It’s the day before we leave the country that my mom and I meet Rachele, my babysitter from when we lived in Italy 20 years ago. Several weeks ago I sent a letter to her 1996 Napolitano address, but it never received a response. And our visit to Naples revealed buildings and communities that had seen bad history over the last two decades. We asked after her family at our old complex there, but nothing more than the memory of their name remained.
I had given up, actually. I didn’t really think there was anything I could do to find her.
But two days ago, my mom (who had just asked about my laptop: “How do you open this thing?!”) looked her up on Google and found her on Facebook.
“Nina, if you had Googled just a month ago, you could’ve gotten together with her for coffee!”
She lives in Florence. She’s been living in the Florence vicinity all this time.
This is movie material. It’s novel material. And I feel pretty dumb. I mean, seriously. I didn’t Google her. She lives in Florence’s backyard.
She has two children of her own, and could not believe we had found each other. “Non ci credo, eri piccolissima…!” But especially for my mom, it felt like reuniting with old family, when her family had loved mine so much. Today was a big day, all in all.
And so I think I’m ready to leave Italy – for now.
…I’ve been well-assured I have families to come back to.
A presto, Italia. Prestissimo.