Tuesday 18 December 2012


The alarm was set for 6:20am. We were going to drive to Paola to get the super fast freccia argento train. It would only take 3 and a half hours to reach the centre of Rome. At about 5.30 we heard bel marito's mothers heavy footsteps running down the stairs. She tapped on our door and whispered "it's snowing!" What!! It can't be snowing, it wasn't snowing when we went to bed and snow equals possibly being trapped in the village unable to get out. Snowing on the morning you are set to depart is not good. We pushed open the windows and even though it was still pitch black outside the soft glow of the street light illuminated the swirling, fast falling snow. Pretty to be sure but not this morning of all mornings.

No one ever imagines their departure will be so rushed, let alone a departure so significant. We were on our way, migrating with 2 children to literally the other side of the world. We jumped out of bed, called friends who were also driving with us to the station, got dressed, woke up the sleeping bambini and hastily said goodbye to bel marito's parents. We just couldn't afford delay since when it snows here it really snows and maybe it was best for bel marito as long, drawn out good-byes can be hard. So we left Malito in flurry of snow and haste.

We got to Rome in the end with bel marito's brother and his wife in tow. They were going to help us carry our 3 massive and 2 small suitcases since I, still on crutches, am no help at all. Rushed goodbyes however followed us to the Rome airport the next day. I was given wheelchair assistance since the airport is quite large and it would take me too long to hobble on crutches from A to B. My wheelchair pushing man was in a rush when I asked if we could pause for a moment to wait for my brother and sister in law. They were flying back to Calabria but were a few minutes behind us with the security check. No, my wheelchair pushing man could not wait he had to get me through passport control as soon as possible. What to do, what to do? I told bel marito that he could wait with bel bambino and say goodbye and that I, with bella bambina strapped to me in her baby bjorn would go and wait for them in the lounge. I was sorry to not say goodbye but it was best that they lag behind since my impatient wheelchair pushing man was practically pushing me off mid way through conversation. My plan would have been a good plan had it not been for the small fact that I had forgotten about bella bambina's passport mistake. Do you remember my post where I explained that my name had stupidly been left off her passport and that I legally am not permitted to fly alone with her? Hope you remember the post cause I sure as hell didn't.

So here I was, sitting in my wheelchair looking anxiously over my shoulder when a passport controller comes out of his office to talk to me. He was agitated, rightly so as he presumed he had a disabled woman trying to kidnap a baby in front of him. "We have a problem with the passports," he told me. "Ahh, yes of course! My daughter's passport has a mistake. I know that there is no mention of me on her passport but they made a mistake." I kept glancing over my shoulder and must have looked like an insane, mentally unstable kidnapper. "Are you travelling alone?" "No, my husband and son are with me." "I can't see them." "they're over there." I point over to security but there were so many people walking around it was difficult to make them out. "See that man with the blue jacket and the little boy in the pram? That's them." Good on them for wearing plain, don't stand at all out in a crowd clothes. "I don't see them. I cannot let you pass." "Well I didn't want to pass but this man (indicating the wheelchair pushing man) said that I could not wait to say goodbye to my sister and brother in law." I really wasn't making any sense. "So they are going with you?" "Yes." "Not your husband." "No, yes, what?" I was terribly confused. "So you are going alone." "No, I am just alone now. I just want to go and wait in the lounge alone. Look I know that I cannot pass without my husband but he is over there. He wants to say goodbye to his brother because we are migrating to Australia with our 2 children." I was making no sense as I started rattling off my life story. The passport controller was starting to sweat and the wheelchair pushing man was getting impatient. I started waving which made me seem even more crazy than before. I had to get bel marito's attention. Thankfully, through the crowds of people we made eye contact and I frantically tried to yell out to him. Just as his brother and wife joined his side I started making strange hand gestures trying to explain long distance my predicament. Thanks to the wheelchair pushing man and his unexplainable hurry,  my husband had to hastily say goodbye to his brother and his wife, had to come and convince the passport controller that I was not a crazy kidnapper but that I was his wife and we were travelling as a party of 4, not 2. All I could do was wave to my sister and brother in law. I didn't even get to say goodbye.

So in a mad rush we left Italy. That ladies and gentlemen is it. This blog started with a single 27 year old girl arriving in Italy to live her dream. 6.5 years later a (just turned) 34 year old girl leaves Italy behind with her Italian husband and 2 Italian born children by her side. The dream over time changed, the original dream had been brought to life and now it's time for our new dream to begin. So is it goodbye or hello? Will you hear from me again or not. Only time will tell.


Anonymous said...

Welcome home ... I have followed your blog for as long as it's been alive. I've laughed, cried and empathised with your journey. I even spotted you sitting outside The Continental Hotel in Sorrento during your holiday back home a few years ago ... although didn't have the courage to approach you. Maybe next time I see you I will. I hope your transition back home goes smoothly and I wish you and your precious family a wonderful life surrounded with great people and great times. We live in the best country in the world ... I wish you happiness, always. From a fellow Melbourne girl who's parents migrated from Italy in the 50's and 60's xxx

Gio75 said...

