I've been back from Italy for about ten days, but my heart is still there. The Italians keep the same schedule as me. They drink espresso like water -- even after a late dinner approaching midnight. Here in Silicon Valley, I make no sense. I don't seem to have much purpose. But in Italy? I get it. I'm a mom/caretaker and that has value. Like a bus driver has value, like a waiter has value. It's not like Silicon Valley where we judge everyone by what their position is, and which model Tesla they have.
Wake up = espresso
There's incredible fresh melon under that Prosciutto -- delicious.
Everything is a social occasion. You don't order espresso to go. That's for savages. You order it from a bar (where you can later buy alcohol) and you stand at the bar and drink it while you talk with people. Like a human. Meals should be social occasions and that seems like a lost art where I live.
Even shopping is a social occasion. You don't walk into someone's shop without greeting them and chatting it up a bit. That would be rude. Oh, and you don't say "ciao" as that is reserved for a friend or someone you know well. You say "Buongiorno."
The people are not friendly on the street. They let you know that you're not one of them. Which is fine with me. I get the whole, "You can't sit with us!" mentality in Italy. If I lived there, I wouldn't want anyone finding out my secret either.
This is a villa where we stayed. The woman who ran it with her husband, was my heroine. Rumor has it she's a countess. She also cooks, takes care of her mother and trains young people in the ways of hospitality.
Her cousin owns a winery. So I got schooled in the great art of wine, and I think I finally get it. That's another thing. Italians have alcohol for every occasion. Good wine flows like sparkling water on the table. I never really appreciated good wine, but I think I got the hang of it. Can I pick out an undertone or note? No, but I can tell you what I like now, which is more than I could do before I got there.
We took a cooking class in Lucca and this was the result -- not of our cooking, but our teacher, Antoinella. She was married to an Italian cowboy and their place was incredible. A little ranch near town where the cowboy trains his dog to call his horse and our heroine cooks up a meal trading fresh ingredients with neighbors. Not a bad life.
Obviously, I saw all the Italian sites as well, but that isn't what will pull me back to Italy. It's the people. The warmth. The love and most importantly, the quality time they make for what matters in life. It made me long for the days when I was a great hostess and I vow that this time will come again.