31 December 2006


My family is the best! My friends are the best! My dad is the best! My mom is the best! MY NANA IS A GREAT LIAR!!!!! Everyone was in on it...and in true fashion I had no idea. Even my brother made me a video on my travels since and of all of us together, family! Family....so important! Never in my life I thought they would do this, because they hate to see me leave. Alas I had my first surprise party and it was a SUCCESS!

Success has been a theme this whole week leading up to my departure. I have done everything under the sun to prove to Mr. Oddo at the consulate that I am of italian descent and Alas I will be spending my last full morning on a train to hand in EVERYTHING to finalize my citizenship application. I was thinking about this process when I was eating lunch in Chicago with my parents (who insisted on coming with me), it is just a piece of paper. I told my mom on the train on the way back from the non-existent Mr. Oddo, "You know, it isn't a big deal mom. It is just something that I wanted but if it doesn't work out, No worries. Whatever will be, will be. I am not worried. I am American and lucky enough to be doing the things I am doing with my life, i.e. traveling, living in Italy, applying to be a citizen, these are all things that I pursued and all (except one) has come true. If you want something that bad, it will come in due time."

I am just a very grateful person and lucky to have people in my life are behind me all the way. Nothing like having that kind of support.

I also, during the well planned surprise, turned my car into the dealership that I bought it from 4 years prior. It was sad, but strangely enough as my dad and I drove away I had a very drunken/weak feeling. Like in some way, it was ok to let go of that car. Kind of when you come home from a night of drinking and you see your bed and say silently to yourself, 'I am so happy to see you again'. And crash onto that comfortable bed, with your blanket and stuffed cat nuzzled into your chest. :-) Yes I still have a stuffed cat, she was blessed by the pope. I am not ashamed of her. She has kept me safe so many moments in my life.

I was asked when I was getting ready to take my car in my mom said "why are you crying about your car and not about leaving me?" I said without hesitation, "Because I KNOW I am coming back." Yes, I am saying that now. Which makes me wonder what this year will unfold for me. Because when I left June 2005, I told my mom I don't know if I will come back. I wanted to stay there FOREVER!!!!! Who knows amici, famiglia, Nonna, Great Grandpa, Nana, Papa, Mom, Dad, Emmy, Jenny, Jay, Bry, Addy, I might meet the man of my dreams, and quit being myself, and just follow my italian all over the world......WAIT.......I AM SO SURE THAT WON'T HAPPEN, my luck isn't that good. :) And if you know me, I won't ever quit being myself and there is NO WAY I would follow a man. well....if he is cute, has gorgeous eyes, knows how to treat me....etc...perhaps I would take the plunge.

Basta....I am digressing.....I LOVE YOU ALL FOR BEING THERE FOR ME......you know who are!

a presto

28 December 2006

Success in driving stick

I drove stick shift with my friend Emmanuel tonight. IN TRAFFIC!!! I stalled at a stoplight about 4 times. Yea I was freaking out!!!! Emmanuel just told me to relax and listen to the car. Don't worry about the light or the 3 cars behind me. HAHA!! I got thru the light and the half hour I was in the car. Damn!! I asked him after I got back to my automatic car....How did you think I did?? He said "Like a pro, all you need to do now is practice. And it is good that you learned on a European car cuz this is what you will be driving." He was so helpful and wonderful to have let me use his car, correction his brother's car. I gave him a gas gift card for teaching me. HE is fabulous!!

I am glad I am learning this. It is a great thing to be able to try new things and feel successful in doing said things, i.e. driving stick shift. I believe it makes you stronger in the end. I really liked driving stick. It was so fun!! Once I got the hang of it.

The last days of packing and goodbyes. 5 days.....

23 December 2006

K is my favorite letter!

Well I told sognatrice that I would find words beginning with K, alas there aren't many words that start with K that I can think of. So I will use C as well. Ok with that?

1. Kindness- I received such a reception during my last week at my job. A co-worker, make me a cake of the Italian Flag and in the middle it said "Buona Fortuna Katie". I received a gift certificate worth way too much. I received so much kindness and support I am speechless. I was given a beautiful purse from a great friend who wanted me to carry her with her while I'm trekking thru Florentine streets. Never expected that reception at all....very memorable.

2.Cats-My cats have been constantly surrounding me lately. I have three in my house. 2 russian blue cats, Tascha(who is 99) and Carson(who weighs 200lbs) and also my mom's siamese kitten, Lilybillies(well that is my nickname for her). I think they know I'm leaving. Funny, the animals always know.

3. Kleenex-Just a friendly fact about me, I always need to have Kleenex with me. I have allergies and get the sniffles all the time and also near my bed at night. I also am obsessed with with moisturizer. Like face moisturizer.

4. Knowledge- It pays to know everything about becoming a citzen of Italy. I went to the consulate on Friday to hand in(one last time) all the documents Mr. Oddo would like to finalize my citizenship. Alas, one more thing Mr. Oddo forgot to mention to me, I need to translate all of the english documents. D'UH! And get the American birth certificates "apostile" by the Secretary of State. D'UH D'UH!!!! Long story short, I am going back next week before I leave.

