1. When I arrived in for the first time in Italy in 1992, I fell of the train. I was getting off at the Desenzano train station after spending two weeks in Paris, and my future husband was waiting for me on the platform. We hadn't seen each other since meeting in Mexico, and were both really nervous. I stepped down the little rickety steps off the train and missed, and wound up spread-eagled on the pavement. The first thing we did together in Italy was go to the hospital. Only the next day could I enjoy the view...
2. When I came to Italy, I had no idea what kind of things I would miss from America. Italy is so beautiful and I was so in love, that nothing else mattered. With the passing of time I began to miss the most banal of things from America, like tortillas, 24-hour drugstores, Oprah, NPR and afternoon matinees. Once I hit the ten year benchmark, I began to miss the bigger things, like my language, living on the same continent as my family, and the separation of church and state. I've also written about this here and here.
3. I didn't understand a word of what the guy in city hall was saying when my husband and I got married, and just nodded and said sì everytime he looked at me. I wore black from head to toe on my wedding day.
4. My husband is a chef and a do everything guy. My brother calls him MacGyver. After we married and I became pregnant with our first son, we decided to run a business in one of the Italian mountain lodges known as a Rifugio Alpino. We had a restaurant that seated about 40 people, and rooms for 20. Our rifugio was at 6000 feet altitude at the end of a torturous dirt road. If you would like an idea of what refuges are like check out this page. During the early years we were snowed in often and didn't have a television, and the result were these two apple-cheeked creatures:
5. I've spent much of my time in Italy feeling like an imposter named Jenny, who I wrote about in length here.
6. Italian women have been unflaggingly suspicious of me. My best friend in Italy is Canadian.
7. My life in a foreign country has been the ultimate specchio, or mirror. We have no idea how much our culture and language effect our perception of ourselves, and how others see us, until we are forced to give these up. Sognatrice has written so eloquently about this in her post Masks. I literally felt as if I was in a constant state of flailing for the first 5 or 6 years in Italy, like a turtle on its back.
8. As I pack, with moments of glee interspersed with moments of panic, I rejoice in going home, and in the fact that I already have my return ticket to Italy for next year. Jenny will surely be sorely missed by then.