Well, I guess this is it, my final posting about my trip to Italy.
I'm back in my new york apartment now. Usually when I get back to my apartment, I am so glad to be there that I'm practically kissing the furniture. This time was different. It almost feels like I have another home now, because of how welcome and wonderful I felt in Torino, and for the first time in a long time, instead of sitting on my suitcases, eager to get out the door, I really didn't want to leave. This trip truly changed me, and I learned so many important things. So for my last posting, I want to talk about the most important lessons I am taking away from this experience.
1. Speaking another language is incredibly gratifying and wonderful.
I didn't know how much I would love it, and I wasn't sure an elderly 32 year old lady would still have the brain function to learn enough to be able to speak another language, but I did, and it gave me such a special feeling of happiness. I never had a friendship with someone in a foreign language before and now I have several! Before I got on the airplane from Paris to New York, I said a little prayer to the universe asking "please let me be seated next to an Italian speaker for this long flight so I'll have one last chance on this trip in this language" and low and behold, I was sitting behind a young newlywed couple from Napoli, neither of whom could speak a word of english. I was so giddy to be able to translate for them, and help them with their plans for new york, to tell them in Italian what the food and drink choices were, to help them fill out the customs forms. It made me ridiculously happy. I love being able to speak another language, and I love it especially when I can help other people with this new skill.
2. I love working in and living in Europe, and specifically, Italy.
Italy has it's quirks, to say the least. And singing in Italy has it's challenges. I've written many blog entries about both of those experiences. But even when I was cursing the closed supermarket or trembling backstage because of lack of rehearsal, I was loving every single second. I want to sing a lot more in Italy - before it was just something I wanted to do because I thought it would be interesting, and maybe good for my career. Now the place and the people are in my soul, and I don't just want to go back, I need to. I feel every fiber of myself being pulled back there like a magnet.
3. Generosity of spirit is something that can transcend language and culture.
This paragraph is about what I learned from meeting my friend Vincenzo. He is truly a one of a kind individual, and I have never experienced such unconditional support and caring from any person other than my parents. He treated me immediately like I was a member of his own family, because he could sense, I suppose, that I needed someone to help me. From the very first day when he saw me standing in the first rehearsal totally confounded and clueless, he was the one who marched right up to me and started introducing me to everyone, even though it was also his first day working at the theater, and he didn't know much more than I did. He didn't care that I barely spoke Italian, he talked to me anyway, and he is the reason I speak Italian now, because he kept talking to me every day and that's how I learned. He had me over to his apartment and he taught me how to cook southern italian dishes. He had my parents over to his apartment and he taught them to cook italian dishes. He let me stay with him when I stayed the extra week, and he insisted I take his room. He helped me run errands, came to my rehearsals to cheer me on, always had a bottle of water for me backstage and words of encouragement, He found a way to get me the archival dvd of the first performance, he brought my dad to the theater doctor, he found me a masseuse, a Berlioz score, and the medicine I needed when I was sick. And he wasn't my boyfriend, or my brother, or my agent - he was just a person who sensed I needed help and was generous enough to give it. So maybe the biggest lesson I learned from this trip was that when someone is willing to help you, accept their help, and when you can return the favor to them or others, do it. That is what makes life beautiful. I think after meeting him, I am a better person because of who he is and what he taught me about caring for others unconditionally.
And that, my friends, about wraps things up for me. I'm going to take a few days off and see if blogging, like Italy, starts pulling me back. I have a feeling I'll be back in both worlds very soon.