We’re on the train to Florence which means we’re half way through our trip! Thus far, it’s been more than we had even ever dreamed of! The sun has been shining, the people have been friendly and welcoming, the scenery has been stunning and the food and wine has been unreal.
Our time in Positano was the perfect was to start our trip. We stayed at a fabulous hotel (Covo De Sarcini, highly recommend) right at the bottom of the cliffs on a small beach. It’s a fishing town so the seafood was absolutely mouth watering. I’m picky about fish so it was a shocker when I ordered mussels three times in five days. The food here in general is literally so fresh it’s hard to explain unless you’ve tasted it. I also don’t loveeeee tomatoes typically however they are so juicy and flavorful here I haven’t stopped eating them! We spent a morning at the Pompeii Ruins and it was just fascinating. Then the next day we went on a boat with about 10 other people for the day. It took us along the beautiful Almafi coast, had a few hours on the island of Capri and stopped at different grottos and let us swim around in the Mediterranean Sea. swimming was my favorite, the water is so blue and salty you float easily. We swam into the grottos and got to look up at the natural caves- it was a moment I will never ever forget. The last night we did a wine and cheese tasting. Boy the Italians do not skimp out on their wine pours- but I never complain! 🍷 There was a festival going on right outside our hotel where kids were performing ballet to mostly music from the nutcracker so we watched it from our balcony and enjoyed some music we recognize. Perfect way to end our perfect little Italian beach getaway.
Then we headed to Rome where we fell in love with this city! The history is unmatched and the vibrancy of the city life makes you smile. And of course, the food and wine is like heaven. We toured the Colosseum and got a tour in the underground tunnels where the athletes and animals would be kept before being put on the stage. Walking thru the ruins of the Roman town from 3,000 years ago and to hear about how they lived was just unreal. Yesterday we went to the Vatican and although Pope Francis was holding a mass while we were there, we were somehow not invited. But we did spend four hours going thru all the art, looking up at Michaelangelo’s work of the Sistine Chapel and then ended our time at the Basillica which was nothing like I’ve ever seen. We were lucky as the Holy Door was open, which it only is every 20 years, and it’s said that your sins are washed away as you enter thru. It was a special moment and one that I needed after the many not-so-holy thoughts I had had while touring the Vatican with an especially obnoxious visitor that was in our group and the 10,000 other visitors who bumped and shoved their way thru the museum. Okay, okay, back to the religious part of the day. My favorite part, by far, was simply getting to kneel and say a prayer in this stunning cathedral knowing the Pope had been there just an hour before.
And as beautiful as all the sites and amazing as all the history, I think my favorite memories I’ll take are just the moments Mike and I sat and people watched outside, whether it was at a small ristorante, or The Trevvi Fountain at night, or the small cafe as stopped at to get a glass of wine where we met the best couple and chatted with them for an hour or so. It has been the small moments, the moments together, feeling content and peaceful that I will take away from this trip.
My heart is so filled with gratitude for getting to have this experience. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime and I am trying not to miss out on any of the little moments. So with that, I must get back to staring out the window of this train as we pass thru the mountainside as we head to Florence.
Caio! And lots of love & light,
As I write this, I’m sitting in a small Irish pub after having Oxtail for the first time and waiting for another Guinness as I listen to two young men sing authentic Irish music. Music that reminds me of what my dad would play on Saturday mornings as we made French toast.
Today I’m in Europe. I’m in Ireland. I’m going to Italy tomorrow. I can’t believe this is my life. I can’t believe that the trip that Mike and I have talked about for 3 years has come to fruition. This trip was our end goal of years that won’t go down as the happiest but will go down as the most memorable. THIS was our goal. Traveling together was our goal. Seeing the world together was our goal.
Today we reached our goal. Today our goals were exceeded when we were in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the main priest came over to us as we were quietly taking in the beauty that this church was and said “he wanted us to experience something.” After having us pray in a pew that is 400 years old–out loud to him—he took us to a door that had once been used by the church when murderers were trying to get in. They cut a hole in the door so that they could stick their hands out to shake hands to signify that they were going to try to be peaceful. The door has been preserved but isn’t open to the public. Yet, somehow, “Father Tony” saw us and asked us if he could “do something special for us.” So he took us to the original door and trusted that we put our our hands thru the hole and ask those who we’ve wrong done to, to forgive us. Then, he had Mike go to the other side and he had us reach thru to touch our own hands. We promised to be loyal to each other, to always try to understand each other, to always be faithful, to always honor each other and most importantly, we promised to love each other deeply forever. All in a chapel that is hundreds of years old, with Father Tony, lingering around the corner with excitement.
