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?