Italy On a Rainy Day
‘What’s life like in Italy?’
Sometimes it’s nice to write about normality, about life. Normality keeps people down to earth, it helps us relate to one another, truly.
A friend of mine in Canada asked me: ‘ What’s life like in Italy, what is your day like? ‘
‘ It’s bittersweet. ‘ I blurted out without hesitation. Bittersweet, a word I had not used in years.
The first time I layed eyes on the Adriatic Sea I was seven years old. I fell in love with the sand, the colors of the water, always different. As the light during the day changes so do the shades of blue, green and turquoise. Stunning. I remember swimming out, far, with my grandfather. He tought me how to snorkle and row. Such fun! Observing little crabs hide under the sand and schools of fish scatter around my ankles was pure joy. My favourite sea creatures were starfish and sea horses. I watched them twist their tails together and dance to the surface of the water, as though nothing around them existed at all. In my imaginary this memory represents the essence of freedom.
Over the years much has changed, and not for better. A slew of bad political leaders have managed to bring this country to it’s knees economically and socially. The truth is, our lives are upside down, in distress. Youth unemployment has reached 41%. Depression and suicide have become very serious issues. The elderly and families have trouble making ends meet. Paying monthly bills and buying groceries is often difficult for normal people because pensions and salaries are far too low, the worst in Europe.
These are the effects of rampant corruption among politicians. Of course the environment suffers as well. The Adriatic Sea is polluted. There are times, during the summer, after days of heavy rain, when bathing is prohibited, when eating fish, mussels and clams is risky. Heavy metals and bacteria such as escherichia coli often become a serious threat to our health.
After twenty-eight years I have given up on alot of things. I devote much time to writing about the problems this country is facing. In one of my latest articles I tried to explain an environmental and health issue most people probably cannot even imagine in a beautiful country like Italy.
The truth is we are struggling to preserve art, culture, traditions. We are struggling to save all the good this country has to offer, before it is too late.
Now, the question was: ‘ What is your day like in Italy?’
Right now it’s just past eight o’clock. I’m back from my morning walk by the shore. The sea is my confidant. We speak to each other of our woes. Today I told her how much I miss my parents in Canada. ‘ The sky is grey and dull. It will probably rain. But don’t worry, the sun will shine again very soon. ‘ Said the Sea. You may be thinking I’m a little crazy and, who knows, it could very well be but, when you get the chance, try for yourself and get back to me on this one, if you wish. I stopped by the farmer’s market on the way home and bought locally grown carrots, lettuce and fennel that I’m going to make with oranges and black olives for lunch. The boys are in school until one o’clock. I love hearing them knock on the kitchen window: ‘ I’m home mom, what did you cook? I’m starving!’
I stopped by the nespaper stand as well. Trump’s orange face is plastered everywhere! The stories I love to read about most are hard to come by nowdays. The ones about everyday heroes, about angels who wear normal clothes and save the world from suffering with the beauty of a smile.
Well readers and friends, this is it. This, is normality in a world that is anything but normal. My second cup of espresso is ready. The aroma is all around me. It feels like my grandfather’s hug. Sharing these moments is a pleasure. It reminds me of how important it is to never stop communicating with our hearts, how only this can help us stay human and real.
So cheers to normality and life, in Italy, on a rainy day!