21 August 2007, 4-weeks later, Epilogue

I was having a little trouble sleeping and went back the laptop for a diversion. I began sorting my photo collection without thinking about the significance of the day. It was a moving and nostalgic experience as I went through every one of the hundreds of photos I took in Italy. I realized it is the 4-week anniversary of my return to America. I think I was in Italy for a total of 311 days, spread over almost a year, with my only homecomings for Christmas and Eric’s wedding.

As I’ve told so many people since my return, “I’m happy to be back.” This is true, but I feel that something is missing. Somewhere in the depths of my conscious remains more than a lingering memory echoing the smells and voices of Italy. Sometimes it resurfaces as a simple reminder. -Like the other night when I made pasta. It came out as any typical American pasta would come out: “Merda” by any Italian standard. (I guess I shouldn’t buy the sauce on the bottom shelf.) Other times it’s a little more restrained like when I catch myself before saying something in Italian, or when I find myself drifting along the boardwalk of Pacific Beach reminiscent of the “passegiata.”

Italy certainly left an imprint on me. My mind will begin to decompress the more complex lessons and subtleties that I will take from abroad after my dependency for espresso fades. It will take some time to truly understand the greater meaning of this experience in the context of the rest of my life. But I do know that I can say wholeheartedly, and without a doubt, that I am extremely pleased to have gone on this journey. Though I am beginning to question the timing of my return, there is little reason why my adventures should not continue to whatever part of the world they may carry me. I think that this was only the beginning and there is still much more to come.

I will close this blog with a Sicilian proverb and a tear for the wonderful people left behind and one for the anticipation of tomorrow. Ricardo was right to tell me, “Cu’ nesci, Arrinesci!”

24 July2007, Day311, Lump in my throat

It was hard to say goodbye to Italy
This experience has meant so much
Through the ups and downs
The journey has gone so fast
But it is exciting to be reborn in California

23 July, Return to Milan

long train
“home?” to Milan…
Last beer with Umberto
Farewell dinner

22 July, Procida

Fruit breakfast
Cute port of Procida
Lunch (goooood pasta)
Got lost
Found a beautiful overlook
The fisherman’s harbor
Washing, kid with bucket
Panorama from the fort
Stress finding the train
Searching for coffee
Found Café Buffalo (with a cafe in Miami)
The beard from Barcelona

21 July, Amalfi

5 Spanish girls arrived to my room in hostel
Ferry to Amalfi
Slow bus, train
Curious Eyes
Out for a pizza with guys
Free pasta
Service with attitude
A beer in the piazza

20 July, Touring Naples

Seems like the Bronx of Italy
Almost no tourists
Great sights
“historic center”
Walking out of ‘danger’
Party at the hostel
Making some friends late at night
9 pizzas
Naples is Awesome!

19 July, Napoli! (That's Naples)

The Hostel
2 Americas at breakfast
Strike, negotiating 50Euro taxis
Dinner, crabs, and profound pizza
Panna cotta and limoncello for desert
Hostel gossip with friendly Spaniards

18 July, Etna

Bus Panic after a good breakfast of a cornetto filled with nutella
Familiar faces from Taormina (Beautiful Fins)
Coffee break on the bus
Etna – contrasts of color
Climbing through lunar rubble
Spanish “consulta”
Passing the busses and other walkers
Swiss guide
Friendly polish kids, surprised that I go alone
The Italian guide
Sliding/skidding descent
Something for nothing
Bye Brigeda
Divine shower
Fabulous dinner
Night train

17 July, Taormina

Rush, then wait for the bus
Greek Thearter
Beauuuutifl water
Cute center
Foraging for lunch
Drinking for the fountain

Dreaming of a painting:
Outside agrigento
Between the sea and ancient temples
Is a house and orchard
Where a Sicilian girl squats
To crack an almond
Between 2 pink stones

Artist declined
Tourist flashflood
Escape to castelmolo
Overlooking the sea and volcano
Vino di Mandorle (Finally cured)
Phalic store
Fotographing the old-timers
Contemplating hitchhiking to get the bus back
Bus/train stress
Excellent dinner: fresh fish, salad, pasito, violin and guitar players