Friday, April 8, 2011

Buon Compleano Italia!

Last month we celebrated the 150th anniversary of Italy being a united country.  Strange that it is so old and has only been united for 150 years, isn't it?  This day is not celebrated here every year like the Fourth of July in the States.  This was the first year it was recognized and in typical Italy fashion, the government declared it a national holiday just a few weeks before the actual day.

As far as I could tell, there were no organized events but perhaps I missed it.  Yet still everyone piled into the city center with flags and signs of patriotism everywhere. 

The best I saw was this gorgeous lady who was at least 60 years old.  She was dressed from head to toe in Italy's colors- red, green, and white- but she wasn't dressed like Americans dress for patriotism.  No oversized flag t-shirt for her.  No, she looked fabulous wearing a fitted red leather jacket, perfectly starched white button down, green pencil skirt, fishnet hose and four inch red stilettos.  Only in Italy.

Even the dogs were dressed for the occasion

Apartments, all flying flags

Flags out of every window in the castle

La Vita

"I wanted to wander through Europe to hear pop songs that could not by even the most charitable stretch of the imagination be a hit in any country but their own, encounter people whose lives would never again intersect with mine, be hopelessly unfamiliar with everything, from the workings of a phone box to the identity of a foodstuff. I wanted to be puzzled and charmed, to experience the endless, beguiling of a continent where you can board a train and an hour later be somewhere where the inhabitants speak a different language, eat different foods, work different hours, live lives that are at once so different and yet so oddly similiar..."

-Bill Bryson, Neither Here Nor There
My friend Cindy sent me her favorite quote from a book she read while living in France.  I could never find a better way to describe life abroad.  It's this crazy mix of experiencing something new every time I step out my front door, of having amazing, interesting international friends, and at the same time having to relearn simple tasks like buying soap for the dishwasher (not as simple as you would think).  Everything is different.  But it is a fabulous kind of different.