Adventures in Italian Living and Slowing Down

What would it mean if sitting quietly was enough?

The card that I wrote my husband for our one year anniversary said: “I love that we have adventures together.” Really, I was referring to our whole life as the adventure—three years ago, before Ryan was even my husband, we decided to move to Italy.

Ryan is a professional hockey player and in the summer of 2011, he got an offer to play for a team in northern Italy. The team would give us an apartment, a car, and a paycheck, and we would live in Cortina, Italy for seven months. Of course we said yes.

That first season was a blur of red wine, fresh spaghetti, Saturday night hockey games and long conversations with new friends over elaborate cheese plates. We learned our way around our new town, figured out how to order prosciutto at the deli counter, and took trips to Florence, Siena, and Venice. In the middle of it all, Ryan asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes.

Our adventure extended itself when the opportunity arose to return to Italy for a second season, and then a third. During our second year, Italy slowly began to feel less like a vacation and more like home.

Cortina is a small ski resort nestled in the Dolomite Mountains. We got to know the locals who welcomed us back year after year and we picked up on mundane everyday tasks that are huge accomplishments in a different country: taking a shirt to the dry cleaner, finding baking soda in the grocery store, and knowing which panificio has the best olive bread.

Every April we would fly home to Colorado and spend the summer months with our friends and families, regaling them with tales of gondola rides in Venice and sunset cocktails on Lake Como. Then, every September we would fly back to Italy, trying to leave our American ways and to-do lists behind.

As the days, months, and then years passed, we settled into our lives just the way any other engaged and then married couple would. Only, we weren’t putting away new wedding presents in our kitchen and kissing each other goodbye every morning before we left for work. Our wedding presents remained un-opened in our storage unit. We got married in Colorado last August after a blurry summer of wedding planning and flew back to Italy three weeks later.

Italy is lovely, of course, but it’s often hard, even for us, to picture it as “real life.” After all, we’re living in a place where people leave their jobs from 12:30 to 3:30 every day to drink wine at lunch and take naps. Finding our way around this new culture was difficult at times, and not without some tears.

“What do you DO all day?” our friends and families at home would ask. At first, this question offended me to no end. I was in ITALY! That’s what I did all day!

In truth, the days stretched before me, mostly empty, waiting for the American in me to fill them up with clutter and busy work. We were there for Ryan’s job, and while he had a strict schedule, I wasn’t working, which made it easy for me to flail around feeling un-purposeful. My days consisted of long walks on the bike path, trips to the grocery store, and hours spent sprawled out on the couch with a novel. It felt like a permanent vacation.

But I loved Italy, and I loved our lifestyle. I didn’t want to go back to America and get a desk job. I asked the question over and over in my head: how am I supposed to make Italy feel real? As it turned out, the answer was very Italian: wait and see.

Prior to moving to Cortina, I worked at a public relations firm, where my responsibilities included recording the morning shows every day on our office television, and taking copious notes at endless meetings. I was thrilled at the idea of moving to Italy where I wouldn’t be working, where I would have the time to learn to cook and to explore my new surroundings.

However, I began to realize that not having any responsibilities is one thing while on vacation and is a totally different feeling in real life. I often felt guilty about sleeping until 8:30 am, only to wake up and walk into town for a cappuccino and a trip to the grocery store with my husband. Couples just don’t get to do that kind of thing in America.

I needed something to give my days purpose. So I decided to start writing. I wrote a blog about our adventures in Italian living, our travels, what we learned, and what we ate. I drew up an editorial calendar and stuck to it, putting together two posts per week, writing recipes and editing pictures.

I took Italian classes with a friend a few mornings a week, appreciating the early morning fog rising up the mountain as I walked to our teacher’s house. I started working on a collection of essays about life in Italy. I got a huge break when I was asked to write a monthly food column for an Italian magazine.

Carving a few hours out of each day to work on these projects rejuvenated me, and finally I found myself able to enjoy all those moments throughout the day that I was feeling guilty about: the morning hour that I spent chatting in a café with a girlfriend, that glass of wine I enjoyed at lunch with my bowl of pasta, and the long afternoon I spent stretched out on the couch finishing my book.

Instead of secretly thinking it ridiculous to go to the store every single day, I relished walking through town with my grocery bags, stopping for an espresso on the way, and then picking out the ingredients for that night’s dinner. I took time to cook long meals, stirring pots of risotto for an hour with the kitchen window open to let the steam out. I finally embraced the riposo period from 12:30 to 3:30 every afternoon, and instead of wondering why the stores weren’t open, I would make big pots of soup for lunch, which we would eat before curling up on the couch for a nap.

