Eliza was a greeter we hired when we arrived from Rome to Florence. She arranged for our luggage to be collected from the train, and for someone to hail a taxi for us. While we waited she shared with us a lot of personal information.
We told her we just needed a taxi to get to the rental car agency. She was amazed that I was brave enough to drive in Florence traffic. This is when she shared with us, that when she was on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle in the streets of Florence, she would constantly beg him to slow down, because she was so scared – and “she was too young to die!!” . She had a point! The streets of Florence are insane…buzzing with extremely fast cars and the scooters and motorbikes dart from anywhere, weaving between cars, and creating an unofficial third lane where you think it’s too narrow for two! E pazzesco!
She was so genuine, and lovely, that her thoughts and what she shared with us, stayed with us. Now, whenever I take curves at a high speed – the speed limit on these mountain roads is typically 70km – I remember Eliza, and will randomly shout out to my husband “I am toooo yooung to die!” (with a very thick italian accent).
Eliza also shared with us that she was not on speaking terms with her parents because she had moved away. (It was a long wait for the cab, and I guess she was nervous….Somehow I think there might be more to it than that). We are told that in Italy, parents hope that their kids will grow up and marry someone local, and not move away. In fact, we have spoken to many people who have told us that this is exactly the path they have pursued. Including the man from whom we rent. Fabio, spent his ENTIRE life in Iano, a town of 150 inhabitants (maximum!). They own this tourist property, they grow olives and also operate a restaurant about 25kms away. No wonder they don’t want him to leave!
In fact, Fabio told us he has only been to ROME twice in his whole life (a 1.5 hour train ride). To Canadians, this is absurd. Most everyone I know has been to Toronto for a weekend, or to attend that concert that is just NEVER going to get to Ottawa, or shopping at least once a year, even if we live 4 hours away. Yet, it is not the way for Tuscans.
Not to say that I would even begin to compare Toronto to Rome… But I digress…
I am grateful for being Canadian. It has given me a spirit of adventure, while feeling relatively safe as we explore at home and abroad.
And thank you Eliza, for being such a wonderful, genuine and friendly young woman of Italy. You have so much life ahead of you, I truly hope you will live to a ripe old age.