The Italian Dream

The Italian Dream

I want to live in Italy. I don’t really care where, as long as it’s near an airport and not too far from the coast. It would be easy to do soon, given the boyfriend’s job, if I found a job myself. I am, by virtue of my mother’s lineage, eligible for an Italian passport and dual citizenship, which would make the whole thing so much easier.

I don’t think I’d like to stay there indefinitely, but then again, maybe I would. It’s a discussion I don’t need to have yet. I would love to live there, in “sunny Italy.” I would be alone much of the time, but I could make friends, whether citizens or expats or both. My Italian language skills have increased by leaps and bounds, and I know if I lived there I could even speak passably. My reading, writing, and aural comprehension are decent, I think.

I can only think of three jobs as a native English speaker with elementary-intermediate Italian skills that could help sustain us: tutoring, nannying, and/or freelance writing. Of course, if we wanted to stay longer, I would inevitably learn more of the language, and could perhaps get a regular job, but I think we’d eventually end up returning to the States.

Have any of you lived abroad? What did you do for a job? What did you like about it? What didn’t you? Let me know in the comments!

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Lifestyle Change (Hopefully with Weight Loss!)

Lifestyle Change (Hopefully with Weight Loss!)

 

This is me today, at a weight I am not proud of achieving. I had, over Christmas and the new year, lost twelve pounds. Ten are back, unfortunately.

Like I said in a previous post, I was always a skinny kid growing up, to the point where, to me at least, it was a big part of my identity. So gaining 100 pounds in the last three years has been devastating, to say the least. It’s so funny, because three years ago I thought I was fat, with my healthy BMI and 29-inch waist. I now know I was not at all fat, especially because even now I’m not.

Me in 2016.

But yesterday I began, with two friends, a lifestyle change. I will be exercising five times a week, whether on the elliptical, with weights, doing floor exercises, or just walking the dog till we’re both exhausted. I will eat less dairy and avoid excess sugar; no soda, fast food, red meat, or white breads/pastas/rice; more fruits and vegetables, especially the latter; and protein at every meal. I also have added one lemon water to my morning.

I’m trying to learn to love my body as it is, as well. While it isn’t my ideal of what I “should” look like, I am starting to realize that it is still beautiful and capable. I’m also trying to forgive my past self. I’m trying to forgive the woman who fought her mental demons so hard she forgot to care for her physical being, or was too tired to do so. I’m trying to forgive the woman who, in boredom or distress, turned to food for comfort. And I will continue to try to forgive, because I know the days will come when, for whatever reason, I miss a workout or eat something “bad.” But, I hope they will be few and far between.

I just want to look in the mirror and be happy about the appearance of the woman I see again. I want to feel beautiful and womanly and dainty and capable again. I want things to fit me more easily.

I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know what the results will be. I’m hoping that by telling all of you that will help me to stick to the plan. But, I hope when I check in again, I will be healthier, stronger, and more fit. Ideally I will be thinner also.

I love you. I’m trying to love my physical body, too, as I am. I’m getting healthier for me, because I do love me.

If you have any tips or tricks, please leave them in the comments – I’d love to hear them!

Perfection and Contentment

Perfection and Contentment

“I’m never satisfied.”

It’s not just a line from Hamilton. It is also true for me. “I’ve never been satisfied.” Something in me is always reaching for more, more, more. Sometimes “more” means it is reaching for something different, and sometimes it is reaching for something better. But it always means that I am constantly on the lookout for the next thing.

It is truly a gift to be able to be content with what one has. If I, for one moment, could be satisfied with my life, with my situation, I would know a small peace. Peace and contentment are what I long for most, I think, and they are what most eludes me.

But there are benefits to a lack of satisfaction. It means I am always striving to better myself, whether by learning, gaining experience, or anything else. I always want more – more knowledge, more experience, more practice, etc. It means that I am always improving not only myself, but the things I create. I’ve never gotten further than fifty pages in writing a novel because I am given to editing and re-editing much too early in the process.

Discontent can mean perfection, or, more often, for me, it means perfectionism. Perfectionism isn’t great because when something is nowhere near the arbitrary par one has set for oneself, one (when one is me) tends toward giving up instead of realizing that not everything can be wonderful, and often things are the opposite of wonderful, at the outset. I’d be more content if I realized this fact, and let myself be bad at things without giving up on them entirely without trying more than once.

