A friend of mine asked me not long ago when I was finally going to do a post on Italy. Considering this is the country I consider my second home it seems only fitting that I had to do one sooner or later. But that’s just the problem, where do I start? I haven’t attempted to do a post about Australia yet either. I will admit that I have been somewhat lazy with posts. I’ve been busy, and I have never been one of those people to prioritise posting or diary writing above living the actual experience or doing other things. Furthermore I am above all not the sort of person who enjoys coming home at the end of the day and feeling as though I HAVE TO sit down and fill in a diary entry or write something. That’s not me. I write when I feel like it, or feel inspired. I often wander around a city and a flurry of ideas pop into my head about things I could write about and say. If I had a voice recorder then that would come in use. I might actually look into that. But for right now I am taking it as it comes and I will get there.
I have been to Italy four times now.
I went with my family back in 2007 to see where my father’s side of the family come from. I met cousins I didn’t even know I had. I fell in love with a town, a culture and an atmosphere where I felt at home. But that trip we crammed 10 countries into a month long on-the-go adventure and we used it as a constant base to return to from other adventures.
The second time I went to Italy I moved there. In 2010 I lived in Italy for 4 months from September to December to go to school. This was part of a high school exchange that through fortunate circumstances saw me avoid any programme and organise everything through family. My Nonna accompanied me and we lived with her sister. My cousin is a teacher and enrolled me in a high school a few towns away, where she worked before going on maternity leave. There I was, a 15 year old living in a small town in a valley in Northern Italy, learning a language, going to school, making a life for myself away from everything I had ever known. It felt like home, and it was home. By the end of it I didn’t want to leave and I spent a long time afterwards feeling as though I was never properly home. I was now torn between my life in Australia and the new life I had made for myself in Italy.
It wasn’t until my third time to Italy, returning in August this year, that I fully realised that the life I remember there, the life I left behind was no more. Now my friends are no longer all together. The neat school situation is dispersed as we have all grown up and the life I had takes more effort to return to. Returning was still incredible. I spent several days resting on the couch with one of my best friends there as I refuelled following 2 months of solid backpacking, and she took a brief break from her crazy work schedule. I visited family and touched base with as many people as possible. I spent an incredible couple of days with my other best friend there and was reminded of the home that I left behind. I am lucky enough to feel at home in multiple places. They make me feel so welcome that I am constantly drawn back there, and that is why tomorrow on the day that marks six months since I left Australia I am again returning to my second home. It is a coincidence that it is on the anniversary, but it is not a coincidence that I am going. I never feel quite right about being in Europe without going home to Lombardia. So when I decided that I was going to come and spend christmas in Italy I decided I wanted to go to Rome and Florence and then naturally I scheduled a few days in Lombardia into this trip as well.
Tomorrow marks four.