4 more sleeps to go!

You could say I’m on my tippy-toes, getting anxious for departure on Monday.

I know Emily mentioned that you’d next hear from us after we had arrived, but I just couldn’t wait to share my anticipation with all of you.

For the international seminar itself, I’m just really excited to meet these women I’ve been hearing about from Lucinda all year. Among my favourites on the list are Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz’s, “Intellect of the Heart: Edith Stein, from Agnosticism to Faith”, which holds great promise for stirring my soul. “The Propulsive Centre of Discernment: The Heart in Mary Oliver’s Poetry” with Elena Buia Rutt is brimming with potential, as I am interested in hearing from a fellow young poet in her element.

As far as traveling goes, I am used to being the one who likes to take a back seat and be led to all the cool things. I recently posted a status on Facebook, asking my friends about the essentials to experience in Italy while in Rome, Assisi and Siena. I figure, if I can plan this way for a year in New York, I can do it for two weeks in Italy! My friend Leslie commented beneath that status, “Don’t ask for recommendations. What you do is stand at a crossroads, spin around in a circle and when you fall over, you head in the direction you’re facing. You know, St. Francis style.”

“That’s usually how I plan all my trips actually,” I replied. I’m only sort-of kidding here.

I am prone to aimless wandering, and my preferred mode of transportation is walking. I’ve convinced myself (and Emily) that this will come in handy when we walk from site to site each day. My friend Sarah, who spent a year in Rome studying inter religious dialogue, gave me a whole word document brimming with ideas. I feel I am safe in the hands of all my friends and family who will be my guiding stars when I get overwhelmed at all the wonderful things to do. Sarah also reassured me that I didn’t need to brush up on my Italian, because if I spoke two words to a local, they’d respond in full-blown Italian and expect an intelligent response. That should be a fun game.

As most of you may have guessed from my last name, “Cappiello”: I am Italian by heritage. I am Canadian by birth, but Italy is in my blood. My grandparents moved from Italy to either seek a better life for their family or start a life of their own. The Italy I hear about is made up of small villages and outdoor clothes lines and friendly corner stores and afternoon siestas. This image of post-war Italy is frozen in time and forever planted in my imagination. That is, until I step onto modern Italian soil (probably more like concrete) and have my own experience in my “motherland”.

Many of my friends who have been to their “place of origin” say it has helped them “get in touch with their roots”, their inner self, their very bones, because they could finally connect with a deeper piece of them. I am dreaming not of sites or sounds or places to visit, (though these will be AWESOME and an absolutely joyful surprise… I really want to visit the relics and see the Churches and walk the streets and put a coin in the Trevi fountain. I can now officially sip at – and appreciate – good espresso without sugar or cream, and I am foodie enough to enjoy everything on my photographable plate).

Really, I am simply anticipating the experience of encountering a piece of myself I have never met.

I want to walk a local on the streets that once held whisperings of my family’s lineage. I want to relish the potential that this place has to infuse my life when I return to Canada. I want to walk in the hypothetical footsteps of my ancestors as they walked, day and night, living a life in a place they only knew as home. This in itself will have me imploding with happiness.

And all through the way will be my trusty pair of Traveling Toms; the only shoes that don’t litter my feet with blisters. Let’s see how beat up, bruised and faded they get on pilgrimage!

LC

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