Friday, July 09, 2004

The Fourth and The Things One Misses Away From Home

I read Corrie's recent post and wanted to comment a little bit about the experience of being back in Indianapolis on the Fourth. It's been two years since I have celebrated Independence Day in America--last year Corrie and I spent the 7th with a big vat of potato salad, a whole watermelon, and the phone--calling people at the last minute to invite them to our makeshift party. Three Albanians and one Spanish ballerina showed up, and our 4th of July became an international holiday all of the sudden.

My last stateside 4th was in Washington DC on a muggy cloudy horrible day that ended up being wonderful--we watched fireworks behind the Washington Memorial. What's more patriotic than that? And at the same time, my head was halfway in Italy already (I was to leave for Italy in August), and I knew that this was an important Independence Day. I soaked it in.

But four days ago, on the 4th of July, I spent an afternoon picnicking downtown in my hometown--Indianapolis. Everything was familiar, the picnic tables, the passersby, the way the trees formed shadows around us. I thought to myself, "This day is special. I can't do this in Italy. This in an American day."

So I watched the fireworks with a little more eagerness, a little sadness as well. My life is changing--my holidays are shifting from one day to another, their names adjusting to fit my new Italian home, filling themselves with accents and lucid language. The fireworks--with their familiar glow in the night sky, sparklers held by children, laughing, in parking lots and on picnic benches--will be something I miss like when you hold your breath, something you never thought of losing.

I soaked it all in, as much as I could.


It's been a year...

Just wanted to say a late "Happy Birthday!" to Allora Aspetta! It's been a little over a year now that we started the blog. Even with a four-month break, the blog continues. Just for old time's sake, here's a daily quote:

"Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."

-Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

So here's to Corrie's and my two homes: Indiana and Italy. Happy Birthday Allora Aspetta!


Tuesday, July 06, 2004


It's the season for picnics. It's sunny, it's summer, and yesterday was the Fourth of July. Jackie and I celebrated over cool salads and sparkling grape juice with friends. After dropping off the Pack 'N Roll (the item of envy for nearly every picnic-er we passed...okay, maybe "envy" is a strong word...), we watched fireworks explode directly over our heads from the patio of Elements, the restaurant we both call an employer. (Jackie's just on extended leave - she can't get off the employee register that easily!) It was fun sharing the Fourth with friends, the little scraps of extinguished fireworks lightly falling on us during the show.

Today, I met dear friends Shilo and Sharin' in Crawfordsville for a hearty breakfast before hiking the trails at Shades State Park. We'd been there before and used the familiar sites on the trails to try and reconstruct our Fearsome Foursome camping history. In different combinations of Alida, Shilo, Sharin', and I, we've hiked and camped all through the Indiana summers.

In a way, I guess those early adventures prepared us for the trails we're exploring these days. Sharin' leaves tomorrow for a month in China. Shilo leaves the day after to return to her New Mexico home and a job teaching three elementary school grades at once. We missed Alida at Shades and spoke about her graduate school projects in North Carolina. Jackie, too, is exploring new trails ('s a perk of a spelunking instructor husband) in Italia.

With such amazing friends (and the trusty Pack 'N Roll in hand), there's no telling where we'll host our next Fourth of July picnic together.