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This is Thirty – Seven Years Ago This Weekend

Seven years ago this weekend, I was staying in a hostel in Sorrento, next to the Amalfi Coast. I had gotten up at the crack of dawn, rounded up the students that I was sharing a room with, met the lead tour guide (I barely knew what I was doing) and marched everyone...

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This is Thirty – Written on the Wing – Circa 2010

I like to chase the sun as it sinks below the horizon; rolling back into the ocean; reflecting burnt umber and violet onto the endless waves. It is a game, as I time-travel through the air. It winks at me as the last sliver of light slips under the surface. Stars glow...

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This is Thirty – Food ID

There was a little four-year-old girl in my mother's nursery class one year that didn't know what a potato looked like. Didn't know what it was. There was a fake one in the play kitchen in the classroom, and my mum came home one day baffled that she had to explain...

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This is Thirty – Game of Thrones

The first time I heard of Game of Thrones, I was sitting in my glass cubicle in a hallway-of-a-building on the outskirts of Lynn. My coworkers had been complaining about books one afternoon, and though I usually avoided most conversations in that office, books I could...

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This is Thirty – When I Hear About Your Loss

When I hear about your loss, I feel it more in my chest than the syllables ringing in my ears. The moment I know that there's a missing piece of you, the chasms in my own heart echo in their emptiness. Reverberating emotions up to the surface that are never floating...

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This is Thirty – Sunday Morning

Rainy Sunday mornings, you wake up to the storm roaring on the roof, but the covers are so warm and you don't have to go anywhere today. Sunday mornings that turn into afternoons - the hours float by without notice, the memories from last night pop onto the social...

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This is Thirty – Weddings in the Tuscan Countryside

I currently have wet nail polish but I realized that if I didn't write now, I probably wouldn't be able to later tonight when we get back home. Today is our friend Irene's wedding and an excuse to get dressed up pretty and go celebrate. We're hydrating and ready for a...

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This is Thirty – “What Do You Want?”

"You know I'm from Iran," the woman stated in Italian as she stood a few inches from my face. I sat on the stool by the door of the little shop. Next, to me, her front desk was littered with papers and appointment books, a few black and white photos were tacked up on...

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This is Thirty – 500 Words

With Rami working nights and having the construction workers still showing up in our garden at 8am, the world spins faster and the sun flies across the sky too quickly. No set schedule like the rest of the world, we both walk like zombies through the mornings. Sitting...

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This is Thirty – Biking by the Prime Minister

Biking down Cavour today, I heard the sirens wail echo off the buildings and a caravan of police cars cut off the bus in front of me and sped around the corner into Piazza San Marco. Someone important, you think - but the soccer teams get the same treatment, so you...

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This is Thirty – Adam Sandler Italy Tour

"If you're sad where you are, and then you get on a plane to Italy, the "you" in Italy will be the same sad "you" from before. Just in a new place" This new Saturday Night Live skit with Adam Sandler is wonderful and that line just is so pure and so true.  In the past...

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This is Thirty – The Age of Mom

Yesterday my blog never posted, and I just realized now. So I'm doubling up on them this Mother's Day. Yesterday I went to the Florence Writer's Publishing Day which was wonderful and extremely informative and inspired me to get my butt in gear and maybe crank out a...

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This is Thirty – Saudade – Another Long Lost Chapter

A girl spoke it to me, the word hiding behind her teeth before escaping through her Portuguese lips in a short burst. It was a word I had been trying to describe in English, an emotion that I could feel but couldn’t dance, couldn’t sing, couldn’t write. It would...

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This is Thirty – American Taxes & Toast

The US is one of two countries in the world that make their citizens pay taxes even if they aren't residents. The other country that does this is Eritrea. I've provided a link so those of you that don't know where Eritrea is (probably all of you - I also had to look...

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This is Thirty – I am Alice

Through the looking glass I go watching reflections that once resembled my own that have somehow gotten disfigured, as if someone splashed the surface and it rippled like water or shattered like ice I am Alice who got too curious and chased after a ticking clock only...

