I’m grateful for gentle reminders of beautiful times.

Over 11 years ago I first set foot in Europe, spending a summer in the picturesque city of “Spoleto” in the Umbria region of magical Italy. Stepping off the plane I was to call the administration of the festival to tell them I had arrived, and they would then send a car to meet me after my 45 min. train ride from the Rome airport. I assumed I could call them from a pay phone with some spare lira, having dutifully changed my dollars before making the trip. However, silly me – they only used phone cards – no coins allowed. This was only announced by the cruel, uncaring and prerecorded operator – IN ITALIAN – and I spoke none of her incomprehensible language. I was jet lagged, tired, lost and scared, imagining I’d be spending six weeks camped out in the smoke saturated airport, never making my way to the first day of my new job!

Well, times do change: there’s a different currency now, I can get by their rhythmic language, and I am able to deftly navigate my way out of most public transport hubs. Thankfully I DID arrive in Spoleto, and the summer of gelato, burro & salvia pasta, gorgeous vistas, beautiful music and breathtaking moments swept me off my feet.

This reminder of the beauty that is UMBRIA, came to me as a welcome source of heat after the chill of Chicago overcame me! (Which means I was grateful for the heat, as well as the memories!)