Few times in life feel as incredibly meaningful as this one. Bringing my father to Italy to see his roots for the first time. We will spend a few days in Rome touring the city and then head to Campotosto to try and connect with some real blood. My dad doesn’t care what type of contact we make, as long as he makes the effort. Before they arrived he attempted to contact a few cousins he found on google via Facebook. It’s my belief the message was never found or they don’t speak any English, alas, we will still attempt to contact them any way when we arrive. I find the whole sentimentality of the situation very moving. My father, Eugene Raymond Pauline, the last name formerly Paolini, was born in 1944 in New Castle, Pennsylvania. It’s here where the majority of our remaining American Italian family members reside. What a wonderful, bouncy, full of life group they are. It kills me how rarely we see them… my dad is so happy around his family. Today however, I have gotten to see my father among his Italian home land, walking around Rome with his jaw completely dropped.
We walked into the Vatican and because my father is a totally devote Catholic, he was totally awe struck. He goes to mass literally every single day at 8 AM. Seeing him so happy and amazed over-flooded me with gratitude to share the moments with him. He loves his Catholic heritage. It is a huge part of who he is and how he lives his life. I love this about him so much. He is such a kind man. Every place we go he says, “This is unbelievable” and so it is. To me, it is so important to truly recognize this time and every moment for how valuable and priceless it is. While walking through the tombs beneath St. Peters Basilica and seeing all the generations of popes in their resting place, one can’t help but feel the impermanence of time and place. While walking among the centuries of history it is clear how short and small our lives really are, in the scheme of the entire planet of course. By getting a glimpse of the finality of time in our own worlds, the things that really matter become more clear. Today, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else in the world on a Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock. These days I have been struggling with my own lack of direction or classified job description, but today I was able to show up as loving daughter, kind older sister, and totally grateful girlfriend. Is this not the best job in the world?
We bought a three-day covered, open air bus pass to spend time rolling around the city in the shade and not on our feet. A huge blessing considering how hot is here in August. I can see why many of the locals leave but for us it is wonderful. I can’t imagine sitting in the traffic jams on that wonderful bus. This evening we just whizzed around the city from the Coliseum to the Pantheon and beyond with the wind in our hair. Again, looking over at my father, mouth open and eyes wide, my heart sang. Truly sang. For dinner, watching him enjoy the bottle of Chianti with Ross, again priceless. I can’t wait to head to the town where my father’s father was born and see if serendipity will find us there with the encountering of our unknown family. In many ways, I know it will be an emotional experience, but a blessed one and certainly one of the most valuable of my life time. What a gift.