Well, friends, I HAVE BEEN TO ITALY. And I loved almost every second. I saw the fake “David”. I shopped the Florence markets. I sat in a doorway in Siena while it hailed holding my husband’s hand. I saw grass so green it seemed to glow. I lay on a bench in the sun in Multipulciano while pigeons poked their heads out at me from holes in a stone wall built during the 6th century. I saw lemon trees. I learned how to make pasta. I stayed in a tower house villa in Cetona where the view from every single window was breathtaking. I ate ravioli with a pear walnut sauce. I ate gelato. And pizza that melted in my mouth. I learned Italian words — all of them sounding full and beautiful in my mouth.
One day we wandered through a market looking for bread to go with our salami and fragrant soft cheese. My friend held his hands wide and said, “Pene grande, per favore.” Big bread please. We got lots of smiles and jolly head nodding. “Gosh,” we thought, “Italians sure are a friendly, happy bunch!” We ended up buying a perfectly browned and warm loaf of bread bigger than my head. Only later did we realize we had been asking many a vendor in the market for “big penis, please.” Thus, we learned there is a big difference between the Italian words “pane” and “pene”.
I also learned that the smell of prawns make me ill. And that the windy roads leading in and out of Cinque Terre make me really ill. I learned that Italian maps are not always accurate. Or, possibly, that I am a poor map reader. But the most important thing I learned is that I can. I can travel. I can see new things and meet new people. I can go into every moment with my senses wide open. I can do amazing things within the boundaries of my illness. I CAN.
What have you recently learned you CAN do?