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Dreams, plans and hopes.... for those who believe that Someday they'll be Saturday Night!

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Letter to my Grandma

Dear Grandma Lolly,

I've been asked to write about who you were. Actually, that's not true. Nobody asked because everybody knew you. Even those who had never seen you in person nor in a photo had heard us talking so much about you that they felt as if you were part of their families, too.

And they're all gonna be there tomorrow, at your funeral. No, it's not because you conveniently scheduled it for a Saturday afternoon. Nor because they want to show us their support. Or rather, that's not the only reason. They'll be there to give you a - for someone first - last hug, because it was impossible not to love you.

You were not - to me - the perfect TV commercial grandma who had all sorts of treat ready for me when I came home from school. You only cooked very specific dishes – pinza, sarde in saor, tiramisù, mushroom tagliatelle – which you stopped cooking altogether one day, because you just didn't want to anymore.

You were the one who used to destroy all the recycling efforts in town because you just had to fill the organic waste with old newspapers, so that neighbors wouldn't peek and see what you were throwing away "and who knows what they would think!" You were the one who used to consider anybody else much cleverer than you were, "they must think I'm a cuckoo" as you would often tell me lately.

You were the one to tell me to come visit if I missed you, when I moved overseas. You have no idea how much I missed you during those months. But coming back wasn't exactly easy, so I hoped and I prayed that you wouldn't choose to leave us right then. We all thought you were much more fragile and delicate than you actually were.

You would love us nonetheless, but geez there were a bunch of "nonetheless". “Such a white sweater, ahn?!” meant it was way too white, instead of greyish white or beige, which is well picked; “sooo straight your hair, ahn?!” because you'd rather see some curls; “aren't you cold?!” because the neckline was too low-cut. We had so much fun, reading between the lines of your remarks. Yep, that's it. Our family has always laughed and shared meals together, but we cry in private, 'cause what impression would other people have?!

And two - or maybe three? - years ago you got very close to leaving us for real. And I cried my eyes out. Because I wasn't ready; I hadn't come to have lunch with you one last time; I hadn't hugged you; we hadn't shared a good laugh in a while.

When you recovered, I did everything I could to enjoy your presence. So many new laughs, so many hugs, so many (un)told stories with your nonesense storytelling! So why am I still crying now? Well, think of a child and an adult playing together all day. Once the videogame is over, the cartoon is over, and so are the card game and the puzzle, it's 10 p.m. and it's time to say goodbye. Well, I'm that child, looking for yet another game, one more excuse, one more reason not to let you go. And I get no relief thinking that there was enough time to say goodbye because I just wish you were here.

Thanks for the time you devoted us, with all your energies. We're going to celebrate you again tomorrow, all together at the restaurant as you loved to do. And maybe there'll be room for tears, too, whatever impression other people may have.

With all my love,
your baby girl.


#SandyStories - The Backpack

This spring there was a devastating earthquake in Italy, quite far from my hometown, but we still felt it - in my case I also HEARD it. Although the shake wasn't strong enough to make anything fall from the shelves, it scared shit out of us. So while I was lying in my bed waiting for it to end, I was mentally considering what to do in case of evacuation: I should pack my backpack and run to the parking lot nearby. Yeah, that sounded like a damn good idea.


Upstate Update #1 - 15 days to go

It doesn't take that long for me to process data.. yeah right. It's just 10 months I'm putting off this post, not that much. Just 10 months since I won the competition and there are 15 days to go 'til I leave, but I have no freaking clue where the days in between flew.


TravelEng 2 - A lifelong summer

"Close your eyes, breathe deeply and tell me: what's the first memory of this summer?"

If I had to carry out this delicate task I gave to my students, I'd have said: the taxi driver asking me "ok, where should I drop you off?" And I, without a clue, "at the central office?"


TravelEng 1 – The crossing

When you've sent your contract two months ago and not heard anything from the school, it's always a comfort to receive an email the night before leaving "excuse me, may I ask you when are you going to arrive here? Signed: your boss." Oh well.