“What are four walls, anyway? They are what they contain. The house protects the dreamer. Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game. It’s such a surprise.”
Watching the movie Under the Tuscan Sun makes me want to up and move to Italy.
Or, at the very least, go back for a very long visit.
That time back in March 2008 was quite the awakening for me. I realized how unhappy I was, and I realized just how asleep the artist inside of me had been. I was living too fast—all of my days being soaked up by commuting, working hard, worrying, eating too much, sleeping too little, and generally not taking care of myself in any tangible way.
|Murano, Italy - 2008|
But in Italy, it was so easy to care for me.
I woke up each morning to rustling trees, birds singing, people talking, and bright sunshine gleaming through the windows of my room.
I leisurely got dressed and walked all around Murano, sitting in a different bakery or restaurant each morning for my cappuccino and pastry. I watched people. I wrote. I listened to the lovely lilt of Italian, spoken all around me.
I spoke what few words I knew, and the shop keepers were more patient with me than they should have been, helping me when I fumbled a word.
When you’re in Venice in the early spring, it’s difficult to feel angry, sad, exhausted, frustrated, or lonely.
It’s easy to walk for hours at a time, stopping here and there to snap pictures, take in the sights and sounds around you, or to just breathe. It’s easy to forget the fast pace and mind-numbing rut of American life.
|Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy - 2008|
My senses were flooded with life: flower stands with so many bright colors; people of all shapes, sizes, nationalities, ethnicities, and statuses surrounding me; gelato around every bend—and yes, there were times when I had two in one day; quintessential pushy Italian men in black and white striped shirts and red berets trying to get you to ride in their gondola for “a good price”; rustic iron gates with black paint flaking off—
The images go on and on, carrying me into a blissful, colorful, dreamy land where I once lived for two weeks.
Now, it is just a collection of memories.
But, still—that movie urges me to do something a little outlandish—a little silly, a little out of the ordinary.
During the movie, Frances questions her purchase of Bramasole.
She says, “This house has three bedrooms. What if there’s never anyone to sleep in them? And the kitchen, what if there’s never anyone to cook for? I wake up in the night thinking, ‘You idiot. I mean, you’re the stupidest woman in the world. You bought a house for a life you don’t even have.’
“Why did you do it, then?” asks Martini.
“Because I’m sick of being afraid all the time and because I still want things. I want a wedding in this house, and I want a family in this house.”
Martini says, “Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew someday the train would come.”
I’ve always dreamed of uprooting and disappearing to some unknown land, far away. I’ve even done it a couple of times, in not so many words… with my sudden move to Philadelphia after graduating from college, and then again, when I got a job outside of Boston and moved there—without knowing a single soul.
Back then, I was searching for a place to belong.
My motives are different now… I know that I belong wherever I am. I am where I belong.
If I were to do something so outlandish now, it would be to keep my life moving, to keep my energy expanding, to keep my heart opening, to keep my soul stretching.
I dream of owning a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
I dream of traveling around the world.
I dream, and yet—I am here… still.
When I was in Italy, my days were blissful and often filled with lots of laughter, dreaming, and connecting. Connecting with other artists, with beautiful towns built on water, and most importantly... connecting to myself.
I collapsed in bed each night utterly exhausted, and I slept harder than I had ever slept.
The first night in my apartment reminds me of the good sleeps I had in Italy. I sleep very soundly in this place. I feel safe here, in my little haven. Dallas is my home, after all.
It may not be that way forever, but for now—it is.
At the end of the movie, Martini gives Frances a knowing look.
Martini says, “I think you got your wish.”
“On the day we looked for your snake, you said to me that you wanted there to be a wedding here.”
“And you said you wanted there to be a family here.”
Frances says, “You’re right. I got my wish. I got everything that I asked for.”
I have faith. And I will continue on the path laid before me, as I traverse only one step at a time.
Ask for what you want. And when you are still... it comes.