What a year. I feel as though just December encompassed a year’s worth of content. It seems wiser to look it through in sequence, so I will start with January.
The year started a bit slowly, well, no it didn’t. I spent a few weeks just hanging out, working and taking pictures. My son was home for the semester and he began cooking dinners for us from a subscription service that sent us the ingredients twice a week.
The real fun began with a protest or two. I became politically engaged and marched to protest the inauguration on January 20th. I then joined with two other friends on January 21st in the Women’s March in Chicago on a surprisingly warm and sunny day. If good weather is proof of celestial approval, then our cause was a good one.
A week later, rather jet lagged and hungry, I stumbled into a different march in a very different location. These folks were participating in an anti-government march but they represented a right wing group and I was in Rome.
For around a month, I took an unpaid sabbatical in Italy. It was an escape from winter, Chicago-style, from the stresses of work and a chance to work on a book I had written. I rented an apartment in Baria, Italy in the southern region of Puglia. I enjoyed sunny 60 degree weather, edited and learned the ropes of submitting a book to agents, walked on the waterfront, ate good food and studied Italian. All of this by myself. On weekends and at the beginning and end of my trip, I toured around the region and had some amazing experiences. I also achieved my goal of feeling more as though I lived in Bari and less of a tourist. It is wonderful to stay in a place long enough to develop favorite walks, cafes, stores and restaurants.
I can’t even come close to describing even the highlights of my stay. I visited towns throughout the area. Polignano a Mare, Trani, Altamura, Lecce, and on the way home a drive through the Amalfi Coast and a visit to Pompei. The picture below is of Matera, one of my more interesting stops.
I returned to Chicago in March and caught up on work and home routines. I protested again on tax day and marched for science with my son on a rainy day in Seattle.
May found me taking in the Jardins in Paris. More good food, good coffee,great art and long walks in historic places.
It wasn’t all fun and games, of course. I learned my father had cancer a year ago today. He is doing well but the long term is still not clear. His sister, my aunt, was also diagnosed with cancer around the same time. She has had more struggles with painful chemotherapy and radiation treatment. My 14 year old cat was diagnosed with lymphoma. After much suffering she didn’t make it. She is much missed but our family has been enriched by a new baby, adopted from the local shelter.
I am now in June and will break off my year at the half way point. Expect further reminiscences tomorrow.
Happy New Year to all. I hope 2017 was a good year and 2018 will be even better.