If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

06 June 2006

Vacation, all I ever wanted...

Let's talk about vacations. You've been on a vacation, right? It goes something like this: you're decompressing. Free from the stress of routine. No gym in the morning, no kid to pick up at school, no meals to plan, no day job at which to toil. You have a totally flexible schedule. Let's look at what you do:

* You sleep in (why get up early? you're on vacation!)

* You go out to eat every night, making meal choices you wouldn't normally: appetizers AND pasta with cream sauce AND a meat course AND dessert ... (a whole day's recommended caloric intake in one day - because you're on vacation!)

* You accept that extra glass of grappa or limoncello (or two) at the end of the meal ("oh, honey, we're on VACATION!")

* You sit in a cafe in the sunshine having a glass of wine at 11 in the morning... because it's Italy and you're on vacation! (Whereas if you were caught doing that in your hometown people would immediately schedule an intervention.)

And retirement, of course, is like one long vacation where the biggest daily challenge is figuring out how to not annoy the hell out of your spouse.

Therein lies my problem: with the exception of me and the few Italian locals that I know, EVERYONE here seems to be on permanent vacation. The friends who come to visit, and stay with me. The tourists I run into in the towns who sense a kindred spirit, offering to buy me a glass of wine if I can help them. The Italian and expat retirees from other countries with summer homes in this area, whose primary source of entertainment is hosting lavish lunches and dinners in their beautiful homes.

Especially this time of year, it's my own personal form of schizophrenia; attempting to find the delicate balance as I juggle some semblance of a workout routine and a day job with the constant festivity of the "vacation" culture that surrounds me.

Needless to say, it's taken a little getting used to.

When I'm out in a restaurant with visiting friends, I have finally learned to not be pressured to eat like they are eating. And then, once they leave ... or, for example, after the most recent loooooong weekend of festivity, I usually whip up something odd and simplistic for my own dinner: sauteed zucchini and a cup of yogurt, or two tomatoes and a piece of cheese, and nothing else.

I'm not sure I'd call it balance as much as feast or famine, but for the moment it appears to be working. Though now in the height of tourist season, methinks I either need a little more famine or a new pair of jeans!


Anonymous Sarah said...

Your post reminds me that vacations as I know it are over for the time being. We're going on vacation in a few weeks, but we'll still get up early because Freebird, the 7 month old, gets up early every day. He doesn't have a "weekend." He has a "bottle" and he wants it "now."

And the eating thing? Yeah, I have to watch that - it's nice to take a break from your daily routine, but I'd pay for that kind of break by breaking right out of my pants!

I don't know how you resist the nonstop vacation attitude around you - but it must make for a much more laid-back attitude. In NYC, the vacationers are the ones who walk slowly down the block, and the regular folks go barrelling around them at high walking speeds. Vacationers don't slow the locals down at all.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

Ummm, does that mean that when I invite you to stay you want to have yoghurt and a tomato? Golly, that means you can come any day you like.
No homemade bittersweet chocolate in bed? No homemade jams with salty bread? No meaty fantasies or sformati?

9:35 AM  
Blogger ElleStarr said...

Just buy bigger pants! It makes for much better stories!

7:24 AM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

Judith: girl, when I come to visit YOU, *I* will be on vacation! Bring it on!!!

Elle & Sarah: Maybe I should create a button on my blog homepage .... "Donate here to the Bigger Pants Mean Better Stories Fund!" LOL. Without resorting to that, I'll do my level best to hold up my end of the bargain on the stories, while holding my waistline somewhere in the range of sizes-still-available-in-mainstream stores. :> -V.

11:12 AM  

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