Letter Challenge Day Sixteen – Someone Outside My State or Country
Dear Gesualdo, [Jez-waldo]
Before you, “tour guide” meant: a person who guides visitors in the language of their choice and interprets the cultural and natural heritage of an area. (Thank you Wikipedia.) But you went above and beyond the base description of your office, became entertainer and informer, diplomat and director, and were a big part of what made my first trip to Europe a real experience.
In literary terms, you were our very own Gandalf, sharing with us little folk the secrets of Middle Earth and making sure none of us fell behind or followed the wrong umbrella. As often as we changed hotels, that tour bus became our second home, and nothing was quite as it should have been unless your Italian voice was carrying songs or facts over the microphone to all our listening ears.
Before you and Leo came along, Italy was just a faraway place; the source of a lot of art, famous people, and noodles. Now it’s known to me as far more than that, including the place where the best of people hail from. It would not have been the same without such an amazing guide.
I can still hear your voice in my head when I’m exhausted beyond reason or making some foolish mistake: “Heeelllaaaaao! Is ev’rybody awake?” :) I still hum and stumble over the words to Volare — the famous song you tried to teach us. I will never forget the way you danced and sang to Singing in the Rain when we had that downpour in Paris, flirted with a certain member of our group, put perfume samples in your ears and nose, let me pretend to be you and then tried to trick me into going the wrong way in Versailles, initiated karaoke hour on the bus, worked so hard to make our travels easy, nor how you cried at our parting dinner. Everywhere we went there seemed to be people who knew you and would call out from a nearby street or shop or table, “Gesualdo!” We felt like we were traveling with a celebrity who we were fortunate enough to know as well.
Some words from Gesualdo which will stay with me a long time…
-That will take you down to the catacombs!*
-I tell them, ‘No, I hate America; that’s why I’ve been there nine times!’
-There will be no breaking the plates at dinner, eh?
-Of course the French will say theirs is the best and we Italians will say ours is the best. …But ours is really the best, okay?
-We are almost at the hotel and I can tell you are all very sleepy. I will sing you a song until we get there.
-I will sing it like Bocelli, eh! (And he did.)
-[In song] We will meet at the yellow submarine! The yellow submarine! The yellow submarine! …Oh. They have taken out the yellow submarine and there is a horse there instead. So we will no longer be meeting at the yellow submarine.
-I will show you the place with the famous gelato. (<3)
-Ev’rybody knows this, it is very famous… [goes on to describe people and places I had never heard of before]
Grazie del tuo aiuto. Dio ti benedica!**
*It was an elevator and it didn’t. But we missed the first descent because we believed him implicitly. :P
**Thank you for your help. God bless you! (At least, as far as I could assemble from online guides. ;)
Note to readers: You can probably gather by now that when I put “Day Sixteen” I really just mean “Letter Sixteen” since I’ve fallen so far behind. :/ Apologies, my friends. I offer mine to you.