A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Men are like Paint November 28, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 1:52 pm
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Right now, my love life is all over the place. I feel like my heart is a paint pallet and all of the boys in my past, present and future are the different colors of paint. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, black, grey and all the shades in between. They are all so different. My mind is trying to paint my bedroom. It grabs a paint brush and puts one stroke of color on the wall, let’s it dry, looks at it and waits. After a while, the paintbrush gets emerged in water, everything that was once connected to the paintbrush is washed away. Used and disposed of, because my mind wants to try out a new color. So the paintbrush, once dipped in red, is now washed, dried and dipped into orange. A stroke of paint is streaked across the wall, but only a small line. Then, back into the water the paint brush goes and the same actions repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I have all of these beautiful colors, and they are all alluring it their own way, but it is me that is indecisive as to which color to paint my walls. Do I paint a tranquil colored room filled with soft hues where I can relax, a vibrant colored room that inspires me; colors that standout and are noticed, or colors that compliment the art hanging on the wall and serve merely as the backdrop?

A partner is like paint; and, paint is one of the most important parts of a room, it is the backdrop by which everything else evolves around and connects to. However I paint my room will decide for me as to what type of decor I fill the room with: elegant, country-feel, artsy, trendy or simplistic.  What kind of room do I feel most comfortable in, what kind of lifestyle do I want to lead? Each color is so different, all with their own unique characteristics and all provoke completely different emotions: relaxing, inspiring, serious, playful, lively, boring, cutting-edge, old-fashioned.  My surroundings are important to me because they change how I act. For instance, if I am in a super elegant room I wouldn’t dare jump on the couch, yet, if I was in a cozy room–game on! Some people are fortunate to be themselves in all kinds of rooms, but for me the room directly affects my behavior and actions.  Whether this is a trait or a flaw I am still unsure of. Is it good to be so adaptable to your surroundings or is it a vice?

There have been a few times I have committed more to a color by painting an entire wall. Only one though. And, it filled the room for a while and made it feel cosey, made me feel more at home.  But, I never let it go further than that…and the wall soon came to be painted over in white, small streaks of colors splashed across it’s surface like many times before as I continue to search for the color with which I feel most connected to instead of picking one and enjoying it.

So, my room remains unfinished, and in truth quite ugly. It’s not inviting nor is it relaxing or soothing because….it is not complete. I want to complete this room. I am ready to furnish it, to commit to a style and to call it my own. But, the question always comes back to me…what color do I choose when my mind changes so often? And, if I paint the whole room one color I want to be sure. I don’t want to someday repaint it again. I don’t want to do it all over. I would rather touch up the paint, or recoat it with another color. I want the color to last. I want my partner and my relationship to last.

Sometimes I just wish that a stranger would walk into my room with a bucket of paint and throw it on my walls. I would laugh at the madness. I would laugh at the realization of how easy the whole process can be: choose a color and throw the paint. Because, in the end a room that is painted and decorated feels like home. Maybe it’s not perfect, but it is cosy and warm.  A room left unpainted, undecorated feels merely like a room in transit. It doesn’t feel owned, it only feels rented and above all, it feelsincomplete.

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A Blank Canvas September 15, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 8:20 pm
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When I arrived in Italy, I came loaded with a mind of ideas and goals of all the things I wanted to do while I am here. The problem, however, is that perfection began to prevail over action, and I’ve found myself the past few months spinning circles instead of moving forward with my goals.

It’s like I have been given this huge white empty canvas, clean new brushes and every imaginable color of paint. But, instead of picking up a paintbrush and painting, I’ve been analyzing, strategizing and over thinking everything. What do I want to paint? What colors will look good together?  What will be others reactions when they see this? I’ve been analyzing and trying to perfect something instead of  just picking up the paintbrush and see what comes in that moment.  I’ve been thinking that I only have this “ONE” white canvas….I don’t want to screw it up…and pressure builds to exponential levels because what I paint now will it be a picture that I want to look at for the rest of my life?

Yet, the truth is and what I am starting to get myself to realize each day is that with life it’s not just one canvas you get, but many. The portrait, landscape or image you paint today and hang on your wall can just as easily be removed and changed.  Let go of the pressure of trying to paint a picture you’ll be content with your entire life, and instead paint a picture that you want to paint in this moment given the tools and materials you have. Hang it on your wall, and after a while it may grow into a timeless piece you love forever or you may find you want to change it up–it served it’s purpose and it’s now time for something new.

It’s a waste to let a canvas stay blank and the paint dry up.  Enough analyzing, enough thinking, it’s time to start doing. It’s time start creating.