5. Koala-My favorite animal when I was a child. Same with Kangaroos. Can you take a guess why??

6.Kumquat-A fun word to say.

7.Kudos-I am giving Kudos to my new friend Bec from Australia, who will be arriving in Firenze for the first time on January 5th and will be working as an au pair, just like me. Oh, and she is 19 years old. Very brave girl!! Can't wait to meet ya Bec!

8.Knickers- My knickers have been not fitting me too well these days. I have been doing Pilates for a year now and I feel I have finally lost all the weight from college and my boozing days as a "just 21 year old". So I need to buy some new knickers before I leave or hopefully I get a pair from Santa(crossing my fingers)!!

9. Kismet- This is a great word that means fate, destiny. I feel this represents my journey as a Italophile since 2002. Thank you Saint Mary's University in MN!!!!!!!!

10.Kiss-Oh "A kiss on the hand can be quite continental, but a diamonds are a girl's best friend" yes I love the Moulin Rouge soundtrack and periodically I break out in song. I love to sing! Back to the aforementioned word, I have been getting kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss from my dear MAMMA!!! I can't seem to get enough of them. As well as from my niece Addy, I come up to kiss her and she opens her mouth and starts sucking on my face as if I was my sisters titino. (as my Nana calls it) She makes me laugh smile, and happy, Addy and my MAMMA!!! I love you MAMMA!!!!!!!!

Well there you go, my list of K's and one C. HA! Yes I looked in the dictionary for the rest. Ok well I am going to get back to packing.

10 days and counting.....

18 December 2006


Here is a my bellissima niece!!! I don't know what I'm going to do not seeing and kissing her chubby soft cheeks everyday.

Thanks to Viaggiatore. I love this poem.


Fate happens
Sometimes unnoticed,
Many times unassuming,
Always for a reason.

It can be overwhelming,
With a rush,
Almost with tinge of hear.

It can be overlooked
With no thought,
All together a non-event.

It is real,
With unexpected consequences,
Never with full disclosure.

Fate happens,
We can see it or we can ignore it,
It changes our world,
It changes our lives.

I think this is such a great poem. I am getting more and more excited to go. Look at the picture of my niece, she is my favorite!! She will definitely make you smile. :-)

Life is too short. Live it up!

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting out aim too high and falling short; but in setting out aim too low, and achieving out mark."
-Michelangelo (Italian sculptor, painter, architect & poet, considered the creator of the Renaissance, 1475-1564)

Never look back, just keep pressing on.

17 December 2006

Driving stick shift....can stick ya.

Last night I drove around an empty parking lot with my new friend Emmanuel. Oh with his volkswagen,which is a stick shift. YES everyone, I have mastered the stick shift car!! (applause applause)

I will be meeting with him hopefully once or twice more so I can get real comfortable. Alas that is my current and rather easy goal when driving stick shift. I will then set a goal for me to be comfortable and safe in Italian traffic. EEEEEKKKKKKKK!!!!! Yes, as you can tell from my nervous 'EEEKKK' , I AM TERRIFIED!!! I think as long as I master it here, I shall be able to adjust, perhaps slowly, into Italian traffic. Well we will see I'm sure.

Today, we, Nana, Mom, Bryan, Emmy, Jen, Baby Addy, baked the annual breads. It has been a long tradition started by my Nana and my Mom right after she had my oldest sister Jen. We baked about 50 breads. And they are YUMMMY!!!! Success once again!!!

Also today, I had a buyer looking to buy my car. Yes I will be selling my 2002 blue cavalier to help my finances abroad. It made me think a lot today. I really love my car, she is just perfect for me. Then I started thinking about my family, my sisters, my bro, my mom, dad, jay, nana, papa, baby addy, and then I started to think.....should I leave?

OK WAIT A MINUTE KATIE......YOU CAN NOT START TALKING LIKE THIS. OH NO!!! I am such a sentimental baby girl. I don't know about the rest of you girls out there, but once I hit my mid 20s, everything makes me cry. Stupids Christmas commericals, tv shows, books, people confronting me on work and telling me its my fault, I am soooo f......king emotional all of the sudden. Ok not 'all of the sudden' I cried in college too for stupid reasons....whatever....back to my point.

Why is it that I cry about these things when in hindsight there is no point? My Mom says it is becuz you are growing up and that is what happens, you realize that you shouldn't take life for granted or family or anything. Makes sense right? Well then riddle me this, why didn't I cry once during my announcement to my Nana and Papa I was leaving for a year to live in Italy and be in another person's house taking care of their children??? I saw my mom balling her eyes out across the table, my nana next to her, and my dad and papa making jokes about them crying. But not once when I looked into my mother's eyes did I choke up. WHY???

I will finish this thought tomorrow I am super tired.

