Yes to Italy, Days 3 & 4: Bad One, Good One
I interrupt posting about this epic adventure to thank you, my friends, SO MUCH for being so kind and encouraging. Thank you for cheering. Thank you for reading. Thank you for loving us with such big, expansive love. I adore travel and will always want to see and appreciate beauty in the world, but nothing in my life compares – or even comes close – to the joy I have in the people who make my journey on this spinning globe so fun and funny and kind and weird and wonderful. Now, onto Day Three.
Day Three: The One I’m Mostly Skipping
Okay, so real talk: Day Three was a toughie for me. It was emotional and weird and I didn’t feel well and I’m just sharing that so you know: You can go as far from home as you want, but you still take yourself and all your internal issues with you – so there’s that. The interesting part about hitting emotional snags while spending a month in Italy, is that I feel I shouldn’t. There’s this thing I do when I feel sad or frustrated that I believe is called Invalidating My Emotions by telling myself I don’t get to feel that because I have so much other awesomeness in my life. However, the whole reason I’m spending this extended time away is to dig a little deeper and discover what’s inside of me – so I grabbed some alone time and my journal and poured it all out on the page. I came away with two things I really need to learn and grow in moving forward. I’m not telling you what they are, but I think the whole situation was a net win.
I will say that the bad day was capped by a truly beautiful dinner at this amazing restaurant
to celebrate my birthday and it was just so fun and wonderful. Tori and I split a gigantic steak and I don’t really think you need to know that, but it’s fun to relive. Irene is the bistro at the very hip, very beautiful Hotel Savoy. I loved it, loved it, loved it.
(Not gonna lie: these are google images of the restaurant/hotel because I forgot to take any. )
After dinner, we strolled home slowly, stopping to admire the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) up close. It is just unreal. It’s exquisitely beautiful and it’s dome creates the iconic Florentine skyline you’ll see in a second.
Florence is an amazing city at night. Everything feels magical, almost like a theme park but real (sorry – my American is showing) – and it’s so far felt very safe as well (Hi, mom and boyfriend! I’m safe! I promise!)
Day three was not an easy day, but it was a good, good one.
Day Four: The Day I Found My Pilot Butte
Day four dawned bright and early again because I’m still working through the time changes. I always get up early, but 5:30 and not 3:30. I will be glad when my brain adjusts to this time zone because while I love the mornings of solitude, I’m reeeeeallly dragging by midmorning.
The upside to early moorings is that it’s the only time I’ve been able to work phone dates in with my sweetheart, given the 9-hours between us and the fact that he’s, you know…working. For the past few days, I’ve sat out on my terrace in Italy at the very beginning of my day, talking to Cliff in Portland at the very end of his. True confession: it took a few days to be able to get a phone call in and I was so happy to hear his voice and it sounded so close and so normal that I may have cried a tiny bit. Sappy, I know, but true as true.
Oh, breakfast! I have been loving antipasto, like proscuitto and bread and olives for breakfast rather than the traditional Italian breakfast of pastries or American bacon & eggs. It’s easy and a fun change from my regular life to throw a few pieces of salty meat and crusty bread or focaccia on a plate, brew up an espresso and call it good. This may be a tradition that comes home with me, or perhaps Paleo will prevail.
After breakfast, Tori and Stef invited me to go to SECOND breakfast and who can say no to that? We ran into a small, pretty cafe serving crepes and cappuccino and enjoyed happy food and fun conversation.
Later in the day, while Stef and Tori toured L’Accademia, me and Josiah and the Metcalfs launched out on a long walk to Piazzale Michelangelo. Located on the south bank of the Arno river, this is the highest point in Florence and the view are epic. The walk is short, but steep – and there are about a million steps, but it was so worth it. The views are incredible, the exercise was great, and it was all just really good for my soul.
A couple of lovely churches are at the top as well:
David and Josiah are always exactly this excited to get to church.
There’s something about sitting in a place where others have come for centuries, thinking about the God they loved or the God they didn’t or the God they misunderstood. Centuries of pray-ers and mourners and seekers have whispered out their hearts and dreams and fears on these benches. They have felt the same hopes for their children and fears for their country as those I whispered yesterday to the God I love and the God I hope to understand. I won’t try to tell you that this church felt warm or homey, but it did feel sacred and it stirred my soul again toward a deeper love for our beautiful God and beautiful gospel.
Well, there’s no good way to segue from the spiritual, except to just steamroll through the transition to…stopping at a little cafe for a glass of wine on the way back to the center of the city. Now, I talk a lot about the amazing restaurants we’ve found so far, and this was not one of them. It was not a great find and our server needed a fresh infusion of passion for her job, or maybe she was having a tough day, or maybe she was tired of serving silly Americans. Just know: not all the discoveries are great ones, but they all present excellent photo opportunities.
It was during this mediocre happy hour, that David got a wonderful, brilliant idea: Wouldn’t this be the best night for pizza in front of the TV? We all said yes & amen to that excellent plan and off we went. We have a great restaurant in the alley by our apartment, so Tess and David stopped to get the food, while I photographed from above.
I spy with my little eye: Tess!
And this completes day four. And it was good.