 

Life’s Possibilities… June 3, 2009

Before I begin this post, I would like to say a short prayer for the victims of a horrible car accident that took place last weekend.

God, I pray that you are with each person filling them with the strength and courage towards a fast recovery. Please help them to be okay.

Now…to start at the beginning.

I arrived at the local pool (which is turned into a bar/discoteca at night) with a group of friends, but since it is a small town ran into different friends and acquaintances I’ve met over the past few months living here.  On this particular night I saw a girl I met a month or so prior.  She has an extraordinary effervescent and friendly personality and is fun to be around so when she invited me to join her four girlfriends to go to another bar I momentarily thought about going–after all, I love spontaneity and what she was suggesting sounded like a lot of fun! However, after a moment’s consideration I decided to stay, after all I didn’t want to ditch the group of friends I originally came with.

“Definitely, another time,” I had said before they left.

The following afternoon I received a phone call from a mutual friend informing me there had been a car accident leaving all of them in the hospital. My first thought was for them—are they are okay? My second thought was a flashback to the night before–that could have been me….

One constant aspect of life is that there is always possibility. Possibilities are both a beauty and tragedy in one. Being an optimistic I tend to think more about the beautiful possibilities in life: finding true love, making new incredible friends, witnessing a natural event etc.

Yet, thinking about the negative things in life and what if scenarios are extremely important: what if the plane crashes, what if I choke on this food, what if I get in an accident and lose a limb? These are definitely not warm fuzzy feelings, but it helps to reign in to the present and to GIVE THANKS for everything you have in this moment: my plane didn’t crash, I’m not choking and I have my arms and legs in tact. In this moment, I give thanks for the beautiful life I am living. In this moment, I forget about stress from work or petty feelings towards a friend.  In this moment I remember that here, right now, I am extremely fortunate for all that I have because from a moment from now–everything can change.

 

Missing Love… April 28, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 10:50 pm
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Tonight, I got out of a nice hot shower, laid naked in the fetal position on the pink checkered comforter on my bed and cried. Not because I am unhappy, but rather because I am missing something. Like a child in the womb, don’t we just want to be held? Those were my thoughts tonight as I lay alone, I just want to feel skin on skin, an arm wrapped around me and a face curled up next to mine in the nook of my neck.

I couldn’t ask for a better life right now–I’m in Italy, following my dreams and pursuing my passions- I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world, but tonight I cried because there is no one in my bedroom to jump with me over my triumphs, wipe the tears from my eyes during moments of defeat, and just lay with me in silence without a word spoken but a muted conversation that describes and explains everything words can sometimes never say.

In truth, I should take responsibility as the majority of this solitude is my own doing as I continue to push away every man that tries to enter my life–“I don’t have time,” I say as I try to focus every free moment on writing, my other passionate love in life that consumes me as a real lover would, yet, doesn’t reciprocate with a tender touch that tonight I am missing.

It’s been over a year since I’ve been in the arms of someone I’ve loved and over four years in the arms of someone who has loved me back. Each experience has made me stronger, but in this moment I feel weak. I am tired. I don’t want to look anymore, I just want to be. To be with someone who understands me, makes me laugh, inspires me, challenges me and passionately loves me.

Tomorrow this moment will pass, and I will resume to be the strong independent woman I normally am. But, tonight my heart aches with longing for a man, a lover, and a best friend to hold me and never let me go.

 

But, what? April 19, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 1:04 pm
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Worse than the word “like” that seems to pepper my speech like powder on a donut, covering the cakey circle in layers of sugary dust that makes a mess on my fingers, a white mustache on my face and sprinkles what looks like dandruff on my clothes, turning me from the classy lady, to a sticky fingered embarrassed child, is the word “but”. Yes, the world “but” is worse than the world “like”. I can wash my hands, wipe my face and shake the powder from my clothes and—voila, like magic, no one knows that I had eaten a 500 calorie, trans-fat, unhealthy donut. If anyone asks, for all they know I could have eaten an apple.

The word “but”, however, is a word that reveals your secret and exposes your weakness forcing you to lose face by admitting your action and puts you on the spot as you attempt to string together a set of justified excuses or, in the end, a handful of lies.

“I saw your car at the donut shop, I thought you were trying to lose weight,” a friend might ask.

“Ummm…yes….” I would stutter, “I am but I didn’t have time to make oatmeal this morning so I stopped for  a donut instead.”