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This is Thirty – Old Wild West

The first time I ate at one of the Old Wild West, I sat in a teepee. In Italy. Let me explain. There's a popular restaurant here, I'll call it a restaurant because there's table service, called the Old Wild West - in English, no Italian translation. I'd describe it as...

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This is Thirty – The Apology

The elevator started in the basement, in a bland, white-walled newly-renovated hallway that made it seem like a secret garden portal if you knew what was waiting at the top. Once when I waited for the elevator, it opened and a pile of giggling German teenagers flooded...

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This is Thirty – Cups

We were sitting in the lunch spot down the road from the office. It was the "special" place when we had a bit more time in our day - enough to sit down at a table instead of ordering to-go in the smaller cafe down the road. We'd go to get table service and a hot plate...

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This is Thirty – Until Inspiration Strikes

I don't have any particular thoughts I want to jot down today. I haven't had any moments I feel like translating into words and sentences. I don't have any emotional pull in any direction. I could write about the political mess this world is in - how my days are...

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This is Thirty – A Chapter Written Long Ago

My Dad used to brush my hair after I took a bath. He’d take the blue brush, the one that matched his eyes, and he'd look just above my gaze as he smoothed my straight hair, my bangs, up and over my widow's peak, back behind my ears, and down to my shoulders. Slow,...

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This is Thirty – Taking a Pause in Piazza Duomo

I didn't want to bike to our supermarket on the way home. The street is busy, there's barely anywhere to park my bike, and the aisles would be so crowded with everyone shopping after work hours I knew I'd barely be able to maneuver through them. I was on the edge of...

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This is Thirty – A Letter From 1946

I'm going through my papers again and took out the manilla envelope that holds memories that wither and fade on paper that was made too many years ago. I've wanted to transcribe them all since last year, keep them safe, but there are always other things that come...

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This is Thirty – BrucBool Briar Root Chew for Dogs

Luna has been eating the same food since she was a puppy and recently I've also been translating for the company after I reached out. MaoriPet, originated outside of Milan when a breeder of American Akitas was absolutely unsatisfied with every dog food out on the...

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This is Thirty – Blackbirds

There are two birds that built a nest on our lattice in the garden. Tucked up under the awning and covered by a veil of jasmine vines, they've picked the perfect tucked-away corner of Florence to lay their eggs this spring. The male and female flew in above our roof...

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This is Thirty – Thunder

The lightning struck just behind the building we were next to as we drove to the grocery store. You could hear the crack and there was just enough time to consciously flinch, waiting for the impact. Then the thunder roared through the air, rattling the car, a force of...

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This is Thirty – No Food, No Frills

Today was my first funeral in this country. Nonna Rina passed away just two days ago. Today I met her and (technically my) extended family as we stood together in the hallway of the long building of the chapel. I'm used to funeral homes shaped like little houses with...

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This is Thirty – Calabrese in Florence

My great grandmother traveled from the south of this country, up through Rome and then onto a ship that took her across the ocean. She knew me as the little girl that didn't like tomato sauce (that changed quickly) and I knew her as Nanny, the woman with the accent...

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This is Thirty – Six More Years

"Giulio, today we get to have special pane bread," I said to the little almost-three-year-old as we walked out of the school/museum. The French market has popped up again in Piazza Annunziata - complete with a new raclette stand which I will absolutely be trying soon....

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This is Thirty – A Life Avoiding Numbers

I'm taking out the daily numbers in my titles mostly because they make things overly long and not great for search engines. There's no change to the project or the plan. One post a day for a year beginning on December 8th 2018. I also am not a fan of numbers in any...

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This is Thirty – Day 138 – Nonna

Last Friday I got a call from my mother-in-law as I was walking Luna to the park. Rami's grandmother had been found unresponsive at home and was being taken to the hospital. Nonna is one of the strongest women I know. She lives down by the cascine park in an apartment...

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This is Thirty – Day 136 & 137 – When Life Takes Over

This week has been a struggle, and apparently I can't even spell correctly right now (this sentence is difficult to physically type with each word stamping itself out with the wrong letters again and again)  which shows my fight against this keyboard as I try and type...

