I have loved Italy ever since I was little.
It’s a strange thing as I’m not Italian, but something within me has always been drawn to this incredibly vibrant, and in some ways, bombastic culture. Perhaps it was the Italian family who lived next door to my grandma’s house when I was very young. As I played in my gran’s backyard, the neighbor’s house loomed large, so much bigger than granmas humble house. White ornate pillars surrounded the palatial house, also white, three stories high. Lemon and olive trees dotted the large yard and constantly drew me to the crumbling grey stone fence that separated our backyards.
My eyes peered over, fascinated by everything that went on in their back yard. I often stood there just watching and listening to the cacophony of words that sounded out, words I never understood. Bottling days were the best when I could smell the aroma of thick red sauce, laced with Basil, simmering on the stove in the not so little backyard kitchen. I could hear the women bantering and knew Nonna, had everyone under control, even the men. Somedays, her grandson, a couple of years older than myself, would invite me over to play. I’m sure it was just to avoid the work because, on other days, he ignored me.
A few years later my sisters moved to Melbourne and dated Italian men and one married a man from Calabria. I visited them often. To me, Melbourne seemed like a little Italy, continuing to fan into flame my love affair.
Later, I met my dear friend Catena, and together we embarked on an Italian journey of travel and language. We’ve travelled to Italy together on numerous occasions and sat in Italian classes, me a novice and Catena, returning to her roots. It’s been a wonderful journey and I know she would feel the same about her homeland and mourning the fact that we can’t just jump on a plane any time soon to visit this beautiful land we both love so much.
Whatever the started this Italian fascination doesn’t doesn’t really matter. What counts is that all of those things, collectively, cemented a long love affair with Italian food and culture.
For now the doors are closed and the streets may seem empty but life goes on.
With so many people it’s impossible for it to sleep.
Did you know little Italy would fit into Australia 26 times? It’s population is over 60 million, that’s almost three times the population of Australia. A high percentage of the population is over 60 and they are at risk. The Covit19 virus is wreaking such havoc in our world and it seems to be hitting the elderly the hardest.
If you’ve seen anything on social media about Italy and the Coronavirus, despite the sudden lockdown, they are fighting back with their vibrant spirit! Young and old join together in songs for solidarity (Check out lovely Girl n Florence’s blog – who BTW I met when in Florence at Lisa Clifford’s Writers Retreat) from their apartment balconies, an old man plays the accordion as a younger one bangs out a rhythm on a tambourine while her little one dances next to her and they wave across to each other, defying the urge to give in to fear.
God is bigger than Coronavirus.
Right now, I feel sad that I may not see Italy any time soon. They’re in crisis. They need our prayers along with many others.
I say how about we learn a lesson from our Italian friends and let Joy ring out over fear. Carla Coulsen’s depicted their spirit in her book Italian Joy.
Let’s turn worry into prayers, trample fear with a song – this is definitely the best antivirus I know. ♥️