Friday, July 27, 2007

Discovering Italy

I haven't always been in love with Italy.
There, I said it. I hate to admit it. I wish I could say that for as long as I can remember, I've wanted to go to Italy, but that's not true.

Until May 2005, Italy was only #5 on my list of European countries that I wanted to visit (behind England, France, Spain and Greece).

I have, however, always loved maps. When I was a child, my parents used to get National Geographic, and they would give me the maps that were included with each issue. I would spread the maps out on the floor and spend countless hours poring over them. My mom still remembers me doing this. Of course I loved the Italy map, because of the country being shaped like a boot, and well...even back then I loved shoes!

While unpacking some boxes recently (we moved over 3 years ago...I'm trying to finish unpacking!), I came across a stack of these old maps, and started looking at them. The Italy map was one of them, and it made me think of the countries that I used to long for, and how Italy was not at the top.

So how did I fall so completely head-over-heels in love with Italy? Well, to clarify, how did I fall in love with Positano? I've only been to the Naples/Sorrento/Amalfi Coast area, so I really shouldn't speak for the rest of the country, although I have no doubt I'll feel the same about it when I explore the rest of it.

Four friends of mine decided to go to Positano in 2004. Two of them live in Europe, two are from America, and all had been to Italy before. They casually invited me to go, and for some reason that I can't recall, I said no. After their trip, they told me all the details, and it sounded fun. A few months later, they were planning another trip for May 2005, and invited me again. All I could think was, "How can I pass up this opportunity?"

We flew into London, and spent a day there. It was everything I had dreamed of, but nowhere near enough time. I'll be back there someday, with my mom, as that's also her dream.

The next day we flew to Naples, where a car picked us up and drove us to Positano. From the moment I walked off the plane and saw the chaos of Naples to the time I stepped out of the car at Piazza Mulini, I was hopelessly in love.

But it was more than "love". I was home.

When it was time to leave, I cried. I've never cried before when leaving somewhere; I'm usually always excited to get to the next place. This was different. I felt panicked, like I needed to be there. I spent hours staring at the web cam (still do!). I've googled "Positano" more times than I care to admit.

I've been back twice, in June 2006 and June 2007. I have a trip planned for June 2008 (the villa is already booked!) But it's not enough. I want more!

If the job thing sorts itself out, I'm going there this fall. By myself. I have to be there. I feel so at peace and content and happy there.
Isn't that how you're supposed to feel when you go home?


Annika said...

I'm crying now :) My first dream location was LA... a year later came France, and Paris in particular. Oh how I wanted to live there... Ironically enough it was actually my husband who first opened my eyes to Italy back in 1999 - since then I've taken over that dream, while he has totally forgotten all about it. I still love Paris, but it's not *home* to me like Italy is.

People keep asking me, Why Italy? I always give the same answer: I don't know. I wish I knew! It just feels like home.

Kathy said...

That's so fascinating that it was your husband who was first interested in Italy!

Perhaps we fell in love with these other places first, so that when we finally went to Italy, we knew that we were *home*.

I can't explain "why Italy" either. It's just right.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

LOL. I went to Italy for the first time in 2005. I had traveled all over Europe, except for Italy. I was excited for the trip but more in a "just glad to be going on vacation" kind of way.

I still don't know what the hell happened. Rome became my home. In the last two years I have traveled to Italy three times. It's not easy to live so far away from "home."

Going to Positano was one of the highlights of last year's trip. I really miss the view from my room.

jessica said...

kathy,i have heard from my italian friends about the beauty of positano. interesting how you have this deep yearn to be there. i truly hope you do end up there.

Kathy said...

NYC - yep, I was excited to go to Italy that first time, and I knew I would like it, but I had no idea what would happen! What the heck is up with that place?!

Jessica - thanks, I really do hope I end up there someday. If not full time, at least for part of the year.

Anonymous said...

All l can say is kindered spirits... You already know that though :-)

sognatrice said...

People find it hard to believe that I never remotely considered visiting Europe until one night I decided to come to Italy on vacation--and then on that trip, I knew this is where I had to be.

Funny how our homes sneak up on us, isn't it?

Kathy said...

Cleo - yep, kindred spirits all right!

Sognatrice - I think our homes wait to find us until we're ready for them. I'm ready now!!

nikinpos said...

Hmmm, maybe I could set up another web cam for y'all to stare at?!!

Kathy said...

Great idea Nicki! Let us know when it's all set up! ;-)

Leanne said...

Hello, I am new to your blog thus the reason my comment is a little later then most - but not to worry, better late then never!

just wanted to say I understand when you said you felt at home when coming to Italy. It was the same experience I felt, and it's hard to describe unless you have experienced it first hand.

Looking forward to catching up on your tales, and reading more to come.

Kathy said...

Hi Leanne!

Yay! Another new friend who understands my feelings about Italy! I look forward to reading your blog also.