In Italy, it is unacceptable to take a to-go cup of coffee, and to run frantically around town, to-do list in hand. When you finally slow down, you appreciate things you never thought possible: the clink of spoons against coffee cups at the café, the sun lowering behind the mountains on winter afternoons, and leisurely family meals around a splintery wooden table.

Learning to appreciate the small, quiet moments in life is difficult, but it’s so Italian. Living in Italy forced me to slow down, a lesson I’ve tried to take home to America with me every summer—but it’s hard. Why do we, as Americans, clutter our lives with busy work? Why do we feel that work has to justify our existence? And what would it mean if settling in quietly with a cup of coffee for the morning was enough?

As for me, I’m still practicing the art of slowing down—one cappuccino at a time.

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  • this is wonderful! you’re living what i’d venture to say is a dream for many of us! even during visits to other countries the pace of life is such a stark contrast to life in the US (especially the Northeast) that it’s hard not to notice. people savor their life experience a bit more, the mundane parts like mealtimes, walking as a means of transport, grocery shopping, etc… except for them, it’s not mundane. something we all can incorporate a bit more into or daily lives no matter where we live. thanks for sharing!

  • katie

    Sigh. This. This so much. I’ve had a very difficult couple of weeks at work because what I think of as a “strong work ethic” (coming to work everyday, producing a good work product, doing the best I can, being respectful of my co-workers) is not the same as my boss’ definition (getting here at least an hour before anyone else, staying at least an hour past anyone else, working through lunch even if there’s no work to do). Why is it that our lives are expected to revolve around the office? Why isn’t it enough to be a good employee and a good partner, organized housekeeper, prolific cook, contented gardener? Why do we need to be a good employee above all else? It’s so exhausting to live this way. It must be amazing to experience a culture where these values are different.

    • Jules

      American culture for sure. When I suggested the idea of 9/80s to my boss, he basically balked and said that for more personal time I should just use vacation. That’s what that’s for! Nevermind that “15 days PTO” per year translates to 5 sick/personal, 5 to see our combined families, the rest for “our” vacation. If people were out of the office so frequently, then we would fall even further behind! (Hint: if you’re perpetually behind, it’s not because you have lazy employees; it’s because that’s not within your capabilities.)

      Same deal here. I detest how much appearances matter and how little work product does.

      • mere…

        I feel this way. SO very much! In a past job of mine we worked on a very cyclical deadline schedule. There were days of the month where I genuinely had 16 hours of work and I always gladly stayed to meet my deadline. The overtime never bothered me because I had satisfaction in completing my tasks. However, there were other days where I had maybe 90 minutes of work and was in a position where there would never be tasks I “could” be completing. The work was either there or it wasn’t. I was always so disheartened that rather than recognizing a/ that my deadlines were always met b/ I was willing to stay late on days it was needed AND kept a positive attitude and c/ the quality of my work remained excellent – my bosses cared that I was there for 40 hours a week! I will just never understand why those 40 hours are used to judge my value as an employee as opposed to the work I produced.

        • Emily

          This drives me insane! I hate the “having to be there just to be there” mindset. That’s one reason I do better as a contractor–when there’s work I work and when there’s not I . . . look for work.

    • Lauren from NH

      Ugh yes! I hope to god our values (in the US) are changing that department. I get the sense that maybe more millennials value quality of life over prestige and dollar signs where it comes to their careers, but that’s hard to judge. I really don’t understand how you can expect people to do good work for you when they barely have time off to make their annual doctor’s visits.

      • Sarah E

        I definitely value quality of life over finding the highest paid position or highest esteem position. The catch is still economic though. Currently my largest source of income is from a seasonal local business, meaning that come November, I’ll be working a tiny fraction of my current hours. Even though I know I’ll be employed at the same level in March, I’m left to figure out how to stabilize my income through the winter months.

        My partner and I were just talking about this the other day. I would love nothing more than to work less and pour my energy into studying yoga (and continuing to build a business as a yoga instructor). But if that doesn’t bring the same income level, then our household finances will be seriously affected. Not to make us destitute (thank goodness), but it would require a pretty serious change in lifestyle and spending habits, until my seasonal employment kicked back in again.

