Here I sit, one week from the end of this incredible journey. A hot caffé Americano is placed on my table amongst my books and laptop and tattered journal. “Georgia on My Mind” gently fills the room with a smooth jazz rendition. I cannot help but believe that the café owner put this song on just for me. I am the only American in here, it just so happens. This has become my favorite place. I love the way the owner knows me. He speaks Italian to me even though he knows I don’t understand. I speak English back. I have begun to understand him though, the way he works. We communicate through bad Italian, bad English, and facial expressions, and its like we have this understanding of each other, a sort of harmony in this dance routine.
All of the sudden, I realize the insane beauty in this mirrored moment. A week before I left America, I sat in a coffee shop daydreaming about Italy and what could happen. The coffee shop I sat in a month ago is my place in Athens. It is my home away from home. The barista knows me and my order. We do not need words, and I think if I came in speaking another language, he would still know what I wanted.
Now I am here, in Italy, and I have gained so much more than I ever expected. I sit and drink coffee, and daydream about what life must be like for these people. I wish I knew Italian. I wish that I could get to know these people better and love them with more than just a smile and the few greetings I have learned. Maybe one day I can give back to them in the same way that they have filled my life. I want to play them a song about home as they sit in my coffee shop in Georgia. I want to speak English to them and attempt Italian and in the end rely on hand motions.
Somehow I always end up here, in a coffee shop, daydreaming. This place is beautiful. This life is beautiful. Cortona is my home away from home away from home.