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This is Thirty – Day 41 – Organizing Based on Joy

I was sitting in my bedroom surrounded by porcelain dolls. I had taken the boxes down from the attic, unwrapped each one, and placed them on the minimal surface space remaining in the cluttered room. Mum walked in at one point as I was lining up the barbies on the...

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This is Thirty – Day 40 – Part Two

On another night, we were walking out by the College Woods - an area of campus that resembled more farmland that university. If I remember, we had both taken a break from projects, had walked outside and decided to determine our path by the LeftRight method - where...

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This is Thirty – Day 39 – Part One of a Few

That one night years ago, she drove us down narrow dirt roads to a wooded parking lot. One string of street lights back behind the trees in the middle of a warm summer. Three hours from the closest city. She threw the car into park and shut off the engine. A tangible...

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This is Thirty – Day 38 – Colpo d’aria

Those more familiar with the culture here may have heard of the dreaded colpo d’aria. Literally translated, it means being smacked by air, which is an extremely serious issue here in Italy. If you get smacked by air, your neck seizes up, I've also heard of catching a...

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This is Thirty – Day 37 – The Janitor

I cannot write today Not in complete sentences that are carefully planned out to make something I’m feeling resonate in your head at the same vibration, an echo of my thoughts transferred through a digital screen used as a tuning fork so you can hear my imperfect...

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This is Thirty – Day 34 – Fame & Fashion in Florence

I’m sure I’ll be writing about fashion more in the future because of my three years working in Polimoda for FIT (two of the top fashion schools in the world, though I’m not bragging, they are). There are certainly some stories there, but right now we’re going to talk...

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This is Thirty – Day 33 – Having Features that Fit

For the past few years, I have struggled with my own identity. With it being ever so easy to slip behind the cultural norm wherever I go. Dark hair, dark eyes, a face without too many particular attributes that’d give me away. I look as Italian, as I do Irish, as I do...

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This is Thirty – Day 32 – Travel Tip: Always Look Up

When I was younger, Christmas and Easter (or at least one of the two) would be spent driving into to Boston. The seemingly endless amount of kids dressed in clip-on ties and pastel dresses ran through the little narrow house. Shiny white patent-leather shoes would be...

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This is Thirty – Day 31 – My Word of the Year is Focus

It’s crazy what can happen in a month. Everyone is back to work after another weekend of festivities for the Epiphany here in Italy. Soon the Christmas lights will come down and the trees will disappear, and we’re left with a quiet Florence until the new students...

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This is Thirty – Day 28 – Leaning Towers & Immigration

I wanted to write about our day in Pisa today but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. I am exhausted after filling out a US Visa application with Rami for a temporary travel visa to the US for this summer. We absolutely know it won’t work, but we’re just tired of being...

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This is Thirty – Day 24 – Looking Forward to 2019

Today we went back to the butcher to get a steak for tonight (“You got a beautiful steak to share with a beautiful wife on New Years?! What more can you ask for!”), took Luna to the dog park, and then hung out at home in the backyard with a fire, and then just on our...

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This is Thirty – Day 22 – Pen vs Keyboard

Maybe, as I saw in a post, it's because it's "that space between Christmas and New Year's Eve where you don't know what day it is," but I don’t feel like writing today. I’m not sure how many people understand what I mean when I say that. I don’t mean all writing, I...

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This is Thirty – Day 21 – Long Distance Siblings

There’s only one person that can share the Christmas Eve memories I have, and the stories about where I grew up and how I was raised. My brother is the only one that can really understand my crazy emotions and knows just the right ridiculous joke to send me to make me...

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This is Thirty – Day 20 – Lunch Debates at the Trattoria

On days like today where there’s nothing big planned, we decide that it’s is a Grotta day and head to have a lazy lunch next door. When I say next door, I mean the front room of the restaurant is in our building. On good days, we can smell the simmering sauces from...

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This is Thirty – Day 15 – The Nutcracker

Outside the theater, groups of Florentines in heavy coats and furs smoked cigarettes and the few little girls that got to stay out this late wore sparkly shoes and jumped in place with excitement. Even though the furs were a bit much in this warmer weather, it was a...

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This is Thirty – Day 14 – Babbo Natale

The last time I was flying back here this past September, I had a middle seat in the middle aisle of four seats of a three-aisle plane. I had a woman with an arm sling on my right who was almost absolutely silent the entire flight - which is absolutely fine with me,...

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This is Thirty – Day 13 – Tuscan Butcher Secret Menu

I currently have two and a half pounds of wild boar meat marinating on my kitchen counter. My dog is chewing on a bone that was personally cut and given to her by the butcher down the street. Tomorrow Rami is cooking dinner for us and friends - and a plate of...

