I knew I was in for a ride; I knew life would be different; I knew I’d had to be flexible and adapt.
I didn’t know EVERYTHING would be new.
From exciting transportation, to a different sleep schedule, from new eating habits to a change in quantity of quality time, from the different temperatures to the strange way of speaking, from the gorgeous view to the scary bugs.
Let me explain and share my journey of change with you.
A month ago, my man and me took the leap and moved into a gorgeous farmhouse on top of a hill in Northern Tuscany. I wrote about my why behind leaving Florence and listening to nature calling in this post.
A month later, we actually live here; it takes some time to go from moving in and actually living somewhere. We’ve needed to settle in, to have furniture be delivered, to create new routines and habits – and to get used to the pitch black nothingness at night and the gorgeous endless dreamlike views during the day.
I still have to pinch myself on a daily basis, but sometimes a massive spider on my laundry wakes me up and does it for me.
I’m overwhelmed by all the emotions that come with such a big change: I feel absolute bliss and happiness for committing to such a deeper level in our relationship and am overflowing with gratitude for the opportunity we have of living in this dreamlike reality. At the same time, everything is new.
I now drive instead of bike. I never drove in Florence for eight years and now the car is my only means of local transportation. I love driving and always have; it’s just a different way of getting out and about. The narrow mountain roads with sometimes barely room for one car – when two need to pass – the wobbly, gravel road that leads to our house and the either extremely speedy or super slow farmers that drive around make driving here into quite the adventure.
I try to keep my calm and believe that practice makes “perfect” (for lack of a better expression). I just do it and see whatever happens, making sure I don’t go too fast and risk losing control. This happened once and I ended up with my right wheels beside the road when I had to dodge a car coming down one of the previously mentioned crazy narrow roads. I now just freely honk my horn and take my time; safety first!
Also, when driving I support myself, telling myself out loud: “Brava, you’re doing great! Look at you go. Alright, car coming up, easy does it. See, that went well!” It really helps to make it into a fun and relaxing adventure instead of having to be the “perfect” driver who goes fast, stays on the road safely and leaves enough space for others seeming an experienced driver. No, I’m a principiante in that sense (that’s what the big P’s are for when you see them on cars here in Italy; I don’t have one, but allow myself to have one in my mind). I don’t stress myself and allow myself to make mistakes; that’s how I learn quickest. And I’m getting pretty good since the slow farmers are starting to get on my nerves, haha!
I’ve also started cooking.
I already did so a little bit in Florence, but before that I had the rock-solid conviction that “I can’t cook.” At least, it’s what I had told myself ever since I probably screwed up in the kitchen once when I was a little girl.
My sister knew how to cook and I didn’t. That was my belief – and I never tested it for the truth. I was too scared to f*ck up. Too afraid to make a mistake and fail. It would mean I was a failure, or so I believed. And so I never cooked.
Until I met my man. He loves everything food and wine related and he always says: “If you want to eat well, you need to learn to cook well.” He’s a true master chef and I adore the creative dishes he seems to conjure up out of nowhere.
The best thing is: he taught me how to cook. He made it fun, he made it easy, he made it pleasurable.
The other day, after tasting my pasta al pomodoro, he told me: “You should write a book: Dutch Can Cook.” Now, hearing that from an Italian man who holds a VERY high standard when it comes to food is pretty awesome. Also, because he’s my baby and I love serving him good food and giving him what he needs and making him happy.
Long story short: what’s done in love, with patience and joy is always a success. I learnt how to cook because I wanted to – not because I had to.
And so my inner motivation made me willing to face feelings like insecurity, fear, self-doubt and inner criticism. I took all these ingredients with me on my cooking journey and gave them a place in the kitchen. They didn’t end up on the table eventually, but approaching them in this gentle way didn’t allow them to stop me from cooking either. The driving isn’t that different actually!
Last night I made my favourite dish: melanzana alla parmigiana and it was delicious! I’m super proud of myself because cooking really used to be a big issue for me. I laughed while enjoying the food and realising how easy it actually was to make it.
It was all in my head.
What else is new is the commuting: we both move back and Florence by train and since we don’t have the same working hours, we get to see each other less. We do get to go on romantic lunch dates in Florence, exploring new restaurants every time. The time we have together is even more precious than before.
It’s not about the quantity; it’s about the quality. It’s not about the form; it’s about the essence. It’s not just about the physical presence; it’s about the soul connection.
It’s so incredibly powerful to say such a committed YES to each other and work towards a future putting in the required effort that allows us to grow in every sense of the word. I’ve never felt this loved, this rich and this committed before; it’s gold.
Yes, it’s sometimes scary when a lizard welcomes you home, when you hear sounds – or so much silence – you don’t know what’s lurking out there. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle all the driving, commuting, respecting train times, waking up early, the shopping in the town centre – with the shops closing at 12.45pm. In a way I feel like I’m starting all over again, building my community, learning a new way of expressing myself (people don’t get my Florentine way of joking!) and trying to “get” the way people work over here.
I don’t know so many things yet, and that’s fine. It is all new, it is all one big adventure and that is both challenging and exciting. I’ve decided to focus on the positives and to see everything in the light of opportunity. I’m there for myself when times get hard, I call friends and family when I need to talk to someone and I’ve clearly expressed I would love to have a dog to keep me company. We’ll be working on getting a dog soon and that makes me feel SO excited because it’s another dream come true!
I’ve also picked up horse riding again, I experiment in the kitchen using local ingredients and baking bread, I do my morning meditation naked in my garden and I greet the world full of gratitude. I connect with nature and find my own nature. This space allows for me to go deeper into my spiritual development and I’ve started reading about shamanism as well. It resonates with everything I believe in and truly feel it’s my path.
I feel at home – it’s all new, yet I feel at home. I’m exactly where I need to be.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts and feelings! I love hearing from my readers.
Love & courage,
P.S. You can follow all my adventures through my instagram stories and feed. Looking forward to connecting with you there!