A Traveler’s Terrene

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

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.

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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.

 

Prayers for the Victims of L’Aquila, Italy April 6, 2009

Filed under: Italian Life,Italy — italicana kitchen @ 5:40 pm
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Today my heart goes out to the victims of the L’Aquila earthquake. In less than 3o seconds, a 6.3 quake left 92 people dead with the death toll still rising, over 1,500 injured, thousands homeless and historic buildings dating back to the 13th century crumbled into ruins. A devastating and horrific event, only proving that life is full of unexpected events that you can never predict.

My prayers and thoughts go out to the victims, families, friends and rescue teams.

 

Another Vocab Blunder… March 31, 2009

Standing outside a restaurant last week, my friend introduced me to a group of friends.  While he turned to continue his conversation with another person I began to chat with one of the women.

Of course, our conversation started out by saying the introductory greetings of “Ciao/Hello…” “Come stai?/How are you?”….etc.  Later in the conversation, I noticed her beautiful red necklace.

“Che bel collare!” I exclaimed.

I received a puzzled look from the woman. Then I pointed to her red necklace hanging around her neck.

“Oh!” She said a wide grin flashing across her face, “La mia collana.”

Ah yes…”collana” because “collare” means collar.

“What a beautiful collar!” …so…I basically just told the woman she looked like a dog. Awesome.

 

Flying Bread and a Scratched Eye March 29, 2009

Instead of trying to back track and describe all of the amazing and incredible experiences of living in Italy for the past month and two days, I am going to simply flash forward to the present. Well, the present minus one day…last night…

I accompanied a handful of my new Italian friend to a birthday party celebration at a restaurant they had rented out for the evening. I planned to stay for dinner and afterward, while the rest of the fifty-some group of friends were going to a discoteca to dance, I was going to a fashion show! Yes, my night was beautifully planned out and I was looking forward to both occasions.

The dinner party started out great. A buffet of exquisite Italian appetizers: asparagus topped with polenta, varieties of focaccia and pizza, rice and pasta salads, veal layered with tuna spread and one of my favorites, l’erbazzone , a thin pastry bread filled with baked spinach.

The main course was on it’s way out of the kitchen and while the rest of the group had found their seats, there were four of us still standing in conversation.  Unintentional, and certainly wine-induced, a fellow friend threw a piece of bread at the man standing in front of me to get his attention to join everyone at the table. Well, unfortunately he had horrible aim in hitting a large target and a surprisingly impeccable ability in hitting a bulls eye….that being my eye. Not above, below, to the left or right of my eye–but smack dab in the middle, and so quickly that my eyelashes didn’t have the opportunity to defend itself from it’s attacker: the sharp edge of a crusty piece of bread.

Time nor eye-drops made the pain in my eye go away and after a half an hour of not being able to open, or even see out of my left eye, I let a few friends drive me to the emergency room. The doctor cleaned my eye (to the point where I wanted to scream it hurt so bad) it then the pain was more or less abated. He prescribed some medicine to help heal the corneal abrasion and although I could get the gyst of what the doctor was saying, I was glad to have my friend Lucio there to translate, especially the dosage for the prescriptions.  Fifteen minutes later, I was exiting the E.R. with my wallet still full of money—it didn’t cost a cent. Got to love Italian health care…I could only imagine the fees this little episode would set me back in the states.

Lessons learned: be thankful for every part of your body every second of the day as you never know when something unexpected like a piece of flying bread could change your life. Fortunately for me, this incident should clear up in a few days, but some accidents don’t. So, right now where ever you are, just count your blessing for the health you currently have.

 

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!