Today I miss Italy.
When I think about it, I remember greens of every shade and the old cobblestone roads, the bubbling sound of the Italian language as it bounced down the streets, the pasta dishes, the gelato, the busy city streets, the clash of ancient and contemporary.
I remember train rides to crumbling cities, sitting quietly in old, heavenly cathedrals, and living in a convent where lizards lay on the roof in the sun. I remember meals of tomato with basil and fresh mozzarella, white wine, and dry, unsalted bread dipped in pure olive oil. I remember buying stamps from a grumpy man in the convenience store and waiting weeks for letters.
I remember the green-blue water along the coast of Northern Italy and how God showed up in the sunset that night.
I remember Leonardo, the trattoria owner's son, with his bulky arms, flirtatious smile, and terrible jokes. I remember the Italian-American couple with the adorable children and how the mother nursed them walking down the street with her blouse flung over her shoulder. I remember the curly-headed American nanny living in Italy and the meal of couscous and chicken she made me one night while we talked about life. I remember my amazing roommate—her grace and her friendship.
I remember my friends, my wonderful friends.
I remember lying in the grass of a park overlooking a valley of fields and villas, sitting in the hard pew of a small church listening to the sisters send their prays on song to God above. I remember the monks of Norcia in their brown robes and bald heads, reciting the ancient Word underground, the coolness of the Earth's floor radiating up my legs. I remember the taste of fresh olives and hard cheese as we walked the road near a mammoth gray aqueduct standing firmly against the wind.
I remember those days, those places, those people. I remember feeling alive and alone and together and loved and hopeful.
I remember and I smile.