Today I mark a special note on my calendar; it was one year ago that I left Rochester NY to land in Napoli, one hundred years to the day that my grandfather arrived in America. It feels like yesterday. Yet it also feels like a lifetime ago.
Life never ceases to amaze me. In the two years that lead up to my incredible journey, I had no pre-conceived ideas of what I was about to live through. Yes, I knew the family I had found was excited to welcome me but not to the depths of love, embrace, generosity, care and profound emotions that would overcome all of us. It never occurred to me that I would be the recipient of so much from so many! I knew the very moment I stepped out of the airport in Napoli my life had changed forever. But to what extent had yet to be realized.
Again I say; Life never ceases to amaze me. What unfolded after my return and the crazy twists and turns has tested me to my core. The first few months after I returned I was an emotional puddle. Wanting so badly to be back in Melfi with my family, wanting to hold on with every ounce of strength to that sense of peace and love and belonging. Desperately trying to re-conform to my life “before” the journey, many challenges were thrown in my path. It was hurtful encounters with “friends” and a push/pull with trying make a decision to move to Melfi, Italy. It was being forced to move here with nowhere to go. It was constant text messages with my Melfi family daily, staying close and connected. It was a scramble to find a place to live during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays, finding people to help me move. Throwing furniture to the curb for lack of storage space. Saving the antiques I had purchased over time to furnish an otherwise empty shell of a house. Saying goodbye to my Art Studio by spending 5 hours with another dear friend helping me pack it all away. And finding yet another space to store those very things that had made me happy, creative and comfortable. It was hearing the wonderful news of my Italian cousins adoption of his son, the birth a another cousins little girl, the birth of another cousins little boy. It was hearing the news of a pregnancy from Roma – twins! and her sister one month later announcing her own pregnancy. The year has been filled with joyful surprises such as letters from Vincenza. Her letters come and I tear up with excitement and longing to be with her.
It has been a delicate balance of adjusting. Choosing to focus my energies on moving forward and cherishing the gifts that life is constantly giving me. I try to take the little hits that come lightly because overall life is short and I choose to be happy. I choose to be thankful and grateful over angry and miserable.
In the months to come I choose to continue to move forward with the goals of happiness, rising above the muck that gets thrown at my feet. I have every intention of returning to Italy. Live never ceases to amaze me and sometimes I amaze myself.