Friday, June 10, 2011

A Realization of the Heart

There are some things that loom larger than life in your future, and then there are the things that sneak up on you unaware. I had a moment yesterday where a "larger than life" part of my life managed to sneak up and catch me by surprise at the same time.

I was walking in Parco di Monza and admiring the wonderfully refurbished Lo Scrittore* sculpture. It's all shiny and looking its best after they worked on it last month. I was wondering how long it would take before it started looking worn again, with peeling paint and the wood falling off. Then I realized, I won't be here to see it. I really won't be here. I burst into tears. What I've known at an intellectual level forever finally hit me at an emotional level. We're moving in three weeks. Three weeks. I will no longer be here, living in Italy. No longer walking in Parco di Monza everyday.

It's interesting, how I can hold two realities in my head at the same time. The reality of living in Italy and the reality of living in Oregon. Both seem so comfortable and real. What is completely unreal and hard for me to even grasp is the reality of living in Oregon after living in Italy. What will it be like to be there, as a completely different person? Because my time in Italy has changed me, changed all of us in our little family, more than I ever imagined. And I'm so, so happy with the changes.

What I have finally realized is that I'm not returning to my "old life" in Oregon. I'm moving to a new life, that happens to be in an old place. Going back to an old place doesn't mean going back to an old life or an old me. It reminds me of the time, four months after my son was born, that I finally realized life wasn't going to go back to "normal." There was a new "normal" with the addition of my son then, and there will be a new "normal" for my life in Oregon now. In a way, this realization is kind of freeing. I'm open to redefine things however I like, as long as I avoid falling into assumptions that life has to be the same just because it's the same place.

I think I've been writing this blog post in my head, over the last 24 hours, as I've wrestled with some of these realizations. There was the little, planner part of my brain that said, "No, no, you're doing Scotland photos this week!" But as always, what I need to write wins out over what I planned to write. This blog is about my creative journey, and I can't write anything else and be true to me. I think that's why I've avoided calling myself a travel blog, or an expat blog, or even a photography blog. Because my blog is all of those things and none of them, depending on the day. Conventional wisdom for "growing a blog following" is to know your topic, know your audience and write for them. Today I'm saying aloud something I've felt for a long time: To hell with conventional wisdom. I write this blog for me.

This blog is about one woman's creative journey wherever she may be. I write about what is important to me, fascinating me, challenging me in that moment. It happens that I have a passion for photography and can't help teaching when I'm passionate about something, and that's why you see a lot of photography. I love art and creativity and reading inspirational books, so you get that too. Since I've been living in Italy, I write about my life here and our travels. All because it's who I am right now. Where my life happens is going to change, but who I am will stay the same.

Thanks for joining me on this unpredictable journey. The fact that my little life and interests can connect with others is one of the most rewarding things I've ever experienced. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

*Lo Scrittore is a sculpture by Giancarlo Neri, installed in Monza Park (Parco di Monza) in 2006 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the park. The sculpture is painted plywood over a metal frame. The table  measures 7.5 meters high and 11 meters long, and the chair is 10 meters tall. I captured this picture while they were working on it last month, to give a better idea of the scale. I absolutely love this sculpture.


  1. Great post Kat. I can echo much of what you said about the academic and emotional realisation of things suddenlu colliding. Can be quite an experience. Love the second shot too which gives the sculpture perspective.

  2. Thanks for being real Kat. I like blogs which offer variety and personal touches, you can "see" the person behind the blog, not just one aspect.

  3. Great photos Kat. I thought I'd seen this table and chair somewhere before but I think we may have a similar sculpture in the UK somewhere but for the life of me I can't think where!

  4. I like your blog a lot, because of what you write, what you share, who you are. And because you take beautiful pictures, ofcourse :)

  5. Enjoyable as always! Nice getting to "know" you all over again.


  6. ((((HUGS))))
    A sentiment to share as you have shared with us.
    Stay inspired!

  7. I love your blog because it is so authentically you! You are sharing a creative journey with honesty and unpretentiousness, and your words and pictures are inspirational. Of course, Italy is what drew me in from the start...

