I had a delightful evening tonight at the home of Nicola, in San Casciano, the birth town of Machiavelli, high on a hilltop just outside of Firenze. Nicola is my landlord....but feels more like family. He and his wife Nicoletta (who, as I do, share a passion for opera) are a happy, beaming, warm and loving, artsy but conservative couple who have two adorable children and a small and intimate 500 year old apartment in centro San Casciano. Nicoletta prepared an outrageous meal....lasagne, beef carpaccio rolatini stuffed with artichokes, mortadella and cheese, potatoes and a wonderful chocolate torta. I must be doing pretty well with my Italian to have not uttered a word of English all night long. I am feeling more and more comfortable every day.
One week ago I discontinued going to school full time because I was overdosing from too much "grammar" and not enough practical conversation. So, instead, I increased my time with Lucia... who is now coming to my apartment on a daily basis for private lessons. Lucia is also something special...not only is she a great teacher, but she is also becoming a friend. I am very lucky.
It's really cold now, and it rained all day. There are times when I really struggle with feelings of missing my sister, friends and loved ones.... in California. Today was one of them. I don't want to lose them, but I don't want to give this up either. I just feel so "at home" here...so comfortable and natural. Florence is the perfect combination of city and country....it has so much to offer, yet it is compact and very manageable for a city. Italy has accepted me in a way that I didn't really expect. Especially being a woman, at my age....I didn't know if it would "click"....I considered it an experiment....but the experiment is feeling more like the road to a new life. I don't know how this will end....or if it will end...I only know that I am discovering many beautiful people and emotions and a spiritual peace that makes me sing.