io sono in Italia!

It’s been one week since the first full day of riding in Italy and since then, a lot has happened.  I’ve arrived in my family’s town of Porto San Giorgio and have been overwhelmed with feelings, family, food, wine and memorable experiences.  

My cousins from Delaware arrived just a few days before me.  They are the sons (and daughter-in-law) of my mom’s brother (Peter). 

A little backstory:  my grandmother (Italian) is from this town.  Her maiden name is Petrelli and this family has a rich history here.  She married my grandfather (Polish) here, they moved to California for a while and after retiring, they moved back to Porto San Giorgio.  My Uncle Peter ended up in Delaware and my Mom ended up in Texas. 

So, now, we have family and friends in this tiny town on the other side of the world.  It’s a beach town and in the summer the beach is completely packed full of people.  After traveling across this country on a bicycle and experiencing life as a tourist, it’s nice to be in a place where there are people that are excited to see you and to show you their little part of the world.

Right now I am in a car with my cousin Marco and we are headed to Ascoli Piceno, a town where my Aunt’s friends live.  They are so excited to invite us to their town to make dinner for us and to show us around.  More to come on this trip…..  I can’t wait to find out what they have in store for us!
But my Aunt Anna lives here too!  In another small town called Ceprano which is on the other side of the country.  I have cousins there too and will spend some time with them on a future trip.

This visit has been a whirlwind to say the least.  The daily life here is something that will take a while for me to adapt to.  The day is centered around meals, which is shared with family and friends.  Breakfast consists of coffee with either some sort of pastry or a plate of meat and cheese.  It’s not a lot of food at all.  Lunch prep usually starts right after breakfast and has consisted of a pasta dish followed by a main dish.  Today, we had ravioli followed by slices of pot roast with roasted potatoes and a mixed salad.  The salad part is new because for the first four days here I don’t think I had any vegetables at all!   Dinner prep begins right after lunch and is also a big meal but we have appetizers, extra food and coffee and dessert after as well.  It’s a lot of eating out here.  Dinner doesn’t happen until 8 or 9, sometimes later and then the entire town hits the streets.  It’s CRAZY out until at least 1am, which means we don’t go to bed until 2 or so, and then we are up at 7 to get the next day started.  

It’s exhausting.  So, last night I went to bed after taking 3 Zquils and closing the giant window shutters.  I aimed the fan directly at my bed and slept…. For about 9 hours.  IT WAS GLORIOUS!!!!  So I’ve determined that I just need balance in my life.  I found myself feeling tired, cranky and not enjoying my experience as much as I should have been.  

I love it here.  As my body adapts I enjoy this lifestyle more and more.  To see so many families out together in the evenings is very pleasing.  Socially entertaining is all about sharing experiences and time with one another.  They don’t rely on the TV or music from the radio to entertain, in fact my cousin pointed out that they don’t even have music playing in the background when hosting a meal. We eat, we share, we laugh.  

I have so much to share with you all.  But it has been difficult to write without taking away from the present moment.  I’m taking photos, videos and keeping notes for future blogs.  Eventually I will catch up but for right now I am enjoying my last couple of days with family before starting my 250 mile ride back to the West coast of Italy.  I’ll finish up at the Almalfi Coast before heading up to Napoli to catch my flight back home.  

Until next time, ciao friends!

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