Tales of a wandering lesbian

Six months

Things are starting to be familiar in the little towns of Barga and Fornaci. Some of the shop workers recognize me when I walk in, and I don’t get lost every time I walk the curving streets of the hilly city. I even understood two complete sentences yesterday. Amazing.

Last night, we visited a familiar place, a restaurant with tall ceilings and exposed rock walls, and a deep-voiced owner. Six months ago I sat in that same restaurant with three new friends, my dad’s cell phone, stashed deep in my pocket the only lifeline to my family and my ride home – and to the life I was about to leave.

Six months ago!

Six months ago I owned a home, two cars, a bunch of stuff, had a steady job and a home with a wonderful woman. I had a lot of good friends who made me smile regularly and the best dog ever. And I felt lost.

Six months ago my life changed. I can’t really explain, other than to say that the deep feeling of belonging and connectedness that I found in the one day I spent here with strangers rocked my world. I was struck with the immediate understanding that the world is full of fantastic people and places, people and places that I was waiting to see.

Waiting. Waiting. And, the idea of waiting to live hit me in the gut. What was I waiting for? I like to think of myself as a pretty self-aware person (I know, insert laughter), but the justifications kicked-in. My job , my house, my life, my dog, my bank account all asserted themselves as good reasons for waiting. I heard myself saying that it would be great to travel when I retired. And in that moment, something snapped.

Six months ago, on the last day of my family vacation, I spent the evening in a restaurant with three beautiful, perfect strangers who welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. And that was enough. The questions about my life, my purpose, my place in the world, questions that plagued me for years melted away, replaced by a much simpler dialogue: “go back to Barga” and “okay, I think I will”.

Sure, a bunch of my stuff is in a storage facility, and my car is at my sister’s. Sure, my dog is living with my wonderful ex-girlfriend and I have standing offers to stay with friends whenever I need. It’s not like I joined the Peace Corps and moved to Africa.

But, it’s still a little shaking to think how little things can change someone’s world so completely. One evening of kindness and six months later I’m living with strangers who look more and more like family every time we cook together, and every evening when we say goodnight.

I hope that I will take with me the knowledge that anything, and I mean anything is possible in my life, and that kindness shown to a stranger can do amazing, powerful things.

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November 7, 2009   6 Comments