It may not have been July 22, 2017, but it felt like wedding bells were ringing as I swore to be a good wife to an Irish Father.
Then as a typical Mike and I move, we headed from the beautiful church to the beautiful Guiness factory. It was incredible. HUGE. The history was wow-worthy and the “stouts” were even better.
After we had gotten enough of the Guinness factory, we headed to a small pub (because thank god I had barely eaten all day!). As we arrived, it was relatively quiet but the menu looked authentic and there are Guinness’s on the menu. In. What made it magical was when two young men came with their guitar and violin and began performing traditional Irish music. THIS WAS AMAZING!!!!!!! They played so many great songs but as they began “Wild Rover” and asked if anyone knew it to sing along, I was THRILLED to get scream “this American knows!!!”
What a day! And it was only the layover.
Lots of love & light,
P.S. Yes, I made a custom shirt with Phoebes face on it so she got to come on the trip too. SUE ME
I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I wrote a post. I can blame it on the fact I’ve been quite the busy lady in August, from bachelorette weekends to concerts to Red Sox games to doggy ice cream socials to creating a 6-page itinerary of our upcoming Italy trip, it’s been a whirlwind month but if I’m being honest, there’s another reason I haven’t written too. I have a bit of guilt that’s kept me from writing. I used to write this blog in a hospital room when I was feeling lonely or sad or scared or upset to get my emotions out. I still have feelings of isolation or sadness or anxiety but I don’t feel like I have the right to express myself when so many things have gone right for me recently. What do I have to complain about when I know there are so many people still suffering? I know that this blog should be a safe space for me but, like everyone, I worry about what others will think. What you will think. Whether or not somebody will roll their eyes when they read my posts. People might think this is weird but I almost feel more vulnerable expressing my feelings now than when I was going through treatment. My day to day isn’t “interesting” to the outside world anymore. And god damn, I’m so happy it isn’t! My trials and tribulations are just like everyone else’s — a normal 27 year old, trying to figure out the whole work-life-love balance.
After going through cancer, I feel such a large responsibility to myself and every single person who gave me my health back to make the most of life, to be the happiest, healthiest version of myself. But sometimes having pressure to be happy, to be content, to be “living life to the fullest” is overwhelming. I learned so strongly how quickly life can change and so I hate when I feel like I’m “wasting time” or not making the most of everything.
So this was a bit of rant but sometimes that’s when I get my truest feelings out and that’s what I’m going to continue to do, keep being honest and as open as I can be. I’ll keep this blog as a place for what’s going on in my life– whether it’s inspirational or not, it’s what’s happening in my life.
On a brighter note, something that just happened in my life was getting the opportunity to be interviewed for the Red Sox pre-game show with Tom Caron last night to tell my story as a way of raising awareness and garnering funds for the Jimmy Fund. I had an absolute blast and was ready to start handing out my number to the staff to try to get me my own show! haha boy, I just loved it!🙂 Here are some pics :
Lastly, Mike and I leave for Italy vacation this coming Monday. I went to Dana Farber today and was so relieved to find out that everything still looks good and I’m in the clear to head abroad. I’m beyond excited!
Happy Wednesday all!
Lots of love & light,
On Tuesday night, I watched the 10 year anniversary recap of The Hills. A show that I religiously watched with my girlfriends throughout high school and college. I remember when the series ended like it was yesterday. Tomorrow begins a weekend-long Bachelorette party for one of my best friends before her wedding in one month. The following month Mike and I go to Italy and I picked out my wedding dress two weekends ago. It dawned on me as I was watching ‘The Hills, 10 year tell-all’ that life is going by so quickly! 10 years ago sounds like an eternity but it wasn’t eternity, it doesn’t feel long ago in the slightest. I think of my girlfriends from college like sisters, and then I realize it’s been 5 years since I lived in the same city as the majority of them. It’s funny how life can seem to go slow on a day by day basis but actually moves at a rapid pace. That’s why it’s important to take in each moment and really try to appreciate it. Easier said than done, but I always feel a bit happier and more content when I think about the beauty of the moment—whether the moment is big or small. Let each moment soak into your being—the good, bad, exciting, happy, sad, inspirational, confusing—soak ‘em all in because they’ll be gone before you know it.
That’s it for now.
Lots of love & light,
p.s. speaking of time flying by, Phoebe turns 11 months on Tuesday and I just can’t believe it. Look at how big & beautiful this pup is getting!
