Our Towns {Or Where Is Home?}

Our Towns is really my Tale of Two Houses. Ah, the complex fascination of expat life! (Read between the lines: challenging, frustrating, but ever so blessed!) In fact, during lunch with some new acquaintances recently they asked, “So where are you from?” My response? “Um, have you got an easier question?” So, to make my long story brief…  

Having lived all over the USA and all over, up and down Italy, with a brief time in Mexico, my husband and I honestly felt at loss to answer their question. Where are we from? I was born and grew up in Michigan. And my husband, born in Italy, was raised in the Bronx, by non English-speaking parents.

I stopped counting our moves at Number 50. I guess I got to the point of thinking “What difference does it make?” Anymore, I just say “Too many to count!” But I have thought about starting a Making Moving Easy blog, or something like that. I mean, hey, I’m a pro!

So, perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, at least tell us where you’re from now!” But even that is not an easy question.

We divide life between two villages and many trips around the nation. Maybe home is really just a suitcase. And a bag for our pillows. Our motto is: Have pillows. Will travel! Scratch that. Our motto is: Have espresso pot and coffee. Have pillows. Will travel! {Must have our espresso!}

MY TWO VILLAGES

For online safety reasons I use pseudonyms. I blog about Italy’s beautiful places and the colorful, wonderful characters who populate them, because we know you want to meet such wonderful people! But I feel it’s important to protect their identity and privacy. So you will find only pseudonyms and general indications in these stories.

My main village in the Abruzzo region.

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Nestled along a ridge in the Adriatic foothills, our little town of 3000 is picturesque and beautiful. (Images above.) Sculpted countryside, as well-maintained as any public park. Gorgeous views looking down to the sea on one side. And stupendous snow-capped mountain peaks on the other. We live in an old home (200-250 years), with odd nooks and crannies, rounded cupola ceilings, and a bathroom halfway between the two floors. Plus a delightful little back yard garden and veranda.

Sounds breath-taking, doesn’t it? Perhaps that’s just because of the great love we have for this place. And the miracle of our little house. At age 50, we had given up on ever owning our own home. But God has a way of doing even the unthinkable and impossible!

But it’s really the people, known as “snail lovers” in this region, that make it special! Their quaint (and sometimes frustrating) country ways: You shouldn’t water your plants. Why are your lights on? You’ve got your heat on already? Their warmth and hospitality: Come in for coffee! Let’s go out for coffee! Or sit down and eat with us! It’s an open-door society, and we love it!

And now, please journey with us to the deep south down to… 

My summer village — in the Salerno province of the Campania region.

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Becoming owners of our main base home left us awestruck, but when we came to own a summer home, it just seemed crazy! The only thing is, sadly, that it’s in a forgotten area of Italy. Only one road leads in and out of this forgotten place, my husband’s birthplace. Forgotten, in so many ways…

My feeble words fail to portray both the desolation and emptiness of this tiny hamlet. And the scenic, almost haunting, beauty of it and its people. It’s beyond description. One of those places that must be felt and experienced. To then become forever etched on your mind and senses. And the people forever lodged in your hearts.

So how do we answer, “Where are you from?” We are from the places of our hearts.

If I’ve learned one thing from so many moves, it is that Home is not a building. Nor the stuff in it. Those can be anything from tents to palaces, and fine antiques to cardboard furniture. Home truly is where the heart is. Because Home is the people who live there. The ones you live and would die for. And they’re not always members of your family.

So Home can be many places all at once. Our hearts are scattered all over the world. Wherever our loved ones are, fragments of our hearts remain there. In New York, Michigan, Colorado, Mexico, Virginia, Texas, Rome, Salerno, Latina, Frosinone, Modena, Abruzzo… All of these are home to me!

Which is why perhaps, for us, Home is most of all living nestled safely within the heart of God.

But how do you answer?

Where is home for you, and what makes it so?

[Images ©TheScorziellos]

4 thoughts on “Our Towns {Or Where Is Home?}

  1. After many years of wandering and trying to find the right home, I found God and it is true – Home is where the heart is, because God nestles in your heart. So, once you have found God, home is wherever He is.

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    1. Thank you Tony. I’m so happy to have found your blog too! Ah- a fellow Michigander (or at least one who knows it well). If I speak of my dislike of snow and ice, you’ll understand why!! And why I love the balmy Med weather so, lol!

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