Even though I’ve traveled far and wide across these great United States a few times, I have never been to another country. I suppose you could say the time I went to Canada on a band/chorus high school field trip counts, but really it doesn’t. I could go to Canada just getting lost while hiking in my backyard.
My entire life I’ve had this gut feeling that I should’ve been born in Italy, not Maine. Maybe it’s because I love to eat pasta 24/7. Or because I drink wine 24/7. Or because I find myself spontaneously yelling out things like, “Prego!” or “Arrivederci!” to people while I’m at Walmart. In any case, I’ve never felt like I belonged in a place where fried clam strips are considered high cuisine or where moose outnumber people.
I blame the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. After seeing it for the 50th time, I’ve realized that I want to be Diane Lane. I should be the one in an abandoned delapitated villa. I should be freaking out during a lighning storm that fries my washer. I should be riding my bike through the winding ivy-covered cobblestone streets in a quaint Italian village, inhaling the salty air.
Sometimes in life you get certain signs. Little odd coincidences that really aren’t when you add them all up. Last week I was flipping through channels and was compelled to watch an old classic movie, Summertime, with the great Katherine Hepburn. I was mesmerized with the scenery, forget the story. I suppose there was something about a sauve Italian guy and maybe they met and fell in love, blahblahblah and then he gave her a Gardenia and she hopped a train back home to America, so sad, yadayadayada. All I could think while watching this movie was, Oh, Kate! Just look at you! Sitting there by the river, sipping your wine all by yourself, watching the flocks of birds swoop over the church as the bells toll. I want to do that. I belong there. Not here in the sticks of Maine. Although being surrounded by all that water is dangerous for someone like me. Kate figured that out the hard way.
The same day I watched Summertime, I checked out Freshly Pressed, (something I never ever do), and for some reason clicked on a travel-themed post. It was all about Italy, specifically the town of Positano. It was like I’d died and gone to heaven reading this post. I drank in every word, savored every image and it only sparked my Italian obsession even more. Turns out, the little town the author wrote about was the exact location that parts of Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed. Say, what?! Then I knew, I just have to go there one day before I die.
I told my husband about it. “Hey, honey, guess what? For our 20th anniversary we are going to Positano, not Disney World, so I just thought I’d tell you now so we can start saving our money. Oh, and we’re going to eat prosciutto and drink wine and lay on the beach and drink wine. Then have some dark chocolate gelato with a dessert wine. Maybe ride a bike through the village laughing our heads off while drinking wine.” Then I told him all about my lifelong obsession, all the dreams I’ve had that I’ve once lived there in a past life. He looked at me and said, “You’re nuts. We’ll do it.”
Deep in my heart, I know we will be sitting in an outdoor cafe in Positano eating eggplant parmesan and sipping Cabernet sauvignon someday. If it’s not until I’m old and gray and down to one brain cell, so be it. This gives me plenty of time to figure out how to convert american cash to lira. And get over my fear of flying over the ocean. And my fear of flying. And my fear of flight attendants. Also, how to take pictures without falling backward into rivers. And how to say in Italian, “Excuse me, can you please direct me to the abandoned villa that you’ll sell us for pennies so we can fix it up and live there forever? Oh, and where’s the wine?” In the meantime, I plan on finally seeing the movie Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. I’ve heard it’s good. I’ll make a huge pot of pasta, pour a glass of wine and dream.