Friday, I will be in ITALY!

By now, you all know my obsession with Italy and that if I don't have a ticket booked and days to countdown to being there then I may be a little grumpy.  That being said, I've finally gotten to the single digit countdown for this years vacanza italiana. I used to say that I tried to go every year, but it seems like I have been fortunate enough since I moved home from Bologna to have made the trip biannually - taking advantage of my companies holiday shut down and long weekends. So the minute I return home on August 27th, expect me to be on Kayak looking to book my next trip!

In any event, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on WHY I am so beyond excited to leave for Italy on Thursday. I have 3 reasons:

1.  I've made a pact with myself to push my Italian beyond my comfort zone this trip. I want to be speaking Italian whenever engaging with someone who can reciprocate. This is going to be challenging, not only because of the obvious part: speaking Italian. But because I want to meet interesting people and have more conversations with them. That is the real challenge. I'm inherently shy and not usually one to strike up conversations with strangers, or to take the conversation with the cashier to beyond just a Hi, please, thank you, let alone do that in Italian, so this pact is in an effort to both speak Italian and to do it outside of my comfort zone.

I will be channeling my Aunt Toni when I'm out and about because her ease at striking up conversations wherever we go never ceases to amaze me. She is one to constantly ask and be curious about others, especially in Italy and in Italian and the best part is she never gets shy or embarrassed even though she knows her Italian is far from perfect.  As a result, she always ends up making friends and acquaintances wherever she goes. She is truly craves socializing like my Nonno :)

2.  I am also looking forward to this trip because I am going to be surrounded by friends and family in my favorite place!  I am traveling to Italy quite literally with my parents who have become my esteemed travel buddies :) My brother and his wife, Amie, are traveling to Italy as well, so we'll be spending five or so days together at Muto.  My Zizi Linda and Uncle John are also arriving with Alex and Amie, so even more family fun to come.  My Nonna and Aunt Toni are currently at Muto and have been since July 5th, so I am excited to see them and spend time with them as well as see all of my Nonna's regular visitors, Maria, Bernard, Gino, Angelela, the D'Ammassas... the list goes on.

For friends, I'll be traveling about a week with my coworker which I can't wait for. She has been in Italy since Saturday making me extremely jealous! I'll get to visit with my good UniBo friend, Lina. See my Florentine host family, Claudia et al. And spend some festa nights with Ilario.

3.  My last reason is more materialistic than the first two, but I SERIOUSLY CANNOT WAIT FOR IT!! As many of you know, I am FIAT 500 (epoca)  #OBSESSED.  So, I finally am going to realize my dream of driving a FIAT 500 Epoca outside of Florence in the Tuscan hills on a tour with the 500 Touring Club.  I literally cannot even express how excited I am to do this!  I'll leave it at that and will update you all on the specifics of the tour after I finish it!

Non vedo l'ora!