Well, the last two days have been filled with Rome sight-seeing and family gatherings. Part of me wants to get into the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) and especially (my favorite) the Fontana di Trevi ... but I think I'll leave those for tomorrow. The main reason -- my family.
It's currently 4:30 a.m. and as a nearby rooster crows, it's sound trailing through my window, I'm reminded of my mom's village in Romanian as I recall the last two nights. They've been filled with nostalgia of times I've almost forgotten. Thursday night, we were in Rome all day and then came home to a full table of food, wine, Italian beer and smiles. My cousin Rodica's husband, Tomitsa, prepared dinner for us. This was after we stopped at some random pizzaria on our way to the metro station and ate our fair share of pizza. Suffice it to say, I haven't eaten this much in a long time, but I can't sit here and say every bite hasn't been amazing. So, while we were all fairly full, we finished dinner anyway and just sat and talked for hours. My Romanian has surprisingly come back to me in bits and pieces. I found out the history behind Rodica and Tomitsa's move to Italy, how they had to separate for a year during the corruption in Romania and Tomitsa came to Italy to find work while Rodica stayed with her two children and our family in Romania. Finally, Tomitsa -- who is in construction, mainly building churches, for a living -- was able to bring them all here to make a better life. It brought a lot into perspective for me. Love is essential to life, but hard labor, the struggle, the hard parts ... those are the vessels to happiness.
We went to my cousin, Christina's house tonight (Rodica's sister and my mom's other niece). The food was amazing, including several different spreads, stuffed tomato skins and potatoes and pork. Christina's husband, Marius, loves cooking and being creative. But it wasn't the food that stayed with me tonight. It was watching everyone reminisce about their origins. It was watching the women in my family recall fond memories of their childhood. If I had a single word to describe all the women in my family, it would be "strong." They're inspirational in ways I can't even fathom ...
It was also my mom reciting Romanian poems that her sisters and mother used to say when they were young. It was all of them singing and dancing during the latter half of the evening, pulling me in at one point. It was the undeniable warmth that I can't say I've felt in the states in quite some time now. I was saturated by my culture and I reveled in every moment, rediscovering a piece of myself.
It is now 5 a.m. here and the rooster crows again. This time, I feel like it crows for me.
~ C ~