Whelmed

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I’m slightly overwhelmed about returning to Italy next week. Since living there five years ago, I have been back to Rome, ventured through the streets of Palermo and met the legendary Mike Piazza in Tirrenia for work, all on separate occasions.

But I have yet to return to the place I once called home, Viterbo. Just a short, two hour journey by train from Rome, it’s quite a mystical little place in my mind. By general consensus of most Italians I have met, it’s really just an ordinary, if not slightly lame little town in Italy.

For me, it’s a bubble where I spent 4 months (and 5 days to be precise), that will distinctly be held on a pedestal for eternity. The funniest part is that when I lived there it was really just like regular life, where you’d have good days and not-so-good days. Yet looking back on it, the negatives pale in comparison to the wonderfulness that was Viterbo.

There was just a certain charm, I suppose. First of all, it was a very traditional, non-touristy, haven where it was necessary to at least have a general handle on the language. I tend to prefer the historical suburbs that aren’t consumed by loud, annoying site-seers (like me!!), where I can be more part of the community.

That also transcends into the food. Often in large cities it’s a challenge to find authentic and even non-chain eateries. Viterbo had two claims to fame: two-plate pizza and a Guinness world record holding spaghetti joint. The first boasted of individual pizzas that were so large they required two plates to be served, just my style. The latter had a menu about an inch and a half thick, with over 400 spaghetti sauces/toppings to choose from, the most in the world! Needless to say, it took over an hour to order, time usually passed by drinking liter after liter of house wine.

Did I mention that you could buy beer in vending machines in little hole in the wall cut-outs on the way to the bar so there was no time lapse between pre-drinking and drinking? The boys found that handy, not so much us girls who stuck to wine, but the concept alone was intriguing.

So why am I on the verge of being overwhelmed? I fear the uncontrollable emotions that are now well-concealed but will surely brew to the surface by the time the train pulls into the station. Most of me wants to make this journey alone. People who haven’t lived it will never understand. I will be traveling with my aunt and two cousins. Sure, I want to show them my beloved Viterbo, but I know they just won’t get it, feel it, embrace it. I don’t want to be disappointed when I take them down the well traveled, cobblestone streets to my favorite gelateria and get the “oh this is cute” reaction. I want them to be “head-over-heels, I can never leave this sacred ground, why have you hidden this from me for five years” in love like I am.

Aside from the whimsical romance I had with this suburban Italian city, there was also that which I had with a man. For certain my first, and quite possibly my last love. Don’t get too excited, he wasn’t a charming Italian hunk – Californian actually. But when you live in a little fantasy world with your first ‘boyfriend’ of sorts, it’s hard – impossible – to revert back to an ordinary life of lonely singledom, which has been the case since leaving Italy.

Going back will be my long awaited source of closure. I am afraid it is time for me to finally move on and stop wishing for the past. You would think after five years, feelings would fade, memories would be tainted and life would be normal. But there is not a day that goes by that I don’t long to live in the Italian sun once more, feeling love on so many levels.

I do hope I have these feelings again in my life. Maybe if I stop searching so hard.

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~ by wanderlust1011 on March 16, 2013.

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