Living in town is a very new experience of our soul home Ostuni.
Francesco and I always resided in the quiet of the countryside and when it came summer we avoided the busyness of Ostuni town.
Now in my little appartment, I wake in the morning to the sound of the church bells and the bustle of our vibrant street, Via Alfonso.
Everyone knows his neighbour here and you can hear the locals shouting across from one door to another in Ostuni dialect , which I still don’t understand!
In the evenings about 7 pm the Nonnas all gather outside their doors on plastic or wooden chairs.
These wise women sit together in conversation all the while watching the comings and goings of our street,still usually wearing an apron or an old fashioned pinafore, after a day’s cooking no doubt.
I greet them as I head out for aperitivo, wondering what they must be talking about.
I’m sure I feature as “the new tall foreign woman”.
They are all so petite!
My gay friends live across from me and they assume they are brothers, I love their old fashioned innocence.
There’s something comforting about the daily routine and all the noise on this street.
I feel at home.
Across the way there’s a beautiful enoteca that I’ve long been familiar with, Enoteca Greco, myself and friends will gather there for a glass of wine.
We always have the best time.
The owner, Adriano, is a lovely man, serious about wines and his father sits on the steps morning and evening watching the world go by.
A small man, well dressed, tanned with a look of authority.
I wonder what he might see observing our little corner of heaven, us ex-pats are surely an enigma.
Its so very safe and slow here and yet to see it through his eyes must be a wonderful sight.
Even in a small town there’s much goes on when we get still enough to notice.
The locals are friendly as ever, they’ve accepted me into their world, especially at our café, Nephenta.
I don’t even have to make my own coffee now, just wake up and two mins down the street I’m met with cappuccino and a smile.
Everything feels easy, I rarely feel alone.
I’m still not ready to be totally alone.
Italians rarely do anything alone, it used to drive me nuts but at this time in my life I’m leaning on their wisdom now.
I’m feeling very grateful that unlike the people of Afghanistan, I’m not having to navigate loss alongside loss of environment, loss of home, community, culture, food and familiarity.
I can’t imagine what they are going through.
Their situation reminds me of how fortunate I really am.
Ostuni remains our soul home and I feel Francesco all around.
We are the in the fabric of this ancient city having left our touch as a couple in love.
I’m not sure how long I’ll stay or where I’ll end up next but what I know for now is that this beautiful place, deep in Southern Italy, is the only place I need to be and to heal .
The more I’m here in the now, the more I thrive and find direction.
Don’t be mistaken that you need Italy or the perfect environment for that, we simply need presence.
Like my friend’s father at the enoteca sitting watching the world go by, as we get still to the moment we will notice all that needs to be seen, acted on and realised.