Reconnect With Your Own History
On a recent trip to Europe with my family, we enjoyed a wonderful day biking in the Tuscany region of Italy. As we left the city of Florence, we noticed the landscape was dotted with estates, vineyards and olive groves, this area reminded me so much of our Okanagan/Naramata region. With it being a very hilly area, the bike ride was challenging, but oh so enjoyable!
As we proceeded on our bike tour, I noticed that some of the estates had a small cemetery on its property, leaving us to think that these are small family cemeteries. These burial plots were not hidden in an obscure corner of their property, but instead right out front next to the road, maybe as a token of reverence to their loved ones? They also had large upright grave monuments to honour their loved ones. I am not sure if these family cemeteries are still being used today, but it reminds me of where I was raised in Saskatchewan; the small church cemeteries located in the rural areas of Saskatchewan, many of which are still being used today.
Continuing on, we also noticed randomly placed shrine-like structures on the side of the road or next to old buildings. We noticed flowers and picture frames that were placed inside these structures, maybe as a tribute or a place of prayer? We found this very different and interesting and it gave a certain ambiance and distinction to the area and our bike tour. It was unfortunate that we didn’t have more time to talk to the locals and get some insight as to their customs and traditions. Without being given the tour guide version of explanation, it was easy to see that they were an everyday part of life in this region, in plain sight for everyone to enjoy.
Tuscany was one of many highlights of our trip to Europe and I’d go back in a heartbeat. There was so much more to see and experience.
Experiencing the richness of history made me realize that every one of us has a rich heritage filled with stories of old. All we have to do is tap into our past by taking the time to talk with the older generation while they are still here with us.
We can glean family history from our parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles; they would welcome a chance to share their stories and experiences. This would leave us with a deeper understanding of where we came from and who we are. I think we would be pleasantly surprised of what we could learn about the legacy of our own family history.