I don't want to leave my cloud this morning, or ever for that matter, but I'm buzzing for Italy and my brother, John to meet me there. The breakfast chatter and birds have woken me and the fairy god mothers have left my laundry folded outside my door with a note reading: "Chambre 20" and a heart drawn next to it. I pack my bag and wait in the garden for the taxi. Everyone seems so sad for me that I didn't have a car to see the rest of Corsica and I don't have the words to explain to them that I never desired to venture anywhere from right here in this perfect little haven of rest.
Of course, I get the same taxi driver as I had on the way up. Now that I can see him in the light, he looks rather harmless - maybe in his 30's, skinny with thin hair that's balding around the center of his odd shaped head. We drive in silence all the way down the mountain. Once in town, he slows and pulls beside every other taxi driver we pass, yelling his greetings to them and then adding, "Americano!" as he blatantly points towards or nudges me. Each driver lowers his shades for a good view in my open window, smiles with a reassuring nod, and spits some French/Corse/Italian nonsense. By taxi number three, I want this seat to open up and swallow me whole and I am visibly shrinnking to sink lower down below the window.
The ferry to Livorno is a quick four hours and I wish I could only travel by boat forever.The sun on the deck is hot and the breeze is light. I sit right at the back over the wake and watch the Corsican mountains fade beneathe the waving Italian flag on our ship. I am so excited to see John and sitting dangerously close to the edge of the boat. It's all I can do not to fling myself off into the sea to release some of this unruly anticipation.
Italy was my first traveling love and it's been six years since I left. Having fallen head over heels and completely captivated by the place, I left a part of my heart there that I never got back. My whole world had opened and changed while living there and I simply had to see the rest of this beautiful earth afterwards. Six years later, unable to supress that thirsty desire, that is exactly what I am doing and I have this country entirely to thank (or blame, depending on who you're talking to) for where I am today.
The anticipation of standing on Italian soil once again can only be described as seeing your first love after years of being apart, wondering if all the same emotions and passions will still be there. No more than five minutes of stepping off in the port of Livorno, that beautiful familiar language rushing in and singing all around me, I smiled knowing that my dear Italia was exactly as I had left her and everything I remembered, with every old, familiar feeling washing over me and filling me just as before.