flying out

I’m sitting in a gray Milano airport.

They’ve tucked this flight at the very end of the corridor, B41 of 44. I’ve halfheartedly followed hallway after hallway, conceding to the passages and the paths that force me farther, farther from Florence. The lines drag me forward; the signs push me onward; the conveyor belts lift my lingering feet ahead. I’ve been inspected and approved and stamped and signed off on. Now I’m wrapped up in my pilly Italian sweater, set for seat 30H to New York City.

I’m shipping out of this country.

I have one more hour with my feet on definitively Italian ground. But this airport isn’t Italy, or at least my Italy. People greet me with a polite Buongiornohello. Automated voices announce that “the door closes; the elevator goes up.” My beloved shots of caffé are listed on bar menus as espresso. At some point, I’ve left my adopted language behind to be replaced with something that isn’t quite English. Italian can only be found in the margins for me now, as I hover in the fringes of conversations between attendants and aides. When they turn to me, we’ve switched to a new dialect that doesn’t exist in Italy or at home: “Prego, buongiornohello.”

This little corner of the corridor is set in some space between here and there. It’s not Italy, and it’s not America; either way, it isn’t home. For now, I sit in this little corner in a hollow gray inbetween.

I’m watching out the window, staring at the snow-scribbled Alps. There’s an endless void between them and me, the interminable stretch of ashy concrete where my airplane waits. In one hour, it will lift these lingering feet off of not-quite Italian ground, carrying me for arrival elsewhere.


ciao, ciao: one last letter to my host parents

Ale e Super Mitch,

Sono una scrittrice – ma questa volta non posso trovare le parole che descrivono i miei sentimenti di vivere con voi questa primavera.

Per tutta la mia vita sognavo d’Italia, romantica e misteriosa, il paese dei miei origini. Sognavo di camminare nelle strade, di apprendere la lingua, di conoscere la gente. Ma non ho capito che troverei qualcosa migliore dei miei sogni. Vi ho trovato.

Non posso dimenticare mai le nostre risate alla nostra cucina gialla durante la cena. Non posso dimenticare mai le nostre danze a Michael Jackson o Sister Sledge. Non posso dimenticare mai i nostri amici Mitch the Fish, Doctor Mitch (and Mr. Fuck), Mitch the Revenge, Mitch Bastianich, o Mitch DeNiro. Soprattutto non posso dimenticare mai i vostri sorrisi e la vostra generosità. Italia mi ha dato molto, ma voi mi avete dato il regalo più prezioso: il vostro amore.

Sarete una gran parte del mio cuore per sempre. Siete già una gran parte della mia vita. Questa è la cosa più bella di famiglia: possiamo essere separati, nonostante saremo vicini per sempre nei cuori.

Grazie per tutti, i miei genitori. Era un sogno.

Tanti baci, o “big kiss,”



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In the City

a presto


whirlwinds and other clichés

My friend at home, before I left for Italy: “Enjoy every moment of this semester! It really goes so fast.”

My classmate in Florence, before I headed out for spring break: “It’ll be gone all too soon.”

My professor at SUF, before I handed in my completed final exam: “I can’t think of a semester that has passed by quite so quickly.”

And here we are, my final stretch of days living in Italy. When did the days leave me? Did they slip out my sliding door while I was asleep? Or was I looking the other way when they waved goodbye?

I’ll be retroactively adding and bits and pieces of things I’ve written and photographed in these last few weeks so I can complete this little scrapbook of my journey. It’s got a bittersweet ending.