I have celebrated the year changing exactly thirty-four times. That is a lot of ball drops, backward counting and champagne toasts. In the thirty-four times I have seen the calendar progress another year, I have experienced elaborate dinners, small family gatherings, massive ballroom parties and cozy nights in. I have had “the night of my life” and “the disappointment of a lifetime.” In all this time, I have learned that a valuable life lesson. When you place an unhealthy amount of expectations on any one thing (in this case, an evening), it is hard to meet or exceed the vision you’ve created in your own head.
Fireworks light up the sky behind Milan’s Duomo
Fortunately, disappointment was not the theme as we rang in 2014. The stakes were at an all-time high and the night came together as well as anyone could have hoped. Continue reading New Years in Milan→
When our friends, Nathan and Danielle had come to visit this past spring – Danielle pointed at a unique outdoor-oven-with-a-chimney-thingy in a neighbors yard and asked what it was. I replied with all the confidence in the world that it was an Italian-style BBQ, but in reality I wasn’t positive. I had seen the smoke billowing through the chimney and I had seen many of these things in other neighbors yards – but I had never inquired about it. I asked my “go-to guy for all things Italian”… Jen’s uncle, Franco. He confirmed that it was in fact a BBQ and a fairly typical one in Italy. So, my educated guess was right. Whew!
Classic Italian style outdoor grill
I noticed shortly thereafter that the typical gas Weber grills we’re accustomed to using in the States are non-existent here. In fact, it’s possible you may see a round charcoal grill – but more often than not, it’s one of these large, permanent fixtures that people use to grill. Continue reading Step Aside… It’s Time to Grill!→
We knew the deadline was coming for months… January 3rd was staring us in the face for a long time. January 3rd rustled up feelings of excitement (me and Jen), nervousness (Jen…ok, me a little) and stress (mainly me).
It got here before we were ready. We still had a list a mile long on January 2nd and I don’t think either of us were as prepared as we thought to say goodbye to our friends and family. Jen’s girlfriends threw an incredible send-off hosted at Mike and Aubrey Ciatto’s home.
Aubrey and Mike’s beautiful home – nice touch with the flag
And then… all of a sudden, we woke up on January 3rd. We hugged our first set of goodbyes to my parents, Julia’s “Pop-Pop and Grandma” in Darnestown, and got a little misty when my usually stoic parents both shed a couple tears. Continue reading Touching Down in Italy→