The Krista dispatch

In which I was adopted by a Sardinian family

June 29, 2022

When I landed at the Cagliari airport, my host and his daughter were waiting with a flag that looked very much not like an Italian flag.

I was slightly terrified. I was sure I was supposed to be on an island in Italy. This was not confirming that belief. Which was a bit, well, concerning. But, from the minute Rosario and Giuli greeted me with giant smiles and hugs, I knew all was going to be okay.

English is not their first language, so of course I tried Spanish. Yeah, no. But good try, Krista. Google Translate to Italian? Getting closer…and, then they broke it to me: Sardinia has its own language. Of course, of course there is a Sardinian language. Let’s go with smiles and hugs and laughter? This is a universal language and one I came to know very well (also, Google Translate, thank you for saving me a few times).

They showed me my room. I smiled. Their guard dogs, not so ferocious, gave me kisses. And, oh, there are turtles out back! No, really, come see their eggs…

The delight with which this family showed me their home, their city, their way of life in San Sperate will only be surpassed with the love that they showed me. Every morning, a beautiful array of breakfast food was set out by Valentina (now known as my Sardinian mom). She quickly learned what I love, and introduced me to things that I learned I love even more (pizza for breakfast?!?). My favorite were the homemade cakes she’d set out. But the fruit salad was a close second because I got to go share it with my turtle friends, Tommy and Green.

Life in Sardinia is the polar opposite of life in Los Angeles. And it touched my heart and filled my tummy with everything I will need to carry me through the 10-day Giro Donne. To feel at home: loved and supported through sick/sad days just as much as good/merry ones is a gift I thought only my own family could give. But I was wrong.

Thank you, to my Sardinian family, and see you after the Giro Donne.

A special thanks to Krista Doebel-Hickok for writing this story and sharing her experience in Sardinia.

Share this story

More from Giro d'Italia Donne