        As an independent contractor right now, I’m fortunate to be able to largely make my own hours. Just this past week, I was able to hop on a plane at the last minute to be present at a funeral and support my very best friend. I value that ability very highly. However, it comes with a trade-off of uncertain hours, no paid leave, no employer-paid health insurance, etc. So despite valuing my quality of life, even choosing a job that allows a preferred lifestyle ends up putting basic economic limits on that self-same lifestyle. It comes back to the economy and society we live in here. You have to work seriously hard to have a laid-back life, or else make some serious concessions re: life comforts. Not even luxuries, but things like owning a car, living in a house vs. apt, what kind of food to buy. Having grown up solidly in the middle class where these things were available even to a household with two parents with non-profit salaries, it’s definitely an adjustment to realize how steep the trade-offs have become for the same type of life.

        • Lauren from NH

          When my mom broke her knee right after Thanksgiving last year, it was so tough trying to weigh burning through all of my vacation days versus being there for her and assisting my siblings with her care. I am working in much more laid back office now, where I feel more freedom and support to take care of my personal business. It makes a huge difference. I don’t understand why as a culture we value the workaholic lifestyle. I believe people would be more productive and happier working less hours, where as now they are bored and burnt out and waste a lot of time.

          • ElisabethJoanne

            Look up the average number of work hours annually in Germany v. Greece v. Spain v. USA. Longer hours certainly do not translate [pun acknowledged] into a better economy.

    • sara g

      My coworker recently went on vacation to Australia, and when she came back she mentioned how they get 6 weeks of vacation over there. Then she said, with pride, “Americans are so much more hard working!” And it made me sad, because I would kill for 6 weeks of vacation. I feel like I’m never going to see the world with my piddly 2 weeks per year, which ends up being spent mostly on seeing my long-distance family. :(

      • Lauren from NH

        Yes, no kidding! We need to get over to Ethiopia sometime in the next 2-3 years to visit where his family is from. We would love to go to Thailand and Brazil and the UK and Italy, but you really want at least 2-3 weeks for such major trips. I have no idea where we’ll have the time. I don’t even expect to be able to do this every year (hello money?!) but every 3-5 five years would be nice. Having 3 weeks or a month per year of personal time would be heaven, then it would be feasible to save your days, at this point I use all of mine on a little vaca for us and a week during the holidays with my family.

        • sara g

          The worst part in my situation is that I am required to take all 2 weeks of vacation at once. I work in a very sensitive position at a bank, and we have to be gone for 2 weeks straight so they can do a big audit of our activity and make sure we aren’t embezzling or whatever. I do get 3 other personal days, but having to take the 2 weeks in one chunk really limits traveling because it means I pretty much have to use it to see family. And now that I’m (almost) married, we’ll have to see not only my family, but his, and they’re nowhere close to each other. =/

          I know I’m extremely lucky to get any vacation time at all, but it still seems so backwards compared to the rest of the developed world.

          • Lauren from NH

            What a bummer! While 2 straight weeks of freedom sounds lovely, having zero time (other than holidays) the rest of the year sounds miserable! I feel like they should give you at least an extra 4 days to use as you please to make up for this restriction.

            Also might both of your parents be able to travel to you occasionally if they are nearing retirement/ maybe have lots of days saved?

          • sara g

            Yeah, my parents are more able to travel to us for sure (my dad is a university professor, and my mom just works part time). So that does help. But my fiance’s parents still work full time and aren’t easily able to take vacation, so we still have to factor in traveling to see them.

          • Kara E

            That doesn’t sound like vacation, it sounds like it’s built into your job for -their- convenience. Blech.

      • Kate

        Lol! As an Aussie, I want to know where she went!!! 2 weeks is standard here as well, but we are a lot more flexible about accruing and then taking leave, so lots of people will have no time off for years, and then take a lot at once. 6 weeks sounds awesome. I want to work where that person did :-).

      • Missmajorca

        Yeah that’s not actually a standard thing in Australia. 2-4 weeks accrued over the year, depending on the job and the hours is pretty normal. I don’t know anyone who gets more than that unless they’re a teacher and work to school terms with fixed breaks (in which they have to fit their programming, planning, marking etc).
        As an Australian who has also worked in the US, it’s actually a bit insulting of her to say we don’t work as hard because she heard rumour of a longer vacay period and assumed we were all getting it? The only time I ever got 4 weeks off what because I didn’t take a single day off in 2 years and worked a 50-60 hour week every week.

