2020 has taken away a lot from many people, but there were two things that I refused to let that year take from me: my ambition and the ability to explore. It is so easy to lose yourself when you are in lockdown. You cannot visit with family and friends, go places, try new restaurants, or even maintain a job! As a stay-at-home mom and a very overly-ambitious person, I refused to let the virus stop me from accomplishing what I had initially wanted to do in 2020. Therefore, I created a list of personal adventures that could begin from home, altering them a little to coexist with the pandemic. I have carried these adventures into the start of 2021.
I have always been fascinated with languages. Before arriving in Italy, I spent 4.5 months in the States studying the Italian language and culture with an amazing tutor. Initially I wanted to take Italian lessons in-person but had to resort to virtual lessons instead due to the virus. It was still the best decision I made! Instead of making excuses, I found a way to begin studying a new language which brought me closer to another culture without actually being able to travel. Even after arriving in Italy, I continue to study all aspects of the language to the best of my ability- speaking, reading, and writing. As you have probably noticed I even try translating most of my blog entries into Italian as well for practice. After we settle into our apartment at the end of January, I will begin Italian lessons again. Also beginning in the new year, I will hire an Italian native tutor for my 6 year old and next fall he will attend an international school. I believe languages are such a crucial part in understanding a culture and another persons world. I want to pass that on to my son.
As an American you never really realize how fast and pre-made/preserved many of the foods in America are until you see how it’s done in another culture. We have a tendency to want things done fast or be ready for us. The less time it takes to make, the better. Even if that means eating a lot of frozen foods or eating out (which can end up being pricey!) In our home we usually cook and prepare our meals as fresh as possible but it’s still not the same as other cultures. I cooked a lot more with my son in the States when we were in lockdown and I hope to do the same here in Italy; only working more to achieve the goal of making most, if not all, recipes by hand. I think Italy will be a great opportunity to learn to make delicious and healthy meals from scratch! Each region of Italy takes pride in their food and each one claims theirs is the best. Always using fresh food. Some chefs don’t even have a menu because they only make dishes with ingredients that they buy that day. Every day has the possibility to be something new. I always assumed that the first dish I would be practicing shortly after arriving in Italy would be homemade pasta. Surprisingly, it wasn’t! Our first attempt at making an Italian dish was actually la pizza napoletana!! We handmade the crust and all the ingredients were fresh and locally produced.
(Stay tuned for a blog on different Neapolitan dishes that I have attempted and local foods we have prepared during the lockdown!)
I have secretly always wished I had a small garden or a balcony full of greenery and herbs. I would love to have time to grow a green thumb! Someday I will. However, for now, it is difficult to accomplish anything worthy with the nature of our jobs. We move every 1-3 years and sometimes multiple times in a year. We constantly end up with no yard/space or once we utilize the balcony space, it doesn’t have time to flourish or it needs to be tossed because we move again. It’s frustrating. Now that we are finally still for at least 3 years, I want to make this happen. So I’m starting small and following through with a goal of having a collection of herbs in my kitchen- starting with basil. Since basil is one of the most used plants here it’s a perfect start! And for years I have always wanted a lemon tree!! I love lemons, I love the bright color, and I just find citrus trees to be warm, welcoming, and beautiful. Well, my “want” eventually turned into an obsession when I found out that we would be moving to Italy. Now I finally have my lemon tree! (And currently working on where to keep it until we move out of the hotel, haha!)
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!