Archive | 12:01 AM

Happy Birthday to Me!

22 May

Once upon a time, 69 years ago to be exact, this little girl came into the world. With that smile on her face, and a twinkle in her eyes, she was ready for adventure.

©blogginginitaly.com

20 years later, her parents gave her the opportunity of a lifetime – to spend her junior year abroad at Loyola Chicago John Felice Rome Center. As a Christmas gift, her Mother mailed her a scrapbook of her life, including the photo and words above.

That little girl became this young woman who experienced a year of unforgettable memories, experiences, and friendships.

Roma 1971-72 ©blogginginitaly.com

And during that year, her love for Italy was planted deep within her heart (though obviously not the fear of driving a motorized bike through Roma)!

Roma 1971-72  ©blogginginitaly.com

Before the school year ended, she even celebrated her 21st birthday in Rome, something that in the early 70’s would seem more like a dream than reality. How lucky I am that she is me.

5/22/1972 21st Birthday ©blogginginitaly.com

I never could have imagined then that celebrating my birthday in Italy would become a wonderful tradition. I have Len to thank for that. And although today we are dearly missing our Cortona life, our incredible friendships keep us strongly connected.

So my birthday gift to me is seeing the many familiar faces here. Till we return, thanks for the love, thanks for the friendship, and thanks for these memories.

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Ciambra Monreale 2016 ©blogginginitaly.com

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What were we laughing about???
(Clearly something off-color!)

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While all of these photos are not birthday or anniversary celebrations, on one birthday eve, these musicians delighted me with a spontaneous performance in Piazza Repubblica.

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Our 30th Anniversary 2017 ©blogginginitaly.com

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Taormina 2018 ©blogginginitaly.com

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Packing up for the season. 2019 ©blogginginitaly.com

Anniversary#32  2019 ©blogginginitaly.com

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Our last night Cortona, 2019. Who knew???  2019 ©blogginginitaly.com

We are living in the most unusual of circumstances, yet we are very fortunate. We are all well, and those in our extended family who have jobs are working harder than ever.

Personally, we have connected with many people we have not seen in years. Strange circumstances do offer some unique opportunities.

And that takes me back to my year in Roma. Just this week, many of us gathered for a zoom call. Familiar names and faces of Campers, as we had named ourselves, from our magical year in Rome. There were people on the call I hadn’t seen in 47 years, but the time we spent together in Italy binds us forever.

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I’m forever grateful for all that Italy has given to Len and me. We’ve had incredible opportunities to discover our ancestral roots, explore Italy and Italian life with family and friends, and make new and lasting friendships. That little girl has had many reasons to keep smiling throughout her life.

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There’s so many ways to celebrate, and as you can see, this year I spent many happy hours going through years of photos.  Each one represents a special memory – hence my birthday gift to me. (Apologies for the quantity and for anyone I am missing.)

So,
Happy Birthday to me,
Tanti Auguri a me, 

2020©blogginginitaly.com

and a grateful toast to each of you
for making me smile.

2020 ©blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

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