It occurs to me that I have been home from our trip to Italy for almost one month and that there is still a large part of our vacation that I have not shared. As in not at all.
If you asked me where I was from in Italy, I would say Venice…except for the fact that Venice is not really MY home, but the home of my family. I was born in a small town, Abano Terme, and we lived in Modena….but Venice always felt like home. Always.
Until this trip.
I still cannot entirely pinpoint my feelings. There is the fact that going to Venice in the summer means being at the beach, and my personal body insecurities have been at an all time high. (or is that low?) There is the fact that last time I was in Venice, I was preparing to return to the United States and separate from my then husband and father of Principessa. There is also the fact that during this trip my mind was elsewhere…like my new career and how to establish myself.
Regardless of the reasons, it has taken me this long to come to terms with these estranged feelings about Venice. Except that when I look at the pictures of our time there, I am thankful. Thankful to have played tourist for the first time in a long time.
Thankful to have had a morning to hold Rocket’s hand as just he and I explored the market in Rialto and some quieter parts of the city. Thankful to have had a girls day where I discovered a young artist in Burano and lived decadently at lunch with my mom and Principessa at the Locanda Cipriani in Torcello.
But mostly? I am thankful that I took the time to look at Venice through a different lens for the very first time. I saw the friends that mattered. I looked through they eyes of a camera in a city where I had previously always refused to be a tourist. I even walked through the city in comfortable Birkenstock sandals instead of heels because well…my feet left me no choice.
Was this the city that I have adored and gushed about and missed all these years? No. But is it a city that in the end will always remind me of my family, my friends, and who I am?
Yes. Always yes.