In many Indigenous languages there is no word for goodbye. So we will not say arrivederci to Italy. One day we will journey back to Italy, back to Cosenza either in our dreams or bodies. And so we refrain from saying arrivederci and simply share our last full day in Cosenza Italy.
Our new brother and sister, Mario and Anna Rita took time to bring Maya and I to the community of Lungro, an Albanian community north of Cosenza. Anna Rita proud Italian Albanian woman graciously shared Lungro, shared history and culture with us. We arrived to a small Albanian settlement where we visited the Cathedral of St. Nicholas of Myra, where we breathed in mosaics, icons and Byzantine paintings. We sat in awe of the spirits rising from Anna Rita’s tender powerful voice as she sang for us. We had a sitting with the Pope of Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Church. We went to the home of one of Lungro’s cultural leaders, Anna known as the Academic of Mate. Mate a South American drink introduced to the community of Lungro through the descendants of Anna’s family and is now part of the culture of Lungro today. Anna made us traditional Albanian food, a dish made of flour and water, seasoned with fresh tomato sauce and peppers called Dromsat. We were then treated with a dish of egg and pepper, then spicy fish with bread and tomatoes sprinkled with oregano and cheese, then fruit from a neighbor’s garden, melon and plums, then a syrupy liquor made from the tangerines in Anna’s backyard, and then fermented cherries. Anna gave us a tour of her home/museum where we experienced local Albanian dress, music, literature, the introduction of the history of mate. After the tour we sat and drank mate and ate pastries. Anna sang for us the history of mate! We then visited the Lungro’s salt mine museum where we experienced the tedious back breaking work of the salt miners and the conditions they endured. The mine was abandoned in 1976. In 2010 it was commemorated by a museum.
Deep gratitude for this day, for our gracious hosts Mario, Anna Rita and Anna and for the teachings which this short blog could never do justice. We followed up our day with a dinner at local pizzeria in Cosenza and shared our last night with our beautiful friends and family!! We will not say arrivederci only see you next time! One love.