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August 11, 2012

10 Things I Learned from Two Weeks in Italy (with pictures!)

While spending 14 days in Italy with my husband without my kiddos or a phone sounds like the perfect opportunity to create several beautiful blog posts, I really made myself go on vacation and NOT work.  Being that this was my #1 bucket list item EVER and I had dreamed about it for 20 years (or more), I couldn't even begin to what NOT to write about. So for once in my life, I just inhaled (or ate) everything around me (except for those couple of times I did find a WIFI connection and jumped on Facebook.) From the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the feelings and of course the sights, I just took it all in (and when I was allowed) photographed everything I could. That’s why I have more than 1000 shots ordered from Shutterfly!


A shot from my Iphone in Venice
Anyhow, once THE vacation was over and went back to reality, it was hard to get back in the swing of things- to the point a couple of B-12 shots had to get me back into gear. And while the urge to have a few gelatos or proseccos at lunch never really goes away (I had that issue before Italy), I’ve gotten mostly back into my 100-miles-a-minute momentum, however, not without a little different perspective and learning lessons.
So since everyone in North Texas seemed to visit Italy this summer, I won’t take you through a play-by-play of Rome, Napoli, Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii, Florence, Pisa, Venice and Lido (unless you want to meet for coffee and have a few hours to spare), but I will share what new look at life I’m trying to put into my playbook. (And if you keep on reading, I might share a link too below to some photos if you are one of those people that like to look at beautiful things and delicious food.)

While I could go on about this amazing trip that I can only hope that I can repeat again, I’ve decided that like a Roman ruin, I’m just going to leave it there (in my brain) to enjoy, appreciate, escape to and remember whenever I like. And when the memories start to fade, I might also take a look at these photos. (Disclaimer: these photos haven't been edited and I'm not a photographer!)

Ten Things I Learned in Italy
10. It’s ok not to do something sometimes. Really.

9. Docking your boat at Hell’s Gate in Possum Kingdom Lake seems a whole lot like docking your boat at Capri.
8. Cheese is amazing. And it’s even better when you get to eat it for every meal. It’s even better when your whole dinner is cheese prepared four ways and when you can use olive oil and a truffled balsamic vinegar. 
7. First-class really does make a difference when you’re flying for more than three hours.
6. My husband is a good man even when he is on two-hours of sleep, swollen feet and no A/C. 
5. When traveling to Italy, a course in “Understanding the Italian Train System, Trenitalia” should be mandatory.
4. The most important things you can have are a great pair of shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera and a compass.
3. I love that in Texas we smile at each other, say thank you and please, open doors and say excuse me. (And that just begins my list of why I love Texas.)
2. There is so much to learn and appreciate in giving respect to things that are old. Architecture, artwork and even people should be recognized rather than just knocking it down. 
1. Fortitude. It’s the key to happiness. While I thought I knew what this word was, I didn't know what it meant until an afternoon with an English tour guide sharing her strong commentary of various artworks within the walls of the Uffizi. When we came to the The Seven Virtues by Botticelli and Piero del Pollaiolo, she provided her definition of this important virtue. “Fortitude is your capability to take matters in your own hands when “sh*t” does not go your way and you can maintain a smile.” Between her English accent and “educated description,” it (and the artwork) stuck with me even after I was done laughing.

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