        • sara g

          Well I guess that makes me feel a little better? Heh. Yeah, I was pretty peeved at her for suggesting that having more vacation made people less hard working. I mean even if you *did* all have 6 weeks of vacation, that says absolutely nothing about how hard you work. It just shows how Americans tend to be super obsessed with “hard work” and value it above all else. :(

  • anne

    This is my life right now. I’m married to a Frenchman and have spent most of my twenties living in France which shares similar lifestyle values to Italy. But we are returning to Australia in November and I’m a little nervous about adapting to a more fast-paced life. Here I can bike to work in 5 minutes, I food shop at our local market, I have a pleasant job with 2 hour lunch breaks and plenty of time in the evenings to see friends, spend time with my husband and pursue hobbies. It’s so easy to spend weekends abroad. Between now and our departure we have a half a dozen short trips planned. Relocating to such an isolated part of the world will definitely be a shock to the system. I haven’t driven a car for four years! But I am looking forward to being closer to family again. And the endless sunshine doesn’t hurt ;)

    • Jules

      As someone who’s seriously considering a move to France in the next few years: what kind of career do you have? How easy was it to get a job? Do/will you have kids?

      I’m currently considering switching careers, but that will require me to go back to school for 2.5 years and the soonest I could start is 2 years from now. AND I don’t know if that career path is available abroad. But I reeeeally want to live abroad. What to do…

      • anne

        I’m not sure if I would exactly call what I have now a career… but it’s a perfectly nice job. I work as a bilingual assistant for a European institution. Previously I was an English lecturer at the university which I LOVED. These jobs are also available to non-European citizens (I also hold a British passport) however they are generally only two year contracts. I found it relatively easy to find work but it wasn’t/isn’t my dream field. I studied communications and journalism. What career would you want to pursue? I think in general it’s quite tricky to find career-specific work in France, at least outside of Paris. Most foreigners I know teach English or work for an international/European organisation.
        We absolutely want to have children but I’m not sure when… I will be 28 in a few months and we’ve talked about having children around the age of 30. First we have to move back to Australia and find permanent jobs though (access to maternity leave etc etc). Ideally, at some point down the road, I’d like for us to move back to Europe and give our children the opportunitity to experience life over here. I do have issues with the French education system though :/

        • Jules

          Thanks for the info! Well, here’s the thing: I’m an engineer right now. I don’t love my job. I want to be on the provider side of medicine, perhaps as a PA. Problem is, that system is limited around the world. France uses NPs only I think. So it feels like I need to choose between the two goals. If I were to go to school for my PA degree, it would seem a little pointless if we just moved immediately after graduation because I don’t know if I could find a position in France.

          I’m almost 24 right now; I’d be 28 upon finishing PA school. We want to have kids around when I’m 28-30ish….so again. It sort of raises the question – why chase that goal when you’re either going to drop out of the workforce to raise kids within a few years, or move abroad and maybe have to put that on hold?

          Then again, it might be worth it if after all those things, I was able to practice PA. It would certainly be easier than trying to go to school in my 30s once we have kids.

          • allie

            Just wanted to say hey and that I’m also thinking of a career change, and seriously considering PA. I’m 29 and would also need a few years to re-do my pre-reqs and get some HCE. So the earliest I would likely be practicing is 33 or 34, plus figuring out where the kids will fit in!

            For the chasing the goal, I mean, you never know what’s going to come up. I jumped into a PhD at 24, and finishing soon. I don’t love the path I chose (obvi), and you can re-evaluate as your life changes.

  • Jules

    LAKE COMO. That is what my vision of Heaven looks like. I wanted to go there for over a decade (ever since Star Wars II came out…heh) and finally got to go last year with my mom. We slept with the windows open, listening to the water lap at the building. We didn’t set alarms. We drank lots of wine. It was awesome.

  • Erin

    Claro. I’ve spent time abroad on a couple of different occasions. In returning to the US, I would ask myself, ‘How can I bring this home? How can I incorporate this beautiful joie de vivre into my routine?’ It’s just really challenging, there’s no easy answer other than it takes a lot of work. But, I LOVED Meg’s essay yesterday when she said to run full force towards the life you want/envision. And I’ve loved this essay and and all the responses – APW is such a great community.

  • Becky

    A fantastic description of life as an expat wife! Last year we moved to Switzerland for my husband’s job. So far, it’s been an incredible experience, although tinged with a bit of angst for my sacrificed career. Good for you for finding employment to fill your days!

  • Fiona

    Sounds wonderful! Treasure that time.

  • jashshea

    I love everything about this. Every word.

