Villa Del Conte, Tropea

My friend Marcello has a BEAUTIFUL “residence,” which is like a fancy home away from home for many tourists who want to enjoy Tropea, but from a distance. It’s located outside of Tropea in the next town over called Drapia. Marcello has a lot of pride in his residence, as he’s told me throughout the summer that he has so many returning customers and how he works hard to improve his place every year, etc. I hadn’t ever had the chance to see it until this particular evening.

Marcello invited a few of us over for an aperitivo and pizza. The views are just SPECTACULAR! We were lucky on this particular night because the weather was warm and the breeze wasn’t too strong.

Just look at this place during the day though! The pictures don’t do justice, but it’s gorgeous. It’s too bad it took me this long to get there, really.

My Austrian friend, Simone, also came back to Tropea for a week to visit Nicola and I. She’s one of the highlights of my time here – she’s so sweet!

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It was a really nice evening for all of us. Marcello was in his glory being able to host friends and I don’t think I’d seen him smile so much before! 🙂

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My Baby Belly

No, I’m not pregnant. 🙂 I’m just carrying around a baby belly that’s caught up with me regarding the amount of pizza and pasta I’ve consumed over these few months.

(This pic is from the internet, it’s not mine!)

When I get home, I need to get serious again. I mean, how could I NOT eat the best tasting food in the world when I’m here!?

Back to gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free products. I’ve been able to eat that stuff here because the food is all natural and hasn’t killed me, though I’m sure somehow my body’s reacting. I don’t have the problem of my clothes being too big right now, they fit, BUT I don’t feel as healthy as I know I can.

All the food here is in season (which is how we should eat), but I will say eating zucchini and eggplant for example is getting old – fast. I find I eat the same 10 vegetables all the time. I think this is why I’m resorting to eating other (bad) things. 

Soon enough, I’ll get back to my pre-Italy body when I felt really good!

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Harsh Reality

I really don’t know what to say, other that I’m a bit shocked right now. I found out that someone here I consider a friend has a serious problem with drug abuse. Not just any drug, but cocaine! I’ve observed him abusing alcohol – a lot – over these last few months, but seriously, he’s using cocaine!? From what I understand this isn’t something new. I know this friend has had a lot of personal struggles over the past few years, (some of which he’s shared with me) but wow.

I’d been feeling I wasn’t being told the full story and indeed this is the case. I could feel the pieces of the puzzle weren’t adding up, and I felt something was off. I would never have guessed this to be it though.

As much as it hurts, I’m glad I know the truth. It puts everything I’ve seen together and finally makes sense. I’m sad he’s choosing this, but from the higher perspective I know we all have our journeys to walk with many lessons along the way.

I think it’s hitting me so hard because I’m an empath. I had sympathy for him during some of these struggles, though I don’t know it really did much other than maybe make me feel it more intensely. It’s difficult to convey to someone that they are their own worst enemy. The only thing that changes day to day is one’s perspective and are one’s emotions around it. It’s literally killing him because of  how he’s defining himself. I know he feels like a failure on many levels but going this far down the beaten path is only destroying his life and the others’ lives around him. It’s very, very sad to me.

What scares me is that I’ve actually had random, intuitive hits of him dying young, taking himself because things feel too intense for him to handle. Obviously, I hope this isn’t the case. I’ve been able to process this a lot over the last couple days though and I’m putting so much together now and it worries me for him.

*DEEP BREATH* Everything happens as it needs. I am clear my role is not to intervene. As of now, what’s for my best, is to pull back and just be. It’s just too intense, and I’m ok accepting that.

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Glad That is Over!

For my entire life, I was curious what it was like to date someone Italian (from Italy), not necessarily Italian-American. I have certainly gotten my taste of it, and have to admit that I don’t like it. 😮 

This may come as a surprise but there was more stuff I didn’t know about. My Italian friend (who lives near Florence) told me that he was concerned I was living in the South of Italy. He knows men here are different than the north, specifically with their mentality. Yup, he was right.

In short, Ivan talked down to me one night and talked over me in a loud, condescending way. He flat out called me a liar and told me I wasn’t sincere and he didn’t trust me. Umm….ok…? 

This stemmed from him asking me what I was doing, which, in that moment, I was doing family history research (I’m preparing to meet long lost family soon). He flipped like a switch, and told me I should give up on it now, it’d never happen. He questioned why I wanted to track them down, and I told him I’d wondered about them forever and was curious. It’s the truth. Anyone who knows me knows this. He had the gall to turn it around that I was looking for citizenship!!! This is why I suddenly became a liar 😉 Mmm hmm…

I had a gut feeling the first time I met him he was looking for US citizenship because he mentioned something to me about the fact if I married an Italian I could get citizenship within a week (but in turn, he could also be eligible for American citizenship). “So what?” I thought. That’s not important to me – I could get it on my own. I think he realized this, and didn’t like that I didn’t ‘need’ him for something, and it threatened him.

He also conveniently didn’t remember that I told him about meeting my Sicilian family last year. He told me I never told him, though I did. I showed him a video of my family in Rochester speaking Italian for my Sicilian relatives at Christmas, and told him why they were speaking Italian.

