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Home is wherever Lunch is (Part 3 of the Genoa Series)


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My last day in Genoa was the simplest. No Christopher Columbus theme, no giant aquarium. I woke up and, after two days of rainy and gloomy weather, there was this sun glowing smack above the sea kissing the shores beneath the apartment where I was staying. And after two days of a malfunctioning camera, miraculously, on the third day, it started to work again. I texted my friend that it was a perfect day to take photos before leaving for Florence.

My last day in Genoa was the simplest. But it was on this day that I tasted for the first time grandma’s home cooked “cima,” classic Ligurian stuffed breast of veal. It was all of a sudden Christmas in November at lunch with my Genoese friend’s family. Grandma’s cima, which literally means “peak” in Italian, had brought my short journey in this part of the Mediterranean to its rightful culmination. I realized that all throughout my travels, I have gained enough friends and family that home is wherever I was having lunch at any moment.

In that little weekend trip, my senses were re-opened to the real meaning of traveling, of going beyond the comforts we built around ourselves, and of discovering and re-discovering the world not only through the cities we conquer, but especially through the people we meet. On that sunny morning of my last day in Genoa, I reflected on my life as a traveler and felt the push to write about it again.

Photos of Quarto dei Mille, Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy 1/5 by Unshod Rover
Photos of Quarto dei Mille, Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy 2/5 by Unshod Rover
Photos of Quarto dei Mille, Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy 3/5 by Unshod Rover
Photos of Quarto dei Mille, Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy 4/5 by Unshod Rover
Photos of Quarto dei Mille, Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy 5/5 by Unshod Rover

It started to get gloomy though when my friend fetched me for that Sunday lunch. But it didn’t stop him from taking a moment by the Garibaldi monument, the very same spot where the Italian national hero gathered a thousand volunteers (i Mille) on May 5 in 1860, and left Genoa to unite the north of Italy with the south. Right after, my friend told me he wanted to show me something else.

Photos of Parchi di Nervi, Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy 1/3 by Unshod Rover
Photos of Parchi di Nervi, Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy 2/3 by Unshod Rover
Photos of Parchi di Nervi, Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy 3/3 by Unshod Rover

We walked through the sea wall, quite a long walk, but with the sea beside me and the silence my friend allowed me to cherish, I was in my element. Then, we entered a park, which at first glance seemed to have been misplaced in the middle of the mountain view and the seascape. This park is famous for squirrels, my friend said. Lots of them. When I told my friend that I thought he was just exaggerating when he said the park was full of squirrels, he said he too was surprised that they were that many and just as friendly that day.

Watching my friend having what we jokingly called a "dialogue" with the squirrels made me see a different side of him. There is this Genoese proud of his city's history, and yet sincere enough to share its defects. And then there is this person having a great time dialoguing with squirrels.

Photos of  1/1 by Unshod Rover

They say you get to see a person in yet a different light when he is with his family. On our way back, we had to hurry because lunch was waiting. We had pesto, prosciutto and some sweets. But as said earlier, what was really memorable was grandma’s cima. It reminded me of morcon and embutido back home. It also reminded me of my grandmothers, and how they kept our family intact when they were alive. Even up to this day, when they are already somewhere else, the memory of their home cooking keep us together. It's also our grandmothers that make "little boys" out of us even if we are already 30 or 60 and beyond. And my friend, no matter how proud and strong a Genoese he could be, he will always be a grandson to his grandma.

An African proverb teaches us that it takes a village to raise a child. I believe that to get to know a person deeper, it takes a country, a city, a community, a family and even a dialogue with squirrels. And so, after meeting new friends and families and squirrels, I got to know more about the world, my friend and myself. I also have learned a different way of looking at things and other people. And how we find ourselves in our relationship with the world, with others will always be home. //


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