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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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This is Thirty – Day 63 – Fitbit Step Counts

I'm almost positive I was still living in the US when the Fitbit craze hit. I never got one myself, though I've certainly had experience with heart rate monitors and step counters before. I remember everyone watching their steps. We just recently watched an episode of...

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This is Thirty – Day 62 – Banksy

It is 1 AM and I just now had time to sit and write. The day was long and busy with voluntary and involuntary events, but some of it was work which was great, and another few hours was watching a little two-year-old, and we made progress with his separation anxiety...

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This is Thirty – Day 61 – Wine Windows of Florence

I noticed them almost immediately when I moved here, but no one could tell me what they were. These little tiny doors in the walls of the palaces of Florence. Most cemented shut, but some still showing a wooden door fit for a fairy. What is that for? They seemed...

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This is Thirty – Day 60 – One Single Violin

This past weekend, Giulio was sick, and normally in the early days of recovery, he is a bit grumpy, to say the least. Thankfully we had playdough and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant (which I absolutely remember reading when I was younger) to hold us over until Nonna came...

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This is Thirty – Day 57 – Snapshots of Venice

We sat at the base of a column holding the marble building above the lagoon. The Giudecca stretched out to our right, St. Mark’s across the mouth of the Grand Canal to our left. No matter what time of year, or what type of weather, Venice makes me tired. The sea...

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This is Thirty – Day 56 – Friends in Flo

We're heading out tonight to see old friends. One on the other side of town and then picking one up at the airport. The weather is thankfully better and warmer today so hopefully, the evening will continue the same way. Living in Florence has its benefits when...

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This is Thirty – Day 55 – Snow Flurries in Florence

This morning we woke up to big fat clumps of snow falling into our garden. I, of course, launched out of bed and was absolutely ecstatic. Rami and Luna less so. This is the second year in a row that I’ve seen snow in Florence, and though it didn’t stick this time (and...

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This is Thirty – Day 53 – Boston & Florentine Accents

Florence is known for being the epicenter of perfect Italian. It was where Dante first wrote in the local dialect instead of in Latin, and in 1861, the Unification of Italy made the “Tuscan” Italian the official language. Yes, even today, Tuscans speak much more of...

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This is Thirty – Day 52 – Journal Entry

After days of immigration and government shutdown attention, my posts became a bit more focused and centered on information I had already written in the past, but felt I needed to get out in the public eye again. Mainly, it was so I could just send a link to people...

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This is Thirty – Day 51 – Pieces of Paper

“Why do you keep them though?” She asked as she flicked her hand-rolled cigarette into the ashtray on my kitchen table.   I looked back down at the prayer cards in my hand. One was from the Tomb of St. Francis - It was given to me by one of the Monks when we had...

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This is Thirty – Day 50 – Bagel Withdrawals in Italy

I got to eat a bagel today. For many, I can understand what an underwhelming statement that is, but for me, this is an occasion. I grew up on bagels. It was a staple in our house - regardless if they were frozen in our freezer, fresh from the grocery store, or special...

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This is Thirty – Day 46 – Tired

This morning we had our appointment and I waited out in the cold because I wasn't allowed to even be near the building while Rami went in. The news after his appointment wasn't good, and we were told again that the only way to do this was to permanently immigrate. I...

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This is Thirty – Day 45 – Don’t Quit.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will, When the road you're trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest if you must, but don't you quit. Life is...

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This is Thirty – Day 44 – The Vibration of the Drum

The first time I remember it, I was in a school gym. The off-white walls that towered to a raised ceiling. The floor wooden and painted with white lines for a basketball court - shellacked until it was shining underneath the globes of light. We were gathered in a...

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This is Thirty – Day 42 – How to Move Abroad to Italy

After learning my story and seeing my life in Florence many ask me how they can move to Italy like me. How did I do it? What do they need to do? Unfortunately, my situation isn't really common, and moving abroad isn't at all as easy as it seems. Movies and Hollywood...

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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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