    I was making risotto last week (or was it the week before?) and realized how calming I find the constant stirring & attention needed. The ultimate in single-tasking: A dish that’s done only when it feels like being done.

  • Lauren

    I struggled with many of the same feelings when I was only working half-time and, honestly, I wasted a lot of time beating myself up over how unproductive I felt. I now appreciate the luxury of having an unplanned day stretch out before me and it doesn’t cause me anxiety like it used to. If I don’t have time to cook for myself regularly, if I don’t have time to be physically active, something is wrong. Being busy is great for my ego (I have so many things to do! That must mean I’m doing something important!), but, as long as my bills get paid, I love all the slow moments in between.

  • I absolutely love this Sophie! Time after time i feel as though when i have nothing on my to do list, i have to just fill it up quickly, or there must be something wrong. Life her is chaotic, on a daily basis it is one thing after the other. For me it is juggling a 2 full time jobs, 1 of them being photography. Moments to just relax and enjoy the moment for me are actually during weddings haha (the most stressful for most people) but my time to just revel in the moments. We all find our own “Italy” in our lives, just wish i could have more of that.

  • Class of 1980

    I think I’m missing a piece of my American DNA. I never feel quilty about time for myself. ;)

  • ART

    Wow. This morning I: forgot my lunch, texted with my mom on the train instead of reading, called the health insurance company for the fifth time in two weeks to straighten out our married coverage, answered emails and phone calls about four work projects, worried about my husband’s new business finances, worried about our finances, thought about our house full of post-wedding junk, wondered what to make for dinner tonight (oh right: eat my forgotten lunch), and drank two cups of coffee from two different to-go cups all before 9:30…can I please move to Italy? Love this but…slightly jealous!

  • So I’m sorry this is off topic, but I noticed it yesterday- is anyone else’s screen totally different, as in different fonts and everything on this site? the content is a different font? is that a new thing?

    And secondly, I totally relate to the restlessness of having “nothing” to do and what it does to your self-worth. I’m glad you were able to find an outlet. It’s so important for us to learn how to just ‘be” and let tht define us instead of the “do” (going off of what MEg wrote yesterday, perfecting timing).

    • Lauren from NH

      Yes the font is bigger and stylistically different. I kinda prefer the old format, but I can adjust. I’m on Chrome if it matters…

      • ART

        weird, I’m on chrome and don’t notice any difference…am i just not paying attention?

        • ART

          ack, now it IS different, and really big. weird.

      • i preferred the old too- just didn’t know if it was some computer glitch or a changed thing…hm. im not on chrome.

  • Isabel

    This is so incredible! What a wonderful life together and such a romantic way to spend your first years engaged and married. Beautifully written!

  • Caitlin_DD

    So beautiful, and true. Living abroad is a difficult mental jump. When are you living there, and when does the vacation end? I deeply enjoy the experience of falling into a different pace of life. It’s certainly food for thought, and I often find myself wishing we could do things otherwise in America. I say enjoy your lovely life, forget that Protestant work ethic!

  • My one-year-old doesn’t have a to-do list that I’ve been able to find. She takes naps when she feels like it. She absolutely relishes her food. And she finds joy watching the doggies go past our house and the birds and lizards play in the backyard.

    American children have this whole life thing figured out. What’s wrong with us adults?

  • Bsquillo

    This sounds like my kind of lifestyle. I am THE BEST at naps. Why can’t someone just pay me to eat cheese and take naps?

  • B

    My fiancé and I are currently living abroad in Belgium after 2 1/2 years in England. Every country has a completely different approach to work and life. I think the saddest result of these conversations is that American’s always assume that because people have more holiday, maternity leave, long lunches that people aren’t hardworking. Here in Belgium we have been absolutely shocked at how hard people work, they get in early, hit the ground running, and leave late. The difference is employers respect that their entire lives do not revolve around work, they have children and families who need them, etc. Having health benefits, more accused holiday time, etc does no make them lazier. It just means they can go to work and put all of their energy into work because they are not worrying about how to save up enough holiday to use it to have a minor surgery, or about their healthcare, or about who is going to watch their children when they are sick because they have no more days left to take off, etc.

    The author of this article is in a very privileged position, it doesn’t seem that their finances require her to find work so she is instead creating a new life for herself out of all of the time she now has. That is obviously not the norm.

