Steve and I will pull out of DC with all of our stuff in a U-Haul in five days. The packing is well underway and we are trying to be exceptionally careful not to get covid, so that we can board our international flight in nine days.

There is a lot of excitement and nervous energy Chez Carlin right now. Other than the physical move, all the big stuff is done, and I’m really starting to picture us in Italy. I signed us up for some Italian lessons at Scuola Parola in Florence, and have been having delightful email exchanges with the school’s coordinator, Gianluca. We are planning a ski trip to the Dolomites for late February. I learned a neat trick to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit that’s easier than the actual formula and pretty accurate. (Multiply by 2 and add 30.) I’m trying to train my brain to remember that dates are written from the shortest increment to the longest, so that 5-4-22 is April 5 and not May 4. I read a book last night about how not to be an annoying American in Italy. Apparently, there are six categories of trash, and it’s a BFD if you put the wrong item in the wrong bin. Also, the dining table always has a tablecloth for mealtime, because the bread goes on the table and not on a plate.

It’s hard to describe what all this feels like. Overwhelmingly, I feel excited and grateful and blessed and hopeful. That we get to do this at all; that we are doing this together; that we don’t have much of a road map and get to make it up as we go; that we are in good enough health to travel. I am ever aware that life can change in an instant, and am trying to live in the present and near-present and not worry too much that the future is a mystery. I’m a little scared that something major may pop up that derails everything, but chances are that any hiccups will be manageable. I’ve very aware that we will be farther away from family and friends, especially The Weez. Thank goodness for FaceTime, Zoom, international aviation and all the rest. In the meantime, we will be with The Weez in a week, as we move our stuff into storage in Georgia, and I can’t wait to hug him.