Italy, you changed my life.
But so much leading up to Italy prepared me for what it would expose.

On my flight home, I wrote this:

40 minutes to go.

This is my life.  This is it.

It hits me a lot. Well maybe not a lot. But it hits me. Like as I was watching the videos on my phone to pass the time and felt struck by how sweet my life is. How silly Jordie is. How sad it is that I forget the beauty of it. How special the everyday is. How special it is that I feel belonging. How wonderful it is that so much has been restored. That I adore my family and that they adore me. That my husband is truly so pure and magical and effortlessly changing me to see more magic all around. In many ways, even being able to write all this feels like something I owe to him. How does he do it? I've been in Italy for a week and even though my wounded heart does feel things strangely sometimes and does sometimes shuts down and loses the battle to my mind momentarily, it harbored bittersweetness and longing this week. I was in Italy, alone in some senses, and I enjoyed being alone (in some senses). I realized how my eyes help me. How watching and looking and having a camera as a companion is this very integral part of how I navigate things...In Italy, I felt happy about the colors and buildings and laughter and walking in historic places you don't fully understand, yet can still feel the potency of. I ate croissants and walked and walked and sometimes felt uncomfortable and insecure, and other times felt confident, empowered and very full. I felt thankful for conversation and moscato and the Pantheon and newness and gelato and charming gelato servers and I feel thankful for people who tell beautiful stories through film, for empty seats next to me on airplanes, for hours alone and for Jordie picking me up.





Something shifted on the flight from JFK to LAX and I told my counselor about it. About how I felt so happy, like a feel-it-in-my-bones happy, and then something happened and I felt the happiness drain out of me by the time I landed back on the California ground. I wanted to figure out what that was. She made me describe how it felt to feel so happy. And what it felt like to feel it leave. She told me to pay attention to when I felt that kind of happiness again. I've been trying and I'm glad it's something I can be mindful of. But it all goes back to that moment on the plane, in that window seat, with the row to myself, half watching Fault In Our Stars playing on the little screen in the middle of the plane, half journaling, my heart wholly feeling something so special and close and memorable.

Something happened in Italy, and I'm forever thankful for it.