Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'm In Italy!!!

I'm in Italy! After over 24 hours of travel time on planes, trains, and buses  I finally made it from Charlotte, NC to Cortona, Toscana... one of the little slivers of paradise in Italy.

This place is AMAZING. There's no way to even begin to describe it. From the food to the architecture to the weather to the scenery to the people.... it's just incredible.

The food is heavenly. So far I've had both cappuccino gelato and mango gelato and loved both. It's so creamy and delicious!
I've also had a gnocci dish with white truffle cream sauce and a pizza with mozzarella, grilled asparagus and a fried egg in the middle! Ah-maze-ing. Like, for real. 

The architecture is exquisite and ornate and all kinds of fancy. Every doorknob, every  archway, every alley way sprinkled with flowers and clothes hanging out to dry is unique and beautiful. They take such pride in their architecture here, and instead of striving for the newest, most modern-looking buildings, the buildings here are old and have such character to them. 

The weather has also been fabulous since we got here. Temperatures are in the 60s and low 70s and there's always a breeze. We have been sleeping with the windows open and I love waking up to the noises of the hustle and bustle of this quaint little village waking up and starting the day!

The scenery is breath taking. I can't believe I'm here. The rolling hills are so green and lush and the sky is beyond blue. It almost feels like I'm walking through a movie set. I keep asking myself, "Is this real? Am I really here?"

And last but not least... the people. The people are by far the best part about Italy. They are PRECIOUS. Everyone in Cortona is so nice and friendly and helpful. I feel totally safe here and we have been welcomed so beautifully by everyone. I had several clumsy half-english/half-italian encounters today and met some remarkable people. These are just a few of the people that I encountered:

I am so thrilled to be here. I never in a million years thought I would be here, experiencing all of this. What a blessing! Now... let the adventure continue! Next stop... Florence!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

With passion, or not at all.

If you know me at all it's no secret that I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life (note: please read- what I'm GOING to do, not what I WANT to do). While I know exactly what I want- a big farm with 6 kids, the luxury of staying home to be the nurturer that I feel is my true calling in life, and the ability to focus on my passions of cake decorating, photography and hosting events- I am not so naive to think that this will be possible, at first, at least.

So, as I am rapidly approaching my SENIOR YEAR of college (wait, what?!) I have been doing a lot of thinking about the job that I will try to obtain upon graduation. As stressful as everyone asking me, "Oh and what are you doing after graduation?" is, I know that it's time to get serious about my future. My recently graduated/got his first big-boy job boyfriend has taught me a lot about this important milestone in my own life, definitely more than he realizes.

As a 6th grade math and science teacher, his paycheck isn't exactly at the top of the charts. He doesn't do it for the money, he teaches because he love kids. He wants to invest himself in the lives of these children, be a constant source of encouragement and teach them not only about book-smarts, but about practical life skills that they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives.

He isn't a reader, that's for sure. While I would love to have my nose stuck in a book all day everyday, it's usually like pulling teeth to get him to read the novel that you know he'd just love... However, guess who called me the other day raving over the great book he couldn't put down?! (Talk about a proud girlfriend!) That's one way to KNOW you're doing what you're meant to be doing.... it forces you to grow and expand your mind in a way that comes so naturally you almost don't even notice the change that's taking place. How bout that.

Yet another way to know that you're where you're supposed to be is your willingness to go the extra mile. I'm constantly amazed by his eagerness to take a new decoration for his classroom, to spend his own money to buy a set of new books that he can't wait to let his kids borrow, or the obvious way it breaks his heart to see a student struggling, whether it be a personal issue in their home or academically. When you're doing something you're passionate about, this overflow of eagerness and fresh new energy just comes naturally.

Who doesn't want to love what they do? Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius once said, "Chose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."

So if you're in the same boat that I'm in, consider these things. Don't just settle for any ol' job!