Healthy Living: mind, body, soul

The Europeans Do Life Right

We had the amazing privilege to travel all the way to Italy with 12 other people for my sister’s wedding this time last year. It was truly magnificent. It was the first time I had ever traveled out of the country besides going on a cruise and I loved every minute of it. It helped that we were there with such incredible and loving people too. We spent a whole week there exploring Florence and Tuscany. We stayed at a villa on the Tuscan hillside and it was everything you could imagine and more, complete with a fresh herb garden and olive trees.

 

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Florence at night was magical. It was there while getting lost in all the side streets of Florence that a spark was rekindled and I saw my husband in a light I hadn’t seen in a long time. Between stress of school and my stress of work we had gotten to the point of going about our days very much like roommates. We really needed this vacation! Seeing and experiencing different cultures has always been an interest of mine and there’s something about the Italian/European way that’s so different from America. It drew me in. I watched, I strolled, I lingered. I ate gelato like no body’s business and got semi fluent in ordering it in Italian by myself too. And OH the COFFEE!! How I loved and now miss the coffee!

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  Then came the wedding!

The amount of love and support surrounding my sister and now brother-in-law was more than incredible to witness and be apart of. My sister and I have always had this unique bond that went beyond what words can explain. Now that we are adults living our separate lives in two different places we don’t get to see each other as much as we would like. Spending this time with her in one of her favorite places on Earth with her favorite people in the world gave me a glimpse of her and her heart in a way I’d never seen it before. And now my sister was finally marrying the boy we all knew she would. I cried so many happy tears because while it was the beginning of a wonderful life for them together, it felt like the end of a childhood I had helped guide her through and protect her from. It was through this week with her that I saw that she was ok and will be ok. She has become the most successful and beautiful person I know inside and out. I’ve always been the big sister that “mothered” her. At times she hated me for it, but I’ve felt a sense of responsibility and love for her different from anyone else in my life. That girl is my heart.  So there were many happy tears shed for her and for this new adventure she is on.

The wedding reminded Matt and I of our own struggles as we have fought for each other and our relationship through the years. We both lost it with tears of mixed emotions when my sister and brother-in-law started saying our exact commitment statements. It brought everything back full circle to hear them proclaim the same words of devotion as we had 8 years prior.

On this trip, it made us realize how much we were putting our time and energy in into other people and places. So we made a promise upon returning to the states that we would try to minimize our stuff and our life, get back to nature with food and health, and go on adventures more together, even if it’s just to the backyard. We realized while we are both working towards our careers still, that it is not solely what we want in life. We want each other and our careers are just a means to provide food on the table. After all our schooling is done, we want to strive to find jobs that might not be the most money but will give us the most time together and the ability to relax and not be as stressed as we were. That is one thing that Italians and Europeans have right. They don’t work nearly as long as we do, they value family time more and great food and fellowship. They’ve got it right! I am so excited for my sister and brother-in-law and so extremely grateful that we were able to be there for them. She will never truly know how much I love her and how thankful I am for this trip. Now to start planning and saving for our next family trip!

And I leave you with these beautiful pictures of Tuscany!

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 Arrivederci

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