Buona Notte, Italia.
I'm taking a pause to capture my thoughts... my husband is in the adjacent room writing, too. When I type, I tend to think out loud and yell out what's on my mind. He tends to finish my sentences when I do that. We've always been on the same page, but we want to write our goodbyes to Italy separately this time.
Anyway, I'm sipping on the last of our limoncello, staring at a bookshelf lined with only Italian novels, and contemplating our last two months as nomads in Italy. I can't read any of the titles of these novels, and I don't know what they're about. What I do know, is that this country and this experience has changed me. For the better.
Yeah, it's cliche, but I have grown. We've all grown. My daughter, since day 14 of our travels, has slept in a "big girl bed." She now only sits in "big girl seats" and drinks out of "big girl cups." She rides the bus like a local. She takes the train like a pro. She's excited for our flight to Copenhagen tomorrow. She also knows more Italian words as a one year old than I did as a 29 year old. She says “buongiorno, ciao, bella, bambina, duomo, gelato,” and “buona notte.” She has grown taller. She has grown smarter, more resilient, adaptable and confident. Maybe we all have?
We’ve been living here in Italy for 2.5 months and it has become our home. We started out in Florence. We visited the medieval town of Siena and Roman relics of Fiesole. We hopped the train to lovely Lucca for a few nights and spent our wedding anniversary in the stunning Cinque Terre. We then rented a car and visited Pisa, Volterra, Orvieto, the Umbrian countryside, and Assisi. We stayed with a lovely Italian Nonna in Montepulciano in Tuscan wine country for a week. We got passport stamps from the landlocked country of San Marino.
We spent a week near Venice and month in the foothills of the Italian Alps. We dipped our toes in Lake Como, Lake Garda, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, and Lake Lugano in Switzerland. Maybe one of my favorite parts was trying the local cuisine while wandering the streets of each of the regions we set foot in: Toscana, Liguria, Umbria, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Lombardia.
Leaving Italy, my husband and I are filled with a whole range of emotions. Although we are excited for something fresh, we are finding it harder than we expected to say goodbye to our newest home. But in this nomadic life, bidding farewell is constant. And the harder it is to say goodbye, the more it was worth it.
If there is anything I need to reiterate though, it is how important it is to open your heart to new places and loving them, despite the inevitable goodbyes. When you fall in love with a new city, you can always take a piece of that place with you. In many instances, each town we saw in Italy changed me, a little bit at a time. And I’m eternally grateful for this beautiful, diverse and authentic country that has taken me out of my comfort zone and primed me for the next phase of our adventure.
As for tonight, I have to finish up my thoughts... I still have to pack, clean the Airbnb and organize a cab for the morning. The planning and moving never stops.
This nomadic life is, at times, crazy and hectic. The constant change, especially at first, is overwhelming. But it’s all worth it in the end. I wouldn't change it for the world.
Buona notte, Italia.