If you've been following me on Instagram, you know that I recently made a bold declaration to the universe.
I want to travel the world and write love letters, poems and short stories about the places that captivate my heart.
You see, I fall in love with places. Maybe you do too.
Welcome to my first exploration of this new series. Who knows what will it will turn out to be... a blog series, a new website all together, a community-based hashtag (I've already started #ifallinlovewithplaces on Instagram... feel free to add your own stories and photos to the fun), a book, or maybe just a momentary exercise in gratitude and sentimentality. Let the fun begin!
We met in what seems like a whirlwind of a sweltering, simmering mid-June. Upon landing in your arms, in the cab from Fiumicino Airport, I found myself in a swirl of misty-eyed dreamscapes. There I was. It was all steam. It was all a blurry, smeary dream.
Between wood-fired pizzas made by bantering men in overheated kitchens, to the most delicious pasta handmade by nonnas, passing by old gentlemen, hands held behind their backs, deep in conversation, stomachs out, heads down towards the cobblestoned streets... I found myself enamored by your age, your brash, bold people, your creamsicle hued colors. But it wasn't until I saw the Vatican for my very own eyes that first night, illuminating the dusty, twilight sky like a candle in a dark room, arms outstretched like a welcoming, when I realized how ancient and how deeply rooted, truly connected I was to you.
I imagined being my grandfather in youth that evening walk home. I daydreamed that I walked into quiet nunneries and chapels with bold confidence and revere, a typical Sunday evening. I imagined myself going to the same market vendors, hearing my Nonno bargaining with the local fisherman, learning from the best so that one day I could do the same. I concocted notions that I lived in a small, third floor apartment with the laundry line taut, fresh basil picked from the roof deck.
Some still, quiet minutes of pure, pure imagination.
I've learned your street names (Vicolo Del Cinque, you gem of an alleyway). I've memorized how to walk in heels through the tumultuous hills of uneven cobblestone. I've learned a few phrases. I've even been mistaken for one of your own. I've returned again to relive the splendor of your foods, your smells, your ancient history, your liveliness. And yet, I haven't expressed my gratitude for showing me so much more than Roman art or philosophy or history. Our time together, albeit short (and hot, so hot), has opened a curiosity for life within me. A longing to find myself in far off places. A desire to feel that buzzy, cooing thrill of seeing your streets for the first time once again.
My dear Rome, I love you. Send my regards to Osteria Der Belli and that tiny apartment on the second floor off of the Ponte Sisto. I will return soon.