If I see you in the U.S. and greet you with a “Ciao!,” please don’t be annoyed. It’s reflex now. At the bus stop, at preschool drop off, at the bakery, at the grocery store, at the cafe, walking through town… every hello and good-bye has been “Ciao!” for the past three years. (Unless we’re in a formal situation in which a “buongiorno” and “arrividerci” are required, of course.) My days sound like this: church bells, “MOMMY!,” ciaos, bus engines, espresso machines, and chirping birds.
We’ve started a long series of proper farewells. It’s that time of year here, when organized activities wrap up and people move on to their summer plans or new homes. They don’t feel real yet, though, because we have about three weeks to go. No doubt buckling into the airplane will make it feel real enough.
Our recent adventures have introduced us to people who appreciate our journey and understand that we truly will never meet again. Not at the grocery store, not anywhere. And when we part they give a lovely greeting: “tante belle cose,” which translates to “many beautiful things.” I hadn’t heard it until a few weeks ago, and I think it’s my favorite Italian expression yet.
Shouldn’t we all wish this for each other every time we say a farewell? Imagine the world we’d live in if we simply wished for each other tante belle cose.