blessed to call Lambton County home. Like so many in my circle, I moved into a groove of earning a living, securing a future and assuming that I’d make a move to see some of the world around me later, when the time was right, when life made it possible.
Watching my parents and the men and women who were the lighthouses of my childhood struggle with bodies and minds enfeebled by time and aging diseases has altered my perspective.
The time to move is now. The time has come. Life is possible now, and who knows what promise tomorrow brings.
So once again across the Atlantic I go, with my copy of The Divine Comedy in hand and a hunger for all things Italian. Ciao Italia!
Chi lavora mangia. Chi non lavora, mangia, beve e dorme.