"life in italy and beyond" or "the untitlable post" or "*****"

I've had this post in my drafts for some time now... I've finally found the time and the mental space to tackle it again after my dD partner Emily sent me this beautiful post about Home by Kate from >From Me, For You.

Over the last month I've been thinking a lot about how we find joy and maintain a state of joyfulness in our day to day lives. It's big challenge - and one that's become even more difficult since I became a mom. That sounds like such a ridiculous thing to say since I've found few greater joys in my life than watching Claude move through this world, but with all the challenges motherhood presents it's hard to stay in the moment- or allow yourself the freedom of seeing beyond it (should a massive fit be underway). But being in Italy for this extended period of time- in what is such a luxury, a gift of time and space, to be able to leave ones day to day for a while to experience something totally new- has opened up a whole bunch of new feelings about Home, Expectations, and Happiness. That list does need to be capitalized- These are big things.

 I've been a bit vague in my writing about how it has been to live here- it's hard to put it all into words especially while I'm literally in the middle of it (the half way point was last week). I feel like a foreigner for obvious reasons and there are moments when that's the best thing in the world: to watch- to be unknown- to be able to open up ones life and offer new rituals and experiences of chance to flood in. Then there are the times when I'm overwhelmed and exhausted by it all- when I feel like my foreignness holds me back from things. I suppose that's fear. A valid but unnecessary fear that I try to brush off with varying degrees of success. But all in all, with the massive amounts of good and the little but sometimes overwhelming bits of bad- this place has changed me. I feel like the solidness that I used to feel in my life in Minneapolis has thawed a bit (an unintended cold weather pun, but an apt none the less). Being here has opened my eyes to the every-changing fluidity of life. At any moment everything can change- for better or worse. This is a beautiful and scary thing, but ultimately it means that happiness is always available, change is always available- one is never truly stuck.

Jay and I have been talking about moving for years now. It's the conversation I think most people have: should we go here? or here? or here? is there a better place than this one- for me, for us, for our family? The on going search for "home". Being here has made me miss Home so much. The home that's in Minneapolis, the home that's just the USA, the home that's my studio and my work, the home that's having the space and time away from Claude to carve out my"self". It's less a place and more a feeling I miss... but I'm homesick without a doubt- that beautiful homesick that Kate so nicely talked around (can we ever really nail it down?). One of her commenters said: "New experiences change how you feel about old places, but sometimes the mind takes a little while to reconcile everything." I'm only beginning to see how this whole experience is changing me, but I can feel so many of the big walls I'd put up in my mind about what I did and didn't want, what I like and don't, what I expect- those are all shifting and becoming a little less hard. Life is always changing- and that is a very beautiful thing.

a photo from today


  1. Having a child-being responsible 24/7 for someone else who cannot yet be responsible for themselves-can really change what you think about "you", what you want from "work", what you want "home" to be.

  2. How long are you in Italy for Jennifer?

  3. I remember a lot of those very same feelings when we lived in France for two years. You always feel like an outsider, but at the same time it is very special to be able to experience another culture for an extended time, rather than be just a tourist for a few days or so.
    Being in France (Paris) for two years was wonderful, but sometimes hard, just as you say about Rome. It really made me fall more in love with where I live, which is in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not because I didn't love Paris, but I knew it wasn't "mine" in a sense. I look back with very, very fond memories though, and sometime I get a bit heart sick when I see pictures of Paris, but I know my heart will always be in San Francisco :) Enjoy your time in Rome and treasure it. I loved Italy and especially Florence. Have you been able to go outside of Rome at all yet?

  4. Wow. What a lovely, deep, honest and wise post. Thank you for sharing your words.