It was a year ago in September, right at the cusp of fall. I went to Milan, Italy to work fashion week and rest amidst the people of my heritage. It is so interesting that when I go there, it just feels like home. There is a naturalness and ease in my body, as if I too am a part of that beautiful land and culture… in the history of its architecture, the hills and vineyards, the craftsmanship in their clothing and shoemaking, and of course, the food! I had finished the shows I was scheduled to work, Pucci, Feragamo, and Roberto Cavalli… and I decided I needed to go down to the coast of Portofino. Specifically, to get on a train and take the 2 hour ride and to delight in the changing countryside. It was just like in the movies… I sat in a boxcar with six seats all facing each other and made sure to get a seat right by the window. The train went just the right speed to lay my head on my crossed arms and allow my eyes and mind to drift out the window as the countryside peaked and dove in and out of rows of stucco homes and apartments. Parts of the trip, the train would wrap around a mountain tightly as the sun beamed through the window of the train, until the hillside broke wide open onto the bay of water and we ran right alongside the immense, picturesque, awe-inspiring view. I had never seen anything like it and I had to breathe it all in and focus on every inch of that divine moment. I remember thinking, “can I bottle this somehow? Or slow time?” When you are in those moments, if you really focus on them and savor every correspondence with your senses, you really can slow it down and take special care in taking it all in.
My stop came up and I exited off the train. I had somehow missed the correct stop just by one, but when I asked how far of a walk it was, the attendant shook his head and said, “very far… maybe 3-4 miles. Maybe best to get a cab”. I thought, “well what the heck. I am going to walk it.” I had time, so why not? So off I went. Large Italian villa homes, narrow streets, charming bridges, and plenty of mini cars and Vespa’s surrounded me. There was a bounce in my every step and I leaped when I jumped off curbs. Two miles came and went and I decided to stop off for a pizza and an orange soda. I sat down in this quaint little restaurant over-looking the water and pulled out my english-italian translator. The waiter came over and I told him my order, “una pizza e soda di arancia, per favore”. He knew I was American, smiled, and in English said, “right away!” The pizza came out, and I remember thinking, “this is literally the best pizza I have ever had!” Every bite got better and better and I made sure to eat slowly and sweetly. The bill came; I thanked the waiter and owner for an amazing meal, and went on my merry way.
Finally I reached my destination and it was more beautiful than I could have even imagined. It was a large open cove with far stretched waters and the sun bounced off every portion of it creating tiny crystal prisms dancing on each movement and wave. This was what lay in front of me and behind me was the mountainside with homes that were built right in and moved all the way up until they touched the sky. Every color in the rainbow and shops, eateries, and gelato stores lay at the base of the mountain with striped and pastel valences. I stopped off to delight in some gelato… I got their specialty, lemon flavor. Before I bit into it, I could see little lemon shavings throughout the scoop and hoped it would be as good as it looked. It was! I couldn’t believe it, I remember being almost baffled by its incredible taste. I thought, “Seriously! How could this be so amazing?” It was the best gelato I had ever had. Better than in Rome, or Florence, or even Venice. I finished it up and walked back towards the water. There was a ‘swimming’ area but it cost money to get in so I popped right onto the area that was open to the public which was a collection of large boulders that jetted out into the oceanic view. Beautiful Italian people were sun bathing all over the rocks and I smiled at them as I walked past. I found a safe and tranquil place to take off my shoes, roll up my jeans, and put my feet in. I dipped each foot one, by one and closed my eyes. The water was perfect. Cool, pristine, and felt so fresh that like the gelato I thought, “this is the finest water I have ever been blessed to touch”. I took several deep breaths and just kept my eyes closed then laid back on the rock. I kept thanking God and just felt I could die a happy woman. In that moment all my cares went away, I was a queen and the world and all its infinite wisdom and beauty were mine. There was no illness, no death, no pain, no sick mom, or 911, or infertility or world hunger… just peace.