Friday, May 6, 2011

Memory Lane

I haven't posted for awhile and for good reason.  For a whole week, I was given the opportunity to walk down memory lane.  You see in 1985,  my husband and I and our 3 kids moved to Italy, to start a new life working among the Italian people.  We were excited and petrified all at the same time.  We spent our first year in Florence, (Firenze) to study the language.

It was hard, and there were many surprises along the way, including a new baby!  We stuck it out and after that year we felt comfortable with our language abilities and moved to Milan to start our career.  It was great and for 10 more years we laughed and cried our way thru the Italian culture, until we came to love it as our own.

We left Italy and came back to the states, to get our kids off to college, and we were able to do much the same sort of job, just with those who live in the USA.  At that same time we became aware of a group called Young Life.  It is a group that focuses on reaching teenagers with the love of Christ.  We began to get involved, working at the weekend camp, serving on the local committee, etc.  Soon DH was being asked to speak at Young Life fund raisers, and also to speak to groups of Young Life staff and volunteers, encouraging them in their ministries.  He even went to Spain a couple of times, and last year I was able to use my passport once again to join him on his Spain trip.

Then he was asked to come to Pisa, Italy, to encourage a group of people who work with the kids on our military bases overseas, MCYM.    This group is a partnership between Young Life and Youth for Christ,  they work together with the chaplains, reaching out to kids that are living a life we can only imagine.   He had done it last year, but that time it was in Germany.  They also asked if I could join him this year.  I was thrilled to be going back to Italy,  I was the only one in our family that had yet to return.

While we were there we were able to sneak off for an afternoon and revisit Florence.  We took a bus then a train to get there.  When we arrived, we took another bus to get to the section of town that we once lived in.  I was shocked at how much I did not remember!  I remembered our apartment, once we were right up on it, and I remembered the bridge that I swear had 100 steps on each side,( turns out there are only 40), and it was a lot cleaner than it used to be.( It used to be covered in what dogs leave behind, and other horrible things that challenged my morning sickness racked body)  We cried tears that we were too dazed to cry back then, and  we were amazed at how we had all gotten through it, and yet more than survived.  In only 2 1/2 hours we toured all the places we had been that long and difficult year.  We didn't need to go inside anything, (except for the Pizzeria and the Gelateria) we had already been there, we were content with the exteriors, just reminding us of our life back then.

Another day we toured "Le Cinque Terra", that we had heard so much about, it was indeed beautiful.  The last day we were there we, along with the group, went to visit a farm.  It is in the Tuscan hills, and they raise grapes for wine, and olives for olive oil.  We got the grand tour, and a wonderful meal, all with farm raised produce.  While we were there we met the caretaker of  the near by Brethren Retreat Center, Poggio Ubertini.  DH recognized him as one of the members of the church that we went to while we were in Florence that first year.  As he was telling us stories of the times long ago, I all of a sudden thought to myself, how in the world can I understand every word he is saying? ( You see In Italy, when the story teller is of a certain age they usually speak in dialect more times than not.  Each region of Italy has it's own dialect, and most of the time they are not anything like Italian.)  Then I remembered that since the Florentine dialect had become the Italian language when Dante wrote his "Divine Comedia", that the caretaker was speaking in dialect, it just happened to be the one I spoke too!

It is good to be home, good to run my fingers thru fibers once again, to see the looms sitting there ready for me to get over this jet lag and get to work already.  But I will approach my days, for just a little while with a fresh eye, and maybe just a hint of Italy.

A la prossima volta, Buona giornata a tutti, Tina


  1. I googled Le Cinque Terra (five villages) and I was WOWed by the beauty. What an adventure! I'm so glad the two of you got to take this trip...the looms waited for you!

  2. I'm so glad that you were able to get back to Italy. Looking back and reflecting on life isn't a bad thing. I'm not surprised you didn't remember things. We went back to Augusta about 10 years ago. We'd lived there for 2 years. We got lost trying to find the school and then going from there to the apt complex we lived in!! Things change or at least our mind's view of it does. I wish I could go back to Guadalajara or Kipungu just for a visit!

  3. I am glad you are back! It sounds like your trip was wonderful! See you on Tuesday?

  4. Glad you go to go back with out having little ones to get underfoot.