italy: chapter 1

The following is a revised copy of a journal that I kept on our honeymoon 10.1.2019-10.16.2019

october 9. 2019

 Well hello again. It’s been awhile since I’ve written to you. A lot has transpired since – it’s our third and second to last full day in Positano. We’ve had great pizza but I am still on the hunt for some amazing pasta…hopefully I’ll have some good news soon.

Honestly. I think I had to take a break to recover from the worst travel day I’ve ever experienced: getting from Santorini to Positano. I will not document it here, because I really don’t mind forgetting it, but I would like to note that I had an actual breakdown over the phone with an Italian driver – like, falling to my knees and crying into my hands at a train station kind of breakdown. Then once we were finally (finally!) in said taxi driver’s car (the right one this time…we narrowly escaped a kidnapping) “In My Head” by Jason Derulo starting playing. 

I mean.

Come on.

I started hysterically laughing. Literally. I don’t know how Conner stayed sane. The bizarreness, displacement, and weirdness of such a nostalgic song playing all the way over here in this random dude’s taxi, in this random city…as an end to this horrific day. I may have even cried honestly because I found it so funny. Somehow it just washed me clean of my stress. I was tired, but not too tired to appreciate a good moment. Then I passed out and here I am three days later (just woke up), barely ready to talk about it. Well sort of.

young woman looking out towards the view from la sirenuse in positano italy

Positano is one of the most beautiful places. Heaven on Earth. We have this terrace off our hotel room with the most gorgeous views and a cute little cafe table set. So, our favorite past time these days has been to sit here and soak it all in. We’ll buy ourselves a bottle of cheap (but delicious) wine or beer, and drink it together out here while reading and watching the sun go up and down. There is this magic light that casts over the city as the skyline melts into a pastel spectrum of color. Don’t worry, I’m making fun of myself for you – but that’s the only way I can describe it. And then all the lights start to come alive and twinkle from all the little buildings in the cliffside. You just start to realize what a truly spectacular, tiny place this is. We could hear the waves crashing down on the beach below in darkness. The folks in the building next door would occasionally come out and soak it all in too. Wish I could say I picked up some Italian from them. 

Anyways. It’s truly magical here.

I finally finished Eat Pray Love. I say “finally” because I started reading it months ago in hopes that it would get me into the right mindset for this trip. We all know that didn’t happen, and couldn’t have happened because I am a notorious book-starter-not-finisher kind of gal. But I’m very proud of myself because I read over half that book over the course of just this last week! And honestly I am happy I read it on this trip instead of at home. It has truly changed my life. And reading it here, I was far enough removed from my daily stresses that I could absorb it more fully. Be truly present with it. 

Near the end of the book, Liz talks about this week of solitude she gave herself on a remote island in Indonesia, including one memorable meditation in particular: she sat on the beach in solitude, dug into the deepest places of her mind and pulled out each moment of sadness, anger, and (the hardest one) shame. One by one, she listened to, then forgave them, letting each into her heart with the kindest self-compassion I have ever heard or read about. 

She was able to do this two whole years before her time at the Ashram in India, which just put into perspective the weight of her entire spiritual journey. I would love to really give myself the time and space to dive into my own, but honestly I’m scared to. It’s difficult and terrifying, facing all those deep parts of ourselves and finding true peace with them. Nevertheless I have learned practices from Elizabeth Gilbert, Ketut Liyer, Swamiji, Richard from Texas, the plumber from New Zealand, all these different and very real people who were connected across the world by one common search; love. I should probably reread this book. A few times. Because I don’t want to forget a single lesson, they mean so much to me.

I have not written about a book since high school. And even then, I don’t think I actually “read” the book, if you know what I mean. So let’s say I haven’t written about a book I’ve really read since middle school. I am in such a beautiful place right now and I should be talking more about that, but this book got me good. It’s like this big, quiet thing I have to get off my chest. 

There. It’s done. Let’s talk about Positano. 

a view of positano italy
a young male eating pizza on a terrace looking out the view of positano italy

I already feel so used to certain European things – the tiny cars winding around these tiny streets. Well, one street. Maybe two. They somehow dodge all the pedestrians walking on the – let me stress this again – tiny streets. We have sidewalks back home? And two lanes? Drivers here have to honk before going around a corner to warn oncoming traffic. There’s a turn every, like 30 seconds. The anxiety.

But it’s all normal to me now. Ha.

You know how to tell when you’ve got it good? When your hotel sits on one of the few roads in Positano, one where so many tourists stop their cars to get out and take pictures of the view. Our view. We get to look at this all day, baby.

I desperately want to get out and just roam around this place. Time is not a restriction for us and it’s just in my nature to do that…I can feel it in my bones. But Conner may have broken his foot. And you can’t argue with that. Remember in Santorini when he accidentally broke Ion’s table? The whole thing landed on the top of his foot and it’s all swollen and looks weird now. So I’m not sure how much walking we can do. It will just have to be my excuse to come here again some day.

Note: He broke a wine glass here in Positano too. So watch out, Naples.

The weather here is perfect. Like if I could dream up the perfect weather, it’s Positano in mid-October weather. Although I heard some Positano regulars talking about how it was unusually warm for this time of year and I feel like maybe the stars aligned for the short visit we’re here.

a beach picnic in the amalfi coast of italy including fresh strawberries, plums, and potato chips with dolce vita sandals in the background

We spent yesterday sleeping in and then wandered down to the beach after finding this amazing, picturesque little market with delicious fruit. And a working credit card machine! I had saved a picture of this place years ago along with other bucket list things so it shocked me when we practically ran into it by accident. Funny how life works out that way. 

We stocked up on plums, tangerines, apples, and potato chips. I was telling Conner: I have eaten more potato chips in the last week than I have in the past year. Maybe even two. He agreed.

Then we swam in the Mediterranean. 

A short creative excerpt:

I gave into the current and just let myself float. The waves wanted to pull me in, and I let them, closing my eyes and dragging my hands through the broken earth below. The sound shimmied through my body and danced in my ears. It felt like millions of small champagne bubbles bursting under my soft touch and each would send a ripple all throughout my body, exiting through my breath. Like I was the instrument and it was the music.

End of excerpt. I had to. That’s exactly what it felt like.

And the water itself…wow. I only believed that this color existed in photo-enhanced versions of tropical islands but nope. Here it is. And I am existing in it.

Yesterday we Facetimed our kids, which, honestly I was worried about. I thought it would make me even more homesick, but hearing what they’ve been up to and that they’re being taken good care of just had the opposite effect on me. Thank you Thomas for staying with them. I still miss them so much though. I want to bury my face in Remi.

I am going to go wake up my hubby now. We have things to see and lemon sorbet to eat. I feel like we’re not experiencing Positano to our fullest potential yet so that is my mission over these next few days. Minus the broken foot. 

Ciao xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! this is one of my favorites. to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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