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I did not know what I was leaving when I came to this beloved land in 1973. I did not know what I had seen but not realized as a child, watching my mother and nanny, Emma, cooking. A stranger in a strange land; no food was familiar. And as I found my way down to Georgia, I found my way back into the memory of those Italian afternoons, and the smell of the fresh cut flowers of Badia, while everyone else was sleeping. Of fig trees and stolen plums and afternoon coffees and fresh formaggi. And soon, I was cooking, so far from my mother. So far from my father's eye. And as I grow wistful of la dolce vita, and wonder where God is taking me, I don't wonder if I can ever go home again; I wonder if I ever left.

Natalia - 2006