Wednesday, May 26


We just finished reading "Travels with Charley" by Steinbeck. John suits himself up with one of those pick-up truck/campers and takes off with his dog Charley for a few months to get in touch with the pulse of America. His stops and starts and his general impression of people in diners and on the back roads of the US. He takes his time wandering east to west to south to back home again. Reminded me a lot of our summer vacations driving off to some state we hadn't seen yet.

And when he gets on that home stretch, that last day or two of driving, he comments that this was one of those times when the journey ends before the trip is done. He was no longer interested in observing and probing and trying to take in the vibes of the places he was driving through. He just wanted to get home.

I feel like that now. I'm trying to stay present and let myself keep falling in love with Italy. For example, if only you could just hear the sound of the birds they have here. The rondine fill the background city sounds with an organic softness. It's indescribable. On it's own you might say it's a high pitched whistle, but it's more than that. It echos off the buildings as they bank from under the roof overhangs. A light brilliant layer to the lower sound of voices, bikes and footsteps in the morning. I love opening up the windows to these sounds everyday.

And getting lost in the Alps. Last weekend we decided to take the scenic route home from lake Como, headed for the wrong mountain pass, which ended up being closed and had to take a detour through Switzerland. Incredibly beautiful mountains like none I'd ever seen before. And I loved it, but in a bitter sweet way. Like watching something new and beautiful in the final hours. You're in awe, but in the back of your mind, you know the end is near.

Of course I'm also excited. I'm going home to the US, beautiful California and a job I have missed. I'm looking forward to being able to call my parents during my morning commute... reconnecting made easier simply because of a change in time zone. Feeling that American pulse again. And I'm clearing out the accumulated crap from our house. I love simplifying and shedding the excess. And I'm excited to see the next few months in Italy unfold. I'm looking forward to sailing and Amalfi, but trying desperately to not let the heartache of moving away cloud the days.

Wednesday, May 19

present history

I wash myself with the warm morning sun
Herding the punks off to school
Through palace doors
Over marble floors
We do things like take out the trash
Well child check-ups
Shoe laces tied in double knots
Mop up milky cheerios
And shake the sand out of our shoes
Shuttered charm and markets
Sustain the modern buzz
of iPhones and pilates
Tempering it well with organic sustenance
Feeding that part of us that we didn't think we needed
Like the dust from backward small towns left behind
Italy doesn't give you that option
There's no leaving behind, no forgetting
And the whole of time stays with you

Tuesday, May 18

what the hell woman?!?!

I have this little voice in my head that keeps asking me this question. I have a billion thoughts running around and yet I'm resisting the urge to write any of them down here. I think partly because they are not in tune with what I tried to grow with this blog. Partly because they are difficult to face. Maybe also because it just feels like whining and I get enough of that already from my punks. Boils down to moving away from a place I spent so much time falling in love with is hard.

So I need to purge. This isn't going to be beautiful or poetic. I can't get any where near that though without airing things out first. Please excuse the mess.

Our decision to return to the states is based on both rational and emotional reasons. We came here with the understanding that the "worst case scenario" was actually pretty good. We'd get to dive into my husband's culture for a few years and learn Italian. My job was graciously put on hold and my husband's looked like a thrilling adventure. If it bombed, we'd simply move back to a life that we loved in California.

SO that's what's happening. And rationally it's all good. Our tenants in our house in CA happen to be returning to their home country in June, freeing it up in perfect timing for us. Even the stress of uprooting the punks seems to be going reasonably well thus far. Goodbye parties are being planned, friends consoled...

So why am I in such a funk?

I'm realizing that I am much more attached to this life than I imagined. Also, this move seems much more final to me. I dreamed for years and years to live abroad one day. Now I've done it and it's coming to an end. I'll move back to the US, slip back into my job, hike, visit the ocean, garden and eat great Indian food... all things that I loved doing before. Things that I miss. But I'm finding now that I don't want it the way it was before. I want it to be more than that. This experience needs to have changed something about where my life goes from here.

And in recent days I guess I am starting to believe that it will be different because we're different. We'll see things differently and do things in a different way. God I hope so. Otherwise it feels like it was all for nothing.

Wednesday, May 12

abbastanza bene invitation

I want to let you know about a new project I am starting. It's called "abbastanza bene" and it's a poetry blog, in Italian. I choose "abbastanza bene" as the title because the expression means "ok" which is a generous description of my level of competence in Italian these days and I thought it was cute that the word "stanza" was hidden in the title of a poetry blog.

It sort of spun out a comment that a friend of mine made not long ago. She told me that she "adored" the way I expressed myself in Italian and that I should write much more before I learned too much of the language. It seemed a curious comment to me, but peaked my interest nonetheless. The kick came last night when I found myself awake at night, spilling out lines of a poem in my head, in Italian. And I thought, well, why not?

I linked to the blog on my sidebar under "siamo qui" (we're here).

Monday, May 10

face of the earth

A left and a right and a left-hop-skip
I think I've gone and hopped right off it

I've let myself dive into the persistent cloud-cover,
feeling the gray and gloomy days.
While lush mountains with their woolly green coats
flock the sulking Shepard.
Who sits on her rock and consoles her heart
drawing rivers with a stick in the mud
You see, the earth and the rain are playing a game
coaxing this crab from her shell.
For sit long enough on the most comfortable rock
and your bony ass will get sore
And your numb bum and the soft filtered sun
will cause you to stretch and to eye (unawares)
Whereupon Mother Kesey and her gang of merry pranksters
Swiftly sneeze you into the sky.

Saturday, May 1


That's "pilgram" turned inside out.

turns out, that it's a pretty good adjective for how I've been feeling lately. Glipmar 'bout sums it up perfectly.

See, we've decided to end our time in Italy.

So I'm inside out. I feel excited about what lies ahead. I feel sad about leaving Italy behind. I'm looking forward to time with old friends and already missing the time I've had with the new. Both happy and sick about the coming weeks ahead, weeks of getting rid of everything we won't ship, sailing the Sicilian seas, packing, and the joy of Amalfi. It all lies ahead in one giant ball of stress. I've gotten so far ahead of myself that it's paralyzed my ability to live one day at a time.