12 August 2009

Ciao ciao, la mia Italia

I just don't know what to do with myself; I don't know what to do with myself. Planning everything for two, doing everything with you- and now that we're through, I just don't know what to do. . .
-I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself, White Stripes cover version

On Saturday, I said my goodbye to Italy. Specifically, the Toscana (Tuscany) region. In the valleys, it's remarkably like Kansas, with little cottonwood saplings springing up at the slightest trace of water. Familiar fields rife with hay bales, rows and rows of wilting girasole now too weary to follow the sun, parched creekbeds, the tiny, hardy wildflowers which cut into your hands and come up root and all when you try to pick them- all of these things remind me of home.
As I said before, the goodbyes have taken a toll on me. I first felt it last week, leaving the generous people of Serle, and I definitely felt it on Saturday. When Paul told me it was time to go while we were sitting at the breakfast table that morning, I could barely hold back my tears. Sinead stayed an extra night, and they offered to host me another night as well, but I just felt like if I didn't get moving, I might never end up getting home.
I said goodbye to Josephine Friday night, and I cried a little for that as well. ("I just knew they were going to make me end my summer with you," she sneered in what I hope was only mock contempt.) It was also goodbye to Mike, whom I'd met at orientation, and Victoria and Brooklyn and our helpers for the week. Saturday I said goodbye to Sinead.
But my biggest and most complicated farewell (and I know this sounds disgustingly cheesy, but bear with me here) was to Italy. What did we say to each other as we parted ways? Well, that's personal- just between me and Italy. But I will say this: all the sunflowers in the fields on my way to France were wilting, their faces downturned, so I think it's safe to say that Italy will miss me at least as much as I'll miss Italy.

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