I feel blessed.
Throughout, I have always been showered with love. Of course, it started with my parents, but it continued. I have met the kindest people who I have the pleasure to hold forever as my best friends. I have been loved by the most generous, biggest hearted, most intelligent, creative, excited, respectful men. And the older I get the more I feel gratitude for this.
When I made the decision to leave Chicago now nearly four years ago, I had purchased my ticket, started to pack up five years of belongings and collections, and planed to quit my job. A huge weight had been lifted at that moment because I had chosen. I was no longer in the phase of indecision that torments so many new graduates. I had chosen to leave Chicago and move to Italy. And after having made my choice, I was able to breathe deeply and enjoy the city. Perhaps the last symphony I went to -- my favorite Chicago ritual-- was Mitsuko Uchida's 23rd Mozart Piano concerto.
I sat in my favorite seats on the lower right balcony. Amy and Brian attended and during the pause gifted me with the complete Piano Concertos so that I could ask to have it signed and get to meet Uchida herself. During the second half of the performance, the 23rd concerto, I felt the confines of my body matter blur as my happiness seemed to shake out of me and melt into everything surrounding me-- it melted into the height of the concert hall, into the flute who beckons the piano to come, it exhaled from my lungs which had been filled with deep breaths of charged, clean air. I felt that life was great. So big. So special. And here I was-- just a little element in it, but a little element who is treated so unbelievably well in it.
Today I feel the same.
I had a difficult week, the events of which had tested the limits of my patience, grace, and stress levels. To add insult to injury, I had missed a much coveted Chateau visit and was feeling like the world's biggest idiot. But throughout the week someone was always there to share with me the joys of life and to teach me another of life's wonders-- my traveling companion, Lola, with whom I shared many great conversations, laughs, hotel rooms, meals, and adventures in wine country; Carla, the owner of Chateau Lamothe who welcomed me and made me feel at home for nearly a week; the troupe of humorous and good-hearted English visitors who had just the right joke to keep me laughing until my abs were sore; the winemakers in the Languedoc who invited me into their vines and fermentation rooms to teach me and share with me; Veronique in Provence who hosted me, fed me, and taught me so much... life never smelt so good!; Sabine in Toulouse who rode me around the ancient quarters of the city from the wheelbarrow attached to the front of her bicycle; and most recently, Jacques Thienpont, who has gifted me his time during two informative visits through Le Pin and Vieux Chateau Certan, his conversation, and a lovely meal in the company of two spirited young friends, and cumulated this sense of wonder and gratitude that now so inspires me.
These last two weeks have felt like a year. I have lots to share with you, and I will post individually on each of the vineyards, hotels and restaurants who are cultivating beauty.
So, here's to life! Thank you!