Well... it's time to add to the name of your blog "... and back (to Australia)"...

Canedolia said...

I don't think leaving a place you've lived ever goes quite as you imagine - so often the meaningful moments get lost in the madness - but this is an extreme example.

Wishing you and your Bella famiglia all the best on your next adventure. I really hope you keep blogging because I love reading your posts!

Rosa said...

Life is never simple. Good luck to all of you on your new one!

Anonymous said...

Please don't stop blogging
I live in Bermuda an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean which is about hours by plane from Boston
I love hearing how people in other parts of the world live
Merry Christmas to all of you

Kay said...

All the very best for the next stage of your adventures... and please keep blogging!

Linda said...

Leanne ~ all the best to you and your family on your new adventure. Life is at times challenging and 2012 has been one for you. All the best for a bright, happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013.

I too hope you continue your blog.

carolyn said...

hope you will continue blogging. enjoyed your funny insights and take on life extremely!
all the best and good luck!
carolyn from malaysia

Unknown said...

Welcome home! Hope your flight went well and re-entry has been smooth. Your blog has been interesting especially as my late mother was from Reggio di Calabria. I have enjoyed reading and have shared with your ups and lows even if you are only an internet aquaintence. Best of luck in whatever comes your way.

Anonymous said...

I miss reading your blog.
Please do an update so we know how you are doing in Australia.

minitaly said...

don't leave me here! :)

Anonymous said...

I've followed your blog for several years, and have always enjoyed your writing and no-holds-barred approach to life. I hope you'll continue blogging from Down Under. Best of luck to you and your beautiful family in 2013! From a fan in Canada.

Susan said...

Congratulations on a wonderful blog, two lovely children and bel marito! Life isn't always a straightforward path as yours but certainly worth documenting!
Thank you for sharing. I have a simple life here in Berkeley, California and as I grow older I think nothing new will come again. I loved and lost, had my baby, she grew up and away, but with a curious heart I do find wonder in the spring, in my new found Italian citizenship, learning to parlare L'ilatiano, and studying to one day complete a personal and career goal all in order to abundantly represent myself and those who came before. I frequently consider my great grandmother leaving Malito in the spring of 1898 with her 4 year old son, leaving behind the death of three bambini and her marito. Sometimes we need to walk away from our tragedies to give ourselves a new world of hope.

Jill said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences over the year in Italy.

I hope by now you are all settled and you and your son have fully recovered from your accident.


Anonymous said...

vogliamo sapere che cosa state facendo laggiรน? che lavoro avete trovato ? dove vivete ? come stanno crescendo i piccoli. dai !!! vogliamo news !!!!


Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Dear Anonymous
Thanks for the message. I can't believe you spotted me in Sorrento (the Australian one) and didn't say hello! Next time please do. I am not in Sorrento often as family have holiday houses in Rosebud but sometimes we pop over to Sorrento.

Dear Gio75,
I was just thinking the same thing to change the name of the blog by adding - and back... :)

Dear Candela
I like to leave with a touch of drama ;)

Dear Rose,
Thank you.

Dear Aloma,
Thanks for the message and if you are still here to read I will be coming back!

Dear Kay,
I will come back to blogging, I have missed it.

Dear Linda
Thanks for the message.

Dear Carolyn,
Thanks for the comments.

Dear Marcellina,

the re-entry was smooth considering. Thanks :)

Dear Canadian fan,
Thanks and I am back!

Dear Susan
Thanks for the comment and you are right.

Hi Jill.
I am not quite fully recovered by certainly getting there. Thanks.

Ciao Giorgio,
Sono tornata!

Anonymous said...

Hi Leanne, Your children must be so big now and I'm sure you have been so busy. Every so often I try to find out if you are blogging again. I hope all of you are doing OK. ALoma from Bermuda

Anonymous said...

Hi Leanne, Your children must be so big now and I'm sure you have been so busy. Every so often I try to find out if you are blogging again. I hope all of you are doing OK. ALoma from Bermuda

Anonymous said...

Hi Leanne, Your children must be so big now and I'm sure you have been so busy. Every so often I try to find out if you are blogging again. I hope all of you are doing OK. ALoma from Bermuda

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Aloma,
Sorry for the late reply as I don't log into this blog very often :) My kids are big now, almost 6 and 4! I am not blogging anymore, I miss blogging but just not sure if i have the time (or funny stories) to blog anymore. It means so much that you stopped by checking in. I hope you get this reply :)

alomafoggo@gmail.com said...

Hi Leanne - It's Sunday, 16 December 2018 and I see your message. Thank you so much for replying. I think we all would be happy with just a little news now and then��. I'm sure you must be so busy with your family every day.
Have a lovely Christmas. ���� Aloma

alomafoggo@gmail.com said...

Hi Leanne - finally saw your reply. Thank you. You must be so busy with your family. Have a lovely Christmas ๐Ÿ’•๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…

valerie said...

Hi Leanne
I just stumbled across your blog. My grandpa was from Malito. He passed away in the early 80's. Really nice to read and see some photos of his town. Hope you are well!