Travel And Expat Happenings: January 2018

As I've eluded to a couple of times, I've been having a bit of writers block when it comes to this blog since moving to Florence. It's funny that in such an inspired city that was once home to great artists and visionaries that I feel stuck and frankly, uninspired by my surroundings. I do daycare drop off and pick up daily and spend those in-between hours cranking away and reaching fulfilling professional goals for my freelance editing business. When the weekend rolls around, we do a big grocery shop (the food in Tuscany is truly glorious), explore if the weather is nice, and catch up on household chores and administration.

Despite sometimes feeling like we are walking through molasses on the "settling in," we have gone through several of the residency application steps (who'd think I'd miss Lithuania's more straight forward process?!) and even have figured out how to make doctors appointments using the social healthcare system. So we are making headway!

And with the blog writers block, I'm making headway too. For ideas, I wanted to try out a few new things, for one, a new monthly catch-up post style. I also want to start sharing more family travel related posts and the gear/books that I used a lot each month with mini reviews. I'm looking to share more specifics for living in Florence like setting up Wi-Fi, grocery stores, public health care, and neighborhood profiles. I can't wait to start writing these posts and getting back into connecting with you!

Travel

This month didn't see a lot of travel, as the period before Chinese New Year is the craziest for work, but my parents came to visit! I managed to take a touch of time off and got to marvel at Santa Maria del Fiore with them, enjoy some cool meals, and watch Baby ISO ride on a carousel (the one in Piazza della Republica is wonderful) with my Dad. It was so needed, and did wonders to boost our moral.

This year we are attempting the #Take12Trips challenge by Claire from Need Another Holiday, and though we didn't go anywhere outside of Florence, I'm going to call it a win since we explored different things in Florence with my family. We also have two upcoming trips for February to balance things out!

Mini Reviews

As I mentioned above, I wanted to share monthly mini reviews of the things (mostly travel related) that I've been loving this month.

1) The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See*. I did a lot of reading this month (mostly for work, but some for pleasure) and this book is the best I've read in a long time. It traces the story of women from a linage of Akha women of Yunnan Province's tea growing region in the southwest. It reminds me of my time in China and really does an excellent job showing how rapidly things changed for women in the short time span of three generations. Most of all, it was a beautiful story of hope.

2) Amazon Kindle*. Though I've been very much resistant to e-readers, their practicality and the cost effectiveness of borrowing library books finally caused me to cave and borrow J's new Amazon Kindle. And I have to say, I really like it. It is super convenient to borrow books from the library back in Connecticut and I can foresee it being much easier than lugging boxes of books when we move again.

Links I'm Loving from January

I've been really into Tiny Homes lately... anyone else?

I'm definitely dreaming of leisurely summertime days at the beach with loads of family.

The beauty and diversity of "shit hole" countries.