23 December 2012

LIFE: Is For the Living

SARONNO, Italy - There are times when I am overwhelmed by where I am. There are times when I am rushing through the alleys and back streets of one small Italian town or another and I find myself suddenly caught up in an illuminated pinpoint of time that grabs my imagination. My mind flashes back a thousand years and I can see other women rushing down the very same street in a hurry to get to wherever they are going, just like me.   


The sense of past is very strong here, even in my apartment. Sitting where I am sitting at this moment is like sitting in a crowded room. And now that my plans to move back to the Riviera are finally finalized, that feeling is only going to get stronger as I go back to an area so rich in history that at times it even overwhelms and confounds the most celebrated historians.

I fell in love with Liguria many years ago, a good ten years before I moved to Italy, and it was all because of a chance encounter with the town of Lerici. I don’t even remember why I was in Italy, if it was for work or if it was a vacation, all I know is my at-the-time significant other and I decided to spend a few days at the seaside and somehow Lerici is where we landed. 

Lerici is just a snippet of a place, part of the Italian Riviera and a stone’s throw from the Cinque Terre and Portovenere. The town is so old even historians don’t know when it  was founded. They do know that at one time it was called ‘portus Eliycis,’  a name that may have come from the Greek ‘Iliakos’ (of Ilium, Trojan), leading some to believe that Lerici was founded by a group of refugees fleeing the Trojan war.

But what happened in Lerici, what made me decide at that moment in time to definitely move to Italy instead of just thinking about it, more precisely to move to the Riviera, is still a mystery even to me. I cannot, however, deny the attraction I had, and still have, not just for Lerici, but for the entire region. 
 Port of Lerici
I would never say moving to Italy was easy, not the decision nor the execution, but there was an irresistible force that Lerici triggered and there was no turning back. So now I can once again thank Lerici for the next phase of my life as I return to Liguria and the Italian Riviera. My destination is Chiavari, a gorgeous little city on the sea, my estimated time of arrival is mid-January. 

Is my new apartment perfect? No. Is my building an historic landmark? No, most definitely not. But it doesn’t matter, not at this point.  What does matter, at least to me, is following my heart and knowing that at the end of my life I will have no regrets. 

So on this Sunday before Christmas I thank all of you who follow this blog, your support is very much appreciated as are your comments and suggestions, and I wish you all the courage in the world to follow your own hearts, and while you are at it, have the very best holiday season ever.  Buon Natale.

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