Jill Holden tells us about The Italian Job in The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter, issue Number 58, Fall 2007:
I find myself thinking of Italy often since my father took the entire family to Italy to reconnect with our family who lives outside of Lucca in a little town called Orentano a year ago in June. So, my sister Lisa and her family, my brother Alan and his wife, my father Aldo and his wife Carol, and Lonner, Olivia, Emily and I met in San Francisco to embark on this pilgrimage.
I was studying Italian, since I had taken French in high school and college, I think mostly to spite my father. Italian was the language spoken whenever local relatives came for holidays, and whenever my grandparents were around. I figured having been exposed to it throughout my childhood I would at least be able to pick up some of it. Both Lisa and Alan lived in Italy, so they were fluent. Relatives of both of my grandparents still live in Orentano, and none of them speak English.
We arrived in Lucca, and the first evening was the first of three consecutive dinners with the relatives. Each dinner would be at a different relative’s house. The first dinner was to be at the house where my nonni (grandmother), Lilia was born and raised. Before we left for this gathering, my father and I were walking around Lucca. He asked me if I had thought of a gift to bring to the relatives. I happily said I did, and I decided on the Self-Help Books and a copy of The Touch of Healing. I thought they would be able to understand through pictures, and someone could interpret them easily. My father sighed with a look of disappointment. He shook his head slightly and said, “Honey, they aren’t going to be interested in that kind of thing. They’re simple people, they just don’t think like that. They won’t understand it either.” I explained how simple the books were, and that I was intending to show them the books myself. I thought it would be a nice way to connect with them. My father suggested that I buy a cake. I left the books in our hotel room.
We arrived in the late afternoon. A long table had been set, and the food started coming right away. There were seven children (including mine) playing soccer outside in the street. So, the adults sat around eating a variety of antipasti, drinking wine that was as smooth as velvet, the language dancing through the air around us. I was truly happy, it didn’t matter that I didn’t understand much of what was being said. There were lots of smiles and hugs and praises that I couldn’t understand, other than everyone thought I looked like my grandmother, Lilia.
After several hours there was a loud cracking sound at the end of the table. We looked to see one of the cousins, Alejandro, on the floor. There were a few white plastic chairs that had been brought in from outside, since there weren’t enough wooden chairs to go around. A leg from the plastic chair had just snapped out from Alejandro, and he had landed on his elbow on the marble floor. He was holding his elbow, it obviously really hurt. Lonner immediately got up and went over and started applying some Jin Shin Jyutsu. The conversation turned to the topic of Jin Shin Jyutsu. They all wanted to know what we did, how it worked, what kinds of things we treated, our experiences, and why was this not being taught or practiced in Italy?
My brother was interpreting as we were rapidly answering questions, and demonstrating and showing Self-Help. Alejandro was amazed at how much better he felt. And as he showed off his elbow – there was no swelling, bruising, or any kind of mark. The relatives grew more curious, each one asking about their particular project. The conversation continued in tandem, more food arrived; I glanced over at my father and smiled. He shrugged and said, “It’s a surprise to me, honey.”
To be continued…