During my stay at the beautiful Italian country farmhouse, Casa Scaparone in Alba, Italy, I looked forward to breakfast every single day.
Not once did we have packaged cereal or dry pastries, instead everything was homemade and served with endless cups of just-made strong Italian coffee.
My first morning I had simple brown cake with home-canned peaches and fresh, creamy goat cheese made on the farm.
The second morning I had toast made from fresh, crusty bread and spread with soft goat cheese and homemade fig preserves.
How I loved those quiet mornings in the cavernous yet cozy farmhouse dining room. We usually rose before any of the other guests, so we often had the place to ourselves.
Such times are made for dreaming not talking, and my friend Margo and I sat in companionable silence, sipping and munching our way through meandering thoughts about life, relationships, goals, and whatever else entered our heads.
I had a lot to think about.
Eight weeks before I had sold or given away nearly everything I owned, packed what I could fit into two suitcases and a carry-on, and moved to Europe to start my life over.
Until the moment I got on that plane carrying me to Amsterdam, I was scared silly. I had been raised in a world where women were to submit, obey, and follow, not make their own decisions and definitely not move to the other side of the world. But somewhere I found the courage to listen to my own heart and pay heed to that “still small voice” that never, ever leads you astray.
I was gulping back tears as I walked by myself through that airport in Vancouver, Canada, leaving behind everything familiar and known. But the moment I sat my bottom down in that plane seat my fears slipped away and I was filled with so much joy and excitement I could hardly contain myself. Every fiber of my being was shouting YOU GO GIRL!!!
And I did.
Those three months I spent in Europe are precious to me. The beauty and friendships of the Netherlands, Italy, Prague, Germany, Malta and England were balm for my rattled soul and crumpled body. I had arrived a bit of a wreck, reeling from the stress of a stalker and having to go into hiding, the ravages of an illness that nearly killed me, losing my job, spraining my ankle, losing some close family relationships, etc, etc. Yep, I was in dire need of some healing.
So those mornings in Italy during my last weeks in Europe make me smile to this day. They were moments of peace, safety, reflection, and deep gratefulness for all I’d overcome and all I had experienced and everything I had to look forward to.
I’ve been recreating those mornings on my own goat farm in Australia.
I brew strong Italian espresso, toast olive sourdough bread, and add a bit of Danish salami or lovely brown eggs fried in butter until their edges are crispy and salty.
Then I sit quietly at my sun-drenched kitchen table and think through my life, my week, my day, pondering and dreaming and giving thanks.
Today I’m grateful for a new puppy – Frejya – who joined our family last night, for a garden that is flourishing in spite of two rampages by animals, and for the arrival of Spring and the hope it always brings.
What are three things you’re grateful for today?