I can’t resist sharing this little story:
An Italian daddy at the boys’ bus stop said to an American mommy:
Oh, you look nice today. You are dressed like an Italian. Sometimes Americans look like a nightmare.
Olivia and I returned to Delhi last week for closure. She has missed her friends and the familiar comfort of her school. I have missed my students and the way my work connected me to the local community. It was nice to return, if just for a week, to the flashes of raw beauty and spiritual grit that abide in India, such as the colors of saris and tents and festive bouquets; the necessary calm that people exude to protect themselves from the chaos that they can’t control.
India is still very much a foreign place to the people I meet in Rome. Conversations about it don’t get particularly specific, so it was nice to talk with friends in Delhi about topics that still interest me – the national election underway and the frigid US-Indian relationship after the arrest of the Indian diplomat in New York. And too, the Indian Supreme Court’s recent ruling that legalizes a third gender. The court also agreed to hear a petition to its ruling that criminalized gay sex a few months ago. Is the third gender status a hopeful foreshadow? There was also lots of local gossip about the kids’ old school possibly abusing visa applications and the potential closing of the American club (ACSA) to non-diplomatic members. (Confirmed as of this writing…)
Olivia disappeared into her posse as soon as we landed and I was afraid that returning to Rome would be emotionally tough for her. But she surprised me and found her peace. This trip let us secure our memories and our friendships and put to rest some of the romance that haunted us. It will never be the same and that is a good thing and a good lesson, particularly for my incredible daughter.
I wanted to run a half marathon a few months ago but to register as a resident of Rome I had to be a member of a local running club. I tried to join a club but they rejected me because I didn’t have my Permesso di Soggiorno or permission to live temporarily in Rome. I found another club that let me join without the Permesso but they wanted a medical certificate of general health stamped by a sports doctor. I found a doctor and when he discovered that I was over 45, he ordered a stress test.
If this were a children’s story it would end – “And after all that, I was so stressed that I needed to run a half marathon but when I tried to register for the race….”
While Lala and I were in Delhi, the boys went to Puglia, the heel of the boot: