Tonight I needed to remember the magic of things so I dressed up in the lace wrap I brought back from Tuscany and the earrings gifted to me by an artist and friend I met in Southern Italy.
Feeling the joy of wearing such sentimental items, I slipped a book into my purse, walked out my door and headed through the cool night air to the Italian restaurant I have passed so many times on Alberta Street. Tonight, I’d open the door and stay awhile.
Sitting at the little table alone with a large glass of red wine in my right hand, I smiled, savoring the familiar feeling that became so common while traveling – the feeling of peace that comes from enjoying my own company and living solely in the moment, taking in every detail with curiosity and forgetting about anything that happened before now, or that will happen after now. I stared at a map of Italy while the perfect tomato sauce danced on my tongue and the creamy mozzarella melted into the warm pasta on my fork. Oh how good! And then a pang of longing – realizing my heart still yearns to be back in that country painted on the wall across from me in blue and green.
I ended up spending a total of 2 hours drinking wine from Puglia and talking about life in Italy and the U.S. – the similarities and differences in culture and philosophy – with the owner of the little restaurant. With a smile, Enzo explained “In Italy, we see our children as a part of us, that is why we don’t mind that they live with us – we don’t want them to go. There isn’t the need to be alone like here; we keep our family near us.”
And after the final espresso had been drunk and the last spoonful of whipped cream licked off the spoon, I felt as if I could cry when Enzo stood up, outstretched his arms, and shouted “Come here! Let me give you a bacio (kiss)!”
I’ll definitely be going back for Italian lessons and more chats about life over espresso. I love life’s little surprises. And I’m so grateful that the magic I sought was revealed to me tonight. Feeling a mixture of emotions with missing the people I love in Europe and feeling certain I’ve found new ones to love right here in my own neighborhood.