the first month: a little bit of honesty [various, italy]

Today marks the end of my first month living in Italy.

A month ago, I left with the expectation of traveling for a year, the hope of continuing for five and the dream of doing this forever.

Within a week I wanted it to be over, wanted the lessons to be learnt so I could be back in the comfort of something familiar.

Except of course I never want it to be over

So far Italy’s been marvellous.

mailbox in veniceMouth watering pastas and pizzas with ingredients that roll on and off the tongue – fiori di latte,¬†erba cipollina, pomodori, aglio, pepe nero…

Architecture and monuments that actually take my breath away – the grandiose duomo in Florence, the barricaded old town of Lucca, the surreal leaning tower in Pisa, the luxurious Venice, the quaint riviera…

And the little moments that make me feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be – walking around at night delighting in cioccolato-stracciatella gelato, jogging through Tuscan olive groves while “buon giorno”-ing everyone I pass, enjoying real homemade Italian meals cooked for me in little Italian towns… absolutely marvellous.

But it’s also been hard.

I’m not quite where I want to be just yet. I’ve made some progress (like living with some Italian guy in a little Tuscan town), and I suppose a month out of forever isn’t even that long, but being the magical thinker and type A personality that I am, well, trying not to fail at my own expectations for myself – that’s the hardest.

But today marks the beginning of my second month living in Italy. AND, as a totally amazing sidebar, I feel like my big picture is coming together and that’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever known: I always knew what I wanted, but now I can see it happening and know who I want it to happen with.

I can handle a bit of discomfort for enlightenment like this.  Off I go.

First impressions: Pisa

I love Italy.

I love the way people speak the language, the hint of warmth in the air even when it’s supposed to be cold out, the fact that it is absolutely normal to be called “bella” as a term not only of endearment but as a salutation, and the idea of going for walks along the river Arno just because.

leaning tower of pisaPisa, so far, is wonderful. I was lucky enough to land in PSA on a sunny day (a warm 14 degrees) so my cousin took me to the Piazza dei Miracoli where, among other wonders, the leaning tower stands. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting to see it so soon.

It blew my mind.

Its angle (defying gravity), its size (smaller but more profound than expected), its pure existence (always so surreal in photographs) – here it was right in front of me, leaning under the glow of the sun. It was breathtaking. I fell in love with it the way I fell for Venice.

I love Italy.