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This is Thirty – Day Ten – Yellow Vests & Protests

This past weekend, people flooded the streets in France to protest for the fifth weekend. Though the numbers were halved (from an estimation of over 60,000 protesters to over 30,000 across the country) after President Macron responded to the movement and met some of...

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This is Thirty – Day Nine – Sundays in Italy

On Sunday morning, Italy sleeps. We walk down the street past darkened storefronts - the pharmacy, the corner store, the bakery. Though some restaurants do stay open, our favorites are run by families that also like to have a day off. There are some days I love the...

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This is Thirty – Day Seven – MiaoMiao & Diabetes

After a week of entries, writing these certainly doesn't feel normal, and I still want to perfect every post and lie awake at night wondering if I copied the wrong thing WordPress before I pressed publish. In other ways, I like knowing something specific I have to do...

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This is Thirty -Day Six – Eight Years Later

The minute I stepped foot into Ascoli Piceno, Italy in the spring of 2010, I was on my own. Sure, my study abroad program gave me an apartment, a little introduction tour of the city, and were advised on important things, and they (the two staff and handful of...

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This is Thirty – Day Five – Private Gym? Check.

Today was a long day full of birthday lunch (happy birthday to my (and the best) father-in-law, Bassel!) and work for me - I stayed at home today to work because it’s too cold to venture into the center (it’s 39F but I’ve lived here for six years now and, I don't...

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This is Thirty – Day Four – Library Daze

She sits across from me at this great big dark wooden table. The library lamp suspended between us is casting a yellow shadow on our work and I have unfortunately had to pull out my laptop, though in this setting I feel like opening a computer is a crime in the...

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This is Thirty – Day Two – December in the City

The Sunday after a holiday in Florence means the center is packed with Italians and the outskirts are a ghost town. We wanted to see the tree lit in Piazza Duomo and saw that there was another fair in Piazza Annunziata so decided to head in for lunch. Plus, Luna needs...

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This is Thirty – An International Outlook

After an entirely lovely 30th birthday yesterday, I’m starting a new project on this page that’ll last for the next 365 days and will hopefully entertain you as much as it will me.  First, thank you for all of the birthday wishes! The day was spent well with too much...

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Hiking in Italy – Autumn in the Hills of Florence

The meeting point is at a Pasticceria and on a Sunday morning, a flourish of humid chaos breathes out of the building as we open the front door and walk into the cacophony of trilled calls for caffè and brioche, espressos clattering on white marble counters. The register rings constantly and the air is heavy with voices over the roar of the coffee grinder – neighbors meeting up for their morning cappuccinos – children run through the tables or climb into grandparents’ laps. A group of young girls in the corner bursts into fits of laughter. Two older women sit by the window – seemingly friends for ages, chatting every so often between watching the dance of this place as they sit dressed better than I’ll ever be – with pearl necklaces and perfect pin curls.

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My Personal Italy Itineraries

Here’s to the days that I walk into treasure chests & remember not to get too jaded while living in this fairytale city. — at Cappelle Medicee In October, Florence is churning out the harvest and hunkering down for winter - with heartier dishes in the restaurants...

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Learning Italian from Life Instead of a Textbook

I have sat in so many places with teachers telling me that this is what I need to do. Sit, listen, repeat. Io vado - I go, Tu vai- you go And I’d sit there with these lists of conjugations that frighteningly err on the side of math instead of language and I’d repeat...

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Words that I thought of today…

I've been quiet because another part of my life has now been tainted with that dark black smoke of grief that slithers in when you least expect it and leaves you breathless, coughing, and the dust of it settles over everything for so long it just seems to become part...

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Language Lessons with a Two Year Old

Every Wednesday afternoon for the past few months, I've ridden my bike from my house down to Piazza San Marco - famous in Florence for being a bus hub and where the mayor cut down all of the trees last year (because they were "dangerous") and made Florentines...

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Just Breathe

"Just breathe," he says as he gestures around the coffee shop in pure Italian fashion - as if to say "Look around at where we are, what is there to stress about?" I was interviewing a local expat for an article in International Living, and we were talking about that...

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Living in Tourism

Rami and I used to live righttt in the center of Florence. Our building was over 800 years old and if you looked left out of our windows, the street led straight to the Duomo. It was beautiful living in the center of one of the most famous cities in the world. When...

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Deadlines, Perfectionism, and Michelangelo

When I was younger I would be so excited about projects in school. I’d immediately start envisioning how I would create my masterpiece. I’d see myself striding into the classroom weeks later holding my work - complete with moveable parts or stunning paintings,...

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