10 May 2011

Culture Shock

When I first dove up to Bramasole with the real estate agent, I jokingly said, "This is it."

This is it. I was oblivious to the phenomenal changes I was entering as that rusted gate opened, and I saw the sunrise tints of the house's facade, colors that have diverse a shiver of wonder every time I have looked up since then. I went to Italy for the cypress-lined lanes, the vibrancy of the piazzas, the pure Romanesque churches in the country, the cuisine, the history. I stayed for the never-ending festa of everyday life among the most hospitable people on earth. I made a home here, without really meaning to--the place took hold of me and shaped me in its image.

How did I let this happen? There are many crux marks in one's life, small ones and large. To take a decision, my friend Fulvio says, his usage much more precise than the grammatical make. To take a decision also takes you. Even though when I stepped out of that car I did not know how my life would change, I did sense something at that moment. I wanted an aperture, an opportunity to merge with something limitless. I, in the dullness of my ignorance, was willing.

And Italy has proven to be inexhaustible. To take the gift of a new and very old country--a whole other sphere of language, literature, history, architecture, art: it falls over me like a shower of gold. It is paradoxical but true that something that takes you out of yourself also restores you to yourself with greater freedom. A passionate interest also has a true-north needle that keeps you focused. The excitement of exploration sprang me from a life I knew how to live into a challenging space where I was forced--and overjoyed--to invent each day.

Imagine this quote discussing parenthood instead of life in Italy.

Mayes, Frances. Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life. New York: Broadway Books, 2010. pp.7-8.

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