Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I love my new iPod. It's brand new--I received it as a gift from my parents for my birthday (I'm beginning to understand that, as the years pass, birthday gifts are meant to console the receiver), and I've been using it progressively more since Antonello and my return to Italy. It's wonderful, really. It's actually an iPod shuffle, a tiny gleaming-white gadget that contains 1GB of music, and when you press play, you have no idea what you will hear. Today, on plugging in my earphones, I heard LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" followed by the mellow voice of James Taylor singing "Something In The Way She Moves." I know that this is nothing new--mix tapes and cds have always scrambled up the music--but with all of the possible music combinations and no idea what's next, I am almost always surprised by the nerve of that little shuffler.

And I need the music, the surprise of what's next, to distract me these days. Every time I come back to Italy, I feel like I'm starting over, getting back to this life again. We've been back in Italy for a week now, and I am still suffering jet lag. Antonello is back at work and the house is empty by the time I wake up. I think if I had a more set schedule things would be different, but I still feel like I'm easing myself out of vacation. It's not a good feeling--I miss home: my friends back in the states, my family, the simplest things. I miss hearing English being spoken around me every day, no matter what words are said.

So my new iPod has become a friend, forcing familiar voices into my head in no particular order. Ani DifFranco follows the Beatles gracefully, and as Billie Holiday bows to the applause, the Cure's drummer begins an encore. In town, walking home from the piazza del Duomo, down the side street where I used to live, Gloria Estefan sings like a soundtrack, marking my steps with rhythm, making the Macerata sunset take on latin beats. Things that are familiar to me here mix with my life there, in America.

Intertwined in this way, I can begin to see that my two worlds aren't as separated as they sometimes feel.