Email to Friends and Family

For posterity. Sent February 27, 2011 Dearest friends and family, It’s been a little bit since my last official update from Italy. But today, a rainy Sunday afternoon, seems perfect for writing. Today is also exactly one week before I pack up some kind of rented Fiat, leave Florence and head back down south. I have been offered a job with Southern Visions Travel. ( a small travel company based in Puglia–the heel of the boot. They do cycling tours for mostly Americans and Canadians and are amping up their culinary offerings. They just now restoring this beautiful farmhouse into a cooking school and culinary retreat. Should be open by May. It’s a team of Italians, Americans and South Africans in the town of Monopoli….on the Adriatic coast. My job is to handle their marketing for the season–through October. After that we’ll see. I’ll basically be helping them tell the story of the company and the area through the eyes of an American, as Puglia is just now getting on the travel radar. One of my big projects is writing a blog (now that I’m a blogger) about my day to day interactions as an American (the only American) living in there. I will be really forced to get out and talk to the locals, in Italian and sink in to the local scene. Should be fodder for some great experiences. I think the blog is going to be but I will let you know for sure. It’s an exciting change. And for sure a change. I look forward to the new adventure, to getting to know an amazing part of the world and to doing what it is I came here to do. But at the same time I will miss the comforts of the life I’ve created here. No more small group of girlfriends, 4 am pasta with my housemates or quiet evenings with a sweet guy. The transition feels a bit strange as transitions often do, but soon enough I will wake up in sunny southern Italy with a sea view from my apartment in the center of the old city. I’m not an Italian citizen yet, still waiting on that. But I am legal, which is something. More than a lot of Americans living and working in Florence. Next hurdle is opening a bank account. Another delicate issue with a lot of bureaucracy attached. These days I miss scones (from Sherman) and oysters. And all of you. Good news is that I’ve negotiated 4 weeks off in the summer to come home. Likely August so mark your calendars. By the pool, in the ‘ville, in the berks, on the island…..I can’t wait. Good luck getting to spring. I’m pulling for you. And I am ALWAYS open for visitors. First one gets a prize. May and June are lovely in Puglia…… All my love, Leigh

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