by Leona George-Davidson
There is a group of men who sit at the wall in the town center in Cagli. Everyday you can count on seeing them there. They chat with each other and say hi to folks walking past.
On my first day in town I was drawn to them. I asked if I could take some photos and they obliged. Their smiles delighted me and I could see the depth of their life experience in their eyes.
Each day since, I nod and wave hello as I walk to school.
Today, Giuseppe, the gentleman in the center of the posted photo, stopped me on my way home and told me he had a gift for me.
He walked me down the street to a flower shop and bought a rose for me as a thank you for the photo.
While at the flower store, La Musica dei Fiori, he introduced me to the store owner, Goretta, and her friend Monica.
Goretta has carpal tunnel because she's been working so hard and because, as she says, she's "been grating too much Parmesan!"
Monica must be my sister because we had the same style of shoes, just a different color. Monica's grandma was born in the USA (Pennsylvania) but Monica was born here in Cagli.
While we were talking we all found out that Giuseppe had been a sign language interpreter for 27 years in his career. He lives in Cagli and loves the town.
I am noticing all the stories that are ripe to tell, and from there so many new friendships to bloom.
This experience was a nice treat on a day that I was feeling tired, out of sorts, and not good enough.
This trip and the work that goes with it is quite intense. I am sure I will get through it, but it is just plain hard - both culturally and academically.
I am so grateful for Giuseppe's gift - much more than just a rose - it was a lifeline to help me get through the day and give me hope for tomorrow!