Today marks four years since that magical day in Monterosso, our wedding on the sea. To mark the occasion, I thought who better to capture my Italian and I than Chloe Lodge, a friend and photographer whose work I have admired since she lived in Paris. During her recent trip to the City of Lights we met her at our favorite apéro spot Café Saint–Régis.
Having just returned to an empty Paris, I am filled with visions and tastes of Italy. Surprise adventures began as we boarded the plane, enroute to Turin but unaware of the final destination. What was my Italian up to I wondered? With map in hand I tried to search for the secret spot in which we would celebrate. Several hours of suspense along the open road, with nothing but vineyards in sight… And then it dawned on me.
We were entering the Piedmonte region, land of some of the best wines in Italy.
Our home was a charming agriturismo near Barbaresco, with views, vines and of course, local wines.
We explored the region, stopping to admire the views, and taste the local delicacies. Spectacular!
The following day our adventure began in the village of Grinzane Cavour.
Shouldn’t everyone spend their birthday at a castle?
In Barolo, we indulged in a wine tasting and met with one of my oldest friends from the Hamptons. What a perfect setting in which to meet! But it wasn’t until dinner that the real wining began.
We entered a michelin starred restaurant boasting a breathtaking view, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Was this all an illusion? By far one of the most memorable meals, and days, of my life. From the first glass of prosecco to the trumpet serenade. I will forever look back, and smile.
Anyone who knows my Italian (or reads this blog) know’s he’s a romantic, and like me, loves to travel. He also loves to plan surprise romantic escapes. Yes, I chose well! For the last few years my birthday was spent in Italy, destination unknown, until we arrived. A few years ago it was a charming agriturismo in Tuscany… and last year hiking in the Dolomites. Both adventures I smile upon. Once again this year, we are enroute to Italy to celebrate. I’ve never before so much looked forward to my birthday! I suspect we are heading south, but haven’t a clue where. Any ideas? Wherever it is, July 29th will certainly be a day to remember!
After our journey to places yet unknown, we are heading to Monterosso, home on the riviera. You can follow my adventures via instagram and I promise to post photos as soon as I can. Until then, wishing you all a wonderful summer wherever you are in the world!
There is something uniquely special about the relationship between a father and a daughter. When I was merely five years old I asked my mom in a state of panic, “You married Dad, so now who will I marry?”. Yes, I was in love with my father. And rightfully so, as he was a special man. Gentle in nature, strong in character, handsome in visage, filled with personality and witty beyond words. Unfortunately, our time together was short, and at the age of fifteen he passed away due to illness. I often wonder how my life would have evolved with his support and influence, considering we shared many of the same dreams and visions of life. And continue to.
Though he is not with me in the physical sense, I continue to feel my father’s presence. During my many months of travel I knew he was there, and felt safe. When I serendipitously met my Italian I knew my dad was behind the scenes, silently directing my path. And now, I am living a life between France and Italy, his two favorite places on earth. Perhaps I am fulfilling his dreams, as I fulfill my own. After all, it is what he has taught me, to always follow my heart and believe in myself, that has led me on this journey. For this life, to my father, I am grateful.
Today we celebrate our second wedding anniversary. It feels like just yesterday, our wedding on the sea. Yet time and experiences have filled these days with memories. Our life in Paris grows deeper and our bond even stronger. To celebrate, a few memories from then, which we smile upon now.
And this is only the beginning.
As many times as I’ve stepped onto an airplane, crossing a continent, it never ceases to amaze me how in mere hours you can be transported through time, or so it feels. Most recently I flew from Pisa, near Monterosso where my Italian and I spent the weekend with his family and friends…
…to New York City, to visit my family and friends. From what felt like the past, to the future.
Could there be any two places on the earth more different yet equally loved? Yes, certainly there are. But these are mine. Two very distinct and disparate parts of the world I call home. One for it’s calm and beauty, and one for it’s energy and innovation. And both for their culture. Not to mention all the other parts of the world that became home even for a brief moment. Ah yes, and then there’s Paris…
Over three years ago I moved to Paris, knowing only one person, my Italian. Him being the reason for my move. I tried not to focus too much on the active social life I left behind in NYC, or even whether I would find another one. I felt confident in my path and though I dearly missed my friends those first years (and still do), I enjoyed the time we shared with Paris as our sole companion.
Last week, in planning a surprise birthday party for my Italian, I realized how full our lives have become. Not simply with frivolous goings on in the form of gallery openings and happy hours (though we enjoy our share of those too), but with quality time spent with people we admire and appreciate, our friends. I consider myself lucky in this regard, building friendships that last through time and travels. After all, is not the place where we live (though Paris is indeed one of the most beautiful), but it is the people with whom we share this life. That is where true happiness lies.
Thank you dear friends (and readers) for being part of this journey!
It feels like a cliché writing about love on Valentine’s Day, in Paris, the city of romance. But in my opinion it’s a subject worth indulging, regardless of the day. And regardless of your status. Several months ago I wrote an article for HiP Paris, all about falling in love with Paris in a day, and with no one other than yourself. And in so doing, I often explore Paris, and fall in love with the city which I call home. Either alone or in good company (otherwise known as my Italian).
Photos taken with Instagram, for more images of Paris you can join me here.
Every new year I reflect on the days gone by and set goals for the days ahead, often referred to as resolutions. This year, no more. I’ve come to realize that by thinking about what is not (ie. what I need to work on or improve) I continue to struggle with keeping up and lose sight of all that already is wonderful in my life. So this year I am starting out not with a long list of what I need to do, but a long list of what I am grateful for, much like what I wrote in my giving thanks post. It certainly helps to step away from the routine of life and look from a distance, as I was able to do during these last few weeks in Florida. This trip meant even more than sacred time with family and friends. It has also allowed me to acknowledge and appreciate all that I have been blessed with in my life.
I believe that each of us is writing the book of our lives. It is mostly up to us what is written upon the pages, and how our unique story unfolds. As I write (and re-read) my own, I am grateful for every chapter and look forward to writing the next.
Wishing all my dear readers, fellow romantics and francophiles around the world the happiest of holidays! From the City of Lights (with a glorious display on the Champs-Élysées) to sunny Florida where my Italian and I are spending Christmas with family and the New Year with friends. Time to reflect on the year that is behind us, and think of all that is yet to find us in the days ahead.
Looking forward to sharing many more adventures, travels and musings in 2013!