  • laurynap

    “And what would it mean if settling in quietly with a cup of coffee for the morning was enough?”. That quote really stuck out to me. My family is from Italy, and as a first generation American who has been to Italy several times I have this uncontrollable fire inside me to get back there and stay permanently. My fiancé and I went to Italy for his first time in March and it was easily one of the best times in my life. Watching him marvel at everything (he is a fine artist) was just so heart melting. Since coming back he has truly embraced and fell in love with the Italian culture, and brings as much of it into our house as he can (even though he is not Italian). This is even more heart melting. There’s a million things I could say why I and we, prefer life in Italy over America. However, that quote really resonated with me because since coming back from Italy in March (and purchasing an awesome espresso machine) my favorite moment of each day is my morning cappuccino that I make in my kitchen, sitting by my window reading /blogging/just relaxing.(What I am doing right now as I type this) Its my time, a moment of calm and to truly enjoy my morning espresso. Sorry if I sound like a total sap, but I wanted to share! xoxo lots of love for Italy.

  • Sonny

    Can we just quickly acknowledge that Italy is in a financial crisis and has a 40%+ youth unemployment rate? It seems a bit insensitive to wax poetic on being conflicted about being a wealthy stay-at-home-wife when many Italians would rather have a steady job than nothing to do all day. I hope there are some Italians who could give their perspective on this thread – I know they don’t have the same workaholic culture as the US but this feels more like a stereotype of Italian culture than the current reality.

    • Lory_mus

      I realized I’m quite late to the party, but I just got back from my annual 2-weeks vacation and… yes I AM an Italian living in Italy ;-)
      As Sonny and B commented, this article comes from a very privileged position (I wonder if/how different would it be if she were unemployed or actually not-needing-to-work in the US?), mixed in with some romantic stereotypes on the Italian “way of living”.
      Now, having lived and worked in the US, I do admit and am grateful that we have more holidays (see the 2 weeks above), maternity leave, etc, but I’d like to point out that most Italians don’t spend their morning sipping cappuccino, or walking on bike paths… and the idea that “people leave their jobs from 12:30 to 3:30 every day to drink wine at lunch and take naps.”… mmmh yeah, NO. I don’t know anyone who does that.
      I think some of the confusione comes from living in Cortina, which is a small town (pop. around 6.000) which becomes alive during the turisty times (summer, weekends, Christmas time) and is sleepy the rest of the year… hence the relaxed pace, the stores closing for 3 hrs in the middle of the day, etc.
      As a comparison: I live and work in Milan, I am thankful to have a job that I detest but cannot change in this economy (several friends cannot even find one), I leave my home at 8 am and am back after about 12 hours, and errands, shopping, and life in general have to wait until the weekend… or in the 1-hour lunch break I have, if I can run to one of the nearest stores – which normally stay open ;-)
      It’s probably true that, in general, Italians are less obsessed with their a careers (also, shitty employment situation = cannot afford to invest too much of our happiness in our work) and there’s more attention to savouring the “other” part of our lives – but unfortunately, life in Italy is not as romantic and lazy as described here.

  • Stacey H.

    Part of our goals that we’ve set for ourselves in our marriage (thanks premarital counseling) is to keep the big picture in mind when making decisions. Our goal for our life is to create the kind of lifestyle that allows us to be comfortable and location independent. We know the world is bigger than where we are and we want to be able to slow down and enjoy it together which means living life for the experiences and not just to make it to the weekends. It’s a struggle finding this in American culture sometimes.

  • I love this. In my current state of underemployment (including shitty schedule) and 5 months pregnancy, I have been forced, physically, to slow down and readjust my way of thinking. It is only in the last month that I have finally accepted that I “can’t” do what I may have previously been able to do before and so I’ve started reading a lot of novels on my days off. I really enjoyed “Beautiful Ruins” which made me obsessed with Italy (a place I’ve still not been) and then I started reading “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Naturally I can’t get to italy this year or likely next, but somehow just thinking that in some cultures it’s okay to just be helps me just be right now when I need it most.
    Thank you for your beautiful essay. I’ll probably start digging through your blog just for sweet fantasy.

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  • Lauren M

    Wow you just brought be back four years!!! We lived in Ritten and Bolzano for three years. My husband retired about 4 years ago and about once a week I pause and long for the days of Italian life!!! Thanks for allowing me to take a trip back in time :-) And DONT feel guilty, enjoy and embrace every minute of your time there!!!! Before you know it you are back home which is lovely being close to family but I think about how I would rather be drinking wine at a bistro at 1pm after a morning hike rather than being at work!!!!