I thought from time to time I would update you on the overall bucket list rather than just the Resolution List that I keep you updated on from time to time. I truly think that keeping a bucket list is an important thing in life. It keeps you focused on those goals that are important for the soul.
Several years ago I completed an item on my bucket list that for years existed only in the fantasy of my mind. Driven by movies like Under the Tuscan Sun, I was enlightened by a woman going alone on her adventure to Italy.
And so I went. I planned and planned and saved and planned. I rosetta stoned, I learned about how not to be a tourist, I understood the customs. Sooner than I thought, I found myself aboard a flight that was making it’s way to Italy.
and then I took my plan and crumbled it. Sure, I went to the places that I wanted to see. But I didn’t expect the people to take my insides and make me feel at home.
I met a man who gave me bread to take on the train after discussing simply that I was an American girl who wanted her first recreational trip outside of the US to be to Italy. Florence was an amazing city full of these people.
I remember spending ten minutes with a man who spoke broken English and muddled Italian, showing me a pack of Marlboros and associating this “Americani” with cigarettes. I am forever going to remember his raspy laugh and his tattered “grandpa” cardigan as we both sat relaxing in the piazza, just watching the people go by.
Oh the musicians. Of all shapes and types. Sad violinists on the streets who are possibly playing love songs to lost women who didn’t stay with them. The passionate Spanish styled guitarist near the museum who played as if a tango dance could spring up at any given moment. The saxophone players who sprung up here and there, merely trying to make it through to the next meal.
There was a young boy near the Duomo who wanted to know all about America. He was from a different country, and was traveling Europe. Our conversation was more hand gestures than anything else, but we smiled at the end, and off he went following a bouncing panda on a stick along with the rest of his tour group.
The markets brought out the most unique and amazing individuals. I don’t know if I’m the right person to judge the skills of these craftsmen, but just witnessing their passion and commitment is something that the Cordon Bleu or other such institutions cannot teach. The gentleman smoking meats, or the woman who watched over her vegetables as if they were her own children loomed over the different colorful stalls I walked by.
And of course, cliché as it is, there are artists. Everywhere. I adore them. Perhaps because I have little art skills for drawing or painting. Ever the tourist and trying to grasp the moment, I had my portrait done. The very quiet gentleman who I chose (amongst the dozen or so who take the museum perimeter as their business “office”) seemed to be upset, or even troubled. I wondered at first if it was something I did. But with time, I really just enjoyed that he was a little bit of a story behind him, rather than his charming and more boisterous office-mates.
The food. Oh my lord the food. Eat everything. You walk everywhere. Just eat EVERYTHING. Including 2nd breakfast. and gelato.
I won’t go through the things you should see in Rome and Florence. This isn’t necessarily a travel site. I’m happy to share my route, just ping me a comment. But I saw your basics and thigns that I should have seen. What I spent time on though, was getting the feeling. These people GET how to live, stop and learn that. Suck it in. Be leisurely. Look at the sunlight. Enjoy the small things. Look for the cliches – nuns eating gelato.
It was good. It was hard to not take it all in. There’s so many things to not get bored with. Italy Trip #2 is already on my bucket list. I will go back, I will do even more, I will breathe in that life again, and be even more forward with this country fulfilling my soul’s needs. I am grateful for the once, now I must live again.