Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Troppo is Italian for "too much." This is how I feel every time I am about to leave Italy. I have eaten too much of the amazing, fresh food...the pizza, the pasta, the gelato. I have drank too much of the wine that flows faster and more easily than water, oh sweet delicious wine. Leaving Italy has never been easy for me, usually becoming a messy scene of tears, something comparable to Anchorman's glass case of emotion, however "troppo" makes home a little more appealing. In Italian, I would say "E proprio che io vado via adesso." Which means, it figures that I'm leaving now. Why do I say that? Because Venice is a city of locals. Everyone knows everyone and once you're part of the family people start to do favors for you like you're their own. My last week in Venice I was offered dinner on the house at one restaurant, famous squid ink risotto, bottles of wine, and my favorite favor of all, the "princess" shuttle treatment. I was going to be a few minutes late getting back to our water shuttle and had I missed this particular shuttle I would've had to stay on the main island of Venice for two hours before the next shuttle came. I told this to my shuttle driver friend (Claudio) and he called over the raido to Luca and asked if they could hold the return shuttle for the "principessa." The best part about this was not the fact that they had no problem holding the shuttle for me, or that he called me princess, it was the ten responses I heard over the radio all of whom knew exactly who Claudio meant by "principessa!" Figures that I would be leaving now. Figures.

My last day in Venice was spent at the rooftop pool, then lunch with a new friend at her Venician home (complete with a garden and pet turtle!), more pool time, then some last minute wine shopping, some packing, and off to bed early. It was a strange feeling to wake up the next morning and be emotionally ready to leave Venice...Italy, my heart's love behind. No tears were shed, no feelings of regret, nothing left on my list of things to do, places to see, and presents to buy. I was okay with leaving it behind. Maybe it's because I know that I have a pretty good chance to come back someday. Maybe it's because working in Italy isn't the same as just living in Italy. Yes, I would miss the beautiful Italian language, and the beautiful Italian people. I would miss the pizza that can only be found in Italy and the 1.60 Euro bottles of delicious prosecco, but at the same time, I knew it wouldn't be the last time I would have the chance to delight in the simple pleasures that are Italy. On the way back through Philly's airport I had to note to my coworker that the last time I was in this airport I was a mess. I confessed about the 3 breakdowns before even getting off the plane, the one breakdown as soon as I got to the airport bathroom, the breakdown on the phone with my sister-in-law as I sat in the mist of hundreds of people hurrying through the terminal. I was a lost sad little girl who's overall plan had NOT gone as it should have. I was supposed to find a job and stay in Europe forever, but instead I was jobless, houseless (however, not homeless), broke (both monetarily and emotionally), and so alone in a world speaking much too loudly in rude English. BUT had things gone as I had planned, I wouldn't have moved to STL to make money, thus finding the job I have now, the job of my dreams! Yes, this time the culture shock wasn't quite as brutal. I managed to keep a genuine smile on my face the entire trip back to the good old midwest thanks to the promising outlook of (as corny as it sounds) my future.

Romeo, Romeo…

So here I am in Venice, Italy. Giudecca, made with of 4 of Venice’s 117 islands, is what I refer to as MY island. This is home, has been home for two weeks, and will be home for one more week before they force me on to the plane kicking and screaming (probably in Italian) like a small child. My Giudeccan home is complete with a window that opens up to the splashing waters of the canal with a great view of the main island of Venice (if you lean out a bit while holding on and look to the left). From atop of my canal I feel like a regular Juliet…with no said Romeo. Of course there are cute Italian men everywhere, complimenting my blue eyes (thanks Mom and Dad!) in their gorgeous Romance language with their drawn out and very stero-typical, but oh so alluring Venetian accent. However, three weeks is hardly enough time to find the love of my life AND convince him to either marry me and keep me here or come back to the States with me. I guess Romeo, will just have to wait. This Juliet, however, can survive on her own. Especially here. It was incredibly easy for me to fall back into the ways of the Italian people. As a matter of fact, I noticed while I was in line at the lost luggage counter at the Venice airport. It was my first time to lose my bag, and all my new clothes I had bought for the two days before work were in said bag that had apparently been left in Philadelphia. After the initial disappoint, I was surprisingly calm. Even after waiting for a half hour just to talk to someone about my lost bag. I had to laugh at the impatient tourists in line with me, who had obviously no idea that not everyone in the world is always in a hurry. The Italians were taking their sweet time chatting it up and loving life (it was also the lunch hour) and the tourists behind me were impatiently checking a watch or pushing me closer and closer to the people in front of me as if it would make someone hurry up. Me, on the other hand, I was in Italy, and I was hearing Italian, and slowly but surely I was being sucked right back into my wonderful dream world that I had left behind only eight months ago.

My first visit to Venice had been under a little different circumstances. In fact I believe the title of the blog post was Venice lost that loving feeling. This time… this time, I see the magic. And maybe this time I’m less cynical and less worried that I’ll never be back, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s summer and sunny instead of winter and rainy, but I finally see why people love it here. I see it mostly in the morning, when the canals are still and it’s just me running down the sidewalk watching the sun come up over the water. I can feel it when I’m on the boat to Burano; all the colorful buildings on the horizon, fresh sea breeze blowing, sun starting to set, and all of a sudden the church bells start to ring from islands on both sides of me….absolutely beautiful. One of those moments that make me stop and say, “There’s no way this is actually happening to me. This can’t be real.” BUT, it is real, and I love it!  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Well, so much for plans.

I read once that, "Life happens when you're busy making plans." So stinking true. There I was planning to make some money and get the heck out of MO, finally! So much for that. I found a job. A dream job this time. One that makes you take 3 steps back and say, "I'm sorry, are you lying to me, because that's not nice?" It's probably the most ironic thing that could happen to me. My dream job allows me to travel (up to 28/30 days of a month but not always so much, it's an average) and puts me in places all over the world. The best part...someone, else, pays. Yes, that's right. I found my Mr. Money-bags in a company who actually pays ME to travel. Love it. I still can't seriously wrap my head around this. And here comes the irony, to have this job, I have to live in St. Louis, Missouri. No questions, no objections, no (well almost no) exceptions. I sucked it up, said to myself, "Self, if someone else is paying you to travel nearly 349 days a year, is it so bad to be in St. Louie for the other 36? So I took the job and here I am...not in Switzerland, but still loving life, and my job, more than ever! So even though now I may be more of just a traveling chick who drinks a lot of wine, I still feel like writing to tell about my adventures at home and abroad. So here goes with a quick recap of what you've missed...and I'm sorry, you've missed a lot, so you're getting the short version, like it or not!