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This is Thirty – Day 135 – Monday

It's not Monday. I know this. But its what I say whenever I have things that I need to do and then don't do them. I'll do them Monday. This isn't for things that are important per se. They're long term house projects or things I just could have done today but then...

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This is Thirty – Day 134 – Does it Echo

What is in the silence between awake and asleep between asleep and dreaming between dreaming and death My lines are blurred and I wonder what is between right and wrong between wrong and just between it all - if there's anything and I'm not sure there are any distinct...

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This is Thirty – Day 133 – Polite Society

I was supposed to post this yesterday but never made it to. So one more day that is a little off in this project - another day that my thoughts weren't written down. That's not true, they were, but not here, not for myself, just for other people. I'll post this blog,...

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This is Thirty – Day 132 – Dear Blonde 20-Something

I'm cheating a bit today but have a lot of work to do which I will be paid for so it takes precedent. On my way back from the city center the other day I was reminded of something I wrote years back when we lived behind the Duomo and I could hear the shouts from the...

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This is Thirty – Day 131 – Foodie Memories

Sometimes you remember food - specific plates or tastes burned into your tastebud memories. I remembered one of the oddest of mine today. I was sitting on the coast of Puglia on the sand of a town called Ostuni. My friends and I had taken the train down from Ascoli...

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This is Thirty – Day 130 – Paris is Burning

Paris is burning. Embers glow in the skyline and flicker through the petals of rose windows. The world watches as it happens - all hunched over their phones or in front of their televisions. The smoke full of centuries of history rises above us all. No one knows why...

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This is Thirty – Day 129 – #TechnologyDown

"If I left you alone in the woods with a hatchet, how long before you could send me an email?" I've listened to Joe Rogan's joke on the devolution of stupid people way too many times and its on days like these when I wonder if he really is stuck to something that may...

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This is Thirty – Day 128 – Frenchie Procrastination

I should have written long before this today, but even now its a bit difficult because I have a little face wedging its way onto my keyboard. Luna my french bulldog makes things, all things, a bit more complicated - but when you see her smushy face, it makes it worth...

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This is Thirty – Day 126 – Prose Poems

I was an English major. I have my medals for completing one-too-many courses on Shakespeare and I can write a mean thesis statement. Finally, those lessons have come in handy and my eye for edits is more of an obsessive tick than a skill. Now I can and have used my...

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This is Thirty – Day 124 – Home?

I woke up in a palace in Rome with my mum and now I'm home outside the walls of Florence and inside the ones of my home. In Italian, the word "home" is casa. Sono a casa. I'm home. It doesn't mean the same thing though, because the word for house is the same. Casa....

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This is Thirty – Day 123 – Writing is Solitary

I am struggling to write while I'm with family. Even just to do these blogs I have to shut out the world for moments to focus, to translate these thoughts into movements into my fingers that stomp out figures onto a keyboard that'll make readers think and feel things....

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This Is Thirty – Day 122 – Home

Today I had more of my family than normal in my home and my Mum is currently sleeping upstairs. It was an incredible day and a long one - and after a ridiculous amount of wonderful food with Laura and Bassel and Rami and Luna, I am exhausted and can barely even type...

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This is Thirty – Day 121 – There You Go

"It's going to rain the whole day tomorrow." I texted to Rami last night as I watched the radar; a storm as wide as the boot of Italy was looming on the coast and the forecast was looking grim for today. "Maybe." He replied. I looked at the green mass heading our way...

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This is Thirty – Day 120 – The Bells of the Abbey

As I type this the bells begin to chime again outside our window, echoing over the hills and the vineyards. We traded the waves of the blue sea spilling over marble for endless rolling hills of vibrant green pastures and silver olive groves. I'll give my Mum credit -...

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This is Day – 119 – Venice Advice

Do not plan Venice. Don't tell me what you want to do and what you want to see. Put away that map that you won't be able to read and stop trying to find your way on your cell phone map - the streets here are so convoluted even Google cannot tame them. Nothing can tame...

