Maybe one day we’ll meet again
Story freely inspired by the project “Education Against Discrimination”, Erasmus+ Youthpass, Mobility of Youth Workers.
The other day, leaving a mall, while I and my friend were about to reach our car to go home, we noticed a young couple arguing because they were unable to open their car with the remote controller.
They were particularly nervous, but before we got to our car, after another attempt, they managed to open the car door and leave.
This scene reminded me an episode of a few years ago, and on the way back home, I told my friend the following story:
“A few years ago, I had to move for work to a small mountain town in northern Italy.
It was about ten days before I returned home and if I remember well, it was full winter.
While I was returning to the hotel, and I had arrived a few hundred meters away from it, a very strong storm arrived and, to temporarily shelter myself from the beating water, I stopped under a balcony.
At one point, not very far from where I was, I saw two people trying to open the side door of a small bus with ardor.
They were literally water’s soaked and, as soon as it was possible, I approached them trying to help.
They explained to me that they could not get the passengers off the bus, patiently, I also tried to help them to open the door.
Few minutes later and many several attempts, we finally managed to open the door’s bus.
About ten adults and three children got off the bus.
Immediately afterwards, I headed towards the hotel, when one of the two people I helped out, joined me for a quick coffee break.
I refused, because I couldn’t wait to go and relax in my room for a while, but having understood that we were guests in the same hotel, they invited me to join them for dinner.
I accepted, and shortly before dinner time, I went down to the lobby, where I met the already known gentleman, who introduced himself as the group leader in that area together with the Italian lady, university professor of meteorology.
They explained to me the activities were supposed to do in that area, and introduced me to all the participants coming from all over the world.
The group included a couple of American’s women with their little twins, about five years old, a couple from Morocco with another small child, one from Japan, one from Korea and two young girls from England.
To this variegated group, shortly thereafter, a beautiful Italian girl join us, who had the task of babysitting children, especially when her parents were on an excursion in the mountains, and she would remained with them all the time.
They communicated almost exclusively in English, and for me it was certainly not easy to understand what they were trying to tell me at any time, but with some help and a few glasses of wine, the evening passed in a pleasantly way.
They told me that they were all university professors in their respective countries and that they would stay in this small village for about fifteen days, since they wanted to understand and study how much the heavy rains affected the ground, that produced magnificent mushrooms during the autumn season.
That evening we all left.
The following days, the multicultural dinner, with all of them, became for me a prerogative and a moment of conviviality.
Finally I could also communicate a little better with them and they too started talking to me and telling me about their life experiences.
One Sunday I even went on an excursion with them.
The days that anticipated my departure passed quickly.
After dinner, now and then, we went together for a walk through the village, but in almost all the outings, I listened several times bad comments about the people who were with me, because of their cultural and physical differences, but they were only comments.
Among the various things I noticed in those days was a strong sympathy between the Japanese professor and the Italian babysitter.
However, everything passed quietly until two nights before my departure, when a meeting was organized between the professors and the inhabitants of that small town, including the girl’s parents.
In the succession of the multiple interventions of the evening, the parents noticed a feeling between their daughter and the professor, and the next day the parents girl forced her to resign.
During my last evening in their company an atmosphere of disappointment and dismay reigned for what had happened, but also that evening passed, and after the ritual greetings, I returned to my city.
Resuming the usual daily routine, I kept in touch with almost all the professors who in more than one case invited me to visit them in their respective countries, but yet I never went there.”
Having finished these words, I stopped for a few moments, and my friend asked me why I had told him this story …
After this question, I continued with the story without giving further explanations:
“One day of the last spring, I received a phone call from the Japanese’s professor who, after the usual personal questions, invited me to his wedding in August with the Italian girl.
I was puzzled for a few moments, but I was delighted with the news.
We met again on August 22nd.
Eight and a half years had passed since I had last seen them.
The children had become teenagers and all the others had grown old.
When we found ourselves again, the professor informed us of the way he had come to the marriage and how he had conquered his beloved wife and her family.
He returned to Italy practically for a week every three months immediately after the community experience, to see with his beautiful love.
After about three years and thousands of kilometers between Italy and Japan, he had the courage to return to the girl’s country to meet her family.
Although initially they were a bit sceptics, after several meetings and two years passing by, they began to appreciate the professor, and accepted that their daughter could see her love.
So in the previous summer, before the wedding took place, they went to live together.
The Japanese’s professor kept his travels strictly secrets before he invited us to the wedding, because he was very disappointed by the first reaction of her parents.
During the festivities, we toasted the new married couple and we toasted our being found as the group of many years before.”
After finishing the story, practically under his house, my friend who in the meantime had been surprised by the conclusion of the story, made me once again reflect on how important it is in life to help others, love and overcome prejudices on every kind of discrimination.
“A new dawn has arisen, but the memory will not fade.”
Story by Michele Bruno Salerno
© All rights to this work are reserved to the author, in accordance with current legislation.
Special thanks to the Association Passepartout.up (Facebook’s Account), and to the managers Edoardo and Biagio, and to the project’s trainer Luca.
But above all thanks to all of you who participated:
Afonso, Amjad, Antonia, Barbara, Ben, Brunello, Chaido, Dana, Eva, Giada, Gioia, Giulia, Ioana, Maria, Marisa, Marius, Mihaela, Natacha, Rox, Roxie, Susana, Theoni.