Last night, Amy came in with groceries and plopped them on the kitchen counter. Then, she lifted two bottles out of one of these bags and gave me a look. We had tried it for the first time last Fall in Milan at the table of just about every missionary family: San Pellegrino.
It’s funny, because its sold here in Texas, too. And, we had never ventured to try it. Personally, I didn’t like it much when we had it in Italy. But, my heart melted when she looked at me with those Puss In Boots eyes that began to moisten and start leaking.
“I just feel homesick,” she said.
Wow. Lord, you have really been doing some amazing work. A year and a half ago, I was shaking this woman awake in bed to tell her about a telephone call I’d had with a missionary in Italy. Today, she’s homesick for Italy. And, this is happening over mineral water.
I still don’t like it as much as she does. I would prefer a glass of one of the local wines any day. But, we had a bottle with our zuppa di patate (a bag of Bear Creek condensed potato soup, mix with water). And, even the kids liked it. We were a perfect little Italian expatriate family.
Out of curiosity, I went to the San Pellegrino website (https://www.sanpellegrino.com/us/en/) to learn more about the product. Mistake. I watched this video and missed Italy even more. Watch for yourself and you will purchase a visa, too.
Interesting fact: San Pellegrino is bottled in Bergamo, Italy, which is a town just above Milan. And, we visited this beautiful town for a day where one of the other missionaries lived. It was our first true “Italian experience” after arriving in the country. Milan is so modern, urban, industrial, and not a good representation of what you will find in most of Italy. But, Bergamo, with its cobblestone streets and high stone walls was Amy’s first, “Ah, Italy” moment. And, this is why Amy’s eyes were becoming puddles in our kitchen last night.
We took this photo before having lunch downtown near the Pizza Vecchia. We were overlooking the city, drinking in the scenery.
It was such an endearing moment. All I could do was pull her close to my chest and suffocate her for a bit while I felt the homesickness she described. I thought, They have different flavors: Aranciata (orange), Aranciata Rossa (blood orange, sounds interesting), Limonata (lemon), Pompelmo (grapefruit, disgusting), Clementina (clementine), and Melograno e Arancia (pomegranate and orange). Maybe I will love one of these choices. I felt so connected to this woman. And, I knew where these feelings were coming from.
At times, going there seems so far away. With fundraising, and the seeming ordinariness of many of our current responsibilities, Italy seems like a million miles away. But for now we buy bottles of San Pellegrino. And, when someone asks us to bring something to Christmas dinner, we’ll show up with a few bottles. We will make it a conversation starter so we can keep Italy fresh in our hearts and minds.