We finished our time in Sicily with a first birthday party which was nice because it gave us the opportunity to see everyone one last time and say thank you and goodbye. We were dropped at the bus stop early in the morning and arrived at the airport 2.5 hours later. After a flight to Rome and a train to Ancona we arrived at my cousin’s house, said hello and went to go get dinner. It felt easy being back in Ancona and was nice to see family again. We spent the next 2 weeks there between 2 houses, one in the city centre and another 45 minutes south in a small town. Our 2 weeks were filled with relaxing days, day trips and catching up with family.
The first few days we spent with my cousins who are the same age as me which was nice because we got to hang out with them and their friends. We would meet up with their friends for lunch or at night after dinner for a few drinks. Luckily for us pretty much all of their friends spoke English which made things easier for us. They were all so nice and welcoming towards us and it was interesting speaking to a lot of them who had family or friends in Australia at the moment. We’ve learnt that Italians love Australia!
It is an odd thing knowing you have family in another country – especially ones you have never seen before. Back home I know all of my nonno’s family there, after all, it’s just us, so it was so strange sitting down at dinner one night with more than one of my nonno’s brothers. It was even stranger when we grabbed a pen and starting writing out the family tree on the paper place mats. There were so many names it was ridiculous and then all of a sudden cousins showed up during desert and one of them knew every name and connection so she helped us write it all down. It was a pretty productive dinner. It’s also nice having the opportunity to look at photos and read letters I had never seen before. My Zio was really happy to show me everything. We spent a couple hours one afternoon going through some photos and letters.
We went on a few day trips, one to Grotte di Frasassi, which is the largest series of caves in Europe, we went to the Olive Festival in Ascoli, spent the day in San Marino on Ferragosto and drove to Assisi to see where St. Frances was from. Every part of Italy is different to the one before it. Even if at first glance it looks the same it isn’t, and even if you can’t actually see any differences there are differences in the way people go about their lives there. From eating habits, festivals and even dialects, Italy is so diverse.
I really enjoyed spending time with my relatives especially for 2 weeks. We were able to get to know each other a lot better and learn things that wouldn’t have been possible during one meal. Saying goodbye to my uncle and aunty was really hard. I couldn’t look at them for very long after saying goodbye even though I know I’ll see them again in October. After a second hug goodbye I had to turn around and leave otherwise I would have been a blubbering mess. 2 days later when we were dropped at the train station the same thing happened when we said goodbye to my cousin and her family. They looked after us so much that it was like we had always been there.
On the train leaving Ancona we had a bag full of food that was to get us through our trip. Within half an hour we had eating half of it and forced ourselves to eat the other half on the next train, which we did as soon as we sat down. We arrived in Verona quite late and went to sleep straight away.
When we woke up this morning we had a mountain of messages from people asking where we were and we didn’t know why until we checked the news and saw the story about the earthquake. It was just a sad thing to read first thing in the morning but it was amazing to see how many people were checking up on us. So as I’m writing this Mark is replying to everyone’s messages, telling them we are all ok.
So, until next time, a safe Mark & B xxx