It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Italy.
I’ve never been to Paris.
The closest I came to speaking French in another country was a visit to Quebec when I was in 7th grade.
I began taking French classes that year—in 7th grade. Later, in high school, Mademoiselle Hammerstrom had our class read Les Misérables in French. In college, I took French classes as well.
Last week, my husband and I started watching Stanley Tucci’s program Searching for Italy. My passport is updated and I’m ready to go. When it’s safe to travel again, I need to go to both of these countries. I make my father-in-law laugh when I tell him I’ve got to get to Italy to “be with my people.”
It is funny, but it’s also somewhat true.
Italians know how to live, and sometimes I think we forget here. Always so focused on work, work, work, sometimes we forget to live, live, live. I saw this first-hand as my husband and I sat in Florence and watched shops close up for lunch as we vacationed in Italy for two weeks. At the time, the two of us were working crazy hours, and it struck me—what he hell are we doing to ourselves working the way that we do? We needed to stop and smell the roses, drink wine, enjoy people, and enjoy food. Even to this day, my husband and I work a lot.
It’s one of the reasons we got a boat last summer. To live a little.
But, back to Italy.
When Tucci made that homemade Italian red sauce (or as Italians like to call it, gravy) stating it only took four ingredients, I have decided to try it as well. In fact, I’d like to try to make almost everything that Tucci tasted or ate on that show, a show that showcases food in the 20 regions of Italy. He’s visited some of the regions so far, but there are many more regions to come.
As for France, the pull to see Paris, Provence, and Normandy is strong. My husband wants to go to the beaches of Normandy as he loves to learn about World War II history. I want to stroll the streets of Paris, taste wine in Provence, and see the lights of the Eiffel Tower.
I think all of this lockdown and being cooped up has reignited the travel bug in me—in both of us, really. We find ourselves talking about traveling and reminiscing on past trips a lot these days.
Teaching a travel writing class (and travel writing as a part of feature writing, as well), has sparked the fire, and it’s worse than ever before. So often, the sights are wonderful to see, but some of our best memories of our travels come from people we’ve met along the way, dined with unexpectedly, met from places all over the world, or found through our travels.
We all know envy is one the seven deadly sins, and I know it’s true, but I’d like to be Stanley Tucci just for one region. He can have the other 19.