Making the Most of It

Sometimes I’m afraid that we don’t make the most of the time we have here on Earth. I believe we get one go at this thing called life (thanks Prince!) and it’s important to make the most of it. Living, learning, giving, experiencing, sharing and just being.

I have two amazing life companions (read husband and daughter) who generally live life with the same spirit but occasionally they request a bit more down time, time to sleep, chill and do nothing. It’s all about the balance. Luckily these cold, damp days of the winter provide opportunities for them to recharge.

I reckon I could also quite easily be a bit of a hermit, living alone and pottering around at home all day. But my insanely ‘itchy feet’ syndrome and desire to live different experiences and connect with other people’s everyday lives keeps me popping my head out of the house to see what’s going on.

As the year comes to a close, I find myself pausing to reflect on what we have achieved in the last twelve months. It is no understatement to say that 2019 has been an absolutely massive year for us as a family. We’ve travelled, relocated, dealt with two new education systems, found work in a floundering Italian economy, dealt with mountains of bureaucracy, reconnected with friends and family and spent a lot of time being uncomfortable, challenged, confused and frustrated. It would be fair to say that Gigi is finding the experience of living in Italy the most challenging, but that’s his story to tell.

Ups and Downs

Miss S suffers from bouts of homesickness and missing friends and family in Australia as we expected. She struggles with the lack of room to run around outside, learning the language and the changes to our everyday lifestyle. Overall though she has adapted and she’s coping. Somehow, she understands that this is a unique experience and she’s appreciative for the opportunity. Every now and then we find a little note that says something like ‘Thank you for my life, for my birth, the travel, food, water, air and sleep’. Luckily, she’s a kid who doesn’t spend too much time complaining about things, and she eagerly climbs a mountain, goes for a walk, helps clean the house and patiently waits for long winded conversations in Italian to finish.

After a period of struggling against the many difficulties that we experience in everyday life in Italy, I now find myself simply accepting things, knowing that I can’t change it. Maybe it’s because I drive in Italy now. While I use the horn to scold other drivers for their lunatic moves on the road, I no longer feel the fury or feel inclined to give them a lesson in driving. Acceptance is necessary in a country like Italy, but it is also one of the many reasons why things are the way they are, and why things don’t get any better.

All of this has been balanced out by the sweet highs that come with living in such a culture, with amazing food, close to so many other delightful countries. Exploring new places together, visiting with people we love, fostering friendships and making plans for the next adventures all provide the upside of this rollercoaster ride.

2019 Overview

Here’s a bit of a review of what we have achieved in 2019, remembering that just 12 months ago we sold our rural property, sold the last of our furniture, put a few valuables into storage, left our beloved dog with friends, said goodbye to the school Miss S loved and knew for four years, farewelled friends and work mates and packed three backpacks:

January: we left Australia, travelled to Malaysia and Thailand – rainforest, cities, islands, temples, great food, good friends.

February: we flew to Naples, Italy via Moscow, hosted by family for 5 weeks. Online distance education for Australian schooling started for Miss S.

March: we moved into our apartment at Sant'Agata de'Goti. Bureaucracy.

April: battled illness, flew to Edinburgh, Scotland for the start of a six-week trip visiting friends around Europe. Castles, good food, palaces.

May: travelled in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Mallorca where we indulged in friendships and hospitality. Legoland. Flew to London. Stayed with friends in Brighton.

June: Miss S and Jenny attended an international Girl Guide camp at Pax Lodge. Flew back to Italy. Bought a car. Refocus on schooling for Miss S.

July: drove to Tuscany, Pisa and Udine to visit family. Visited a biodynamic vineyard.

August: summer heat, beach and pool days, illness. Miss S learning Italian.

September: Miss S started attending an Italian school, work opportunities received.

October: weekend in Rome, work, school, routine. Local food festivals.

November: work, school, routine, day trip to Rome, Australian school lessons finish.

December: Miss S’s 10th birthday celebrations, school, work, preparing for Xmas, Xmas in Naples then travelling north for New Years.

Happy Holidays

2020 is shaping up to be just as exciting and challenging as we continue to focus on the goals of allowing Miss S the opportunity to spend time with our Italian based family, learn the language and attend Italian school. 2020 brings a new decade. Let’s embrace it!

May you and yours enjoy the festive season, celebrate accordingly and have a happy and health New Year.

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