It seems like I have been in Italy for months already. I have lost all sense of time. I feel I’ve done so much, and yet so little at the same time. As of yesterday, October 3rd, I have been in country for 23 days. When I spoke with my darling daughter last night, she asked “Aren’t you supposed to have started a blog by now?” So, here I am now—3 weeks behind already.
Getting out of my home in Nebraska was SO much more challenging than I could have ever imagined. Even though I have been anticipating this trip for years, I was clearly clueless as to what it would take to actually prepare for a smooth departure. I was blessed beyond words by the kindness and generosity of countless friends who helped me to prepare/display/sell/donate the things I was ready to release, and pack up what needed to be out of the way during my absence. I have left “Casa Marea” in the care of dear Katy while I am away, allowing her to save for grad school while acquiring new skills as house manager of an AirBnB. I am affirming that only kind, considerate, gentle, and loving guests will visit my home, providing adequate income to cover all taxes and maintenance expenses. Contact Katy if you have friends or family coming to town who need a lovely place to stay. : )
For those who don’t already know the back story of this journey, I had set the intention of spending six months in Italy in January of 2007. I had no idea how I could swing it, but trusted that the Universe would show me the way. 15 months later, I spent my birthday week with my mom for the first time since I was 5 years old. Sadly, she was slowly being taken away by dementia, and we knew she would not be with us much longer. To my complete shock, she presented me with two savings bonds from my childhood I had never known existed. The best b-day surprise ever: it was precisely what I had calculated I would need for my 6-month adventure. As grateful as I am to her, it was a bittersweet blessing. You see, I had never shared my dream with my mother, and now, it seemed it was too late. She was too far gone. What I have learned since is that, even if loved ones aren’t close to us while we are on this earth together, it is possible to feel closer than ever before after they have transitioned. I thank her every single day for making this dream a reality. My sign that she heard me was when, after my brother’s sudden and unexpected death in June, I finally called my travel service to book the flight. Being reminded of just how short life can be was just the kick in the behind I needed to take action. When the agent responded, it was with four flight options: 2 were too soon, before I could possibly be ready; one was too late, and the 4th was on my mom’s birthday, flying out of Boston, her hometown. I had asked for clear guidance. It doesn’t get much clearer than that. To honor her memory, I am now using both names she chose for me: Marea Teresa. They flow together so nicely in Italian.
Thanks, Mom. I love you!