Sunday, February 15, 2015

Felice San Valentino

About ten months ago I submitted an essay for World Nomads Travel, I thought of sharing this interesting piece I wrote in time for Valentine's day. The essay should contain how travel has become a meaningful portion of your life. 

I have been to many places here on earth and I could have probably write the story about how I met this guy while hiking in Montserrat and our tapas adventures in Barcelona with his friends. I was really fascinated because of what he does in life about being involve in earth sustainable energy. He used to be my constant skype date friend, Kyrke. He is by far the most intelligent, kind-hearted and gentleman I have ever met in my whole life. I do miss him heaps.

I could also probably write about my long distance best friend who is a good saxaphone player and an aspiring painter from Miami whom I met in Saigon for one of the OPEN MICS I had in my cafe. I couldn't imagine how a young boy named Ian and I crossed paths and built a friendship that encapsulates care and love no matter the distance. He's been my constant adviser to all my hurtings. The wisdom of this young boy is by far the most valuable and mature-level than any older men I've met. I do miss him heaps along with his music.

But it's LOVE that made me decide to write one peculiar and movie-like story of my life that happened for real. It was one beautiful day in Firenze that has changed my life from four years ago, here's my essay...


“I’m a L’Aquila survivor. This is my second life.” The man about six feet and four inches tall whispered his pick-up line while we were basking under the Tuscan sun on the benches of the crowded piazza of Santa Maria Novella.

Just a few inches away each other, I slowly turned my head and gave the man a curious glance. He immediately had me with his aviator-style Carrera! Slowly he pulled down his Carrera and revealed his grayish green eyes that looked straight into my eyes. My vision panned down through his beak-like nose with a diamond bling. Shortly after it led me to stare at his glaring gold chain necklace. I was stricken and quickly remembered Naples’ infamous pickpocketing documentary.

I was surprised when all of a sudden he uttered “It’s true that everyone from Naples is a natural pickpocket and every tourist is a target” My heart was beating fast than it ever had in my entire life! I hugged my bag tightly and I was thinking of an escape before Mt. Vesuvius erupts! He continued talking. “Many rich tourists in Firenze are splurging money for shopping. If they will lose a few hundred euros, it will not affect their savings!” The way he delivered his lines sounded like a typical southern accent with matching hand gestures. 

I was petrified when he moved closer to fill in the gap we had. He wrapped his arm on my waist and tried to put his hand inside the pocket of my coat while saying these things: “People asked me how many smart pickpockets are there in Naples? My answer was, how many dumb tourists are there in Naples?  Same with the tourists in Ponte Vecchio, they could hardly feel the hand that goes inside their bags or pockets.” Then slowly he moved away. I breathed with the sigh of relief.

He smiled at me and gave his hand and his name. He said that he is from Pompeii and was studying at L’Aquila when the earthquake happened in 2009. He is one of the survivors from the school that collapsed in Abruzzo. He later moved to Firenze to finish studying. He once again said, “It’s also true that it’s my second life. I almost died saving a friend. My second life is meaningless if I let my friend die.” 

I was speechless. No words came out my mouth and I just reached his hand and tightly shook it and gave him nothing but a genuine smile. He invited me for a glass of Spremutta after. It’s been four years since then. I will never forget the day that I thought I had an encounter with a pickpocket but later I found out that it was my heart that was stolen.  

Sometimes love does not stand the test of time. Sometimes we are separated by the distance and by our different dreams so we have to part ways. Sometimes those things  happen for a reason but it doesn't make me love the person less but forever I will remember that I smashed into something good that I was able to hold on to for four years.

Since December I arrived in Australia, I am more fierce than I was seven years ago. I am more detemined and eager to chase my dreams and be in the place I always want to settle and where I can cuddle an angel's arms and be on his wings to take a flight to a journey called life and love.

Until my next post about the Australian Dream...
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

big hug,
joanie  xxx