“You came back!” were the words that my friend Michelle said to me at swim class this morning. I’m not sure if it was shock, disbelief, disappointment or happiness, but it was definitley good to see and hear some friendly familiar voices. (even if they were Coach Mo saying, “accelerate on the follow-through…a little faster on this 50, etc.)
The fantasy world has officially ended and Shawn and I are just in the middle of trying to figure out what day and time zone we’re currently living in at the moment. Italy is seven hours ahead, so while we gained several hours on the return trip, it has taken our minds and bodies a few days to adjust. I took a nap Monday at 3pm because my body felt like it was 10pm (plus, it was 97 degrees in Austin and there wasn’t much else to do while the laundry was being done).
There’s so much to say about the trip and hundreds more photos I could share. Each illustrates a feeling, moment, monument or memory that will not be soon forgotten. Even with all of that, it’s GREAT to be home. Dare I say I was actually looking forward to returning? Every location was absolutely breathtaking and places that dreams are made of…Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, Lake Como…it doesn’t get more beautiful, scenic, historical or more decadent. However, two weeks is a long time to be “out of a routine” with the elevated stress levels of trying to figure out train schedules, learning to navigate roads in Florence, understanding the water taxis in Venice, ordering the right food so that a fish head doesn’t stare at me when the plate is put in front of me, washing out clothes every couple of days, finding places to run, dealing with a culture who hasn’t heard that “smoking kills,” being the only ones in a restaurant at 8:15pm when we thought we were eating late and trying to communicate while not sounding like a total bafoon (which I’m afraid I accomplished on several occassions).
There’s a lot I will take from this trip. The European lifestyle is so simple and enviable. Walking and biking to work are the primary modes of transporation. They may eat more starches, cheese, wine and cigarettes, but they are always moving! While we didn’t run every day, we walked several miles easily. There’s no emphasis on cars, homes, credit reports, etc. They literally live “in the moment” and work to live.This was humorously illustrated at our Tuscan villa when Guido said “goodbye” to us early since we would be leaving during his afternoon siesta–a nap he never misses. Hell, I get upset when I can’t retrieve emails on my phone in a timely manner! At the same time, it made me grateful for what I/we do have in the states. It made me grateful for the choices we have and it made me grateful for “to go” cups! Seriously, Italians don’t have to-go cups for their coffee. They walk into the coffee bars, drink their espressos or cappuchinos at the bar and then leave.
The last 1 1/2 months have been amazing. Hell, the last year has been over the top. In fact, we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary yesterday by ordering up some sushi in a post-nap, pre-bedtime haze. Our goal for the next month is to do the anti-pasta diet 🙂 No spaghetti, no gnocchi, no pizza! OK-I’m exaggerating, but I can’t tell you how nice it was to hit the grocery yesterday and purchase veggies, fruit and some protein.
I think we’re both ready for a semblance of routine for the next few weeks (until the next trip over July 4th). We missed some great races while we were gone including the Rookie Tri, Skeese Greets Women’s Tri and my favorite Cap Tex Tri. We were gone for two weeks and missed three big races!! Congrats to everyone who raced and a HUGE shout out to my friend Richard for kicking butt in both the Rookie and the Cap Tex Tri. This is his first triathlon season and his enthisiasm has kept my fire going strong. It’s lovely to see another convert who celebrates every race and gets excited about the next one.
As for me and the hubster, we’ve got a few races lined up ourselves over the next month including the Pflugerville Sprint Tri, Marble Falls Tri and the Buffalo Springs 70.3 Half-Ironman at the end of June. I can’t say that I’ll be “racing” it so to speak, but I’d be thrilled with a sub 5:45. Once again, that’s an “if all goes well” scenario.
I can say that we hit the ground running as soon as we got home. Yesterday, we ran 12 sweaty miles at Town Lake in the drenching humidity. We literally came home and laid down on our concrete kitchen floor to cool off when we were done. Like I said, this morning I was up and at it at swim class and am actually looking forward to the indoor cycling class tonight.
Thanks for letting me deviate from the training schedules for the last few weeks. If you’ve never been to Italy, put it on the “must-do” list. It truly does transport you into a different realm of existance.
As much as we love to travel, eat, drink and see the world, there truly is no place like home (and our cat Brutus is also relieved that we didn’t forget about him!) I slept with the equivalent of a mink coat last night 🙂
Thanks for letting me share…I’m sure there will be more photos to come!