Friday, December 16, 2011

Hard to Leave Florence at Christmas

Counting down the hours until my departure and deeply missing Florence already. When a San Diego friend proposed a house-swap for the winter, it seemed perfect, since my work is seasonal and I have the time off.  Spending Christmas in New York with my family and then heading to California for 6 weeks in a house perched on a bluff above the Pacific.... falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves...watching the sunset over the sounded ideal, but I still had to contemplate. 

I was looking for excuses to say no, but the idea, within hours, instantly came together.  I was offered a choice of several projects to work on for a director of the Italian Cultural Center in San Diego.  It sounded like the ultimate combination.  I could stay connected with my life in Italy by working for the Italian-American community.  At the same time, I could spend days of surf, turf and cycling with long-missed friends in the perfect winter climate.  I still hesitiated.  But when, with unusual ease the perfect frequent flyer itinerary materialized, "maybe" became "yes".  I couldn't think of another excuse not to go.

With only 2 days to go, the only thing I've packed are Christmas gifts....about 50lbs. of Tuscan food! My house-exchange guest is arriving tomorrow from San Diego and I still have to pack clothes for opposing climates... New York and San Diego.  Yikes! Perhaps I'm procrastinating because I don't want to leave Florence as the Christmas season heads for its crescendo.

Every year Christmas becomes more spectacular in Florence.  It started earlier this year, two weeks before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.  Fairs, concerts, lights strung on every street, Christmas trees towering in every piazza, every shop dressed up in colors, music in the streets.  I love it even more because I know what I'll be missing, after 3 years spending Christmas in the city that has become my home.

Though very hard to detach from Florence, once on the plane, I'll be looking forward to Christmas in New York with my family.  I want to smell the scent of fresh-cut pine Christmas trees and feel the cold...perhaps some snow?   I'll be ending my Christmas in Florence with Sunday dinner in San Casciano with friends, topped off  by an evening at Teatro Comunale to see The Nutcracker by the Kiev Ballet. It will be a delightful way to end my Christmas season in Florence.

I will miss all the non-stop Christmas events that are happening in the city until the Ephiphany. I will miss waking up to the thunder of bells ringing from from every church in Florence on Christmas morning.  This will be the last blog post that I will write for a while, but I will definitely be writing while in the States. Probably about how much I miss Florence.  Buone Feste!