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This is Thirty – Hell is Coming

It was hot today. I felt like a hermit crab peeking out of their shell as I opened the front door. The heat swooped in. I scurred back into the shadows and air conditioning. Our thermometer hit 100F today. I put an umbrella in the yard to try and shade the grass. Last...

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This is Thirty – Florence Fireworks

Today is a holiday in Italy - the feast of Saint John the Baptist who's "considered the 'symbol of moral rectitude and political correctness' (seriously what is political correctness anymore?) on whom medieval Florence aspired to build its economic fortune and good...

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This is Thirty – Handwriting and Cursive

In my Catholic School, it was in fourth grade, (in the classroom reigned over by Mrs. Sullivan - the one that said we couldn't wear sweaters inside, and also the one that told us dogs don't go to heaven) after Christmas break, cursive writing would be mandatory for...

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This is Thirty – Things Not to Pack When Studying Abroad

When I was in the third grade, we were told to invent a machine that would help with daily life; some of my friends drew machines that would do their homework, others invented room-cleaners and I, I invented a packing machine. I hated packing so much in third grade...

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This is Thirty – White Paint

When was the last time you opened your eyes and stared at the ceiling that blank white space that opens the day with nothing on it but white paint until you decided to get out from under the covers pad in bare feet to the kitchen and make a tea or coffee in silence  ...

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This is Thirty – English Majors & Why You Need Them

I was an English major. In high school, I was a regular student with AP classes (including English) and was definitely more of a words person and less of a math person (still am). Throughout my education, when asked what my focus was, what my major was, I'd reply with...

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This is Thirty – Migraines that Make You Blind

I'm not a person that "gets" headaches. I rarely reach for the ibuprofen and usually, there's an outside reason for pain in my forehead. Occasionally, though, I do get hit with an ache behind my temples that feels like my skull is in a vice grip and a few times, like...

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This is Thirty – Netflix and Recovery

Today we had to get up early to bring Luna to the vet to get spayed. Leaving the little monster that has crazy separation anxiety was miserable. She clung on to Rami's arm like a monkey as he tried to pass her to the veterinarian. I sat and tried to push out all of...

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This is Thirty – Father’s Day

Today is Father's Day in the US (not in Itay. - we've already had it) and so I sat and looked through photos I have of my father and I talked to my stepfather and after that, I'd like it all to stop, please, seeing that it's not all barbeques and pool parties for...

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This is Thirty – Too Late, Too Little

I've got nothing today. No interesting facts. No rants that I really feel like writing down. Nothing special about the day, no big bad news story to discuss. At this point, the news just rambles on together in different languages about the same issues and I'm tired of...

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This is Thirty – First Birthday

One year ago, I was prepping for a beach trip - looking forward to Rami and my first actual vacation in forever. I was walking Stitch at nights, the heat setting in. I was trying to get a tan (because I'm always trying to get a tan) so I wouldn't burn, and I certainly...

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This is Thirty – Stars

I bike up the road after dinner. Luna sits in her basket on the handlebars, her little face toward the wind as we ride out of the city center, away from the bright lights. The dull thud of a bass line murmurs at almost midnight. It gets louder as we ride toward the...

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This is Thirty – Stay Humble

I’m standing in a gravel parking lot outside of a palace awaiting a billionaire. He pulls in minutes later, parks his car and steps out with that huge, genuine smile I’ve come to know well enough. “Buonasera!” He calls as he gets out of his car, asking how I’ve been,...

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This is Thirty – Where are you from?

If there was a chart of every question I was ever asked, I think "where are you from" would have an extremely large percentage. I'm from Haverhill, Massachusetts for anyone from the US. I grew up there. But technically, I only went to school there, did everyday things...

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This is Thirty – Carpeting Lobster Traps

My first job was walking the golden retriever next door. I got a dollar a day at ten years old. The five dollars would be sticking out of the dog cookie jar. The next year, I got another "client" neighbor with a chocolate lab. Then I looked after the cats of others...

