“Kindness is a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.” I read this quote a couple of days ago and it is true. Kindness. It’s free and oh so powerful.
I arrived here in Italy 16 days ago, which in itself seems unbelievable. It’s hard to believe I have been here already for over 2 weeks. Since my last post, I have been all over the hills of Tuscany, including San Gimignano, Pistoia and Florence and I have met THE most friendly and kind people. I could go on and on about the kindness from my new friends Mila, Tommaso, Cindy and Frank, Vane and Giorgio. In the last week, I have been invited and taken to dinner twice, been invited to go horseback riding Sunday, met a couple from Switzerland at Mercato Centrale in Florence and had the best conversation and afterwards, they bought me dessert. Tommaso invited me over to see his villa where he is doing renovations and expecting to open it up for visitors in late April. It was hands down I place I could dream of living! Last night, Giorgio, an owner of one of the airbnb’s, invited me into town to give me a tour of the city and he gave me a lot of insight into the history of the buildings and city. He then took me to dinner and wouldn’t let me pay, saying that “Men in Italy never let a woman pay for dinner!” It was the nicest dinner I have had yet. One thing I didn’t mention earlier was that Giorgio’s wife gave me her boots to go hiking in yesterday morning. All I brought with me was my Nike’s, a pair of sandals and some casual shoes. When she saw my Nikes, she said I had to have proper shoes to hike in. We actually wore the same size! She is letting me keep them while I am here so I have good shoes to go hiking in. This is the kindness I have experienced almost every day I’ve been here. And for that I have been so grateful. For a moment I was even a little bit sad at one point, thinking, “Why aren’t people more like this back home?” And then I felt that nudge. It can start with me. When was the last time I brought a new person breakfast? Have I ever offered someone new to the city my time to show them around? So the takeaway for me is, if you want to see more kindness, be THAT person. If it makes me feel good and welcomed, then I can help someone feel that way, too. It doesn’t take much. (As I am typing this on this amazing patio overlooking the countryside, Giorgio pops his head out of one of the windows and says, “I’m making a coffee, would you like one?” – THIS y’all. I love it!!)
A few things I have learned this past week: The history here is never ending. I could be here a lifetime and still not know half of the history here. It’s quite amazing. For instance, I took a picture of an old church here in the countryside and later found out that it was built in 998. Yes, you read that right. Over 1,000 years ago! And it’s still standing and in decent shape! I also learned how they go about hunting wild boar in the hills here. The hunters form long lines on each side of the hills during early winter and they basically walk in towards each other until they trap all of these wild boar and then they start shooting them. It’s very well organized and Giorgio says you can hear them and see them in the hillside when it takes place. Gruesome I know for some of you reading this, but wild boar is a huge part of their diet here. And I have to say, it’s delicious! Secondly, I am really drawn to this simple life. Much more simple than what I was living. This has surprised me! I have been shocked at how easy it really is to live out of a suitcase. I have missed the comfort of my own bed at times, or a coffee in the morning while watching HGTV on the weekends, but for the most part not having many possessions has been pretty nice actually. I hope to quickly find work when I get back back to the states, but I want to live a much simpler life when I return. I am a pretty frugal person anyways and hope to just continue to simplify my life and house- wherever that turns out to be. And lastly, I thought I knew how to just be still. It takes much more effort than I thought and I have really struggled with not having a schedule; a routine. I have found myself missing work at times. I think it’s because work defines so much of our lives. Our lives tend to revolve around work and a work schedule. Now that I am not working, I feel like I am constantly trying to understand what value I bring to anything. I’m also struggling with not being plugged into a church yet, although that is coming when I get to Milan and then when I am helping with our Missions team in Naples. But for now, I’ve been watching services online and searching for places to attend that I can get to easily. I loved my Saturday morning time I served on the prayer team. I loved my Sunday mornings with friends at church followed by brunch. And I miss First Wednesdays. But one thing I know for sure is that I was called to get OUT of my comfort zone. It’s not about what I want, but what others need and what God thinks I can help with. So, I’ll continue to keep seeking guidance and appreciate every single moment I am here. It’s been the experience of a lifetime and I am so grateful I made the JUMP!
I will make an effort to post more often and I still am trying to clean up my blog so that I can post more pictures here. So stay tuned. Also, several have asked about my past and what led me to this point in my life and I hope to share that on the next post. I will leave a little something to chew on. I thank Mr. Torres back at Ellison High School for speaking life over me. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was the person that gave me hope for a better future than what I was living. Having seen where I lived (in low rental housing) and having known a little about my home life, he forever changed my life by saying to me, “You know you are meant for more than this. And you can do more with your life.” That’s all he said and that’s all I apparently needed to hear. It became the wind in my wings and set me on a path to work hard and get out of the situation I was in. Words of advice until next time: You are capable of changing your life. Of doing more and becoming better. You can change your family tree and not accept things the way they are. Know that. I am living proof. My hope is that if you are in a dark place, whatever that may be, I hope you can see the light and feel me cheering you on. Dream big and go after the life you want!
Hey, everyone! I'm Angie and I hope you enjoy my blog about how and why a single woman in her 40's decided to drop everything she was doing and follow her God sized dream to Italy. I may be scared to death but I am FULL of faith as God gives me the COURAGE TO JUMP!