Writing under the influence is probably not the wisest thing to do, but I guess that depends of who you ask. I've been home from our Italy trip for a little over two months and while I stepped back into the routine of my daily life, I wrestled with indecision.
My blogging came to a complete halt after my last piece, Chasing 40 and I was disappointed of how I dropped the ball. It was easier to ignore it, so I stepped away and hid beneath the busy-ness and made excuses.
This post is my new starting point and I believe it's time to dip my toe back into the water and embrace what I started in 2014.
The following words are not brave or filled with wisdom. They are just me. They are thoughts and feelings that were born from an amazing experience and only exist because of an afternoon of no plans, plenty of cappuccino, and an itch to write.
A Whole New World
On July 10th, after seventeen hours, two delayed flights and a clumsy mile sprint through the Paris airport, my husband and I arrive in Florence, Italy. Jag lag pulls at our bodies, but we rally and catch a cab.
Within the next hour, I feel myself sinking under the influence as cappuccinos are served and I savor the flavors teasing my American tongue. We sit at a small, wrought iron table and the heat reminds me of home, yet it's different.
Beautiful scenery cradles my excitement as we walk the uneven, crowded streets and I watch the prism of Florence’s story unfold with each step. We cover miles and my sandaled feet are coated with dust and dirt, but I don't care. I'm in Italy and that's all I can comprehend.
I am under the influence of the architecture and the ambiance fuels me. A fresh cannoli is placed into my hands and I pretend I don't notice how the shopkeeper flinches at my poor attempt at their beautiful language.
Wishing and Wondering
There are others around me who are wandering in small groups, some with large worn backpacks that could hold their entire world and others in search of their hostel as they laugh and enter a trendy bar. My view is different than theirs and I know I wouldn't have appreciated this trip in my teens or twenties, yet I yearn for their youthfulness.
I tell myself that the mysterious beauty of the Duomo, the history of the Ponte Vecchio, and the art in the Uffitzi Museum would be lost on my younger self. Leonardo’s creations, Michelangelo's last sculpture, and the beautiful frescoes would be overlooked and replaced with youthful selfishness.
The Five Senses
My sense of adventure blossoms. I cherish the Tuscan sun as it darkens my shoulders and relish the burn of stagnant muscles. The echo of church bells fill the breeze. A deeper calms invades my body as I sip a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
My heightened sense of smell, sight and touch allow me to look beyond the small sphere of my life back home. I enjoy the sweet smell of the Biboli Gardens. The aqua blue, Italian sky looks clean and transparent. A gentle wind whispers forgotten stories.
The foreign feel of not belonging is refreshing.
There's No Place Like Home......and I'm Thankful.
A few days before we are scheduled leave, I sit at a table in our hotel’s lobby, watching men and women rushing to places unknown. The men clutch small purse-like pouches and their shirt collars are flipped up, kissing the sides of their necks. I suppress laughter as other passerby's glance at me.
The need to write pulls my fingers to the keyboard. I don't want to think about my other life - my real life - waiting for me "across the pond."
Do I have to go back?
Lifting my third cappuccino of the day to my lips, I attempt to drown the fluttering wings of guilt. But, a mother's guilt is freakishly strong and thoughts of never going back swirl and drown with each sip I take.
What I would give to make this my life.......waking, writing, walking the city, wandering through the history. No children to shuttle. No house to clean. Nobody else's schedule to follow - except mine.
Uneasy questions surface the longer I sit and I'm hesitant to answer them. The thoughts of not returning home causes me to feel ashamed and a bit giddy.
The urge to erase my questions, the doubts I have of my life, and even this entire post is tempting. My truths are fragile and I admit that I am writing under the influence. The haze of caffeine, the lullaby of beautiful accents and the five thousand, six hundred and eighty miles separating me from my "normal" is partly to blame.
My questions can wait for another time and another place.
For now, I signal the waitress and say, "Un altro cappacinno per favore."