One day I'll eat chocolate again
Eat the cake and other Italian food lessons
The reason I had to stop eating chocolate for a while? There were days I would eat a whole block. Or hide it in the pantry. Or have a block in my handbag. We laugh off ‘wine mums’ and ‘binging’ on a Friday night while we watch The Batchelor. Or The Batchelor in Paradise. I probably have the wrong show and the wrong day but I don’t have a TV, so I’m not that up in pop culture.
Either way - if you’re still reading after that confession, we normalise this sort of behaviour as if it were ok. It’s not. It’s not ok for our health and it’s not ok for our minds. And I reckon most of us know that, if we dig deep enough and are honest with ourselves. Binge is a pretty serious word, and alcoholism laughed off in memes isn’t funny.
I guess coming to Italy forced me to face my food fears head on. You can’t escape it here. Food, produce and cooking are as integral to life as sleeping and spending time with family and outdoors, some of the other big-ticket priorities. Having distance from the cacophony in Australia around what good eating actually means, plus watching my family here so well, without becoming overweight or obese, crystallised what I’d been grappling to understand for so long (and also what I’d been resisting, because I’m nothing if not totally stubborn and a bit resistant to change, or admitting I’ve got things wrong).
Friday night lights
At every corner, every junction, every decision, we choose to fight.
What if though, you did not need to be that woman? What if you didn’t need to be anything at all.
What if, wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea and with just your beating heart, you were everything you needed?
People will say you hold the whole universe within you: but what if you didn’t even that?
Cake, yoga and chandeliers: my Edinburgh
‘Can you watch Giulio for a second?,’ his dad says. One of my best friends in Australia has a son born a day after him: they are both obsessed with climbing at the moment. I have a soft spot for Giulio too: he looks exactly like my sister did when she was little. He runs away from me, chasing the cat. I pick him up, put him on my hip and stop to look around. My mind flashes back to New Year's Eve, standing in this spot with sparklers, drinking prosecco from plastic cups. simultaneously wondering how I ended up here and knowing it’s exactly where I belong. My mind flashes back to New Year's Eve, standing in this spot with sparklers, drinking prosecco from plastic cups, wondering what the next 12 months would bring.
Venus and Mars, Australia and Italy, coming home
Just don't make the mistake of thinking you can jump like a ninja off the third tier of a bunk bed at midnight when you realise you've left some crucial item in your suitcase. You'll crash into a drunk German guy called Felix, probably (I did, anyway).
You are worthy
This swing between Italy and Australia that we’ve put ourselves on means at times we might not feel at home in any one place. But I reckon there’ll be times we feel completely at home in two places as well, and I hope that we can have the flexibility, compassion and generosity with one another, with our families, our friends, and our vastly different but equally breathtaking environments (hello, Western Australia and Tuscany!) to be fully appreciative and conscious of what we’ve been given, and what we have to give. And that’s a lot.
the English rose
You are worthy.
Of the highest respect.
The deepest trust.
Of oceans of contentment. Rivers of joy.
Of pure happiness.
Of peace in your soul.
the dawning stages
He got on the bus at Berwick. ‘Nice view, isn’t it?’ he said, as I was taking a picture going over the bridge. ‘They started building that bridge in 1611.’ For the next few hours, every time we neared a bridge, a castle, a town, a wall, even, Steve would give me a sort of potted history. His mother had been an abstract artist who had spent a lot of time in Italy. We talked about capitalism (he was anti: developers should be hung from lampposts, he said), Mussolini, Buddhism, Thatcher, North Korea, sea snakes, how to raise kids, and worm-eating toads. And we talked about Florence, liked I had yesterday with Ana, the Ecuadorian jeweller, and Brigit, the Canadian with the Irish passport.
Cinque Terre: Suspended between Sea and Sky
Peter rolls up in his landcruiser, red-faced, with Tahla the golden lab in the back. Lucky you called when you did, he says. We just got back in from a nine week stint in Cambodia. Had to get out of this bloody cold. The Italian gives me a sideways glance, as if to say ‘owning the Prevelly villas must be a pretty good gig if you get six weeks off a year in south-east Asia’. Yeah mate.
Nicola tells me with a degree of resignation that Vernazza, the fourth of the five spectacularly colourful villages spilling off the higgeldy-piggedly cliffs of the Ligurian coast (counting south-north), is routinely ranked as one of the most Instagrammed spots in the world. True to form, we see more than one pair of 20-somethings in designer rags lugging camera equipment, pouting, and strutting along the path from Monterosso, where we started our walk.
She nearly always drove, except when he did and her head would bang violently against the passenger window, the wheels nearly flying up off the ground on his side as they cornered too fast.