I can never live in Italy*. Which is a source of some regret for me, because I absolutely love Italy. I think it’s fascinating, and it both looks and feels ancient and beautiful. The weather is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but without the severe humidity or blasting freeze of New York. Even in early February Italy was crisp and refreshing, with occasional bursts of warm sunlight.
I was in a small town called Orvieto (about an hour and a half outside Rome) for the wedding of a friend of mine, which was the entire reason for being in Italy in the first place. This friend is Irish as is her now-husband, but they had been to Italy on holiday, loved it, and decided to get married there. I thought this was a perfectly brilliant idea for the following reasons:
If I have to fly thousands of miles to attend a wedding, I am delighted when that wedding is actually somewhere interesting rather than the charming Irish countryside. I go to lots of weddings in the charming Irish countryside not to mention having lived there for quite some years, and having maintained a fairly low level of enthusiasm for either fields or sheep and a distinct dislike of cows (things that big should not be able to walk up behind you so silently), I see no need to go there unless pressed.
The plusses of a foreign wedding are obvious. For a start the food is better, quite frankly taking Ireland generally as a whole it would be fairly difficult for it to be worse. It is almost inevitably cheaper than the Irish alternative, and perhaps the best reason of all, only the people who actually give a shit will bother to fly there. All the hassle of politically correct guest selection is reduced dramatically. Our friends make it, your distant family members who are only attending to cash in on a free dinner and some wine are immediately out of the running.
Orvieto was perfect. I did the things I do in Italy, namely eat pasta, buy the same pair of fingerless leather driving gloves I keep bloody well losing and never find for sale anywhere else, drink excellent wine that costs very little, and overall just enjoy the feeling of being back in Europe. I enjoy the certainty that everything I just walked past is at least a hundred years old, that the hot chocolate I order in this coffee shop will be a molten cup of thick chocolatey goodness instead of flavoured milk, and that no matter how terrible I look some man will at some point try to talk to me (I look about as Italian as a baked potato, so I am clearly a tourist and therefore according to all men in Italy officially easy. I think they assume I am American and that some “in my country, we write poetry for eyes like yours” is going to actually work).
It felt good to be in Europe, I’ve missed it. The occasional visits to Ireland and England were always amazing, but not quite the same. I have really missed being able to fly to another country in a couple of hours (Canada doesn’t count). Now that I’m finally back 3 months feels like a blip on the radar and I can’t imagine how I will have time to do all the things I want to do. Then again I am not dying, presumably I will be back after the crazy adventure of this summer.
Though right now, I like the thought that I really do not know.
*there are two reasons for this. Firstly that I cannot imagine being able to find any sort of job there, I do not even speak enough Italian for the crappy kind. The other reason is that I would eat myself stupid on amazing pasta every day and soon be so fat I could not fit through doors or get up stairs without one of those chair lift things. Which I couldn’t use, because I wouldn’t fit into it.