I need to be productive. I am a human being, and all human beings have that need – the need to feel as though they matter to something, someone. But I also need to learn to let go. Let go and let things fall as they will.

Why You Should Adopt, Not Shop

Why You Should Adopt, Not Shop

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I have a lovely little emotional support dog named Brie. Brie is the light of my life, and I didn’t know that I could love a non-human being as much as I love her.

Brie is a rescue. I’ve told her story many times, so I won’t get into too much detail here. Brie lived the first year or so of her life on the streets of Puerto Rico. When we adopted her, she was nine pounds underweight, had hookworm and mange, and had almost no fur. The day we adopted her, she kept coming up to me, and I loved her immediately. Now, she’s the prettiest, cutest dog in the world.

Brie’s Petfinder listing picture.

Brie has proven to me that rescuing a dog is the only way to obtain one. With help from my parents, I nursed her back to health. I trained her. I spent the majority of each day alone with her for the first two months we had her. I was most likely the first person to consistently love her.

Today, this dog sulks when I travel without her, plays with me, and naps with me. She is the sweetest little thing in the world. When she goes to the vet, regularly the vet asks if they can “steal” my dog. Absolutely everyone falls in love with her.

Brie this summer.

I’m not saying that a dog bought from a breeder cannot be beautiful, or sweet, or good, or loving, or all of the above. But, I also know that the fact that my dog came from a horrible situation and had my devotion when it came to her health, behavior, and love, has made her immensely grateful. Given her circumstances, it is amazing that she has turned out as happy, healthy, loving, and sweet as she is. But, she has, and she is worth almost twenty years of waiting and months of nursing and training.

If you’re debating whether to buy from a breeder or adopt a dog, I would strongly encourage you to adopt. Besides the ethical issues, a rescue will likely be the best dog you’ve ever had, and grateful and loving to you. All you have to do is put in the love, time, and work.

Small-Town Spring Break

Small-Town Spring Break

I’m sitting in a cute little place called Cafe Chocolate in downtown Lititz. I’m writing, and I’m happy. I’m seriously toying with the idea of interior design, but I know I have to finish this English degree before I do anything else.

It’s slower here; I know that goes without saying, but it’s nice not to be in a huge rush all the time. Even just being at home in D.C., everything must happen quickly: getting where you need to go, getting what you need to get, etc. At home, everything, including my life, seems to need to happen quickly. I need my degree yesterday and I need a full-time job today and I need to be married and soon there need to be babies and BOY! – It is exhausting.

I think I’d like smaller-town life. As a lifelong city kid, I don’t know that I could stay forever in a completely rural area, but Lancaster is utterly charming to me. You get all the benefits of living rurally, with a city nearby that is just big enough to satisfy most cravings. Food, nightlife, proximity to bigger cities – you name it, Lancaster has at least one.

I’m also, dare I say it, happy to be out of the South. It’s different up here. The South is so full of those old-fashioned rules and niceties – sir and ma’am and miss, an in-depth conversation with the waiter, small talk – and while those are nice up here, they’re not necessary or expected. It makes me look very good when I am in a place where my Southern manners are unexpected but usually welcome.

I know that part of my contentment here is the knowledge that my love will come home at the end of the day, and that I have no obligations, as it is spring break. There’s also the fact that the days are lengthening, and the air is warming. I love spring the most of any season. It is rebirth; it is beauty and youth and goodness. I’m going to enjoy it.

Career Calling Possibilities

Career Calling Possibilities

I’ve never really known what I want to be when I grow up. I know I still have time. I know I can always go back to school or get any certification I want or need when I do finally figure it out. But, considering that I’m graduating in August, I’d like to figure something out for myself to do and make money doing.

The thing is, and I don’t mean to sound pigheaded here, is that I am good at or passionate about many different things. I love science and understanding why things are the way they are, but lack the discipline and patience required for repeating experiments and writing lab reports. I am nurturing, kind, and caring, but I know I couldn’t both work with kids and have and raise my own little hoard of (ideally) three or four. I can’t sit in one place too long, but my hand-eye coordination is a bit lacking.

I love caring for others and am an empath, but I don’t care about theory, just hands-on practice. I would take disasters personally, because I am highly sensitive. All of this would make me a poor nurse.

