Life altering moments are awful when they show up unwanted and unwarranted. I’ve had my fair share of that. I’m not complaining. It is just a fact. But who hasn’t had the unwanted and unwarranted. However, I am extremely lucky too. Like unfairly lucky. This is not a brag. It too, is just a fact. And I would be a jerk if I did not acknowledge how fortune smacked me to another continent where I ate, I prayed (via yoga), and I loved… every moment.
Two years ago I was looking at the unknown. I had left my career as a guidance counselor to pursue a “career” in culinary. In what capacity? No clue. However my good gal pal Theresa had suggested I look into the Rome Sustainable Food Project (thanks T!) So I did. And yes, please. I want that. Application sent… commence waiting.
DENIED. Okay… so now what? Err… umm… hmm… well obviously I’ll apply again. But what if… after another denial… where do I go… c’mon now… think positive. And that is what I did. Enhanced my resume, refined, or rehauled, my application, and persisted.
December 12, 2017. I was leaving yoga––because I could do yoga at 9 am on a Monday (sorry, friends who are still teachers)––and checked my email.
There it was… CIAO ROMA! Tears began pouring down my ruddy red sweaty yoga cheeks. I called everyone. And could barely get the words out. My poor father. He probably thought I had “the big C”, or more realistically, a flat tire… okay, so I cry when I feel any type of emotion. But I was IN. This was roughly 440 days ago. It was that type of moment. Life defining.
Fast forward roughly 440 days, having returned to Italy 3 times in the past year alone, and 2 more trips in the next few months, I realize how much I fell in love with this country, the people, the culture, and yes… the food and wine! I don’t know if it is the residue of Valentine’s Day, or the daily knowledge that I will return, repeatedly; either way, I wrote a love letter.
To you, Italy, with love.
March 3, 2020
Mio Caro Amore,
It’s hard to believe that almost two years have passed since we fell in love. Exhausted from my travels, I walked off the plane and there you were; waiting for me. There is no doubt in my mind that others feel exactly as I do, because this is the effect you have. Little did I understand this initially, but now I see it clearly. I don’t hold it against you. I never could. You are a part of me.
As our relationship developed, you taught me how to breath, how to slow down, and how to savor life. I always wanted to approach life in this manner, but being with you gave me a deeper understanding of how. The endless walks we took together possess my most favorite memories of us, just the two of us. It is amazing how 12,000 steps seemed to go by in an instant. I treasure these moments and hold them close.
Your insight into who I am and what I need continues to baffle me. What I appreciate most is that you never tell me outright, instead you allow me to have the “aha” moments that touch me so profoundly. I never know when they will happen, only that they WILL happen. Spending time with you has allowed me to discover wisdom and courage I never knew I possessed. For this, I will be forever grateful.
Although we are far apart more often than not, you have not disappeared from my life. In many ways you have given me more, since I departed. I think of you long, and often, wondering what you are doing. Yet when we are reunited, it is as if I never left. The laughter, the wonderment, and the love continues to flow unabashedly. I know our bond is strong and our love is true. We do not have to be in the same geographic location for us to be together. Love knows no limits.
I look forward to seeing you again soon. In the meantime please know how much I appreciate all that you have given me. This relationship is far from over. I have told everyone about you… numerous times. You have my heart. You have my soul.