The calender reads September, but the thermometer still tops the upper nineties here in Texas. I’m forever making fresh asparagus salad, cold gazpacho, and sipping on sparkling Aperol Spritzes. All the while, my tastebuds are longing for hearty autumn dishes of braised meats, rich earthy stews, and robust red wines.
We had a mad rush to the finish this summer, preparing the house to put on the market and tying up a ton of loose ends that seemed so pressing. There was a frenzied excitement making long to-do lists of all the things to accomplish prior to our move.
When we finally put the For Sale sign up in the yard, we were convinced that, like most things we think we have so much control over, the house would sell in a matter of weeks or even days, and we would be well on our way to Italy, soaking up the newfound food, wine, nature, and culture.
But reality, coupled with fate, wields its own terms. Instead, I am stuck in Texas, in a summer that seems to be never ending, fighting mosquitos and humidity. I am antsy to sell the house, sell our belongings, and book our one-way tickets. I am itching to start the life that I know is waiting, and with each day that passes, I grow more frustrated in this holding pattern. I feel like I am neither here, nor there, and I don’t want to invest any more time here.
So I spend nights combing the internet for places to rent in Verona, reading up on schools for the boys, mapping out neighborhoods to explore, and researching job opportunities for when I get there. I have a language book by my bed and Italian apps on my phone to get a head start on learning the language. I am physically here, but my mind is several thousand miles away. It’s a strange existence.
Alas, all is not as tragic as it seems, and I know Italy will be there, like an aging barrel of cabernet, just waiting for me to enjoy its splendor. So as it is, I am resigned to the fact that this whole moving thing may take longer than I like, but I am determined to use this time to relax, and take in the rest of what Texas has to show me before we part ways one final time.
In fact, there is something kind of poetic about this entire process, a mindful meditation of sorts. Where most things in life, especially here in the States, are so automatic and fast, with instant gratification being the measuring stick of greatness, it’s nice to sit back, relax, and let life unfold before you, revealing all of its nuances you may otherwise have missed.
I also like to think that this is the universe’s way of preparing me for a culture where patience is not a virtue, but a necessity. Where slow is not a movement, but a way of life.
So, I am gearing up for slowing down. I’m trying to enjoy this house that we have worked hard to renovate, and relish the amount of space that I know is such a commodity where we are headed. I am loving having my husband home, instead of traveling five days a week. I am grateful to not be pregnant or breastfeeding anymore, and it’s a blessing to have the boys finally sleep through the night. It was a crazy and exhausting three and a half years, and things have finally slowed down. Like way down.
Most of all, I am taking time to enjoy my family and friends, and spend quality moments with the people I love and enjoy being around.
Before long, I will be in a place where, for a while anyway, solitude outside my family will be the norm, at least until I gather my tribe once again.
In the meantime, this means wine nights with girlfriends, lunches and brunches with the ladies, and Sunday family dinners at home. And if we are still here come the New Year, well, my Italian Christmas will just have to wait.
Don’t cry for me Veneto. Although I feel like this whole process is dragging its feet, it’s kind of like waiting for a baby to be born. What goes by in a flash for everyone else, creeps to crawl when you are struggling to breathe and can’t tie your shoes.
But before you know it, those labor pains are a murky memory, and you find yourself bringing home your brand new baby, ready to explore all of the frustrations and triumphs of getting to know someone entirely new, who doesn’t yet share with you a common language.
So here I am, learning to be still. To stand in the present, not look to the future. To hurry up…and wait.