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Knowing that it would be difficult to fall back to reality and even though I have been very well prepared to fight back the depression that hit me so bad a year ago. This morning, as we woke up, I am struck again.

Well, at least I found out that I am not the only one who have this problem, really. A close friend of mine, Steve, who not long ago, had a resident in Italy. So he and his wife used to travel back and forth between Rome and Los Angeles. He had exactly the same symptoms. Steve did tell me that after many, many years of overcoming the same feeling and the depression, he finally got over it.  Fortunately, I have Ruggero next to me throughout all the journeys from the start and unlike me, he is dealing with it more easily. Except, he’s sometime mumbling to my ears: “Now, don’t make it worse honey!”

The moment began this morning as I was unpacking our suitcases and walking around the empty rooms to put things away. Each item which we bought or got from different city and region reminding me so much of the day, the time, the moment and the experience we had. The images are so vivid and the feeling  are still so raw inside which make me feel like I were still there, in the past few weeks. I remember the laughing and intimate conversations over the hot coffees in the small cozy kitchen of our friends, Dario and Miriam in Fregene. I still feel the warm embraces, kisses, and the feeling of joy in the eyes as we greeted our family members in the little apartment in Milan. I still can feel the cool wind brushing on my face the days we were racing through from village to village. The sweet taste of the Marocchino (my favorite coffee with just a little of espresso with lots of hot foamed milk) I had each day (sometime twice a day) The lunches and delicious dinners accompanied by passionate and loving chats with friends (both old and some new) in Cava Manara, Pavia…

The romantic rainy day in Milan, the bus tour to Brescia, Crema to watch our “Pavia Ragazzi” playing soccer against the other “Ragazzi di Crema”, the party dinner after to celebrate, the peaceful and leisurely walks at midnight at the square of Stradella, Pavia, the meetings with Claudio, the owner of Antico Roseto in Arena Po at the restaurant supply and the restaurant itself (www.ristoranteanticoroseto.it)…I remember them all.

Well, one thing for sure we both agree this year is that we have learned a lot more bout Italy and its Peoples. Even Ruggero told me that this time, seeing and talking more with his fellow Italians, has helped him to open his eyes and mind about Italy and his root, the birth country he has left over fifty years ago. Back then and even until the last year, he had a very bad opinion about his own country (except all that beautiful cultures which he loves and is proud of) Today, with confidence, he is more in love and at peace with the place where he was born. I am so glad I am the witness of that.

I can see what make him changes. Being all over the places with him the last three weeks in Italy, we have seen for ourselves the beautiful and simple life of Italy. Sure, Everybody knows and talks about “The Crisis”. We have heard about some business closed down, someone we know soon will lose his or her job. Some business sales have been slowed down…Yet, every Saturday and Sunday, people go dancing, shopping, having lunches and dinners at local restaurants with family and friends. Everywhere we go, no matter if it is the magnificent “Il Duomo di Milano” or just a street fair at a small village up on the hills…what struck us is the crowds of Italian and how they enjoy and embrace the moment of everyday’s affair.

They still go fishing and take sun at a river bank near by the village, some go to the sea. The guys still compete at a local stadium for the silver cup award. People still hang out at the coffee bars during the street fair every weekend. I know a man who after so many years still volunteer to offer his time couple days a week at the ambulance service in Milan hospital. Another fine man we met on a train as we were leaving Rome, Paolo D’ Isanto (disanto-paolo / facebook) still acting professionally as a clown to help sick people recover in the hospitals around Rome…Beautiful peoples, beautiful places.

There will be difficult days and very hard working days awaiting us. But we are ready to face the new challenges. I have learned a lot from the Italians this trip that no matter how hard life would be for both of us, all we have to do is to embrace every moment of life, to be happy with just simple pleasure that nature has offered to humankind and most importantly, to treasure the loving bonds of true good friends and family member (both here in America and Italy) that we are so fortunate to have. Yes, deeply and passionately I love them all, just as I love Italy.