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Letter to Yampa

My dearest Yampa,
this short letter is for you … Do you remember when I was little and I couldn’t pronounce the word grandpa so I started to call you Yampa? Little did I know how much that word would mean to me over the years and will mean to me forever.
For children, grandparents are the symbol of wisdom but also the people that always give in to whatever request grandchildren make. But you were different. You were the Yampa that would take us to England on adventurous trips. You were the Yampa that would take us to public foot paths, watch cricket matches in Lancashire and get us to appreciate the English countryside. You were the Yampa that would drive for miles to take us to car boot sales but also to the places that had so profoundly marked the English roots of our family. Nothing could make us feel more special than sitting next to you in your ‘right handed’ Rover.
But you were also the Yampa that inspired us with love for music instilling in us the added value that music can give to a person’s life. There was never a dull moment when we came to your house – it was better that an amusement park! The piano, the organ, the billiard table, the darts , the jukebox or just writing on the blackboard with colored chalk eating liquorice allsorts. You managed to make us feel like adults when, together, we painted your room turning this simple gesture into a memory to treasure. Everything was magical in your study, the books and the newspapers you used to hold with both hands, turning the pages over as though they were made of gold and reading even the smallest footnote.
Summer also meant going to Jesolo and you would make even that special with the mini-golf, the traditional walk on 15th August to choose the flashiest hotel and the ‘I spy with my little eye’ game in the evenings. You used to love watching us run into the sea and we were so proud of our Yampa.
Growing up we started to see things with different eyes and the light-heartedness of childhood was replaced with the awareness that our family was different and that you were the origin of our uniqueness. We began to understand the immense advantage of having two cultures and of integrating the English mentality into our perception and understanding of reality.
With time some of your favorite quotes gained a different meaning and among them ‘live every day as though it was your last’ and ‘the best things in life are free’ encouraging us to appreciate beautiful landscapes became your most important teachings. You managed to live up to our expectations right until the end showing a degree of sweetness and ability to endure pain we will never forget.
The future is a big question mark now that you are no longer among us but we can assure you that we will do our best to make you as proud of us as we have always been of you. You brought England to Arzignano and we will make sure that we keep up the good work started by you.

With all our love

Marianna and Riccardo

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Lana, my little angel

I met her 7 years ago but it wasn’t love at first sight… I never would have imagined she’d become so important for me, a real part of me…

Every dog owner has funny stories about their dog and considers their dog as unique… but as far as I’m concerned she wasn’t just unique, she was and will always be my little angel. Little, curly, as awift as a gazelle… a person told me on the very same day she left us: “It’s unbelievable… you’re so similar, even physically.” When our paths crossed I already had two fantastic dogs but I didn’t feel they were really mine or, let’s say, I didn’t feel they were such a big part of me as I would have liked. So I decided to adopt her, driven by my missionary spirit and supported by my mother.

The beginning wasn’t simple… she was ill, frail and needed too much attention to give some back. Then everything changed. Three months later we saw a rebirth: she would trot proudly wearing her pink coat and with a thankful expression for her saviour. She fit in perfectly with our family, found an ally in one of our dogs and showed awe towards the other… and she conquered my heart. I knew I could take her everywhere and she knew how to behave, because she was intelligent and felt I would have done everything for her.

She accompanied me during my university years coming to Padua every week and patiently waiting for us in the flat while we were attending our lessons. But she would then grant us some singular moments of entertainment. She also sat during my dissertation unconcerned by the horrified expression on my professors’ faces and loudly yawned when I was proclaimed doctor. She was there when I had to choose my working career and was always ready to make me feel important even when doors would shut and I would feel demoralized.

When I first met Nicolas she helped me understand I had finally met the right person for me. She patiently waited for my brother to come back from the other side of the world giving him that sense of security and peacefulness he needed. She went to Pantelleria, the wind island, four times conquering the heart of those she met there.

I was convinced she would always be there because I always considered her ageless… but she had a big problem: her heart was too big… so big it stopped beating only after having taught me that the most precious moments don’t require words because loyalty, real loyalty, can only be built with infinite love

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