I love to edit and rework others’ writing. I love to write, but cannot finish writing a novel or even post to a blog regularly. I love to read, but I cannot sit and finish one book; rather, I hop around from book to book and gradually finish them all. How can a writer not write and still support herself?

I am a talented lyric coloratura soprano. My voice has deepened slightly and become richer with age, and I almost like it now. I am now in the place I ought to have been while formally studying voice; meaning, I am now in a place where I am quite willing to take criticism and direction, where before I was a teenager and I knew absolutely everything and I was naturally talented, so I could always skate by on that. However, here we run into the same issue as with nursing; my highly sensitive self, whose sensitivity and empathy make me an excellent actress, would take any rejection from an audition to heart. Auditions are the name of the game in music. So, no performance career.

I have planned my wedding since the fourth grade, and dreamt of it much longer than that. I used to keep a binder full of documents with the details of my future nuptials. I did this into high school (what a romantic dweeb). I am personable, detail-oriented, and thorough; but is this only because I am planning my own future wedding?

I have always had a deep and profound love for anything beautiful. It moves me so deeply, frequently to tears, when I see something truly beautiful. I see beauty everywhere. It’s a wonderful way to be. I am practical and love functionality in my beautiful things, and I am also an excellent bargain hunter, which would make me a great interior designer. But, do I really want to go back to school?

There’s a lot to consider. I think I will simply finish the degree I have almost completed before I decide to do anything else. I don’t know what I’ll do in the meantime, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. If you’ve got any tips, please leave them below.

Oh the Places to Go! (Part I)

Oh the Places to Go! (Part I)

I’ve always loved the idea of traveling. As stated in a previous post, I love to learn, and I believe travel is an excellent way to learn about oneself and others, and our similarities and differences. Thanks to the boyfriend’s job, it is likely that I will do a lot of traveling in the next few years, a possibility for which I am immensely grateful. I’ve compiled a list of a few of the places I want to go. Buckle your seat belts, we’re going around the world!

New Zealand

I want to go to New Zealand because it seems like a place to have adventures. There’s ziplining, hiking, and the set from The Lord of the Rings series. (I’ve read the first book and half of the second, but I got bored after the Fellowship got separated. I’ll pick it up again. I’ll probably reread the first book again, quite honestly, to see if I like it better – not that I didn’t like it in the first place, because I did. Also, Ben wants me to watch the movies with him, and given that I refuse to watch a movie based on a book without first reading the book, I can’t watch the second or third movies because I haven’t read that far.)

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town looks so beautiful. There’s so much there – beaches, mountains, and history, not to mention nearby safaris and Victoria Falls. The architecture in Cape Town is very European, which I find interesting, though I know why it is that way. I’d love to learn more about Africa in general, and I think Cape Town is a good place to start.

Marrakech, Morocco

I can safely blame Casablanca for this. I know it wasn’t actually filmed in Casablanca, but the area looks so different from anything I know that I would love to go. Plus, Morocco is so close to Europe, it would be easy (and hopefully cheap!) to hop across the Mediterranean and continue the journey from Europe to North Africa.

Prague, Czech Republic

Something about Prague has always interested me. I have never been to Eastern Europe, and I think Prague is an excellent way to introduce me to it. It helps that the boyfriend has always wanted to go, as well.

Munich, Germany

I’ve always wanted to go to Germany. I’m a fairytale junkie (I have two beautiful old storybooks, both gifts), and as so many of the stories I love emerged from Germany, I’d love to see the country the authors had in mind when writing them. It would be like being in a fairytale, I think.

Innsbruck, Austria

When my father graduated college, he took a European tour. He sings the praises of Austria, especially Innsbruck. He always says it looks like a storybook, a fairytale. I’ve seen the Alps, and I’d like to see them again. Seeing the Alps as the backdrop to a charming city like Innsbruck is quite attractive to me.

Rio de Janiero, Brazil

I know Rio is very dangerous in certain places, but I still want to go. I had a friend in college who was from Rio and invited me to visit, and though we don’t talk much anymore, I’m still interested in Rio. I want to see that massive Jesus. Maybe I’d explore the rainforest a little, too, though it terrifies me – there’s so many things in there that want to kill you, like in the Outback of Australia.

Part II coming soon! Where have you always wanted to travel? Where have you traveled in the past? What was your favorite thing about that trip? I’d love to hear all about it -comment below!