one year in

okay, one year in. and my new country of choice is a warm, inviting, beautiful place.

but there are still difficult moments. this week i was feeling a bit discouraged, a bit blue:

  • i know i’ve said this over and over, but i thought my grasp of the italian language would be further along by now. my recent lesson convinced me otherwise. it’s been so much harder to learn than i ever imagined.
  • i will probably never drive (legally) here. watching my husband go through the complicated requirements to get his italian driver’s license makes me think “no way! impossible!” (and because of a shipping snafu, my beloved mini cooper will not be joining me.)
  • i miss close female companionship. i have friends in italy. very good friends, in fact. but we aren’t yet at that point of communicating where i can lay it all there and be totally me. totally understood, both my thoughts and my feelings. and i can’t reciprocate that need yet either.
  • i wanted to immediately fly out when a family emergency came up. i felt trapped, helpless, so far away. fortunately, though the road to healing will be long, the outcome was positive. but i realized once again, during this second of two similar events in the past year, what choosing to live on a different continent than loved ones really means.
  • i have a cold. (i know, this one doesn’t count.)

now, don’t get me wrong. i freely and happily chose to make this move. and italy is truly magical. the scenery, the history, the culture, the people. my villa, my retreats.

despite my grumblings, i would absolutely make the same choice again. but it’s a new lifestyle in every possible way. and i’ll be adjusting to it for a very long time to come.

there are many positives:

  • i am delighting in everyday discoveries.
  • i am stretching my self-imposed limits.
  • i am reveling in the beauty of good good people who have welcomed me.
  • i am expanding my business, creating my dream offerings.
  • i am realizing just how strong i really am.

and eventually, i will speak italian. i will drive. i will share meaningful exchanges with friends. i will convey my love and concern more effectively over the miles, even if not in person. and i will heal from my cold.

but some weeks, just like some of your weeks, are hard.
the 4 faces of april
in case you haven’t seen it, i was interviewed recently about my italian adventure!

read all about it here: They Bought a Villa in Italy Sight Unseen

me planning my retreat amidst chaos
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swirling untamed thoughts (or my-week-in-review)

villa magnolia stairwell

chilly villa
the curve of a cat’s tail

pending citizenship
first mountaintop snow
tech problems
first quinoa

the sting of bitterness
wild thunderstorm
isolation and frustration

italian verbs
a medical emergency
regretful fear

exceptional humans
cozy comfort
moving meditation
what mental images emerge for you when recalling your week?

the lean

leaning tower of pisa

the tower famously leans,
and we are in awe of it.

we lean,
and feel unbalanced, out of control.

the same characteristic that
makes the tower so appealing

makes us feel like
we are on unsteady terrain.

yet we stand strong too,
despite our faults.

it will happen.

well, saturday will mark a year that i’ve lived in italy! amazing challenges. unbelievable growth. it seems like the time’s gone quickly, yet it also seems like forever. a lifetime of unparalleled jubilation and disorienting bewilderment, in just twelve months.

so after being here a full year, i should probably be able to speak italian (perhaps even be fluent).

sunshine and humanity smiling

when i’m feeling
inadequate and small, and
the world has a good chance
of swallowing me whole

i seek peace, stillness,
and clarity of thought.
with both sunshine and humanity
smiling upon me.
vernazza in october
“what sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.”
~joseph addison
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on this day, october 11

4 years ago, on october 11, 2013.
in besano and induno olona, italy.

me with my italian cousins
with a few of my italian cousins.
discovering my roots.
grandma's house in italy
the home where my grandma was born and raised.
now a pharmacy.
eric in induno olona
the hotel where we stayed.

after the trembling, dare to hope.

violence. bloodshed.
here we are once again.
tragedy. heartbreak.
incomprehensible to comprehend.

i tremble.

so much pain. catalonia, france, the united states.
the vegas shooting far from me, yet at least six
had come from places that i’ve called home.
two of the six are now two of the 58, gone forever.

one word that moves mountains.

apuan alps mist

do you crave an existence in a more expansive world?
do you wish to create a magical life for yourself?


do you have a secret desire, a yearning, a hunger?
for a stronger voice, for adventurous travel, for better relationships?

losing the citrusy scent

i no longer am able to take pleasure in
the citrusy scent of a freshly cut orange,
the perfumed air from a bouquet of roses,
the sweet powdery smell of a baby’s soft skin.

we live our lives through our senses,
and i’ve lost my sense of smell.

when it’s all been said before

what is there to say,
when it’s all been said before?

maybe just that i am here,
in a new place, learning to navigate.
but dealing with similar struggles,
and with similar joys to celebrate.

we’re all different, it is true,
with our unique habits and notions.