This is my summer of re-love. I have returned to the United States for a mere two months, as I have done each summer since I relocated to Bologna, Italy three years ago. And I have been gifted a unique opportunity to be a tourist in my own country in the places that I once took for granted – places that I visited often for my whole life, and places that I lived. New York, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and Southern California to be exact.
My father always told me that if I wanted to understand my relationship with a place I lived or a place I loved, I need to leave that place for some time before I can really have a good perspective on that place. Boy, was he right.
Every year that I have returned to America I have had a new perspective on it. But this summer is different. This summer is the summer that I have finally understood and accepted these places into my heart and how my connection to these places is forever embedded into my hard-wiring. And I am returning and truly appreciating everything, even the bad.
My first stop since arriving in America this summer is New York. My father’s side of the family immigrated to New York in the early 1900’s and lived in Brooklyn. My godmother and godfather moved out of the city decades ago to a tiny city along the Hudson River called Ossining.
The snapshot above is my favorite on my trip this far. Taken on the bank of the Hudson river, I am at left with my godmother Suzanne on the right, who is a second mother to me. In the picture below, thirty-three years ago, my godmother is holding me in almost the exact same spot where we are standing above on the bank of the Hudson River.
To think of everything that has happened in the 33 years since this picture was taken is pretty overwhelming. But this beautiful place is the same as it has always been, to me at least. Just an hour’s train ride from Grand Central Terminal, this other world of rolling hills and majestic lake views is sometimes easier to get to than Brooklyn. I realize I am lucky to have this beautifulness in my life, a place my dad has gone back to for decades, and a place my godmother still calls home. But I think we all have these beautiful places in our memories and in our hearts that are part of what makes us who we are. Sometimes it just takes some time to re-love them again.