All these things lead me to believe he:

  • is super controlling
  • hates to be wrong
  • wants a woman who’s helpless so he can be needed
  • has the ability to flip like a switch

The upshot of the deal: the next day, he wrote me text messages calling me “tesoro” and sending sweet things, as if nothing happened. RIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHT buddy…

When I called him to set it straight and end the ‘relationship’ he started off asking me if I was sorry for what happened the night before. WHAT!? Seriously!?!?!

I’m glad I dodged this bullet. He’s PSYCHO and a narcissist. It was great to call it as it is, and put an end to that. Yikes!

Good thing: I have zero need to look for an Italian man ever again. If it happens, it does. If not, that’s totally okay too. The long anticipated dream is over! I’m glad I scratched the itch and there’s no unanswered questions.

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Living the Life of a Digital Nomad

This term is new to me, but that’s what I am – a digital nomad. This defines a person who can work remotely and chooses to travel or to live anywhere else in the world because they can. I met some other Americans last week who are also digital nomads. They are a couple from LA and have some kind of real estate business online. They travel more than they are home. By looking at their Facebook profile, they have been to some pretty cool obscure places. We shared a fun night together in the piazza here in Tropea with others while the guitar was passed around. We had a fun night of sing-along songs in English, Spanish, and Italian together. Times like these are the best!

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I recently saw this video and it sums up life as a digital nomad very well: 

How lucky are we to be living in the 21st century!

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Three Times is a Pattern

A few weeks ago, my feet finally weren’t so swollen from the heat and I could wear anew pair of sandals I bought here. They were comfortable and pretty, and I’d only worn them maybe 4 times? I was out, and the toe part came unattached! I was bummed but decided I was going to take them to the calzolaio, or shoe repair, with a friend’s help to see about getting them fixed.

Yesterday I was walking back up some stairs from the beach, and suddenly the sandals I was wearing broke, also! The strap came unattached from the side!

This REALLY struck me, because last year when I was in Tropea, my flip flop broke! I even had a warning in advance from Spirit that I needed to bring along another pair of shoes with me to the beach, but of course I brushed it off thinking that was weird. Low and behold, I found myself unable to walk home as a result. :-/ I had to take a moped ride (my first ever) with a guy I didn’t fully trust, but I felt I had no other choice. I survived, though it took me an hour to calm down. No, I’m not kidding. Anxiety was at an all time high!

Mind you: this has maybe ever happened once in my life in the US…? Why here!?

 

Falls Risk: I’ve fallen 3 times as an adult, and they’ve all been in Italy!

2010: I missed a step once and would’ve fallen flat on my face but my chest acted as balloons, and cushioned my body/face from falling straight on to the pavement.

2016: I was trying to catch a bus that was about to leave and I was running to it. Once I loaded my luggage, I got ahead of myself and my feet got jumbled up with one another and I fell, right outside the bus on my hands and knees. I put a hole in my new jeans and skinned my knee underneath.

2017: This was last week – I was going to pay for a beach chair/umbrella rental for the day, and as I was about to walk up the first step from the beach, I fell. The step was higher than usual, and there was sand on the step so I didn’t have my balance, and my sandal slipped because of the sand, and again, I found myself on my hands and knees, with a skinned knee.

WHAT THE HECK!? 

The only thing I can think of is that in the times I’m “trying to move forward” or “take forward steps,” someone is telling me not to continue on the path of Italy, that it would “slow me down” or “get me down” in some way in life.

Thoughts???

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Tesoro e Stellina

I’ve continued to see the guy I met in July through mutual friends. His name is Ivan, and he lives about an hour and a half from here in Reggio di Calabria. He has captivated my interest as he’s different than anyone I’ve dated before. It’s clear he is showing outwardly how he cares for me, and of course, I love this.

Every time we see each other, he brings me lunch! I’m not just talking sandwiches – it’s like a full Italian meal of pasta/sauce, salad, some sort of side dish, and fruit. He comes fully prepared with plastic plates, utensils, cups, napkins, and drinks. How SWEET is that!? I love that his Italian mama helps him make a good impression – it’s working! 🙂 I know this might sound weird to most that his mom would do this, but it’s the Italian culture. Everyone lives at home with their family til they marry. Considering I don’t have my mom anymore, I appreciate his mom’s efforts in trying to help. It’s sweet.

We haven’t seen each other as much as we’d like due to timing, but we have fun when we do see each other. Recently he started calling me “tesoro” which literally means “treasure” – an endearing Italian term. That impacted me of course because it brings things to a new level in my opinion. ❤ 

We are in contact every day (which is a miracle I understand him over the telephone!) and it’s always in Italian – he does not speak English! He calls me vs. texting, it’s not so much his thing. I appreciate this A LOT because often we lose sight of staying in contact the “old fashioned” way.

I decided to look up endearing terms in Italian because I’ve never had a relationship like this before so I lack the vocabulary on a lot of romantically related things, as you can imagine. I LAUGHED OUT LOUD when I saw the words “stella / stellina” which translate to “star / little star.”

Every day, Ivan sends me a star in our text conversations but I never knew why. Ha!

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