Settling into Italian life has been like coming home to a cozy fire and like a faucet of emotions just put a part of that fire out. What most people think about Tuscany is absolutely true and then some. I promise you I’m in love with it here. We are surrounded by beauty, history, loud warm people that you feel like you’ve known forever, cappuccino that’s served in real cups, food that makes you care less about gaining weight (maybe that’s just me) and wine that is flowing. Who wouldn’t want that? I FOR SURE DO!! AND THESE PEOPLE LIVE IT EVERY DAY. Our difficulty has not been with ANY of these things- and to be honest the kids seem fine (other than being on awful sleep schedules). My onset of tears has come from not being with the MY own human/s (my guy and family-apparently I’m attached- who knew). The great news is that I am being a big girl (WHEW) and I’m feeling excited (may have something to do with my guy coming but who cares-it’s working). I am fully aware that without saying YES to this amazing opportunity I wouldn't have made any of these memories (or met some of the finest people) that we've made in the last 7 days and these are irreplaceable. I also realize that stepping outside of our hectic daily life and taking time to appreciate each other really does make a difference.
This journey (I should name it) is already changing things and I'm trying to keep my heart open and be fully engaged in every lesson we are meant to learn.
Taking the time to take it all in.
Community at the Table
On my first night here, as I’ve stated, I was awe struck by the community that I was surrounded by. I was captivated by the fact that although there was such diversity within the group their bonds were as solid as the wall around this great place. It has made me think that the dinner table really is a vessel for fellowship, just like Jen Hatmaker said in For the Love, and that we could take lessons from these people in Cortona. I also decided that although I find myself wishing that I could replay that night again because there is so much more I want to learn…. I need to take this time to create this same fellowship with MINE.
Before our friends left they took us to a sagra. A sagra is like a local fair/picnic. We drove about 20 minutes down the road and pulled up to what looked like a small fair grounds. Not knowing what to expect I was curious to see what it was that we were doing. What an experience!! After parking your car in a field you enter a tent and order your food. We brought with us a few bottles of local wine. This particular sagra was focused on the preparation of pappardelle with a wild hare sauce. If licking the plate clean were an acceptable part of this culture (which it probably is) every last bit would have been in my mouth. For less that $20 we not only had an amazing meal- the experience was simply fantastic. I was enamored by the community of people around me. People of all ages were enjoying each other. They were smiling, kissing, laughing, and communicating over delicious food. The tables were long and all were welcome. Clearly, they recognize the value in being part of a tribe, but their tribes have open arms.
Over the last two days I have taken a few brave steps in order to break bread with my kids and converse over some amazing food. It's the first time that the 4 of us have been alone (let alone in a foreign country) and I want to create memories for them for their futures. I don’t want my kids to see a mom that didn’t take risks so I drove (INSERT HUGE WIDE EYES) up to Cortona once during the day and then again at night. There are no rules here. You'll find barely any middle lines- and those seem like a suggestion. Same as speed limits. Cars commonly want to smell each others behinds or something because they get so close you can't see headlights but you can see a bat in the cave- SERIOUSLY!! All this being said I put my armor on and my precious cargo in the car and we did it! SUCCESS (this sounds so pathetic- but I feared for their lives). Now that I'm such an expert (I've done it twice-ha) I think driving in Chicago was like putting on my training wheels and now I'm ready to take them off- here's to no road rash!
Click to see the amazing food. Including Tratufi (truffles) on pizza and pasta, spinach stuffed ravioli and some liquid relaxation- uhm hello goodness.
Our communities begin with our own but our arms should be as open as the people I've had the pleasure to experience. We've been invited to several things by people that JUST met us and we've been checked in on by some of the loveliest people you'd ever want to meet. These people know how to love and are so abundantly obvious about it. Taking the time to sit and have big meals with my kids has created opportunities for long discussions about this very thing. Closing my eyes while cars fly down the hill and cross the imaginary line coming at me is so worth the memories we are making and lessons we are learning- and that wouldn't have happened if we didn't say YES. I want these kids to notice that a table should be appreciated for the bridge it creates. What the Tuscan people know is that around a table the differences we come to it with blur, and deep relationships ARE formed when you take THE TIME to sit down and really break the bread and SEE all the people around it.