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This is Thirty – Florence’s Parterre

Just past the archways of Piazza Liberta, there's an area of Florence called the Parterre. The first time I visited what now is my backyard, it was for paperwork. The little circle of buildings is tucked away behind rusted fences and under the shade of trees that...

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This is Thirty – The Heat Arrived in Florence

I keep a bottle of Maple Syrup in my fridge for emergencies. A pine tree pillow in my closet. You’ll find me in the fetal position on the cooler tile floors - clutching it to my nose when it’s August and 114F degrees outside here in Italy and I feel like I’m breathing...

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This is Thirty – Tour Cities at Night

If you want to see Florence, or Paris, or Rome, do it while the moon is out - even if it's dulled by the spotlights on the churches and the towers. Those are what you're here for anyway. If you want to see these old cities as they once were, free of throngs of...

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This is Thirty – Perché

Giulio is almost three. He has come to the age of questions and everything needs to be understood. In English, its why. In Italian, it's perché. I like when kids ask questions. I like explaining things. The trouble is, there isn't a word for because in Italian. It's...

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This is Thirty – They’re Just Ashamed

"The world is just going to hell." She said as we stood in the shadow of the menacing building. Its towers spiking into the sky like spears from a pitchfork. "The plastic!" she lamented as she pet Luna's head. "I remember when all of the bottles were glass. Reusable....

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This is Thirty – What it’s Like

My head knows today is a birthday, the date reverberates in my mind like listening to an old song and remembering the lyrics without even trying My heart knows today is a birthday. It's been celebrating it since it first began pumping. It was one of the reasons mine...

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This is Thirty – A Bigger Park

Sunday morning wake up to the blackbirds singing in the garden. Coffee quick. A scooter ride in the morning sun. Down through the city and out onto the Arno, all with a french bulldog wedged between my husband and me. He walks into work, I switch to my bike,...

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This is Thirty – Country Music

I'd listen to the songs in the backseat of the car. Not even old enough to make any requests, I was at the whim of the car radio and my parents switching stations. Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Faith HIll, Tim McGraw. I grew up bellowing out lyrics about...

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This is Thirty – Close Quarters

I grew up in a condo development. Our backyard consisted of our porch attached to the house, a gravel area under the kitchen window with pavement stones for the grill, a strip of grass about five feet wide and a row of pine trees with a bed a bark mulch that separated...

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This is Thirty – Techincal Failure

Tonight I wrote a blog about bidets, and it was fairly amusing, and then my computer thought it'd be amusing to erase it as I pressed publish. Just now. Really late/early in the morning. When I don't feel like writing anymore. How rude. You'll have to read the bidet...

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This is Thirty – Suspended Over the Atlantic

I am American but I'm not free. I feel as trapped as any other immigrant - on the outside of the US, looking in. I grew up in New England. I went to Red Sox games and Catholic School. I was a student-athlete and my favorite things were getting together with family -...

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This is Thirty – Rain, Rain, Go Away

The rain is drowned out the noise of the construction this morning. It pounded on the roof, shutters slammed from the wind. The rivers are roaring and muddy. The clouds roll over the Duomo in big dark blue billows, occasionally letting loose. The drops come down thick...

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This is Thirty – Ascoli Reunions

Tonight I had Zach, a friend from home and his fiance Melissa in town on a trip and I met them for drinks in the center. We talked about the last time we saw each other, and it wasn't "home" but in Ascoli Piceno, where we met. He didn't study there the same year I...

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This is Thirty – Beach Day Via Phone

Today I had a morning under the rain in an olive grove, and an afternoon watching surfers ride the waves on a sunny beach. The olives are right up my street, but the beach is about 4000 miles away. I sat on my couch with my dog, wrapped in blankets and scarves,...

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This is Thirty – Pinocchio

It finally felt like summer this afternoon and the park was full of everyone. Kids playing soccer, grandparents strolling with carriages full of grandchildren. People walking their dogs, and others scurrying after toddlers. Other groups of teenagers were sitting out...

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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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