Monday, July 9, 2012

A Piece Of Home In Colorno

Rachel is heeeeeeere! Ok, so she was here and I'm just in denial wishing that she still was. Out of all the happy moments I've experienced while in Italy, seeing Rachel's face walking toward me on the very street I live in Colorno was priceless. I know I've written about so many incredible experiences I'm having but, the truth is, they have definitely been peppered with my being a bit homesick at times. Rachel's visit came at a perfect time for me when I really needed a little piece of home.

Before I quit my job, Rachel had told me she really wanted to plan a trip to see me this summer. She'd also been itching to get back to France, a place she loves dearly, so she set out to plan a summer vacation for herself that included a stop to see lil ol' me. :) When she officially booked her tickets and hotels, I got so excited and couldn't wait to share my life here with her! Rachel is such an amazing person to go to with the things that matter most to you. She's engaged and very focused on the details in your life and it's a rare quality to find in people these days. I always look forward to sharing something new with Rachel because she really values it and appreciates every detail. It's my favorite thing about her.

When she got settled in her hotel, she came down to my apartment and I was like a little kid when I saw her walking up! I was also really thrilled about her meeting Trisha and Gavin because they've become dear to me during our time in Italy. It was such fun for me to have us all together. After I showed her my place, we all headed down to the good ol' Colorno pub and she got to meet a lot of the Mexican students, too. I think you can tell us gals are pretty darn happy:
It was a fun night! The next day, we headed to Bologna:
It was hotter than a monkey's ass that day so we couldn't wait to get there and get gelato in our face immediately. Unfortunately for us, the trains stopped running for a while which meant we had no idea when we'd actually make it to Bologna soooo we decided to stay in Parma for the day. I didn't want to spend my precious time with Rachel sitting in a train station so, instead of Bologna gelato, we settled for Parma instead which was fabulous:
We actually had a great day roaming around, even in the heat. Parma is so beautiful. It's got these neat little pockets of streets where you can find different cafes and shops. It does have it's tourist traps, which we got stuck at when we wanted some prosecco, but it's overall a great little city. We were going to stay and have dinner but we kinda hit a wall and wanted to rest a little and change so we headed back to Colorno. After a quick nap for all of us, we were ready for dinner at good ol' Vecchio, one of the two restaurants in town:
That photo makes me so happy. :)

On Sunday, Rachel and I spent the day on our own. We started off having coffee at the cutest little bar down the way:
I took her down to school to walk through the garden and see where I'm fortunate enough to spend all my time here:
After we finished at the school, we took the long way back around to see some of the beautiful houses and parts of town that I love. The homes here and general area overall has so much charm and history. People grow the most amazing flowers and even things like lavender that make the air smell sweet and wonderfully aromatic:
It was soooo hot out walking around so of course the only solution to that, like in Parma, is gelato. The place we went shapes it into flowers and it makes eating it more fun:
We stayed there for a while and drank wonderful prosecco and continued catching up on everything under the sun. Far too soon, it came time for Rachel to leave and I hated seeing her go. I was feeling so lucky to have the time in Italy with her that I did. It really brought a piece of home to me here in Colorno and that was a nice boost for my spirit and heart.


Allie A said...

What a special visit! Rachel is a true gem and I'm so glad you had that time together in Italy -- this is a chapter in your life you will cherish forever and being able to share it with the people you love is truly priceless.

PS - Since you refused to let me get gelato when we were in Rome and Sicily last year, I plan to eat gelato everywhere I see it when I visit you. I might even eat it multiple times a day and you can't stop me.

Ray Ray said...

Oh, this makes me sooooo happy! Sigh. It was such a wonderful visit, and we had so much fun just wandering around and taking in how absolutely beautiful everything around us was - even the most mundane of places and things have a lovely charm in Italy. It's just a different world. Then again, I could have fun doing anything with you, Val. :-) I miss you so much.

Ray Ray said...

And thank you for your kind words, Val. You make me feel so special. Pretty much made my day. xo!