Sunday, April 8, 2012


As departure for my trip gets closer - I leave in three weeks - I am thinking about the things I will miss while I'm gone.  Since I am using this blog as a diary as much as I am using it to keep in touch with friends and family, I want to just take a moment to reflect on just what I am leaving behind as I run off to find myself.  I will miss:

  • 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.


  1. Hi MerlieB. Met you once in Loyalton and have been following your blog. Looking forward to your trip too. I will continue to check in on you and wish you the very most positive and happy experience. Karen in Loyalton

    1. Karen - thank you for thinking of me and for posting. I leave in 13 days, and hope to see your comments here again. Thanks for taking this journey with me. Marilyn

    2. Safe travels... I will be checking in and following you on my Italy map... So fun... Karen

  2. So excited to follow you on your journey and I can't wait to hear about all the fun you ladies conjure in June. My mom's Italian is getting really good!!
    Lots of love and safe travels.
    Kristi (Trella's daughter)

    1. Kristi - thank you. I am excited to have the girls joining me. We are going to have so much fun! I'm sure your mother will keep you posted but of course you can follow along here as well. Thanks - Marilyn

  3. wow .... and to think a San Mateo girl is going to be living her "dream" in Italy .... 1970 was not so long ago it seems - enjoy and update as often as you can as I for one will be following the "journey"... kind regards Curtis

  4. Thank you boyfriend. It is a once in a lifetime trip for me. Unless I decide to do it every summer. All packed up now and ready to go. Just checking some things last minute and then I'm off. tomorrow night I will be having a glass of wine in my little house and looking up at the stars. A piu tarde!

    1. ah... Coreglia Italy .... kinda just rolls off the tongue ... beside the Giants baseball season and the Olympics in London I would think the "trade off" will be worth it [LOL], I am so sure you will be doing so much more than "Doing NOTHING", Curtis

  5. you are livin' the life girlfriend.... need to see pics of projects, the Lucca craft store ( and a job application would be great) and the basic stuff like street signs, roads, fecnes, signs, front doors, windows, people and their hands.... you know, everyday things. You are gonna have a great time.
    Chaio ( did i spell that right)

  6. = Steve Carey

  7. Si tratta di bellissime fotografie. Si prega di inviare più.

  8. Grazie a lei Stephano. Che gentile!