The year was 1994. I was in Mr. Gentile's 8th grade Italian class. Sure we probably practiced grammatical structures and irregular verbs, but the two things I remember most from that year were Cinema Paradiso and my Italian pen pal.
Last night while packing my luggage for Italy I discovered this letter from you in an old chest. I sat quietly and read it, as fascinated by the words now as I was when I first received the barbershop-striped envelope thirteen years ago. In 8th grade, Tuscany seemed a place of dreams, a far off paradise that only the privileged could visit. Thirteen years ago, names like Fabrizio and Nicola were beautiful but very foreign. Thirteen years ago, I could never have imagined that I would now be living in such a radiant country as yours.
I will be setting up a pen pal program with my students in Treviso so that they can practice their English. It will be the old fashioned way - a pen, a piece of paper and a pal.
I hope you are going in the direction of your dreams!
P.S. - I am sure that I replied to your letter with glee, but in case it got lost in the mail, I thought I should tell you...Yes, I do have a pet, a dog, she is also brown and her name is Dixie!