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Everything I’ve Ever Wanted.

I walked through the streets lauded with aplomb. Smiles and shouts of “brava!” and “bravissima!”  echoed across the cobblestone, to the extent that I worried my 6-month-old might let it go to her head.

One woman actually clapped and I laughed, shrugging, claiming “è niente,” it’s nothing, above the protests of my sciatic nerve and that crevasse between my shoulder blades screaming, “It most certainly is something! You’ll pay for this later.”

Never mind that my kid is in the 99th percentile for length, 82nd for weight, and that my abs effectively separated vertically down the center while I carried her on the inside. That hasn’t stopped me from carrying her on the outside, wrapped and strapped to my chest like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man while I hold — and here’s the kicker — a 60-pound mutt leashed in each hand. Apparently we’re quite the site as my dogs walk us through the medieval corridors of Ferrara to the periodic sound of actual applause. In my head I’m all, “Americans call this multitasking, Italy. This is just an average Tuesday.”

If we’re being honest, “Get ‘er done” isn’t a catchphrase, it’s an all-American way of life” — one I’m hard-pressed to let go of entirely, lest I lose myself completely in daily 2-hour wine-soaked lunches followed by a shot of espresso and a placid, late afternoon stroll while my stomach acids do their thing.

And yet.

I’m beginning to think that nearly literally breaking my back just so I can squeeze the dogs in for a walk after the kid eats but before she needs a nap is a surefire path to a miserable existence.

Even when it comes with the perk of applause.

And I know in my heart-of-hearts that things cannot go on like this. As a nation, Italy is young. But as a people, she’s old enough to know a thing or two about how to live. Clearly, she’s not going to adapt to me. And so the irony is that the most efficient way to learn to adjust to living in a bureaucratically inefficient place is to surrender completely.

My man and my baby walking home after dinner.

A server at lunch one day told Justin and I that he was about to ask us a question. And it was very important, very important, that we answer with, “Why not?”

Perchè no?

And then he offered us a digestivo of homemade liquor from his hometown in the South of Italy. And Justin and I aren’t shot people. We’re not even liquor people. And Makenna was napping beside us in her carrier. And it was barely past noon.

And… and…

And that’s the thing about living here. About learning to be in the moment. About resisting resistance.

Perché no?

The liquor burned our throats. I think my chest might have sprouted a hair.

And still, perché no?

Because, truth-be-told, I’ve reached the somewhat terrifying realization that I have everything I’ve ever wanted. (Aside, you know, from a chic Italian wardrobe, fluent grasp of the language, and several best-selling novels under my belt.)

And it feels like a cusp. A transitionary precipice beyond which everything is blank.

And if I’d just learn to let go, to jump and trust the flow, I might really begin to enjoy the ride.

Perché no?


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I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see your new post in my inbox! I got giddy! That is one thing I miss about living in Europe – the work/life balance of it all. I would much rather retire in Italy in France because not only do they usually have great work-life balance, they are way more happier than the French. Embrace the new slow life and enjoy it!


You know, I’m figuring that out more and more since I’ve arrived. I used to sadly lump many Europeans into a single box, but living here now, and especially being involved with NATO, I’m noticing the differences. I would say Italy might be slightly off-balance in the *other* direction when it comes to life and work, but if you’re going to be off-balance, that’s definitely the direction I’d like to fall. :)


You go Momma! Love this!


Haha, as a mom to another big baby, I know you feel me. ;)

Angie Kern

I’m learning more and more to say “why not” and I can tell you it’s fantastic!


It really is! This is a good mental place to be in.

Anne Schleusner

You are living the dream, girl! So happy for you. And your little one is so adorable! ALWAYS say “why not?”— the moment passes so quickly. Still loving your posts. ♥️


Thanks Anne! It does pass far too quickly. I can’t believe we’ve been here for 3 months already!


So happy for you! You’re living my dream too!

Sustainable Fort Bragg

When the moment presents itself….why not. Certainly. That is what a full life is all about.


Amazing. The name of that homemade liquor please :)

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