Sandra: La mia Mamma Italiana

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindness there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” Dr. Samuel Johnson

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This time three years ago, I met a very special Italian lady – her name is Sandra Canali.

Our meeting was purely by coincidence. Carl and I were searching on the Internet for a place to live in the Varese province of Northern Italy. And by chance we stumbled across Sandra’s loft apartment, in a very unassuming commune of Varese, called Castronno.

Although we are no longer living in Castronno, our time there in 2010 and 2011 will always hold a special place in our hearts. It was our introduction to European living, a lifestyle we have now come to love and value.

Every year I return to Castronno to visit Sandra before the Trofeo Binda World Cup race in the area. I always enjoy my time with her.

We have long conversations in our own, special language, a mix of Italian and English. Although we come from very different backgrounds and cultures, somehow we manage to understand each other. We speak in a tongue that transcends words and vocabulary; it is a language of the heart.

The relationship Sandra and I have developed over such a short period of time, is a great example of human kindness at it’s best. Sandra welcomed Carl and I into her home and into her heart, at a time when we were feeling vulnerable and unsure of our surroundings. Moving to a new country, with very different traditions and a foreign language, isn’t easy. But Sandra embraced us and I will always be thankful for her willingness to do so.

Recently Sandra wrote me a very touching message on Facebook. She wrote: “Io ti guardo sempre!!! Voi siete sempre nel mio cuore!!!!!” In English this means: “I look after you forever!!! You are always in my heart!!!!”

Italian people are well known for their friendly nature. They are generous, gentle, warm, sociable and welcoming.

Thank you Sandra, this is a tribute to you, la mia Mamma Italiana ❤

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