- springtime in Grass Valley, when the yard comes alive with everything beautiful in the foothills. I will miss the blooming of roses, agapantha, rosemary and lavender, salvia and the herbs in the garden
- my family. we don't see each other that often, but jut knowing we will be apart is tough. Some will join me in Italy, some will not. One son is deploying to Afghanistan again. I try not to worry and take a modicum of comfort in the knowledge that he is experienced and vigilant.
- the comfort in all things familiar - my quiet home, my art studio, the sound of the wind chimes, the red tailed hawks and all my creature comforts.
- Saturday nights playing cards with my BFF's, boating with my BFF's in our little old boat, laughing with friends.
- my silly little dog
- watching mindless tv with my husband
HOWEVER, I look forward with incredible anticipation to the freedom and opportunity that a three month leave of absence (for which I am grateful to my employer) and my little house in Italy will provide:
- I will practice my Italian which is rusty and very bad. I have forgotten more than I learned I'm afraid
- To be able to awake each day with absolutely no plans and just to experience each day as it unfolds will be a most incredible gift
- I get to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in the walled city of Lucca and to share the experience with my husband.
- Having friends coming and going from the states, and sharing my love of Italy with them will be amazing - I hope they love it as much as I do
- I can't wait to hand out my homemade cookies and see the reactions of strangers as I do. Will they eat them? Throw them out? Think I'm crazy? Hopefully some of them will post something to the blog and we can all read what they think
- I get to see a few old friends who I met seven years ago during my very first trip - Anke from Germany and Gugli the friendly lifeguard. I love him (he is a very young, married man so it's not what you might be thinking)
- I hope my neighbors are friendly and that they will join me for a meal now and then, or a cup of espresso or a glass of wine
- WALKING! I will not have a car, though a bus and train are nearby. Walking to the village each day, carrying my purchases in a tote and eating really fresh local food prepared from fresh local ingredients - exciting!
- SKETCHING! Journaling, and carrying my camera with me everywhere to capture village life will be inspiring. I am shipping a box of art supplies ahead to be there when I arrive, along with my handmade journals. Thank you Lindsay for the inspiration.
- My BFF's from school - we have all known each other since kindergarten - will join me for two weeks in June. How special is THAT??
- Doing NOTHING. I'm not even sure I remember how to do nothing but I'm going to give it a serious try
So that's it. I'm trying not to set expectations for how wonderful it might be. Who knows - I may get there and be incredibly lonely there all by myself. Especially with how bad my Italian is. But I do look forward to whatever it is - good or bad - this experience might provide.