Everyday was GOOD!
Updated: Jul 20, 2019
Trips course through your veins for the rest of your life. They leave postmarks on Infinity on the altar of your heart. The echoes of stories reverberate with every heartbeat. I weave the foggy details of my memory lifted by journal notes and photographs that capture the moment so I never forget.
This June, I went on a trip of a lifetime to Italy in the Trentino region, my mother's stomping grounds. In the most breathtaking, panoramic view, I was immersed in the stories of my mother's childhood and the lives of my ancestors situated in the Italian Alps and Dolomites while mingling with cousins and my aunt and uncles. The winds carried the history of this land and the songs of my family. This is the place Mamma Mia left in her early 20s only to return a few times over the next 50+ years.
I remember the moment clearly when we arrived at La Malga, looking at the mountains (that my mother as a little girl would slowly walk up to) when we surprised her 96 year old Uncle Giovanni who cried at the sight of my mother and hugged us all in such gratitude. Eating the best past ever, we laughed with our cousins as they told stories and shared espressos with us. Then there was the day we all went to my mother's village, Sopramonte, and sat on the fountain that she used to drink from and wash her clothes and stood before her three story home shared by three generations. It felt like we had time traveled. Our cousins were funny and phenomenal. Although my brain got tired of translating the conversations and I could barely weave a sentence together to reply, my heart was beyond full. There were no words for what I deeply felt.
I wondered, often, if that little girl that was my mother ever imagined herself with a family in America and a future trip with her daughters and granddaughters.
Strolling through 1500 photos to find the best ones for a book is definitely a walk back through the most amazing experience of my life. To be there with Mamma Mia, my sister, Denise, my niece, Isabella, then joined by my sister-in-law, Carolyn, my niece, Macie, and my niece, Monica with her husband Alex, was astonishing and sometimes surreal. I had always dreamed of my mother showing her homeland to her grandchildren. Although only 3 of the 7 were there, it was a dream come true.
As I am mindfully present to my life now, I can smell the crisp air of the Italian Alps and savoring the exquisite, creamy, fresh-made cheese of La Malga that literally melted in my mouth. I can taste the sweetness of the apple strudel and the Craffen (that were more like
big, cream filled cake donuts) from the Sossi Bakery literally 20 yards across the street to our right. The aroma and deliciousness of the cappuccinos that Lidio (the hotel night clerk) made me every morning at the bar between 6am - 6:30am every single day linger. Then there was Lorena, our server at Hotel Everest that treated us like family as she does every day for my Zia Rita and Zio Cornellio.
Pasta, pizza, cheeses of all varieties, olives,
bread, crackers, apperetivos and wine mixed with stories and laughter filled our days, bellies and hearts. All of it made for a delicious time. Then there was the walking, the shopping, the churches, and more. My mother's cousin, Bruno, who was the most amazing tour guide and my cousin Alberto and his wife, Elisabetta, who also made it the time of our lives, treated us like royalty.
I ask my Mamma Mia what was the best part of the trip for her. "I don't have one. I enjoyed everything. When I think about my trip and talk about it, it was the best 20 days of my life. The only thing was the exhausting flight. Everything else from the beginning and every day, something new was good. I didn't do anything for 20 days - no cooking, no cleaning. It's been 20 year since I didn't go on vacation and I had 20 days of doing nothing. I enjoyed going downstairs to have coffee at the hotel, buying my strudel next door, walking to the church down the street and seeing my sister and brother in law. It was a simple hotel and that was all we needed. To see EVERYONE. I didn't get to see everything I wanted to see because three weeks was not enough. Everyday was GOOD."
There is more to write. I just wanted to begin so I could weave these memories to inspire you to travel but most importantly touch the sacred ground from which your family was rooted. Those mountains make my bones. Those rivers run through my body as blood. My ancestor's stories illuminate my DNA.
I am forever grateful.