18 December 2016
This evening I walked beneath a row of bay trees in Alberobello, pausing to smell their sweet aroma. I lifted my feet to stand on tippy toes and tilted my face towards the sky. A new friend and unofficial local tour guide laughed at me, “ma cosa fai?”
I say to my friend Connie, who I came here to visit, “I love that people here just presume my weirdness is because I’m Australian, and not because I’m actually just a bit strange.”
Later that night she asks me what I’ll miss most about Italy. I wish my answer was more selfless, or more cultural, but the easy truth is that I’ll miss how here I can be all parts of me at once, and have that accepted as a whole.
At home I feel permanently broken – this part here, another there, another left aside for another day.
But in Italy, or perhaps even just when I’m someplace else, I can be all me, without question or anxiety or fear.
26 December 2016
Sitting high above the clouds, on a crammed Ryanair flight from Berlin to Rome, feeling like to not smile would be impossible. I’m going home.
The language around me is all rolled R’s and sing song tones, laid back flight attendants who encourage passengers to change seats, “come vuoi”.
I suppose technically it’s not home, but there’s just something about Italy. No need to be famous or the best or the most popular, just an appreciation of food, of family, of friends.
It’s relaxed and real, and occasionally inordinately frustrating. But coming from a world where friends think they’ve failed because they’re not the most successful by the unfortunate age of 23, where the pressures on from the moment you leave the safe doors of high school to get a job and buy a house and start paying off your obscene mortgage and get married and make babies and put them through school (which school by the way?), Italy feels like a beautiful respite. A place to enjoy life and all it has to offer, to take things slowly, savouring moments and feeling all that life has to offer in a tangible way.
I took these photos and wrote these words last year in December which seems a lifetime ago. I was in Italy to visit friends (and to avoid questions about when I’m getting married after my little brother shared vows with his gorgeous wife) 😉 I had no idea then what that little trip would lead to…
Except for that last photo, taken by my talented friend Richard of the Glass Passport, about a month after I made the move to my sweet Milano.
Pentax K1000 | Kodak Portra 800
Locations of Note:
Nuovo Bar del Corso, Francavilla Fontana, Puglia
00 Doppiozero Ristorante, Lecce, Puglia
Pavè Milano (Via Casati)