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This is Thirty – Day 115 – The Birds Of Summer 2018

The other day, I mentioned my bird experiences of last summer. There were multiple. I think that these things happen to us mostly because of the odd setup of our house and the surrounding neighborhood. We do have a pine tree in our garden (side note: I now use...

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This is Thirty – Day 113 – EarthHour in Florence

I was notified by the St. Regis that today was Earth Hour day only because I was checking in on what was going on at Rami's work and they've recently upped their Instagram activity. I wish these things were more popular though. I'd much rather spend my time on...

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This is Thirty – Day 112 – Favorite Number 12

I don't remember exactly when I decided number twelve was my favorite. It was one of the first years of "travel team" soccer - which simply meant instead of staying on the fields in Haverhill, parents willingly spent their Saturdays trekking across the county in SUV...

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This is Thirty – Day 111 – Don’t Should Yourself

I first found out about Nora McInerny through a Facebook video. From the immediate start, she rattles off life events that'd drop anyone to their knees in rapid fire (brain cancer, losing a baby, death) and sets my head spinning trying to process it - and she had to...

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This is Thirty – Day 110 – A Coin from Our Garden

I like old things. Things with history, things that were touched by other hands at different times on this earth. I thought about other things I've found and kept as I dug outside in our garden today. I kicked the shovel into the dirt again and again - a thick clay...

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This is Thirty – Day 109 – Windy Florence

There's an orange alert in Florence since yesterday for wind. An arctic one to be exact - that has brought down the temperature and has gusts up to 80km/h (50mph). Thankfully, our house is almost completely protected from the winds by other buildings, but I could hear...

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This is Thirty – Day 105 – In the Shadow of the Duomo

Today I am sitting just inside the door of the place that made me feel that Florence was home. Today, I'm back, sitting in the shadow of the Duomo. If I focus, I can almost hear Rami at the bar behind me. I can smell the fresh crepes they used to make, and I can hear...

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This is Thirty – Day 104 – My Childhood

My childhood was one of grass stains and water-gun fights. Of big pitchers of red juice and lemonade, cone-shaped birthday hats and bowls of M&Ms and Skittles. Chalk-covered suburban streets and hide-and-go-seek as the mosquitoes ate you alive. Cookouts with the...

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This is Thirty – Day 103 – Sounds & Smells of Florence

There are a few people in my neighborhood that cannot see the city. One woman walks down from somewhere up on Via Bolognese - her guide dog, the yellow Lab (makes me miss my Sadie), knows the way, and they turn into the trattoria next to us, for lunch every day. I...

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This is Thirty – Day 102 – Father’s Day in Italy

Today is Father's Day in Italy. Which means Happy Father's Day to my father-in-law Bassel! 🙂 A quick recap on why this country celebrates today instead of a nice beach day in the summer: It's the Feast day of St. Joseph, and for Catholics, he's the best Dad ever...

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This is Thirty – Day 101 – Tandem Language App Review

I've been out of my Italian social circles for awhile with not playing rugby and not being in an office. Sure, my every day the minute I step outside my door is in Italian, but I still am not at the point I want to be in my fluency. As I've said, the normal ways that...

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This is Thirty – Day 99 – What’s in a Number

In 1999 I was eleven on New Year's Eve and I still can remember the hype around what the Millenium would bring. At midnight my Dad turned off the lights at Jean's house and cackled when it stopped everyone short for a second. In the months leading up to the big day, I...

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This is Thirty – Day 98 – The Infamous Block

It's here - Day 98 and I've been sitting here looking at a blank page and really have nothing to say - not even a funny way out of really writing. I'd say a 98-day streak is pretty good though. I thought about writing about New Zealand today and the more I researched,...

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This is Thirty – Day 97 – Stick Out Your Tongue

We were back in Sara's with Giulio this time - Rami holding him up to the glass, asking him to choose between little pastry cookies - each one filled with blackberry or apricot jam, then folded daintily into a little pocket before baking. *Sidenote: as I just asked...

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This is Thirty – Day 94 – What is Education

This morning as I was scrolling Instagram, a new post from Humans of New York came up. The latest photo is of a woman who is looking at the camera as she sits on a park bench. "My mom had her own issues, so I was never really parented," reads the little paragraph of...

