25 May 2011

My Top Twenty from Two Years in Italy

Two years ago I moved to Italy with my Honey. My life has changed in both subtle and dramatic ways as a result. It has been a grand adventure.

The top 20 things I've learned:

1. Making friends is the glue that holds life together and international friends are fun.

2. To think globally rather than nationally is not just a good idea, it's vital.

3. Italy challenges me in every way possible. If I don't understand, I need to dig deeper. Still don't understand, dig deeper still. Give up my preconceptions - see in a new way. Learn a new language to make understanding possible.

4. Learning a new language for the first time in my 60's is difficult. Finding a good teacher makes it possible. Finding a kind and encouraging one is golden. Thank you, Marcello.

5. Clothes can be dried outside without a clothes dryer and smell better, too.

6. Fresh, locally grown food tastes better, costs less and is better for me and the planet.

7. Bidets are great sinks for 4 year olds.

8. Growing basil, rosemary, hot peppers, celery, chive, mint, parsley, oregano and arugula on my balcony tastes better, saves money and is better for me and the planet.

9. Growing lavender helps the beleaguered honey bees, smells good and gives me fresh potpourri.

10. Natural rising is one of life's great pleasures.

11. Discovering more about my natural rhythms and having more relaxed time makes for better sex in my 60's. Afternoon delights are just that.

12. Good neighbors are a gift of pure grace.

13. Italy delights me in every way possible- the people, the food, the national parks, the sea and mountains, Rome, Venice, Assisi, Florence, Sienna, Sardinia, the sweep of history, the ancient architecture, the amazing art and so much more...

14. Locally grown wines from our region of Abruzzo - Montepulciano (red) and Trebiano (white), are delicious.

15. Fresh, local olive oil is surely a gift from the goddess.

16. A good woman's club is a great way to integrate into an area.

17. Having easy access to Europe for travel to Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and The Netherlands (so far) is a wonderful way to expand my mind, deepen my understanding, and bond me to fellow travelers on this journey of ours.

18. Exposing grandchildren to all this expands their world and minds as well.

19. Running three times a week keeps me healthy and lets me eat more of this uniquely scrumptious food while maintaining my weight.

20. Blogging keeps me more aware of the blessings I have. It forces me to put this journey into words and share it. For the responses I have received and the relationships I have developed, I am truly grateful.


  1. What a truly exquisite list! I especially love the fact that you are eating such healthy food in the midst of all that plenty, and that you are growing some of it yourself. You are truly blessed.

  2. Lovely list you have there, do you find being in a foreign land allowed you to incorporate facets of yourself you may have otherwise not been able to do or recognise?

  3. DJan, I am blest. I am grateful. This healthy food is just so delicious.
    Lynne, Yes, I think so. In being challenged in new ways, I find new personal resources to call on. A friend commented on how disciplined I am and it surprised me but it's an important facet to develop in overcoming difficulties.

  4. You do know you live our fantasy, don't you? Yes, to all of the above!

  5. Rosaria, Do I? But you can live your own fantasy. And it's your country!

  6. No more grateful than we are for having and knowing, you

  7. Sounds like not only a fantasy, sounds like heaven! I especially love No. 7. Although No. 20 is truly my favorite as it means I get to vicariously through you enjoy a place I'll likely only dream of seeing.

  8. You are a very lucky lady. You are living our fantasy. Enjoy! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of what it could be like...sigh.

  9. Terrific post. As you know, we are contemplating the expat lifestyle and it is so good to know that we can be global in our 60's.

  10. Lou, What a nice thing to say.
    Lisa, When my granddaughter visited last summer and saw the bidet, her face lit up and she said: "Oh, a sink just my size!" And that's how she used it!
    Sally, It's great fun even with the challenges. I know I'm fortunate.
    Nancy, It expands our options, doesn't it? I've been following your posts on this topic with great interest.

  11. From 1 to 20 I ache, ahhh and love it all. This is the life of my dreams, every single bit of it. To be transformed like this, to find connection with place, with people, with what sustains us physically and spiritually, it sounds like heaven to me.

  12. Ruth, I love my life but this comment made me smile because I've been reading and listening to your poems and podcasts and coveting your gorgeous writing skill. Your poetry thrums (see, I'm stealing one of your words) its way into my cells like music. We're funny people, aren't we?

  13. And you are a gift for bringing this to all of us. Wonderful!

  14. Lauren, Thank you, what a sweet thing to say.

  15. What a fabulous post!! Number 13 brought tears to my eyes, because it made me homesick. Homesick for a place I've only experienced for a few days. I love this post AND the picture of you!!
    Sending hugs ~

  16. I love that you actually see. So many go to a foreign country, and and fail to look, see, appreciate. Years ago, an international coworker from New Zealand came to Massachusetts for two years with his wife and young child. They never left the Boston area, never explored, and spent the entire time complaining about this and that. I could not help but pity them for their blindness.

  17. Gabriele, From what I've read and seen on your blog, you're an Italian artist for sure, made to respond to all that Italy has to offer. May it come to be.
    Patti,Thank you for your kind words. The Boston area is a treasure to be unearthed. I guess any area is if we open our eyes and hearts. I feel fortunate to have this priceless opportunity.

  18. You write so beautifully of Italy and your life. Your list is perfection to me. It's wonderful to know that life can be lived so artfully, so postively and so open to change.

  19. TB, Thank you, I feel very full and very blessed to have this opportunity. I try to stay open and keep learning the lessons this life brings.


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