The Expatriate’s Itch

In the early hours of the morning I woke not sure of where I was. Italy? Kyoto? Croatia or some other place I once lived long enough for the exotic to become familiar? Sometimes I feel transported in time and space from sleep, and last night, inspired by what I read before nodding off. One of my favorite bloggers, Luisa Weiss, has written a memoir with recipes: My Berlin Kitchen.

Luisa grew up straddling the Atlantic – traveling between her divorced parents from Boston to Berlin. Any expat will tell you that the itch, the longing for a place we have loved, and perhaps, where we were loved (definitely enhances yearning) never quite goes away. One’s sense of home becomes an aching wistfulness about that other light, streets, sounds, smells, food. And for the author, this perpetual pining is in her DNA born to an Italian mother and American father and growing up between Europe and the States.

I’ve followed The Wednesday Chef for a few years now, savoring recipes and glimpses of Luisa’s life and travels. And love. Little glimpses of heartbreak, longing and now, blissfully, reunited with her first love and a new baby to boot. And always, fantastic food (recipes included! at B&N you’ll find this in the cookbook section).  I don’t know about you, but this is stuff I want to read about.

And now the glimpses she gave us in her blog have been fleshed out into a book – the same enchanting writing with the details filled in – of how this gal found her way. But as the traveler/expat knows, things are not always as they should be for example, as the foreigner in Paris. The beautiful streets can be lonely, every day may be grey in every sense of the word, and Luisa captures it all brilliantly.  A beautiful reminder to us always ready to pack our bags and disappear with some notion that things will be better there.

Why does one place resonate with us as opposed to another? I loved San Francisco where I spent a summer a thirty years ago – renting a studio with my friend in the Mission District – wandering the streets from sun to fog and exploring Pacific beaches. Luisa didn’t. I never loved Boston – a city I landed in for a few months. Kyoto will always feel like home, I’d move back to Italy in a flash…see? Don’t get me started.So much of it has to do with timing, and… as does anything and everything in my opinion – love.

I revel in my my garden, the fireplace, the kitchen, my bed, my dog, my home. I feel lucky to have my Connecticut home. But always, their is the faintest of siren calls — to make a move again. Not just to pass through — but to really inhabit another place, make friends, share meals. Well, there are always my dreams and awake in my kitchen I can cook up some of the yummy recipes from My Berlin Kitchen and pretend to be in Tuscany.

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One Response to The Expatriate’s Itch

  1. Lea Sylvestro says:

    I always feel I could move to Italy in a minute too, but then fall in New England, sunlight through yellow maple leaves, moves me to sing hymns of thanksgiving in the car on my way to work…XO

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