Saturday, May 22, 2010

Welcome Back!

Today Nicola and his family came into Florence to visit me and to welcome me back into my home. I couldn't wait to see them, and invited them over for lunch.

Nicola is my landlord. He and his family have become precious friends and supporters. Without him, I could not have obtained my legal residence in Florence (he jumped through hoops to respresent me at City Hall last year) I have spent time at their homes in San Casciano and Siena. They have treated me well. During my illness in California, they helped me to sublet my apartment in order to make it possible for me to return. They took care of everything and managed everything, right down to the laundry.

We had a splendid reunion. Nicola brought flowers. Nicoletta brought her famous Tiramisu. Cesare brought 2 bottles of Chianti. The children, Cosimo and Costanza brought their artistic creations on paper. Additionally, they brought me three giant sacks of crisp, clean linens, sheets and towels that Nicoletta laundered for me while I was absent.

I made an easy meal of insalata di fagioli, zucchini crudo al'olio di tartuffe, insalata mista, salami, prosciutto, and pane. The kids loved the clothes that I brought back for them from Abercrombie and Fitch, and they fit perfectly! We had a blast. I am happy to be back home.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Back in Florence

When I left Florence in January to visit my old life in California, little did I know that I would not return for 4 months.

Shortly upon arriving in the states, I had a sudden and unprecedented attack of abdominal pain during which my sigmoid colon became perforated, causing a toxic leak and an abscess that almost killed me.

Diagnosis: Diverticulitis probably caused over the years from a combination of stress and poor eating habits. My visit was transformed into a physical nightmare. My life was suspended into a holding pattern. I was told that I had to have my sigmoid colon removed. Major surgery. It could take months before the surgery could be performed.

The doctors did not want me to go back to Italy in the meantime. They felt it was too risky. I needed to be under their close observation, since I was vulnerable to having another sudden, but this time, fatal attack. They wanted me to wait 4 months to have the surgery, because I had to recover from the infection before surgery could be performed. Recovery would be arduous. My life was changing....perhaps I wiould never ride a bike again.

Would Florence wait for me? Would my life in Italy go up in smoke? Could I keep my apartment, my job, my friends if I were to be held up in the states with a major illness? Was my Italian dream blowing up?

Four months later I am sitting here in my charming and cozy Florentine living room, gazing out the window at the mesmerizing cupola del Duomo, watching the swallows coming home to nest. They are singing in joy as though to welcome me back. I have been recovering from my surgery for a month now, and I am getting stronger every day. The 18 hour flight was difficult. But it feels terrific to feel the energy of Florence all around me, and to know that God delivered me back here safe and sound.