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This is Thirty – Day 93 – Inside Days

I haven't left my house today. Rami got home late last night and was working tonight so we stayed in bed for the morning. The weather outside has turned appropriate for this time of year, even though I don't like to admit it - cold and cloudy, all we were missing is...

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This is Thirty – Day 89 – “I am The Pazza”

When the UPS guy comes when we aren't home here, they drop it off at a UPS drop a few miles away and then I can pick it up there whenever the place is open. Sometimes it's an actual Post Office, lucky for me, our closest one is an adorable little bookstore that only...

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This is Thirty – Day 87 – Renting the World

The other day I read a tweet (I think? There are too many social pages to remember - I'm old and I can't find it again) that said something along the lines of "I miss back when buying things actually meant owning things." I was reminded of this today when my workout...

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This is Thirty – Day 85 – I Would Throw You In

When I was working for the study abroad program I was working for (because at this point lets not name names?), there were way too many times that I wanted to say things, and was told I wasn't allowed to say them. There were a lot of rules that were only based on the...

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This is Thirty – Day 84 – Errands & Interactions

I am currently already in bed. Rami is at work until at least 1:30 or 2:00 am. After months of having Rami home at this point every night, Luna is thoroughly confused and is refusing to settle. I knew this would happen, but at eight months, she is still thoroughly a...

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This is Thirty – Day 82 – Safety While Studying Abroad

Even though you'll get briefed on any possible thing that could go wrong while abroad during orientation, I need you to stop all of those thoughts and remember one thing: wherever you’re studying is this same planet, just with different people – and they are people....

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This is Thirty – Day 80 – Walk into Her Story

I've mentioned my inspiration for this blog project before, but for those who don't remember, it came from my friend Ela, who had previously succeeded in completing an entire year of blogs which you can read on her website called 365 Days of My Life....

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This is Thirty – Day 79 – Kindle Ads and My Perugia

I just finished a memoir that I had picked up a few days ago because I was interested in the editor and wanted to get a sense of what she approved of. It was ok. The writing was a bit lackluster in some aspects for me but I am picky in that sense. I hit the last page...

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This is Thirty – Day 76 – Living Without Fridays

I grew up loving Fridays. In my family, "Thank Christ It's Friday" is an official slogan. We lived for the weekends, and they were the happiest days of about twenty-three years of my life while it rotated on the same schedule as most of the US. Once I was in Italy,...

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This is Thirty – Day 75 – Asmana

Apparently, Asmana is a word in the Marathi language from India that means "the sky or heavens." In Florence since 2015, it means the biggest day spa in Tuscany - and we got to go again today because we had a gift card. I'll tell you, it's absolutely appropriately...

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This is Thirty – Day 74 – Wine and a Cookout

After getting away, it's incredibly difficult to get back on track. Today is really day 74 an it's now lateee at night because after having Giulio again for the afternoon, I came home to Rami and Luna and the grill going in the garden. We're missing our fireplaces so...

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This is Thirty – Day 73 – Personal Space in Italy

There is none. Ok that's a lie - there's some. But honestly, coming from a US upbringing it really means none. The study of "personal space" is called Proxemics, ever since 1963 when the cultural anthropologist Edward T. Hall, decided to name it extremely...

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This is Thirty – Day 69 – Little Italian Town Life

We easily parked on the main street and walked back up through the town looking for places that were still open past 7:00pm. There was a little market, a tobacco shop, a pharmacy. One more cafe with a few people smoking outside the entrance. The church doors were...

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This is Thirty – Day 66 – Going off The Grid in Italy

This week, my little Giulio is in Dubai with his parents so we're taking advantage of the free-er week and taking off too. When we first decided to go, it didn't mean we knew where. There are a thousand possibilities from Florence. A four-day trip can be driving...

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This is Thirty – Day 64 – Study Abroad in Italy Advice

I'm not young enough to base the study abroad experience on my own anymore. I didn't even have wifi in my apartment in Ascoli back in 2010, nevermind apps. So there has definitely been a switch in how students navigate their time here, but as a new round of students...

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