Thursday, September 13, 2012

A post-vacation world

So we are back from our Italy vacation. We were gone for ten days, but it feels like three weeks. Just what you want from a vacation!

What is it that I love about traveling? Honestly, this is not the cool bohemian answer, but I love organizing and planning. I love problem solving and navigating. I also love anything that keeps my mind focused in the present moment. All of these things are required when exploring a new place. This was an often repeated scenario on our trip: walking in circles examining our map every two blocks looking for the exact piazza our friend recommended to find the best tonnarelli cacio e pepe pasta. By the time we finally reached our goal, the feeling of achievement paired with the absolute loveliness of the piazza as well as the divine taste of the pasta was perfection in that moment. That's what I love about traveling.

As we re-enter civilian life back at home, these small things don't mean as much. Going to the farmer's market in Italy was an hour long affair - tasting things, attempting to communicate with vendors, marveling at the beauty of, well, everything. Here, it's a quick swing by Trader Joe's and back - not much thought, planning or marveling. Things can just feel a bit duller - like the colors in Italy were vibrant and amazing and the colors here are muted earth tones.

I don't mean to be negative. I don't want to be negative. I am happy to be home. By the end, we were getting tired of all that planning - packing up to get to train stations, driving in Florence traffic (omigoodness, terrifying!), sleeping in strange beds. Home is good and our life is good. I just want to find a way to make the colors here more vibrant. How do you bring a little vacation back with you? How do you keep that sense of wonder in your everyday life?

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Being newly married (just hit one year!) one of my key observations is that while at times you can feel like one cohesive, glorious, in-sync unit, other times you feel very much separate.

You are separate, but not so much so that you can forget about that glorious unit you want to come back to - and so it becomes a balancing act. This is a nuance that I hadn't fully experienced before we were married, and one I'm still trying to wrap my mind around.

As it so happens, I picked up My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme, the other day. I've been devouring every mouth-watering description so far! The thing that is standing out to me more than her lovely descriptions of Paris and more than the delicious details of her cooking is the relationship with her husband, Paul.

He is everything you would want in a spouse, and everything you would want to be as a spouse. He introduces her to new ideas and places. He rejoices in her successful experiments and quietly endures the failed ones. He engages with the world around them with the same curious enthusiasm as Julia herself. And he encourages her, endlessly encourages her, to continue. He sees that for her to not follow her passion is simply not an option.

There are times when he refers to himself as the "Cordon Bleu Widower" he sees Julia so little. Another time he writes in a letter to his brother how amazing it is to watch her work in the kitchen. He adds, of course, if he wants to see her the only way to do so is by watching her in the kitchen.

I wonder if he ever felt that they were out of balance during those times? I wonder if he ever struggled to give her that endless support? I wonder how they kept that glorious unit (and by all accounts, it was GLORIOUS) afloat and healthy.

While I find Julia Child amazing, inspiring and absolutely lovable beyond words, I'm really inspired by the strong, quiet and loving fortitude that Paul Child seems to exude. It's something that I aspire to in my own relationship.

p.s. We just returned from Italy last night! More to come...