If someone offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes and then learn how to do it later. Richard Branson
My current situation is that I'm sitting in a beautiful tuscan home just below the breathtaking Medieval Etruscan Town of Cortona, Italy. We're surrounded by the quintessential cypress that are perfectly dotting the landscape like a mesmerizing picture. We have already experienced the life, culture and reality in the short time we have been here and I'm certain this experience will imprint deeply on these children.
This amazing opportunity did not come without trepidation and deep consideration for both my immediate family, our families at large, our fury babies and of course ourselves as a couple. Ultimately we decided that this journey could not be passed up for any of us and so we decided to spread our wings and take a leap of complete faith. THE MISSION: For the next 6 weeks our job is to housesit for our new friends (our connection was immediate and feels for all of us like it was always meant to be). We will be taking care of 2 dogs, a cat and a beautiful tuscan farm home. It's like THE HOLIDAY- but different. I will attempt to drive and park (SAFELY). (Have you ever driven in ITALY? SHNIKES!! I'm pretty sure I need to invest in lots of deodorant.)
Everything above may have sounded absolutely amazing and a bit scary to many of you!! Uhm yeah except take “a bit scary” and put a rocket on it! For some reason though no matter how scary it has been or will be ‘the amazing’ is trumping it. Before I get into the fun stuff (the pictures and experiences) let’s talk logistics. I didn’t just arrive in paradise. In fact when I left with the three kids and luggage I knew that I had to change planes in one country and then in another find a bus to a train station- get train tickets and then board a train with everyone in tow for 1 ½ hours to our final destination. Terrified would be my word of choice at this point- but I kept praying and everything worked out as seamless as it could have.
When we arrived at the train station we were greeted with a huge smile and warm hug and many of my fears melted away (thank goodness because with the amount of pasta I’ve already consumed something had to melt away.) Although we were exhausted and ready for a nap we couldn’t wait to see our new home away from home. The car turned down the tree-lined drive and my nerves for that moment were replaced with pure excitement. We were immediately greeted by our new, slobbery, fury friends. This helped to create that connection to our own home and land- and despite the opportunity to be on a new journey there will never be anything like home- so this was comforting.
Our home here is lovely. During the day the doors are open to the warm sun, chirping birds, happy pups, beautiful landscape and the mystic walled city as a backdrop. During the evening the air is crisp and the sky is dark but the deep red is smooth and the food is pure comfort and joy. Did I mention the Olive Oil? Yeah we need to talk a lot about Olive Oil- for ultimately that is what has brought us here- but I’ll get into that in a little bit. Little things like the brick archways, smaller appliances, tiny showers and ceramic floors are appreciated for their differences to our own country. Clothes hanging on the line and elderly people working in their yards and gardens are commonplace and truthfully mesmerizing. The differences in culture don’t negate the similarities in all people- to feel loved and connected- and this place is full of that. Let’s talk about my first night.
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The Wine Dinner- Night UNO
The Molesini Wine Shop in Cortona is fabulous. Their wine and knowledge are a true treat. We discovered them seven years ago- my guy was more than impressed-so I was excited when I found out that I would be attending the last wine dinner of the year. For 26 weeks on Thursday nights, the wine shop pairs with Del Brenna Jewelry Store- my favorite jewelry and shoes on earth- and local restaurants for a night of fabulous wine, amazing food and beautiful friendships-both old and new.
We arrived at the outer wall and parked (here you sort of just land your car wherever- double parking is a real thing). We began our uphill walk to the piazza della Repubblica where the wine shop is located. As you walk your mind is reminded of history and beauty and the desire to be told the story of the place is consuming……but the wine and people await.
In the piazza Molesini has a table set up with a flight of wine for our tasting pleasure. I was immediately struck by the community these people had. I didn’t know their stories- at the time-but everyone was smiling, kissing cheeks, and conversing as one big family. It was beautiful.
After the tasting was completed we all made our way to La Logetta which is located in a 13th century building with a beautiful medieval loggia overlooking piazza della Repubblica. The atmosphere and ambiance are captivating.
The meal was to die for and a definite must do for Cortona but as I sat back and took in what was going on around me I was in awe of the deepness of friendship and love that was surrounding me. I was at a table of Ex-Pats and locals alike. Most had moved here at some point, one couple was just visiting, and there was me. This community was breaking bread and sharing wine in a more joyful manner than I've seen in years. There were personalities throughout- and some of it- I'm not going to lie- reminded me much of Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes because there was an authenticity to be you and you would be loved. She obviously felt something that was real when coming here, because I caught the same vibe the other night. These people were beautiful and different than what I experience back at home and I loved it!!!
Acceptance and love are prevalent. T (that's my name for her) and K are amazing. She has shown us love and been patient to no end. I truly think some people are meant to meet and I really think that we were supposed to. I also think that the next several weeks are taking all of us away from our homes and loved ones and that's not without its challenges. We all have lessons to learn and people to meet. The memories we will make will be spoken about for years to come-for that I'm already grateful. If what I learned on the first night holds true- say yes and learn how to do it later because in life the more people you meet the richer you are........tuscany is a lesson in that.