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Italian Summer

A Local Encounter that Changed my Perspective - la dolce vita

ITALY | Friday, 19 April 2013 | Views [470] | Scholarship Entry

I sat in the quad of seats on the train and adjusted my over-stuffed bags under my small seat. Wrestling around a bit more, I extended my section of the metal tray table and made apologetic eyes for the disturbance to the two women sitting across from me. I was leaving Florence and heading to Naples. I speak poco Italiano, so there was no use in trying to use words.

I casually flipped through the Italian magazine that the rain provided on the table in hopes of getting inspired. I looked at images showcasing our cultural difference; I let the pictures tell the story of the words I couldn’t read.

I glanced up from my magazine at the woman sitting diagonally from me and was enamored by her beauty. She was traveling alone and kept her time occupied with a magazine as well.

This woman was what I had imagined the “typical” Italian woman to be. She had long, straight, dark chestnut colored hair, sun-kissed golden skin, perfect bow lips and impeccably shaped dark eyebrows. She looked to have been in her late 40’s, but there was not a wrinkle in sight.

The beauty of this woman quickly reminded me that I was without make-up. I reached under my seat and grabbed my purse. While doing so, an announcement came over the speakers declaring what the next stop would be. Since I still had a while left to go on the train, I proceeded to take out my make-up. I laid my makeup on the cold metal table and started applying it as precisely as I could on a moving train.

A few moments had passed when the neighboring quad of seats distracted the Monica Bellucci look-a-like and myself. Two young, college-aged girls were both falling asleep on the two older Italian women seated next to them. All four of us women slowly looked at each other like we were members of a secret club. At that moment, we all begin to giggle like schoolgirls in class who can’t let their teacher catch them.

Another announcement come on to let us know that we were reaching the next stop. I continued to apply my eye shadow as passengers started to line up to get off of the train.

The beautiful woman stood up and made her way to the aisle. As she was walking towards the exit she stopped at me, smiled warmly and placed her hand on my cheek and said, “Bella. Bella.” Feeling surprise and gratitude, I was able to force out my thanks with “grazie. Grazie mille.” She continued smiling and walked off of the train.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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