:: A letter, sent to us from the other side of the world — Italy ::
Hello Hayley and Lauren,
My name is Barbara, I’m 39 years old and I live in Italy. I liked your Facebook page because I’m interested in everything Adelaide, the city where I left a piece of my heart five years ago…
Adelaide is the city where my father lived during the Sixties. He was one of many migrants, along with three of his brothers, who had to choose to work abroad for a future in his homeland.
There were so many the opportunities in Adelaide: a job, good money, the twenty-year-old enthusiasm, and the opportunity to buy of a block of land, which he was planning on building a house on. But this remained a dream, because after seven years, he decided to go back to Italy — where he met my mother, and stayed.
Before getting married, my father asked my mother if she wanted to start their new life together in Adelaide; she said “no”, she didn’t want to live far away from her town and her family. My dad loved her so didn’t force the situation and they stayed in Italy and started a family. But the desire to return to Adelaide had not disappeared.
For as long as I remember, my dad has told me about Adelaide, this magical land where he left part of his heart. And then one day in the fall of 2010, he decided to listen to his heart… after forty-two years, it was time to go back for a visit. This time, my mum said, YES! I was so excited that I was going to finally know the land my father has told me about so many times.
The weirdest thing happened when I arrived in Adelaide, like my dad, I also felt like I belonged in the city that welcomed my father when he was young. I found myself in perfect harmony with the colours, sounds and smells of the places where my father lived. When I was driven along Main South Road for my very first time, it was as if I’d been there before, as if I’d just come back to the place where I was born. That feeling almost shocked me!
I visited several places in Adelaide with my parents, relatives and friends. We went on a cruise at Port Adelaide, where we had a delicious lunch on the boat and saw a friendly dolphin.
We spent a wonderful afternoon in Glenelg, walking along the jetty and having a tour around the Marina Pier. We waited until the sunset to see the fantastic colours over the sea, then had a lovely pizza at Mamma Carmela before catching the tram back to my Aunty’s house.
We admired the spectacular view from Mount Lofty, the nature of the Cleland Wildlife Park, the Botanic Garden, and the works of the Art Gallery. We had a lovely picnic in Elder Park and walked around the city… then my father brought me to the suburb where he lived! it was very touching seeing my former uncle’s house and a house built on the plot which my father bought and then sold it back when he decided to return to Italy.
We toured the Barossa Valley with a stop at Whispering Wall. It was amazing seeing the vineyards stretching to the horizon until they touch the sky! It blew my mind how stunning your city is. I found myself filling up with tears at the beauty of it all.
Now I should say something about me. I am quadriplegic and have been since 1987 when a fall from a swing left me paralysed from shoulders down.
Having a social life is quite difficult and sometimes impossible for wheelchair users, especially if you live in Italy. That’s why I was very surprised about the public transport, one of the best things I saw in Adelaide. I experienced the total accessibility of the trams to go to the city and to Glenelg; I didn’t even meet any holes or obstacles on the pavement.
All this is something optional in Italy, that means people with disabilities can’t go out because of too many architectural barriers in their cities or towns. During my time in Adelaide I was able to go everywhere I wanted, spending the most beautiful days of my life so far.
And this is just one of the many reasons I want to say thank you to Adelaide for being so incredibly beautiful. I now call you, “my second homeland”.