This weekend I made my way to the motherland. For those who read my very first blog will know that one of my biggest plans and my dream for a long time was to come to Italy, see where my grandmother grew up, and meet my Italian relatives. This weekend, my dream was finally able to come true. It was my first time traveling completely on my own (apart from my short train ride to Florence and meeting up with my friends). Unfortunately, and something that happens pretty often here in Rome there was a pubic transportation strike the morning of my departure. I scrambled in the morning to pack my things and make it to the metro before the stopped running for 4-5 hours. My train was at 10am but the strike didn’t end until noon. So I was up way too early and didn’t even have time to make coffee, but as soon as I was at the Tiburtina train station you know I was the first in line to order an espresso. I waited for almost two hours thinking about all of the possibilities in my head of what was going to happen this weekend. To be honest I was nervous, this was my first time meeting my family and we only met over skype once! I was nervous about the language and I was nervous that maybe they wouldn’t like me for some reason. While these thoughts swarmed my mind I made my way over to the bus stop where I would board the 3 hour Dicarlobus from Roma to Vasto. Despite the nerves, I was excited. Confused also because the bus stop was a little hidden and I wandered for about 20 minutes before realizing where I needed to be. I boarded the bus and was on my way.
One of the stops was in Pescara, my poppop’s hometown. A wave of emotion came over me as we drove through and out of pure coincidence the song Chitarra Vagabonda came on my iPhone, and I was in shock. This was a song my poppop used to sing often and it reminds me of him a lot. Tears came to my eyes as I thought about him and how I felt that he was with me while I drove though the city he grew up in. In one more hour I would be in Vasto.
The bus pulls into Vasto just after 1pm and I see familiar faces from the photos that I saw on Facebook. I walk off the bus with a smile and am greeted with a warm embrace and some tears and of course ONLY Italian. My nervousness began to peak but I tried to gain some confidence. Hey maybe this weekend will be really good for me and i’ll be even better at speaking Italian! (I was wrong about this one). They asked me if I understood and I said yes because I did but I had no way of responding or explaining anything in Italian. Zia Anna said I look just like my mom. It was really cool to meet Valeria in person as well because we’ve been talking on facebook for a little over 6 months I’m pretty sure. She was the only one in my family who could speak any English to communicate with me so most of the weekend was looking to her for translations and helping me explain myself.
The weekend was brilliant. The sights in Vasto are beautiful and the food is so good. My cousins Luca and Valeria treated me so well and took me out for drinks at the bar. All of my family fed me such good food and it was just like how my grandmother cooks. I truly felt like I was home. I had to laugh to myself a lot because Zio Saverio always asked me too many questions and spoke too fast and I had a very difficult time understanding. However I did notice as the weekend went on that I was less nervous to make mistakes in the language to be able to explain myself and I was also better at comprehending…unfortunately I think hearing so much Italian literally fried my brain because i came back to Rome being more confused with speaking. I’m feeling a little stuck right now but I know all of that will change as soon as I am in Perugia.
It’s hard to explain the emotions that were present during that weekend but the important thing was that i’m definitely going back to visit again and my cousins and I laughed a lot despite the language barrier. Laughter is the same in every language after all.
*Curses the wifi because I have so many more photos that I can’t upload…just know that I do have them, somewhere…*