the long good-bye

yesterday and today we went through lucca saying good-bye to all our new, and already so dear, friends.  we bid farewell, a bit teary, to benedetta and rafaelli, to sidrak and sonia and to renaldo, anna and jadda.  hugs and kisses from barbara and mario, genny and simona and chakira.  serena and allesandro and allesandra and jovanna and christianne and gritziana and titziana all bid us good-bye with hugs and kisses, bags of cookies and bottles of wine.  benedetta came to our apartment with a huge bottle of olive oil from the olive trees on her mother’s farm.  tonight we are seeing tony bennett and tony’s daughter, antonia (joanna’s best friend) preform at the lucca music festival.  we will be attending with our swiss friends regula and pers.

these three months have been so filled with joy and friendship.  in such a short time we developed a bond with so many wonderful people.  we commiserated with renaldo when his mother died and shared bruno’s joy, as well as his photos, of his daughter at her wedding.  bruno, who we thought was just a cab driver, turned out to be our guardian angel, always seeming to turn up whenever and where ever we needed him.  bruno, who when driving joanna and erica to the airport at pisa, insisted they make a detour, stop at the leaning tower, park the cab and get out so the girls could take pictures – no charge.

there are so many other wonderful people who we crossed our paths and interacted with every day.  even our dry cleaner, paolo, counted us as friends, not just customers.  we have never experienced such an amazing outpouring of friendship from people, and a town, who just a few short months ago, were total strangers.

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