Change is life renewing itself. To fight against change is to fight against life.

One year and three months. This past year in Italy has been the most eventful year of my life. From life to death, mourning and celebration, I feel as if every facet of life made a grand entrance. I didn’t think that it was possible to pack so much into fifteen months; and looking back, I am amazed at all that transpired.

Transpired. I have an affinity for all words beginning with ‘trans’. There are so many to love: transcend, translucent, transport, translate, transatlantic, to name a few. Who knows, perhaps I am drawn to the references to time and travel.

‘Transpire’ is especially appealing to me. Trans: to cross, go through, beyond, or change thoroughly.  Spirare: to breathe.

The breathing part is key. Breathing is the mechanism by which change is accelerated. It acts as the alchemist, transforming the old and unveiling the new. It is the tool I use to centre myself during those critical junctures in life, when I feel my reality slipping beneath me and dissolving into the abyss of my past. So, I breathe deeply and relax into the next experience, allowing the endless cycle of catch and release to unfold.

As for change itself, there are two types: the ones we plan, and those that blindside us in the night. Both have a way of showing up to either calm the storm, or fan the flames.

We moved our family to Italy for one year. This of course was a change we planned, somewhat strategically, and somewhat haphazardly. Over the course of our adventure, we would encounter numerous changes that popped up unexpectedly, like turbulence during a transatlantic flight. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Now, here I am today, sitting on my balcony and sipping my coffee. I can see the early morning sun peeking above the tree line across the river, just as I remember seeing it the first morning we moved in. But things are drastically different from a year ago. We are in the grip of a worldwide health crisis. Italy has been punched hard. We are all willingly confined to our homes, in hopes that we can help alleviate the burden on our country and the world.

Despite how strange of a concept it is in general, quarantine has not been so, so terrible (even though it conjures up images of the Black Death by its name alone). Aside from its social distancing benefits, it has given time and space to people, allowing people to slow down and disconnect from the rest of the world (non-virtually, at least). Maybe this is one positive outcome in the midst of this unforseen moment. One crazy, terrifying moment.

So, I sit at sunrise and the stillness of dawn is interrupted by the church bells signalling a new hour.

As our year long adventure here has turned into two, I realise that I not only encountered a change of scenery, but along the way, I also experienced a change of mind and a change of heart; and I wonder in the wake of everything that has occurred and what is now unfolding…how has it all changed me?

I guess I have some time now to figure it out.

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