But…but…but….excuses, excuses, excuses. Why is it, that we let this word frequent our speech and furthermore, accept the explanations as justified reasons instead of just owning up to our faults, flaws or weaknesses? How many times have we heard or said, “Sorry I am late, but….”, or “I would like to do that, but…”

Stop. Stop with the excuses. Eliminate this word. Change your life. If you want to lose weight, no excuses—eat healthy and exercise. If you dream of traveling but are stuck in your 9 to 5, no excuses—start saving your money and figure out ways to incorporate traveling into your life. If you’ve always wanted to take a painting class, learn Spanish, grow prize-winning flowers, fly-fish in a fresh water stream, or go back to school, no excuses—formulate a strategy and make time.

If you eliminate excuses, then you’ll begin to lead a life of action. Instead of littering your life with broken promises and unfulfilled dreams, you’ll be filling your life with a desire, commitment, dedication and perseverance to make a change, taking charge of your actions, your future, and your life. By removing “but” from your vocabulary, you’ll be able to replace it with the most powerful phrase, “I am”.

 

Nostalgia February 7, 2009

After hours of packing…unpacking…repacking…packing…unpacking..repacking…I finally squished a years worth of stuff into two bags and a carry on and walked out my parents door, not to return for another year…or longer. Looking back as the car pulled out of my driveway, I was overcome with mixed emotions. On one hand, I am ecstatic to return to my life in Italy, to be around the language, to live abroad and to be pursuing my passions. I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity, it is everything I have dreamed for and I am excited for this new adventure. On the other hand, knowing that I will miss out on the simple joys of waking up to my dad cooking breakfast, making lunch for my older brother Mark , or drinking a glass of wine with my mom makes me emotional. Sure these are just simple, ordinary things; yet, because I will be living thousands of miles away with an ocean between, I simply can’t do them, and this makes me sad.

My brother Mark is a globetrotter as well and is leaving with his girlfriend Lindy in three days for Guatemala for five weeks. I went into his room to see how his packing was going and after a big brotherly hug, I was in tears. Giant, wet, mascara running tears. Partly because, I’ve been so wrapped up in my on-line life (writing, blogging, facebook, emails etc.) that I’ve hardly hung out with him, one of my best friends, and partly because in a few days and I won’t see him for a year. I am mad at myself for wasting the past month of us actually being home together, because with life, you never know where you are going to end up. What if we never live in the same city again?

The  emotions are  the same for my parents, oldest brother, sister-in-law and nephew. I still fortunately don’t have to say goodbye to them for a few weeks, but I know when I do I will be in tears. You will know it is the day I am leaving if you see me with big, wet, mascara stained cheeks.

I know I am on the right track by following my dreams, but it still doesn’t make it any easier to leave the people I love. To know that I will be missing out on all of the little things, the simple pleasures of ordinary life with family is what makes it the hardest.

Yet, in the cloudy mist of my teary eyes, I know things always work out for a reason. If I was meant to stay, my heart would tell me not to leave. But, my heart is not ready to stay idle, yet anyways.  I have to keep moving forward, I still have so much terrene to explore, so many new things to experience.  This wonderlust heart is part of me. I can’t keep it caged, I have to let it roam free.

 

The Paths We Take February 3, 2009

The journey through life is comprised of many paths. Hundreds of millions of separate paths that intertwine with one other to make up a massive navigation system, much like our transportation system we use to travel across countries.  These paths come in a variety of forms: black paved highways, old dusty country roads, small mountain streams or giant oceans between continents. There are many choices of how and where you can travel in life.  Would you rather walk, drive or boat? Do you enjoy the company of others or the seclusion of nature? Are you wanting to journey at length or in short distances? There is no right or wrong answer, but rather a choice of preference, with the underlining question enveloping each of these decisions is what makes you, the individual person who has to travel his path, happy?

Saturday evening I organized a girls reunion with three of my former high school friends, and this question impeded my thoughts throughout the night. Life has taken us in different directions, and over the course of our reunion we were able to catch up on the past eight years. It was truly remarkable to see the variety of stages we are living at the age of 25. Married seven years with two children, married three years with her first child, recently engaged and single. We were all across the spectrum and because of our choices were walking different paths, none of which were better than the other,  just different. Each path was being walked because that is what made each of us as individuals feel happy.

Whereas some high school reunions are spent discussing about who has or who hasn’t, putting competition into the conversation–the night with these friends was spent congratulating each other on the accomplishments each of us have made over the past eight years, and discussing the incredible road we’ve experienced along the way.

It is unfortunate that my paths with these friends only crosses every now and then as we live in different places, but I am content in knowing that each of us is being true to ourselves, and walking a path of happiness. That is all you can hope for a friend, and yourself in return.

Thank you :K:J:L: for such a fun night!