Yesterday, severe thunderstorms hit Northeast Ohio all day and, as I was getting ready for my evening presentation at Lake Erie College – I didn’t know really how many might show up. I extended a few prayers and, accompanied by my Mom, we courageously made our way driving 1.5 hour each way to Painesville, Ohio. Suddenly, the sun came out on the highway (mind you it was already 6.00pm), a gorgeous rainbow filled the skies as I relaxed knowing that when you have FAITH, all things are possible.
I’m always enchanted by American academic settings – Lake Erie College was no exception: quaint, quiet, picturesque, a lovely Ohioan institution marked by the Eastern coast feeling of red-brick buildings situated on the shores of Lake Erie. As we entered the conference room where the presentation would take place, I was warmly greeted by Dr. Paola Basile, a dear friend and Director of the Italian Department at Lake Erie College, and her two delightful assistants: Natascia and Joe, President and Vice President of “Il Convivio” – a cultural group dedicated to the study and dialogue on the Italian culture and language. Another student, Gabriella, even made Sicilian “biscotti alla ricotta” for the occasion…..you can imagine how excited I was to see/taste these ;) Deliziosi, Gabriella!
The room almost filled completely with a very attentive and quiet audience – who warmed up at the end of the presentation in a wonderful exchange of questions and answers on “My Sicily,” my native island, its culture, language, cuisine, philosophies on life and identity. I absolutely love good conversation. Though the event was supposed to end at 9.30, we finished by 10.00pm.
I’m so touched by the warm hospitality and sweetness of last night’s event. I want to thank everyone that contributed to its great success. Thank you for inviting me to open this year’s series of cultural presentations at Il Convivio. Please continue to be in touch and continue your study and dialogue on Italy and the Italian culture and arts in Northeast Ohio. I’m honored and humbled to have met you. Grazie di cuore.