12 December 2006

Saying Goodbye and Benvenuto at the Same Time

Mike, one of the counselors that works in my office, said the sweetest thing to me today. It was his last day of the year because he is taking some time off to spend with his family, so this way the last day I had the pleasure of seeing him in the office. Greeting me with ever popular, "Hey Kiddo," I was sure going to miss him. He has a way with words. He is very wise and helpful whenever I needed a hand. He then informed he was thinking of me the other day. I was curious why he would be thinking about me. The lowly receptionist. HA! He explained to me about these videos his children used to watch that would take the children on the video to a different country like in a magic school bus. And the character would say at the beginning of the travel abroad, "LET'S GO TO ITALY!!!!!!!!!!!" So he thought of me. How nice huh? I can't believe how many people say "I thought of you last night, cuz there was a house on HGTV that was in Florence."

It is amazing the power of friends and the support of friends and family.

I also had another greeting of my fate the other day. A student came in talking about a class and mentioned subtley that she was going abroad. But she brushed by it, cuz she was had a question on a class. Like me, I bluntly asked where are going? She replied to the city. NO, I mean where abroad will you be?

She said she will visit her family in Russia and then venture to Florence, Italy for a semester. OK..this is about the 8th person that has come into the office to tell me that they are going to Florence!!!!!!!!!! THIS HAS TO BE FATE!!!!! MY NONNA AND GREAT GRANDPA ARE HOLDING UP A CAPTAIN OBVIOUS SIGN OVER MY HEAD RIGHT NOW AREN'T THEY???

She was just as surprised as I was, that I am going to the exact place she wants to study.

I think the stars about about to a line for me. Benvenuta la mia Firenze. I'm circling the neighborhood.

21 DAYS.....Firenze, I'm coming home.....

09 December 2006

Things are falling into place.

There have been many things happening to me the last few days. First, I found a car with a stick shift car to practice on. I will be meeting with a nice young man named Manuela who is friend's with Luisa, who works with me. I hope to be pro at driving stick this time next week. Wish me luck.

I got the sweetest email from Valentina this week. She is finally in her new home and now just trying to unpack all her 200 boxes. She is happy that she is FINALLY in her home. The girls were a little cranky not being in their own home. She let me know that my bedroom window, as well as hers, has a great view of the DUOMO!!! YES I SAID IT, the DUOMO!!! The most noticeable landmark in Firenze. I have a GREAT feeling about her. She makes me chuckle every time I read one of her emails. She seems to have my kind of sense of humor. :0)

I am getting more and more excited about my new found friends. You know who you are....my blogging friends. My friends that are either established, newcomers, and Italian. Everyday I count how many are left of my job. It is a job I should have left a long time ago, because of the troubles I am having now. Anyways, I am in complete content with my life. I am in control again. I am going to give this time abroad a serious look at a long term stay.

24 DAYS TIL BEL PAESE!!!!!!!!!

06 December 2006


I know that my life will change a bit when I get back to Firenze. But I know for sure that my family is the most important thing in my life. Yes friends come and go, but my family is always there. I know I will make more and more friends upon my arrival. Cuz that is just how I am, I LOVE LOVE LOVE meeting new people. I like to hear their stories, how they fell in love with italy, how they found themselves taking the plunge across the pond.

I love to know how being who I am has effected others way of thinking. Like for instance, my good friend Maggie. I met her back in Feb 2005. We were both in FLorence at the exact same time. AND we both are from Crystal Lake, IL. AND she played volleyball with my younger sister. AND we both have a weakness for Italian men. :-)

She and I became fast friends after that encounter. Once we were walking down the streets of Chicago and she said to me, "Katie, whenever you are around, I always see everything Italian!"

That is something special for me. Just to know that I am an influence on my friends and family that speaks the word "ITALY".

Back to family, I know it will be hard for them to see me go, but as I told my Mom last night: "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." From my governess, Julie Andrews. Don't worry Mom, I will be fine.

Love you!

01 December 2006

Everything I see is....Italia!

Everytime I turn on the travel channel to my favorite show, Passport to Europe with Samantha Brown, she is always in Italy. Last night she was in Milan, Florence, Rome, and this morning she was in Venice. Everyday I wake up I feel more and more drawn to Italy. I am very content with my decision, once again. I know that something is over the Atlantic, past Barcelona, streaming by Monaco, skiing down the Swiss Alps, and landing in the citta di Rinascimento that I left behind a part of my heart.

Yesterday I broke down at work, because no one helps me thru the busy time in the office. I am a receptionist in a very busy community college in my town of Crystal Lake. I just tried to keep everything in perspective while I was crying in my boss's office. I am completely honest with her and said, "I don't know how you will find someone to work these hours without help." The other receptionist always gets to leave early and im left at the front desk dealing with idiots students, that can't make decisions for themselves so they come and complain about their classes with advisors that are only supposed to help them with their academic plan, not register these somewhat adults for their OWN classes. This day and age teenagers are so damn lazy.

So pretty much I know that there will never be a time I will be in the position of a receptionist EVER! Oh if my Amici over the Ocean didn't know there is huge Snow Storm hitting the Midwest, mostly the Chicagoland area which brings me to say: A Snow Day,today, is very well deserved for me!! We have gotten already 15 in of snow and it is only 11am!!!!!!!!!! :-)