A Look at the Americans

nonnos-fireplace

One by one they filed in, sitting around the smoky fire in the dark, dingy room. The entire village, it seemed, wanted a look at the Americans. While I in turn, through teary, smoke-filled eyes, examined them. My husband’s paesani, for this was his birthplace, the very home he was born in! 

Life in that isolated village seemed of another era. Shut in, not only by the surrounding mountains, but by time, which seemed to stand still. Everything, from the wrinkled grannies to the thick-walled ancient homes, spoke of the past.

Quaint and picturesque.

A long, cobble-stoned staircase climbed the mountainside to the ancestral home, quaint and picturesque in every way. (A poetical way, we’ve read, to describe crude and primitive). Electricity often failed. Water lacked most of the day. Dim, gloomy, grimy. A fireplace the only heat. Quaint and picturesque—indeed!

“This was 20th century Europe? 1989? Perhaps we’d caught the wrong plane!”

Like snapshots from an ancient album, they returned from country gardens. Kerchief-covered women, kindling balanced on heads. With their husbands, stooped from age as well as labor. Leading equally ancient, produce-burdened donkeys. Home from working the land. Which was, as it always had been, their life and sustenance.

A Medieval life, flowing with the rhythm of the seasons and the weather, belied only by the electric wires and few passing cars. Little educated, they lived as their grandparents before them had. Locked away in the past, and the memory of time.

But somehow, we were strangely one with these enchanting, colorful folk.

Many of whom remembered the mischievous 3-year old boy who had migrated to America. And so, like aunties and uncles, they came to call, welcoming home one of their own.

Enchanting and colorful.

Enchanting and colorful, or critical and tradition-bound? We used too much water. (No one needs to bathe every day!) We did too much laundry. (Why did we change so often?) And we did laundry on the wrong day. (Wash day is Tuesday!)

These were Italians? Hospitable, cheerful, and generous? “OK, no doubt about it, we’d taken the wrong plane!” And I just wanted to go home!”

Life is full of the unexpected.

Stuff we’re not ready for, and don’t know how to handle. But nothing takes the Lord by surprise! And he helped us adapt to all the unexpected ‘quaint’ surprises. And to stay and make a new home here. We learned to accept, and even be grateful for all the quaintness. And little by little, we fell in love with this picturesque land and it’s colorful people.

It’s home! And I’m glad we didn’t catch the wrong plane!

[Image ©SimplySheila]

4 thoughts on “A Look at the Americans

    1. Thank you, Joan.I’m sure Greek and villages had, and still have, many similiarities. They are beautiful. Although I feel inadequate to put my finger on just what makes them so. There is something about them though, that lodges deep into my heart.

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  1. Wow, how wonderful! We lived in Europe for six years and this post really takes me back to wonderful warm memories. I was also a tour guide for a couple of years and actually got paid for taking tourists to castles and 1000 year old churches. What a life! Loved the atmosphere throughout Italy and am envious about your life. I also dislike snow and how ironic for God to call us to Ohio from Arizona. But most of all I miss sunshine and need it immensely to stay upbeat.

    Oh I almost forgot, I wanted to thank you for following my blog! What an honor! I look forward to discovering more about you and reading many more of your posts. Blessings,

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging comments–but I am one who is honored! Friends (whether blogging or in-person) are the joys and treasures of life!! I can well imagine you miss Italy. But then, I’m a bit partial! And i do believe God has called us here. It’s where we were meant to be. My roses are still blooming–and I would miss roses in December!

      Try lots of candles, upbeat music, and always keep a song in your heart. That’s what I did when we lived on the Swiss border where it rained almost year round. It did wonders!

      But every place is special, with special blessings! Including snowy Ohio & Michigan!!

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