lives and works in a Cree community in Canada's far north where
she is presently on sabbatical from her job as a teacher and school
I fell in love with
Italy the moment our train passed out of the tunnel through the Alps:
out of the picturesque, tidy, regimented, clock-work Switzerland into
the unkempt, sun-filled, joyous landscape of Italy.
Suddenly the postcard panoramas
were gone and people were everywhere-young boys throwing kisses
toward our train; old ladies in black giggling like girls as a man
on a bicycle, a plank laden with bread balanced on his head, rode
singing past and winked at them; couples strolling arm-in-arm about
the dilapidated villages we rumbled through.
was sensual. Even the colour of the sunlight radiated a golden
warmth I had never seen before in my travels under pale, transparent
northern skies. I was entranced.
Soon my empty compartment
filled up: an elderly couple, two nuns, a young soldier, a
mother nursing a baby, and a man with one leg and crutches
-strangers to one another, it seemed, yet they all began chatting
immediately. Even before the train lurched to a start, baskets
of food came out. Fruit, cheese and hunks of salami were passed
mom tried guessing...
was the object of much good-natured curiosity-a young
woman travelling alone, speaking no Italian. The nursing mother
began guessing where I was from: "Germania? Australia?" I
shook my head. The nuns tried, "Sei Americana? Inglese? Svedese?"
It became a game. More wrong nationalities were called out.
Then the soldier spoke. "Canada", he said with conviction.
"Sei Canadese!" I nodded and the whole group was greatly pleased,
congratulating him and pressing more food upon me.
The soldier, having
divined my origin, claimed triumphant ownership of me, gesturing
to the old woman beside me who promptly changed seats with
him. First, to everyone's great amusement, he decided to teach
me Italian, pointing at various objects and making me repeat
their names. Who knows what he really made me say, but I still
have, in the back of an old address book, the drawings he
did with arrows leading to labels I can now read.
He also flirted with
me outrageously, eyes gleaming with mischief. I couldn't understand
his words, but his intent was perfectly clear. He was not
in the slightest intimidated by the holy sisters sitting knee-to-knee
with us who, in fact, seemed to find our charade rather jolly,
and laughed heartily when I slapped his teasing hands down.
the train arrived at his station, he stood up and made an
eloquent speech to me, of which I understood nothing, but
our audience applauded and he blew kisses to us all from the
platform as we pulled away.
Other came and left
the compartment as the train moved south. Some spoke a little
English or French. Everyone brought food and drink. The entire
trip was a rolling picnic - a moveable feast - among friends.
like an old lover now...
was just passing through Italy on my way to catch a boat
to Greece, but I knew I would be back. The humour, warmth
and generosity of the people, the crumbling beauty of the
small ancient towns we passed, and the glorious light left
an indelible impression on me.
It took ten years for
me to return, but once I did, I could not stay away and I
was never disappointed. Italy is like an old lover now. I
know its wrinkles and bad habits, but oh, the happy memories
we share. The joyful expectation of seeing it again never
She loves Italy...
love every part of Italy, unlike Italians, who like their part
and hate all the rest.
They say things like, "You're going to....Rome?"
(Fran Lebowitz,Travel & Leisure, 1994)
a dream should come to Italy.
No matter how dead and buried the dream is thought to be,
in Italy it will rise and walk again.
(Elizabeth Spencer, The Light in the Piazza, 1960)
She loves travel...
nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted
(Isabelle Eberhardt, The Passionate Nomad, 1988)
To me travel
is a triple delight: anticipation, performance, and recollection.
(Ilka Chase, The Carthaginian Rose, 1961)
She loves love...
is a fruit in season at all times.
(Mother Theresa, A Gift for God, 1975)
In real love
you want the other person's good.
In romantic love you want the other person.
(Margaret Anderson, The Fiery Fountains, 1953)
Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, Rosalie Maggio
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