You CAN Go Back.

After a year of living in Ireland, we have returned to our beloved former home of Arezzo, Italy.

Bentornati ad Arezzo!
Bentornati ad Arezzo!

Don’t get me wrong, we are LOVING life in Ireland.  The people and adventures there are more than terrific.  But we longed to walk the cobbled streets of Arezzo’s medieval “Centro Storico” again.

In the historic center of Arezzo
A piazzetta in the historic center of Arezzo.

How would it feel to be back for just a two-week vacation? The town and its wonderful residents would have spent a full year working, playing, dining and simply going on. Without us.

Lulu and Vincent and La Chiesa di San Domenico.
Lulu and Vincent and La Chiesa di San Domenico.

So, with fingers crossed, we called out to our former neighbors, schoolmates and pals. Would they make a little time for us? —- Guess what!?

We went to this marvelous
We went to this marvelous “Cena di Colcitrone” dinner with our old friends in Arezzo! Evviva!
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Lulu together again with her girl friends from her former primary school in Arezzo, Aliotti.
Eating “pici con cinghiale’ at one of our favorite restaurants – where they remembered us and gave us our “usual” table!
It tasted as good as I had remembered. Che buona!
It tasted as good as I had remembered. Che buona!

Lulu has gone to camp with a former buddy. She has played with her old girlfriends. We have had our nails done at our former salon. We have visited with Lulu’s Italian “nonno” Mario. We attended a great big feast in our old “quartiere.”  In short, we are happily being reunited with our favorite people and places!

Yes, life does go on.  Some shops have closed while a couple new ones have opened their doors.  Kids have grown taller. One dear friend, sadly, has passed away.  Yes, the seasons continue to change and the rain does fall – even on our Tuscan retreat.

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But no matter if you change towns, jobs or in our case, countries, you can and should stay in contact with your former friends and colleagues as best you can.

Lulu and Arezzo's Duomo bell tower in the background.
Lulu and Arezzo’s Duomo bell tower in the background.
Reunited with my dear friend Carla Veneri.
Reunited with my dear friend Carla Veneri.

Social media is terrific for doing just that.

In fact, last summer, I went to Ghana through the US State Department to train the country’s 60 spokespeople.  My co-trainer was Jeff Eller, a wonderful inspiration to me when I was fresh from college and worked under him at the Democratic Party in Washington, DC – some, er, twenty years ago.  We were friends on Facebook. And there we were together again last August in Accra!

Jeff and I together again in Accra last August.
Jeff and I together again in Accra last August.

So, keep in touch.  You never know what fun you’ll have in the future.

Looking forward to our next adventure...
Looking forward to our next adventure…

As the saying goes: Make new friends, but keep the old.

Baci, Gina

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved. 


The Opportunity to See Puffins!

What will you do when opportunity presents itself?   Whether in business or not, it’s all the same, isn’t it?  After all, you don’t  have a professional life and a personal life; you have a life.

Yesterday, I took a boat two hours off the southern coast of Ireland to an uninhabited island known as Skellig Michael.

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Skellig Michael as we approached from John O’Shea’s fine boat.

It’s uninhabited by people – but very much inhabited by 10 thousand puffins.  Yes, the alluring little sea bird with the striped orange beak and matching webbed feet with harlequin-marked eyes nest in burrows all over the craggy rock mountain which juts some 750 feet high out of the Atlantic.   The steep island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and also a place I have wanted to visit since I first learned about puffins as a little girl growing up in Indiana, which as you all know is surrounded by corn fields not the ocean.

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A Puffin ready for his close-up!

Since we moved to Ireland last September, I have been talking about my puffin dream to everyone I met.  A few told me they had visited the island. Many more had not. But, like me, said they dream of going. One day.

Then suddenly, a friend whose family owns a summer home on Lamb’s Head, texted me with the opportunity to stay at the house.  The timing was now.

Was I willing?  Would I pack up, grab my seven-year-old daughter and pop into the car? Drive the two hours along tiny coastal roads I have never traveled on to a place I have never been? Book a boat trip by ringing  a captain I have never met  just one day prior? Inquire about space? Ride two more hours on said boat? Trek up to a remote spot in the middle of the sea?

We did it! We made it to Puffin Island, aka Skellig Michael, Ireland.

But I have other work to do. But, my daughter would miss a day of summer camp that has already been paid for. But. But. There is likely always going to be a but!  But what if you just do it?

Which is what I did, of course, or I wouldn’t be writing this.

Yesterday was a lifetime experience for my daughter and me.   It was a glorious, sunny day  and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves simply watching the birds.

Puffins are treasures, Lulu proclaimed.

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There was an elderly man on our boat who told us that although he has lived in Ireland all his life, he had never taken the opportunity to see the puffins. Finally he was doing it. Almost too late.

Maybe yesterday wasn’t the perfect time, but it was the time.   Maybe seeing little waddling puffins is not part of your dreams.   But what is?

Lulu, using her stuffed Puffin named
Lulu, using her stuffed Puffin named “Muffin” as a decoy, tries to entice a real puffin. It didn’t work!

When the door opens , will you hesitate, or will you rush through?

(Carpe diem, baby! And a huge, heart-felt thank you to Noelle Barry for the use of her home and to John O’Shea, for an A+ boat trip!)

Copyright 2015 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.