London was such a lively, buzzy city full of culture and infinite things to do. It's an extraordinary city and since it's so very old and has been written about in many, many books (Victorian mystery anyone?), walking through it really feels like walking through the best, most energetic museum ever :) I made sure to go to as many performances as I could, including two operas (Rigoletto and Turindot), a ballet (Sleeping Beauty), a play (Breakfast at Tiffany's), and two musicals (Phantom and Chicago). The air was electric and I was glad there were also some beautiful parks to go and unwind in.
Italy was absolutely gorgeous and Tuscany's rolling green hills and sunshine were delightful. While I could imagine living somewhere like London, Italy felt like a completely different and very alien planet. The culture was a great contrast to the busy rush of what I was used to - people were never in a hurry, they talked a LOT in any context, they enjoyed people watching and promenading, the food was quite different, and just the pace and priorities of everyday life were completely and utterly different. And I don't mean to say different in a bad way, it was really fascinating to experience it, but Italy definitely felt more like a holiday destination than a place where I could feel at home. For one thing, I missed whole grains, nut butter, and vegetable soup :) All in all though, it was like a wonderland full of natural and architectural gorgeousness, warm people, and a deep appreciation for the truly important things in life.
Being back at home means I get to do much more cooking, and I have been making plenty of soups and stews to keep the chilliness at bay. Having a warm bowl of slow-cooked deliciousness is sensational, especially when you can share with those you love.
I will now try to post regularly, and perhaps throw in some book and film reviews. This is a great time of year to do a bit of reflecting (burrow that brow!) and figure out what to focus on in the coming new year. It's all very exciting!