Spending time in Italy was all about pure color, the randomness of nature, the resourcefulness of its people, the beauty of choosing aesthetics over expense, a proud and vibrant community, delicious pizza, focaccia, farinata, pasta, pesto, olives, olive oil, and wine… coffee in so many ways, and yet always originating at the espresso machine… dueling accordion players, young women singing their hearts out, and a fantastic gypsy 4 piece, playing music that reminded me of Chocolat. The city center was a warren of fierce yet inviting, mysterious yet beautiful narrow alleyways, leading to the next treasure, or a bit of a scare… both prospects equally exciting. The late night thunder storms were enough to wake me from a deep sleep, yet I savoured every moment, as we rarely ever experience such things here in Holland.
All that being said, I found myself a feeling bit “rootless” while there. I struggled with my vegetarian diet, which ended with me eating primarily bread, and as a result, feeling very tired. I found it difficult to turn down the tasty wine, which was often served in sexy stemware. I rarely slept through the night, due to the heat and an evil, evasive gang of mosquitoes who attacked without fail. What I discovered is that I suffer greatly without some sort of routine, and as a result, felt off balance.
And so, when I finally left the city, I started to relax in another way. I knew I was returning to structure and to my space. I knew I’d wake up in the morning to the sun shining through my huge bedroom window (although it rained horribly) I knew it would be flat, colder, and more boring, but still, it is my home, and I feel good about that.
I spent a lot of time cleaning and doing those things that one does after nearly two weeks abroad. I shopped my heart out at the health food store. I jumped into some new recipes and back into my old routines of yoga, meditating, running, cozying up to my cat, and relaxing in the steam sauna.
Yesterday was an Ethiopian dinner at my favorite place in Leiden, Djebena, with a friend from Brussels. Today was a fabulous facial by my friend, who owns Zen of Skin here in the Netherlands. I am officially hooked on facials, and have decided that she is now my natural product and skin care guru.
In a bit, I’ll start mentally preparing myself for my return to working life. I’m looking forward to it!