February: A Love Letter to Italy
I have loved you even before I first laid eyes on you.
You know this as I’ve never acted cool about it. I could never play the game convincingly enough.
I had a short fling with Kefallonia a long time ago, and although I will always be fond of that wild Greek island it was never The One.
It’s not that I think you’re perfect. I know you’re not.
Sometimes when you force me to do a three point turn in the middle of the street, ignore the queues - One of my favourite things as I’m English - Or stop me ordering a cappuccino after 11, you drive me totally crazy!
You're like the husband who never puts his laundry in the washing basket! I remember all the things above that made me fall for you, but my love you has changed. It's deeper.
I know your flaws. Some I wish I didn’t know. Some I wish I’d never seen. But I love you still.
I love the intense light, the colours of your green mountains and blue lakes. The sound of the crickets on a summers evening when my English skin is melting. The smell of fresh tomatoes at the market, the excitement of hunting for porcini and always picking the wrong thing. The taste of a caffe' corretto when I've finished skiing or the richness of a molten hot chocolate with panna.
Everyone thinks they know you, because they like your wine, your beaches, your cathedrals and opera. They think that’s all there is, that life is just like this every day. That there are no daily struggles and life is a holiday. That all you do is have a passeggiata after long lunches and talk too much with your hands.
But I know the real you. A few others do as well. We don’t tell this to anyone, they would be disappointed to find that life is not all Limoncello and Pandoro.
We want them to love you for those things because you do them so well. We don’t want them to see the corruption, the gender inquality, the failing political institutions, the post office drama or that you can't travel anywhere at lunchtime because you ALWAYS HAVE TO STOP AND EAT.... and the fact that deep down you never really change.
We just want them to know that you were always destined for greatness. Even if it’s always slightly out of reach. Even if sometimes it seems like you don’t want to prove you can do it. We know that if you tried you would be magnificent!
This torturous back and forth in our relationship of promise and failure, bella e brutta, chaos and calma. It’s tough on my little Librian/Bilancia brain! It’s rather exhausting, but life would be pretty dull without it and for that I still love you and keep coming back!