Introducing the guy who made everything possible –
I met Peppe nine days before the end of my trip at the Piazza della Repubblica, the square in Florence with the carousel. He’s from Bari in Southern Italy, living and working in Florence. We hit it off pretty much immediately, had our first date at the Oblate where he taught me how to order “due birre” and I surprised him by being an American who also smokes cigarettes. Of course I joked about needing to marry an Italian man so I would never have to leave. I was impressed by his skills in English, which is essential considering the only Italian I knew coming to Florence was “ciao” and “grazie”. He made me laugh more than almost anyone I’ve ever known.
That night we went together to one of Florence’s fanciest clubs – Flo at Piazzale Michelangelo, which sits on a hill overlooking the city and has some pretty incredible views. From then on, we spent pretty much all of our spare time together. The week felt like forever, an entire lifetime, like a movie. He’s one of those people that I met and felt like I’ve known for ten years.
I didn’t have a hostile for my last night, so he graciously let me stay in his apartment. I was supposed to wake up at 4:30am the morning of my flight back to the States, which left at 7:05. We woke up at 5:55 and after a very speedy cab ride and anxiously waiting in the bag check line, I narrowly made it to my gate as they gave the last call. For an hour I really wasn’t sure if I would make my flight – I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
So I had to say good bye to this wonderful person I had totally fallen for, and we never knew if we would see each other again. That’s a really shitty feeling.
We continued skyping and texting daily, struggling with the six-hour time difference. So, when I had the thought to come back to Florence, Peppe was of course totally supportive and pretty much made the entire thing possible. I’m sharing an apartment here along with him and two other roommates in the historic city center only a few minutes walk to the Duomo. He’s opened his heart and his home to me along with lots of help figuring out what needed to be done on the other side of the pond. I couldn’t have done this, I probably wouldn’t have done this without him. It’s a huge leap for both of us, obviously, but I can’t describe the surreal feeling of kissing someone who’s been trapped behind a screen for 40 days.
So here we are in Florence, the city of romance and art, the birthplace of the renaissance. It all fell together in a very “Under the Tuscan Sun” sort of way.