If not now, when?

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

13 February 2007


To borrow a phrase, 'I came to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.'
And live deliberately I did: I found my soul here on this Tuscan hilltop, a peace of spirit that I cannot find words adequate to describe.

I also found a clarity of voice.
An ability to articulate Things That Matter.
The magnetic power of love.
The transformational power of nature.
The importance of Being Genuine.
How to let go.
How to feel again.
How to laugh again.
What I really care about, what's worth fighting for.
The elegance of simplicity.
The importance of building a life that is sustainable and respectful.

All good things must come to an end, as the cliche goes, in order to make room for great things. Sometimes good is good enough, and sometimes ... it's not.

I have learned that sometimes the fairytale of life on an Italian hilltop... isn't always a fairytale when seen from close up. From 5000 miles away my perspective changed enough to see that the REAL fairytale is found in an extraordinary human connection: wrapped in the guise of an otherwise ordinary-looking life, curled up on a couch giggling, nestled in the strongest and kindest of arms.

Because I believe THAT version of the fairytale is real, if we both have the courage to let it be. Prying open my heart has been the hardest lesson I have learned in the last 2 years. I also learned that the overwhelming electricity of connection can be scarier than bats and bites; that the language of love is sometimes more cryptic than Italian; and that running TO something is far, far scarier than running away from something.

But I know I must do it: to run towards possibility - which for me, today, is back in the US, in the arms of The Man of Many Nicknames. And if I make a fool of myself for believing in love against the craziest of odds, then so be it ... I can't think of anything more worthy of being a fool over.

And so, surrounded by the dearest of Italian and American friends, I bid a fond farewell to my Tuscan hilltop a few weeks ago. You may have sensed that changes were underway: I was intentionally cryptic, not writing more specifically about it until now because I wasn't sure what to say.

I'm still not sure.

I came to Tuscany to find my soul.
I leave here to follow my heart, back 'home' - to the midwest, where my heart is.
To try to learn to speak yet another language.

I know that a chapter in my life has closed, a chapter that I have dearly loved writing. Most good writers tell you that they don't know when they start how the story is supposed to end ... they wait to see where the characters take them.

As both author and protagonist, I am conflicted as to how to end.

Because this was never my dream, I do not leave with dreams unfulfilled.

I do know that it was exactly as it was supposed to be. 20 months later, the door to my Tuscan life has closed, and another has opened. And while open doors are intimidating, I steady myself by taking a deep breath, reminding myself that everything - everything - happens for a reason. God does have a plan.

I started this diary on February 15 2005, to communicate with friends and relatives about my Italian adventure. In the intervening two years, our little corner of the blogville has grown by leaps and bounds, as like-minded Italy lovers stumbled through, friends of friends referred to read my random ramblings. I am honored you have taken the time to share my adventure, to leave a comment or send good vibes. You encouraged me and buoyed me when I faltered, you made the cold dark nights seem warmer, and friends seem less far away on my empty 20 acres of hilltop forest.

All of that is why this is so hard: though there are hundreds of stories still untold to you, I find I need to stop writing 'If not now, when?': to focus on the doors that are open in front of me. To look forward, not back. Life lives only in one direction, and today is all we can be sure of.

My next adventure, taking me from the Tuscan Sun to the Frozen Tundra of Minnesota, may eventually be worthy of writing about. (Perhaps subtitled 'Love in the Time of Frostbite?!') But for now, I need to just live it.

And so it will come to pass that Spring will blossom on my Tuscan Hilltop without me this year. But I do know that I will pass that way again; a piece of me will always live there.

Italians don't say goodbye. They say, as you know - 'arrivederci.' Literally translated, the verb vedere is 'to see' Rivedere, to see again.

And so, for now ... I raise a glass, and my eyes simultaneously sparkle and fill with tears as I offer a reverent toast: Arrivederci: To the re-seeing of us, whenever and wherever our paths may cross again.


Blogger sognatrice said...

Arrivederci bella! And thanks for giving us a peek into your Tuscan experience--what a ride it was even for us on the outside. In bocca al lupo!

5:02 PM  
Blogger cupcake said...

Does this mean we don't get photos of the copper pot?

Love is a long, strange trip. Best of luck to you on yours.

I couldn't wish more happiness and peace for you even if I knew you in 'real life.'

5:27 PM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

Cupcake: I just dropped in a clip art pic of my gorgeous pan. When I find my camera cord in the mess of unpacking, I have some wonderful pictures of me and Sig. Mazzetti in his workshop that I will put up, I promise. And thanks for the good vibes -- as you know, I'm sure it will be a bumpy ride, but worth it.

You say, 'even if I knew you in real life' ... I would say that 'real life' is being open and sharing parts of ourselves with others, even when they're not pretty or polished. By that definition, it doesn't get much more real.

Thanks for being part of the adventure.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Annika said...

Arrivederci cara! Onwards you go to new adventures. Thank you for letting us follow you on your Italian as well as your personal adventure. Take care of yourself, will ya!

6:27 PM  
Blogger Annika said...

Arrivederci cara! Onwards you go to new adventures. Thank you for letting us follow you on your Italian as well as your personal adventure. Take care of yourself, will ya!

6:27 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Arrivederci indeed. We'd love to have you visit us here in Umbria, or perhaps our paths will cross one gloomy winters day in Louisville! Keep in touch, and have a shot of 100 proof for me!

7:31 PM  
Anonymous J.Doe said...

This chapter may be finished but the book continues on. The best of luck to you in whatever the future might bring.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in tears for me and joy for you. I will sure miss our peek into your life. THXs to for my adventure in Italy which would not have happened without you on that hillside. Keep writing something you are so good. Much love,LB

12:50 AM  
Blogger The Mom said...

How appropo that it is today...for tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. I toast you, and your accomplishment, with my own moist eyes.
Love, and thanks for the memories!

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

I will miss you a lot....and send you a "in bocca al lupo" mille volte for all that life has in store.....and, I fervently hope....ARRIVEDERCI!!

2:40 AM  
Blogger I'm Just a Girl said...

Welcome home!!!!

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for letting me get to know you again! I am so glad you will be so much closer! Danza Sorelina

7:46 PM  
Blogger tallulah said...

Please. Continue your writing from closer to my home. Although your Italian adventures have ended, you have much more to share.
A toast to you and your new life!

2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations and good luck, may all the love you've given be given back threefold.

5:59 PM  
Blogger serrin said...

Thank you for sharing your adventure with us, it's been a very entertaining, thought provoking and inspiring read (and I still haven't been through all the archives yet!)

I hope my Italian adventure is as successful as yours.

Best of luck in your new frostbitten future, I'm sure you will attack it with great style and good sense.

10:11 PM  
Blogger katerinafiore said...

Congrats on following your heart. I will miss your beautifully written posts about your life. Thanks for the inspiration and kind words. Buona Fortuna!!!

12:44 PM  
Blogger dmarie said...

Congrats on starting a new adventure.

5:41 PM  

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