The ebs and flows of life are brutal. Sometimes they’re amazingly happy and then painfully sad. I’ve been reading a yoga book recently (surprise surprise) by a woman who was once a drug addict then turned fashion model who got her life together and then turned to yoga and has some great insight. At one point during the book she said that one of the best lessons she’s ever learned in life is that, life is always an ebb and a flow. It’s a river that keeps on going. There are days that the water is calm and the sun is shining, and there are other days when the current is so strong the beings inside the water get washed away or bump off rocks and lose their breaths. And they don’t always have to be in the ‘big’ moments that
My life has been full of amazing things lately—the obviously fun ones like getting engaged and beginning to plan our wedding—planning for our trip to Italy—getting ready for one of my best friends wedding—spending an entire week with my family on the cape getting to swim in the water – Phoebe being the reason that I laugh every single day. My life has come a long way from where it was just two short years ago at this point. That was a big ebb and flow but there are smaller streams too. Like how when I went to go wedding dress shopping, I ended up being stuck in two hours of traffic which made me late to my appointment – ugh, I felt so upset and mad for myself. But then I arrived and my maid-of-honor sister had a goodies bag for my mom and me and I ended up choosing the dress of MY dreams and having a fantastic afternoon with my two besties. But then we went to dinner, and I got lost on the way there. Woops. And then when we were leaving, a hail storm started and it was a dangerous ride home—my knuckles were white and I was literally praying for God to get my family and I home safely. He did. We all got home safe. And then I felt better and I popped a bottle of champagne and danced around my living room in excitement over my dress. So you can see, the day was an ebb and flow. There were good moments, and bad moments and fabulous moments. But they all passed. The only moment we have is the present. And so in those moments of “baddddd” I have found it helpful to remind yourself, that this too really shall pass.
Lots of love & light,
When the emergency room doctor stepped outside after telling Mike and my parents that I had leukemia, there was precisely one thing that popped in my mind and quickly came out of my mouth, “but I want to marry Mike,” I said to all three of them. One year from today, on July 22, 2017, at a quaint inn on Cape Cod, that dream of mine will become a reality. That dream is due in large part to the the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I have about 1,000 things to thank them for but giving me a second chance at life and giving me the opportunity to marry the love of my life and start our life together brings a level of gratitude I will never be able to match. But in just over two months, on September 25th, I will symbolically try to thank the organization that essentially gave Mike and I our future, by walking in the Jimmy Fund Walk to support the ongoing programs, medicine and RESEARCH. This research is imperative to conduct so that one day all stories have a ‘happily ever after’ like mine. Tragically, today that isn’t the case for all patients that go to the Farber in hopes of fixing themselves and getting to marry their Mike. So it’s my responsibility to help and today, I’m asking you to help too by making a donation to my walk team.
Any donation, big or small, truly makes a difference in the efforts of Dana Farber and their live-saving mission. On behalf of all past, current and future patients, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Lots of love & light,
p.s. Cheers to one year today Stevens, I love you!
To my amazement, over the past year and a half, I’ve continued to receive Smile Cards on a regular basis to take to the Brigham. Sometimes they’re from friends or family but more often than not, they’re from individuals or groups that I’m not associated with or know personally. Upon returning from the Cape on Saturday, I was immediately greeted with two batches of cards from different people. After we unpacked, I started reading thru them and, as I always am, I was moved by the kind words these strangers were writing to patients. But as I was reading through them, my mind wandered to the many tragic events that have unfolded in our country and throughout the world in the past month. It struck me, quite poignantly, that the many children and adults writing these cards don’t know who they’re writing to so they certainly don’t know the patients’ race or religion or gender or sexuality. They just know that they’re a human being. A human being in need of some support and so they selflessly offer their love, prayers and healing thoughts to complete and total strangers.
I wish that we could all see the world like the people who write these smile cards do…blind to the labels society puts on people. Blind to whether or not the person is voting for Hillary or Trump, blind to what kind of car they drive or what God they believe in or whether they’re gay or straight or transgender. They’re blind to it all; all except the fact that there’s a human being on the other end of that card, there’s a human being in a hospital bed that has a family and friends that love them. In the end, isn’t that all we really need to know? A person, just like us, is in need… We should help.
It’s time we see people truly for the heart that beats within them.
Thank you to every single person who has written a Smile Card over the past year and a half. You’re making the world a more caring place. Keep them coming!
Lots of love & light,