by Melinda Gallo

A trip to the US

I haven't been back to the US since I got married in October 2007. Alessandro and I decided last week to go there for a short vacation. After spending the entire month of August in Florence, we're finally taking our turn to get away. Staying here was almost like a vacation with fewer people around, quieter streets and less traffic, so now that more people are back now, we can finally take off.

It wasn't until a few days ago that I realized how many times I've traveled in and out of Italy on September 1st. The first time was when I arrived in Florence for the first time in 1997 and two years later I left to go back to the US to be with my mother, both on the same date. We didn't really pick the date; the best deal we found for out airplane tickets had us departing on the 1st.

Just last week an Italian friend of mine asked me if I missed casa mia (my home), meaning the US, to which I replied, "No." I always think that question is a bit confusing because people talk of homesickness, which I don't feel. If I miss something, there is a hidden layer of sadness that I feel. And even though I love the US and so much about it, I don't miss living there. It might just be because I do enjoy my life in Italy.

There are a multitude of things that I do love and appreciate about the US. I love how convenient everything is, like shops being open for many hours a day, how much space I have around me even in crowded areas, how much variety there is in shops and supermarkets, and how some things are so inexpensive compared to here.

Right after we booked the flights, I started writing down all the things that I want to buy while I'm out there, things I want to eat, and a few things that I would like to do, like drive a car, which I haven't done in almost two years. With each item I wrote down in my list, I got more excited about my trip.

We're not traveling to my home state of California this year, but instead we are going to South Beach, Florida. I have been feeling a desire to see the water, walk along the beach, feel the sand between my toes, and explore a new place. Neither one of us has been to Florida before so it'll be even more exciting to discover it together. Besides, I have never see the sun rise over the ocean. I've only ever seen it set.

We each have one carry-on bag and are bringing along an empty suitcase for all the American goodies that I'll be stocking up on while I'm there.

It does feel good to me to be able to spend some time in the US especially after not being there for so long. I know that it will instill me with new ideas and maybe even give me some inspiration for my projects. I always feel an injection of productivity and drive when I stay in the US. There's something to be said about the American way of life that instills one to be more productive in the physical world.

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