A nice place to visit...
We haven't been home for over three
weeks and I'm rather homesick. Yes,
Manhattan, Rome, and Florence have
been amazing - but I miss Lewistown,
Montana. Don't get me wrong, I'm the
first to enjoy living in posh apartments,
dining on fabulous food, and walking
about architecture that dazzles. But
somehow it's not enough. For many
reasons we all "click" with geographic
locations and opt to make them home.
Wherever that is, there lies one's heart.
And mine belongs in rural Montana.
Neither here nor there
It's hard not to be dazzled by Florence.
Outside our window sits the Duomo
and the carved stone baroque facade
of San Gaetano. Everywhere one can
look a charming vista awaits. In a city
this old, the wear, tear, and decay of
age charms rather than alarms. But in
reality, what is the difference between
Florence and Lewistown? Both have
historic city centers with aging stone
buildings that require frequent upkeep.
And both sit surrounded by mountains
and a rolling arcadian landscape.
We had lunch today across the river in
the less touristy part of town. As usual
Frank sniffed out a trattoria filled with
locals. The prices were cheap, the food
fantastic, and English was definitely the
second language. Everyone seemed to
know everyone else. We sat charmed as
we watched friends hug, wave, gossip,
and even kiss a new baby or two. Oddly
it all seemed familiar. Then I realized
that only difference between this place
and our local Lewistown haunts was the
location. And that it was all new to us.
What's old is new
It's a proven fact that most anything
familiar becomes mundane. Whereas
everything new excites. So while it's
hard to admit, I have to confess that
many of the things we adore about
Italy are actually what we experience
daily in rural Montana. We live in a
historic community surrounded by
natural beauty. The locals are more
than convivial given everyone has
some sort of a connection. Tally up
the pros and cons and the only major
difference is that Lewistown is home.
Horse of a different color
Ok... before you laugh just give me
a chance. I'm confident that almost
any Florentine visitor to Lewistown
will go gaga. Cowboys and Indians
more than match Michelangelos and
Medicis. The difference is that rather
than be proud of what they have, it's
proven that most Lewistownians take
it for granted. Don't get me wrong -
some laud and celebrate what we've
got but many prefer to complain. One
can't help but wonder, is that the way
it is everywhere? Is anybody happy?
I'm still a newbie Montanan. Hence I'm
not hindered by history or other forms of
prejudice. The primary benefit to having
lived elsewhere is that I see everything
from an informed external perspective.
That said, one has a choice to view the
glass half empty or full. Upon moving to
Chicago I compared it to New York. That
jaded perspective clouded my perspective
until I realized that all of the differences
were something to celebrate rather than
bemoan. The question is, can lifelong
residents see the forest for the trees?
Didn't an Italian discover the New
World? Who doesn't suffer from
wanderlust? Magic awaits those
willing to discover it. Chances are
wherever one lives they dream of
escaping to somewhere new. What
if that wasn't necessary? Could a
change in perspective happen in
your head versus geographically?
Look around and revisit what you
already have. Homesteaders once
thought that Lewistown was their
paradise - why can't you?