23rd – 25th April, 2019
Recently, my sister and I decided to spend some time in Celano, my grandfather’s birthplace. I had visited the small city before, but had never had the opportunity to stay there, so this was the first time that I was truly experiencing Celano.
I fell in love with it. Apart from being incredibly beautiful (I mean, just imagine waking up to the view below), Celano became precious to me because of the people in it.
I was so small the last time that I saw my grandfather’s sister that I really can’t remember much. Now, I know that she has an incredible smile which lights up not only her own face, but that of every person fortunate enough to be in the room with her. I now know that she loves to make people laugh, and will pull faces or shout out phrases in English (even without knowing what they mean) to entertain others. I now know that she is wonderfully sweet, and is a resilient woman full of life and determined to be happy.
I am now also aware of the many other relatives – both close and distant – who are incredibly generous with their time, their food, and their homes. I was warmly welcomed into the kitchens of people I had never met, and the same people pressed me to come back soon and stay with them.
What I experienced in Celano went beyond hospitality. It went beyond familial obligation. The people of Celano were amazingly earnest and gracious and obliging.
I didn’t feel like a visitor. I felt like I was coming home.
And in a sense, I guess I was.