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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

23 Family is Social Capital….

     After my morning “meditation” I was able to clean clothes, hang them out in the sunshine, write a post and make a lovely breakfast.

     I felt so good in the sun later, and so hopeful, I suggested to Spencer that we walk over to the ruins of the Abbey, that we have been calling a Monastery. It happens to be close enough to see from our back yard here. I knew I could ignore the pain in my back today.

     We packed a bag and headed over. Walking hurt…but I was going slow and after about a mile it felt looser in my back and eased the stiffness. There was so much to look at as we walked along the strada as the warm sun beat down.  Spencer was just glad to get over to the ruins where he had itched to walk to since the first day.

      Lovely olive trees dotted the hillsides. Plentiful papavero swayed in the gentle breezes that occasionally came up from no where.

     Hours later still, I enjoyed finally getting a much sought after Skype call with family. Both Spencer and I have been trying to get a time to talk, but nothing had materialized since my time on line was so slim. I have been writing these posts on a computer that is not on line at all in our Italian home.

     My first Skype call since England had me feeling so happy. Just hearing Brittany and Gordon sent a euphoria through my spine. They were already in an involved conversation with Spencer when I had made it over to the Bar.

     They had the money already thanks to my family’s understanding input! It was more a matter of how to send it. No one knew if it needed to go to an address in Italy or where. For my family it had been a difficult 24 hours while they waited for me to have my daily access to he internet.

     I explained that it was important to send the money via money order to the specific US address as already agreed. We talked about many other things…how thin one of my dogs had become from being sort of abandoned in my own house while I was gone, how the economy in the states is improving and along with it 2 new jobs cropped up in the family. Their voices had a tonic effect. Just hearing them was a balm for my soul in ways that are impossible to clearly put into words….but all the downside to being away from family was brought into a sharper focus.  And the upside as well.

     To be away from my family…my sisters and parents, children and their partners and Gordon and Bart, helped me to realize how much my family has been the sole reason I manage to weather so many unsettling shifts in life. Overall I have been fortunate since my family has allowed me to make many mistakes and has always been there to watch my back.

    In my last romantic relationship, I had been criticized often about considering my Ex to be the one who was watching my back. Through all my adventures…and even my foreclosure was an adventure, my whole family has been there watching my back. I like to think that I have been doing the same for them as well.

      What I like about Italy is that here everyone is watching everyone’s back. When I talked to Stefano about it I called it “social capital” like they do in the Anthropology textbooks. There are no true beggars since everyone seems to make do with family filling in the blanks.

      The strong family link has created a society that seems to protect their elderly…care for their own children and generally protect one another. I think this is why they seem to view people differently here.

     I come from the friendliest of states. Californians can’t write a constitution apparently, but we do say Hello and care about people as we walk around socializing constantly. But I described the Italians this way on my Skype call, “It is as if here…everyone, stranger and family alike, is viewed as an important person….someone deserving of care and attention…..sort of like family.”

     I have come to view Italians this way and being here in this lovely small town has just reinforced this feeling that people are important, especially family.

      As soon as we finished the call…I sent Stefano the email that made sure he understood the address and the money, via a money order was coming on the next business day…which thanks to a holiday was Tuesday. Now I had reason to be cheerful…we could eat for another few days….and my biggest problem was now behind me.




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