By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
Growing up, all I could think about was how to get out of Indiana. Filled with Big City dreams of the pulse of a city that never sleeps, that offers superb music and theater, intoxicated me. Having traveled frequently to Italy, not trekking each time to my father’s Southern Italian village, I lost my heart to Firenze, Roma, and even Amalfi. My Italian was good; I felt comfortable among central and northern Italians. In my hearts of hearts, I knew I would one day live more than just several months at a time in Italy.
That pesky thing called work interfered, yet I was undeterred. I’d work, save, and buy another plane ticket back to Italy. This was easier once I’d moved to Houston. Airline bargains abounded from Houston to Italy during the 1970’s and 80’s, and I took advantage of low-cost flights on Icelandic Air. Taking the train Luxembourg, through the Alps, and arriving in Milano or Roma made me one happy traveler. In the back of my mind, I figured I would relocate to Chicago, and eventually live in Italy, somehow, some day.
Life has a funny way of throwing one curves. Mine weren’t all that bad. I married, had a child, divorced, and in between these milestones, I moved back to my hometown in The Heartland. It wasn’t my idea, not by a long shot. It was my ex-husband’s. The first two years all I could think about was getting out, much like when I was a young adolescent yearning for environs beyond those of Indiana. Gradually I reconnected with family beyond my immediate one. Teaching again in higher education satisfied me. The most unexpected reward though was in observing how much my parents and daughter loved one another, how much joy they brought to one another’s lives, and how I finally realized that home truly is where the heart is. Since the beat of my heart was all about my daughter, I realized that we could travel together. And we have, both here and abroad. I revel in having an anchor to call home with family and good friends to fill it and share it with us. It took many years, but I can say with a smile, it’s been good to be Back Home in Indiana.
Ciao for now.