Hello! This is Jared taking over as I figured I ought to give Estrella the day off and instead give my fingers some exercise. After all it is her birthday and what birthday would be complete without a special tribute, so without further adieu…
As I sit here on the eve of your 28th birthday, as well as the last day of our adventure living abroad in Italy, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the moments we experienced together over the last year and just to share my appreciation for how much you have flourished.
Our arrival to Rome – seems like yesterday we squeezed into that tiny elevator in Prati to arrive at our first apartment. Our first month abroad had its ups and downs with internet issues, long afternoons at Café Gourmet and overcoming a bit of self-consciousness with our Italian but it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come from that point. No further proof is needed to show how much we’ve grown than these embarrassing plates of pasta. Oh well, at least the view was nice!
3 weeks on the road – I know I always give you grief for not packing as light as I would like but starting with this trip your luggage has gotten lighter and lighter. Pretty soon we’ll be down to a backpack. Our first quasi Europ-trip where we explored all the famous sites of Paris, enjoyed pizza and wine while watching the sunset in Nice, and saw our first futbol match in Barcelona.
Casa di Mama Tuya – transitioning from having a wonderful, spacious apartment of our own to downsizing and living with a family is a sacrifice and I know it was stressful for you at times. As a woman, I understand that your ‘home’ is your nest and place of solitude so I sincerely appreciate that you were willing to adjust to this new way of life. Of course many thanks to Sergio, Elena and Lorenzo for allowing us into your home – you are forever family!
Rome Bloggers – I remember when you first asked me if I would be interested in starting a Blogger Community in Rome. To be honest I didn’t think it would ever amount to what YOU built it into. I couldn’t be more proud of how you stepped out of your comfort zone, took initiative and created something from scratch. You brought people from all over the world together which resulted in collaborations and numerous friendships that will last a lifetime.
Christmas/New Years – This was the first time in our lives that we weren’t with at least one of our families for the Holidays. I know this was a difficult concession for you to make but it gave us an opportunity to experience an amazing Christmas eve Feast of Seven Fishes, a quick getaway to Tuscany, and Capo d’Anno drinking grappa and watching fireworks with Gail and Louie.
Winter In Rome – This is a true testament to how your hard work through your blog and ability to network created avenues for us. Not only that but you were able to bring me along for the ride, literally. Some of the experiences from this event, such as the EatingItaly food tour and ScooteRoma street art tour were some of the most fun things I did over the past year. I have you to thank for that! On top of that, this opportunity led to us developing friendships with some of our closest friends in Rome.
Teaching English – Neither of us had any teaching experience so it was a huge question mark as to how this would actually work out. When it came time for you to start teaching, I have to admit I was a little concerned since you didn’t have the same opportunity I did to go through training, but again you stepped up to the challenge and knocked it out of the park. I looked forward to talking to you each day about how your lessons went and how much your students enjoyed learning with you as their teacher!
Ski Trip –Another thing checked off our bucket list which was to go skiing together for the first time. I remember getting to the top of that first hill and neither of us could make it down the tiny little walkway just to even get to the ski lift. We immediately knew we were in for a long day. Numerous falls and an hour and a half later we finally made it down the first hill. Despite the bumps and bruises you never gave up!
The Floating City – We had been wanting to go to Venice for a long time but for some reason we could never find the right time or the right price to go. Fortunately, in April nearly half the month is a Holiday so it gave us the perfect opportunity to plan a trip. Better late than never. I’ll never forget waking up at 5 in the morning to walk through the empty streets and piazzas as the city slowly came to life. It’s moments like this that make me truly appreciate you. Your willingness to get up and walk around with me at the crack of dawn is the epitome of you being a selfless partner.
Barney Rubble…Trouble – With each trip we took over the past year, I think we did less and less planning, which was especially true with our trip to Sicily. We booked the trip about two weeks in advance and did very little research on what to do. The ability to be spontaneous and to be able to correct course along the way has become one our greatest assets. I think more than anything it has taught us that there is no problem too difficult to solve and if we want something badly enough we can make it happen. We hit some turbulence on this trip (quite literally) but having you by my side made it possible to get through it.
Of course these are just a few of the highlights, it’s an impossible task to sum up the past year we have had. Truthfully the moments that will stick with me the most are the more ordinary moments like exploring the corners of Rome together with no destination in mind only looking to create something out of nothing, exercising on the steps of Stadio dei Marmi, and trying our best to make authentic Italian dinners. The past year has been a constant learning process for the both of us but I’m proud to admit that your growth has far exceeded mine and I am grateful for it because you give me a perpetual source of inspiration. 27 was an incredible year for you and I am excited that I have a front row seat to see what you can accomplish with another year of experience under your belt. To 28 and beyond!
Ti voglio bene assai,