On August 7, 2023, four months after we returned from Italy, my application for dual citizenship in Italy was approved. To celebrate, I got a tattoo on my foot of two small olive branches that honors my Italian ancestors.

On October 8, 2023, David and I returned to Rionero after being in Puglia with my annual group of guests. It was a Sunday afternoon so, of course, there wasn’t a sign of anyone in the town. By incredible coincidence, when we parked our car in front of our apartment, Maria and Michele got out of another car, having just returned from lunch with family and friends. We hugged and wished each other “Buona Domenica”. I conversed with Maria for 20 minutes in Italian, finally able to keep up with her.

Someday I’ll get my Italian passport at the Italian Consulate in Chicago, but I’m not in any rush, because I now know the entire adventure was never really about getting another passport. It was about becoming Italian.