We’re going on an adventure soon. But I haven’t known how to talk about it really. I’ve hardly told anyone who hasn’t asked or heard from someone else. I haven’t known how to present it or how to express my feelings.
In just about a week we’re going to be hopping on a plane to Italy where we will be staying for 10 days.
I’m not writing this now because I’ve figured exactly how I feel. I’m hoping that as I type something just comes out that makes sense. My husband (I love saying that) is working on his PhD and that involves doing research, writing papers, giving talks… One of the results of these research papers is inevitably having one accepted to a conference. Sometimes said conference is in Italy. Sometimes, you gotta bring your wife. Also, less often, but sometimes that happens to align with your wedding anniversary.
We won’t be there exactly on our anniversary, but it’s very close. It’s also our first anniversary so I’ve been calling it our honeymoon. We didn’t quite have a honeymoon after the wedding, but we took a trip shortly afterwards with friends. Went to a cabin. Swam in the lake. Roasted marshmallows. Went on a bike ride (in which I had a tumble or two – won’t be doing that again). Visited wineries for tastings. I highly recommend this sort of trip. There’s nothing like hanging out with a couple good friends around a campfire and just relaxing. I really hope that we will be doing more of that in the future.
But now we’re going to head on over to Europe to share experiences, food, new air…just he and I. My puppy.
He has been to Italy once before. A paper of his was accepted a couple years ago to another conference in Bologna. Ever since he returned he’s been telling me how great Italy is, and has wanted to go together someday. That time has come a lot sooner than both of us anticipated!
So, as I said, I’m not sure how to deal with this news. And this isn’t new news. It’s been a couple months since things started coming together. Yet, I still feel like it’s not really happening. People ask me, “Are you excited yet?” and I respond, “Yes!” but that’s really all I can say. I don’t know much about Italy, and I think that’s where I’m getting hung up. I’m not a huge fan of architecture and I know that Italy brings in a lot of tourists for it’s phenomenal structures. Besides that, I don’t really know. I don’t quite remember, but I think I must have felt the same about studying abroad in the Netherlands. I didn’t know anything then either. I didn’t even know what language they spoke. But the trip really changed my whole perspective on life and society. The world. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it really opened my eyes. In the US I feel like we assume this is the way life is. We accept what we can see, and what we see is how we do things here. How we live our daily lives. What we eat for breakfast even. I spent 7 weeks in the Netherlands, and I learned that we are not the default setting. We aren’t what everyone is trying to be. We are as weird as everyone else. And I love it.
I’m not under the impression that I won’t love Italy. I fully expect to cry when we get on the plane to come home. But right now, I just can’t picture where I will be and what I will be doing and feeling. I can see the chaos when we first get off the plane and don’t know where we are. After that, my mind is pretty much blank. But, isn’t that magical? It’s like when you sit down to watch a movie you know absolutely nothing about. You haven’t heard of it. You haven’t seen trailers. You don’t even know the title. It just happens to you and you have to flow along with it to find out how it ends. Then, that’s it. You’ll never have the mystery of that moment again. Now you know how it ends. You know the parts you cried at. You know the struggles and how you’ll pull through.
One thing that had us concerned was food. Since I can’t eat gluten we feared I would miss out on a huge and wonderful part of Italy. All my husband can do when he thinks about our trip is praise Italian meals and produce. When he first realized the hiccup in our plans, he looked so sad. He was so unhappy that I wouldn’t be able to share in his favorite part of, well, life. Good food is awesome. But, Italians know that better than anyone. We did a little research to see how fellow gluten avoiders managed. I almost immediately found a blog post by Shauna James Ahern, the Gluten Free Girl. She talked about how Italians are very aware of celiac disease and do everything they can to include you in a wonderful meal. There is nothing quite like sharing a meal with friends, and an allergy shouldn’t keep you from being alive. Her post was so encouraging and heartfelt. I couldn’t sleep that night because I was so excited about Italian food!
I’m not sure what we’ll be doing while we’re there, but I know we’ll be eating a lot of food. Drinking wine. Sleeping together. Exploring. Wondering what’s down that street. I bet there will be kissing. That’s enough for me.