Small balconies in front of Silvia's home.

Small balconies in front of Silvia’s home.

I slept 10 hours; Julia 12. And I am chomping at the bit to be outside and walking. To be welcomed home to a place I have been before is a gift for which I am so grateful. I am also very grateful that my friends, Silvia and Georgio, take Julia as she is without judgment.

Julia’s behavior last night was hard for me. She was not interested in the daughters of the family who were interested in her. The youngest, V, is learning English and sat with me during breakfast trying very hard to make conversation and make us understood to each other. To say I have a little Italian is more than generous but I am eager which makes up for a little of what I cannot do.

Back to behavior. Julia is, of course, herself. She is more interested in her iPad games than in seeing this city or talking with my friends. When she is asked questions or given the chance to speak, she has nothing to say. When I am talking to someone else, she wants all my attention and wants to talk about HP or Star Wars or recite from her favorite movies. She is also complaining about everything. And she does want to please me, even when she is knocking over my lunchtime glass of beer.


This is Julia stressed and anxious. I feel like I have slowed down a lot but I need to do more. There is a wonderful Egyptian museum here that Julia is excited to go to because she studied Egypt in school and also because she loves the Egyptian exhibit in the Field Museum. We will try it tomorrow morning.

The Pope comes to town on Sunday. He may be the only thing in Torino to see that day. Roads are closed. The city should be crazy busy. He will say mass in a square. We saw Pope John Paul II 30 years ago when he said Christmas mass at St. Peter’s in Rome. Raised Catholic, I knew the mass well but I had never experienced a personality, a famous priest, saying mass. I remember comparing the experience to watching a tv she being taped–like Johnny Carson doing a ritual. Since that time I have appreciated seeing the Dalai Lama when he has visited Indy and Madison. Will I now view the Pope’s mass differently?

imageI decided not to see the shroud of Turin which is on display right now. One of my reasons was that I didn’t want to explain it to Julia about the ‘miracle’ of Christ’s burial clothe and then tell her that I did not believe it was real. However, I completely forgot about the souvenir stands. We do not need to visit the Shroud. It is on every corner printed on tee shirt and dish towels. I had completely forgotten about Italian souvenirs! Especially those that are related to the Catholic Church. To me, wearing the Shroud of Turin on my chest seems …. Oh, so many things. Perhaps sacrilegious or odd or creepy or weird or tacky, but I must admit to an irresistible urge to buy one. Could I wear it in Madison?

I cannot say why but I loved the old, small, close streets. They feel like home. I have strong feelings about people and places. People shape places but the reverse is also a truth for me. It can be hard to see how the places where I’ve lived influenced me or what exactly their influence has been, but here I see a place that would make a person quite different. What would it do with me?