  8. Thankyou Kat for the pleasure and inspiration your blog has given me. Good Luck with your next adventure.

  9. I can really empathise with your feelings, Kat: leaving a place you've been happy in is always going to be bittersweet - sad, because you're leaving and happy, because of the good memories you've created while living there. I hope your 'new' life in Oregon is going to be even happier and filled with wonderful experiences, and I send lots of good wishes for your move and for afterwards.

  10. Yes! Your blog is for you!! :)

    I always have a hard time moving and I haven't moved across an ocean. It is a new start in a familiar place--you are so right. Life never stays the same, even if you never move. ;) I am looking forward to your posts about being back in Oregon after all this time--and the photos! I bet you will see it through different eyes.

    I had no idea this sculpture was so huge! I thought it was taken from the ground and was normal sized. It is charming!! :)

    You have so very many photos of your life in Italy. You won't forget even when you're 90 because you'll be able to peruse the photos and go...ahhh! I remember.... ;)

  11. Repatriating can be hard because you realize that you have moved forward, yet where you return to has stayed still. I remember when I came back.... I went to the grocery store. It was the same cashier as over 2 years ealier, it all looked the same, yet I had changed so much and become so much more worldly. There was a woman I knew ahead of me in line - she said "hey, wow.. I haven't seen you in forever!! How have you been?" I replied, "I've been living out of the country for over two years and have just returned". She looked dumbfounded - she didn't realize I had been gone. Time flies and yet it stands still.
    You will find that people don't really want to hear about what you've experienced - so be prepared for that. You'll be fine, just smile to yourself and remember in your heart all the way cool things you experienced during your stay in Italy will be with you forever and you have grown in ways that can't be explained.
    Wishing you a smooth transition. Be sure to buy everything on your list and more before you leave Italy!

  12. Hey Kat....enjoy those 3 remaining weeks. Any time in Italy is good time and I bet Oregon will offer some lovely and unexpected surprises.
    I think what I like about your blog is you're not writing to an audience-you're writing for you and sharing it with "us". It's real. I like real.
    I used to sing in a chorus. At concert time the director would always...."sing for yourself. If you relate and find joy and emotion in the music, the audience will connect with you and in that you'll share." I think in blogging it's the same thing. I find blogs that are "selling" me too much rather a turn off.
    Have a great weekend Kat.

  13. A very cool sculpture!!
    To experience many journeys, helps us to have more creativity, wisdom, empathy, and happiness. We will always be who we are, but it enriches our being.
    You will find new adventures waiting for you in Oregon!
    Safe travels for you all. :)

  14. Kat I love how you live your truth! Seems perfect to me who is one of many on the receiving end of your gifts. Italy or Oregon your passions shall be with you. Terrill :)

  15. I think you have to write your blog for yourself and I think that is why someone follows a blog because it is real... It is a real point of view of someone's life and interests. I have enjoyed your photos, stories and getting the post cards from you. I think that when you move back to Oregon you will show us the wonderful things through photos of the town you live in. You will probably grow even more in your creativity when you are back as you will be seeing everything in a different light.

  16. Thanks for being true to yourself! That is why I read. Can't wait to catch up with you again when you get back!

  17. Hey Katrina:). What you spoke of is indeed the hardest: On the surface, Oregon seems the same. Same house, same roads, same store in the same spot. But you are waaay not this same person, but supposed to live in this sameness.It took me a good two years before I could truly be happy about living in the States again (and then I left for Romania, so I had planned another exodus). At least you will have your will be harder for Patrick, I think. I'll see you soon and will be thinking of you!

  18. I'm sharing your blog with a friend who will probably go to Singapore as a trailing spouse. I'm glad your experience in Italy was so positive.

  19. I am just betting that you Kat, will do fine in Italy or in Oregon, as long as you continue to pursue your passions!

    I wish you the very best with your move, and your transition back to the United States.

  20. For me the most important thing is to find ways to continue to challenge myself, let's face it, living abroad is a constant challenge and I think we become addicted to the feelings that come from overcoming those challenges, so having a few new things lined up helps.

  21. Oh Kat, it will be a challenge, but I know you will embrace it. x


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