We left a cold and wet Toronto and returned to May Day celebrations and a glorious spring in Rome. Temperatures are in the high 20s, a heady scent of orange blossom permeates our neighbourhood and roses are already in full bloom. The only sad thing is that the two magnificient palm trees which dominated our street and which I loved are no longer there. Rome is dotted with palm trees which were fashionable to have in the 19th century and were mostly imported from Egypt. However, in the last few years, palms in the southern mediterranean have been affected by the red palm weevil. Each weevil can lay as many as 300 eggs which hatch into grubs. These grubs burrough into the heart of the palm and chomp voraciously thereby killing the palm. The palms in Sicily have been devastated and many in Rome are slowly dying. Treatment consists of inserting a tube into the heart and pumping in insecticide as well as getting rid of infected palms to prevent spread. Being a costly business, there is little hope of getting owners of individual gardens to comply with this measure and so the disease marches on. The palm trees on our street were around a 100 years old and about 80 ft high and we watched the tube treatment for weeks but it was too late. One morning just before we left for India in February, we woke up to the sound of chain saws. Watching the trees being cut down was a heartbreaking sight.
Its been one year since my move to Rome and what a year of change it has been. In my family alone, we had a wedding (Busy Bees and a Wedding), a christening, and sadly, a funeral (In Memoriam). These, together with scheduled trips, made for frequent criss-crossing of the Atlantic and a frenzy of socialising when back in Toronto. Its a curious fact that we see more of some Toronto friends now than when we lived there full time since we make definite arrangements to meet, as opposed to thinking that we can see any of them at anytime and not getting around to it.
Its also been one year of blogging which is amazing to me. In fact my first post went out exactly a year ago on May 4th 2012. I started the blog just to keep my family and friends in touch with my life as it would have been impossible to write to everyone on a regular basis. In the beginning, I was worried about running out of things to write about after a month or two. Who wants to know that you spent the day lollygagging around or that you indulged in too many aperitivi and woke up with a headache the next day? Instead, I found that writing about things has made me more observant and thoughtful about what I see and here in Rome there’s plenty to see and reflect on. It also makes me look up information, albeit of dubious value, like the number of eggs a red palm weevil can lay!
So, the verdict on Rome? I love it here and want to stay but I still want to return to Toronto at regular intervals. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds or will I find myself in debt and not having a regular life in either one? I’ll keep you posted!