Returning from a long anticipated vacation can be challenging even without the body clock readjustment necessary from a six-hour time difference and a nine hour flight. Fortunately, there’s some consolation in the form of souvenirs whether they’re physical, emotional, mental, or some combination of all three. My recent trip to Italy provided an excellent array of “things” which will continue to provide memories of a wonderful trip, as well as life inspirations moving forward. Some of the highlights…
In my suitcase I stashed the nearly intact hunk of fine Italian butter that I just couldn’t leave behind. I wrapped it tightly (and cozied it up next to a few slices of lovely prosciutto) and placed it in a small ziplock bag I had recycled. I thoroughly enjoyed the butter on toast for a number of mornings, sitting in my DelSo dining room.
Three bottles of Duty Free booze – a 10-year-old tawny port, Amaro, which I have limited familiarity with but want to experience, and a promising bottle of Amarone which I will uncork when the urge strikes.
A very large Toblerone bar to replace the one my oldest son lost a few years back to Jeter.
A beautiful green, wool blend overcoat which straddles the line between cozy duster and oversized topper. I bought it in Naples for 15e and it makes me smile when I see it hanging in my closet.
One clementine, purchased at the Campo de Fiori market in Rome. Still not eaten, but intended to fuel this weekend’s half marathon.
Two items purchased at the Vatican – a simple silver cross and chain for my youngest son as a special gift in honor of his 13th birthday and a key chain depicting the moment God created Adam. That went to the guy whose eyes could have inspired Michelangelo’s paint color choice.
The other stuff I returned with is far less tangible. I came home relaxed, refreshed and confident in my ability to find my way around a new city or two. I have an even deeper appreciation for how Italians live – their sense of priorities, their commitment to la dolce vita, the importance of history and beauty in the everyday.
My trip was days after the most recent school massacre and ever since I’ve been considering how only in America do we repeatedly have these kind of events. Our culture of guns and violence is unique and I’m thinking that when I retire I’d like to spend more time in Europe than my schedule currently allows. I need to get serious about getting a German passport and citizenship.
The biggest thing I brought home was a more clear vision of the life I want. Where I want to be, how I’d like to live and what sort of companion I’d like to share all of that, and myself, with in the future. It may not have taken up any space in my luggage, but these thoughts have occupied a big part of my head and heart since I returned. Time to carry on.