Five Year Anniversary!

Today is my five year anniversary in Florence. I remember well that day when I arrived. My son, who had been traveling all over the world for a year and was finishing up, met me at my apartment door. He had all the essentials…a new cat litter box and some litter and food, wine, a bottle opener and some glasses. I was so exhausted, so happy to see him after almost a year, and so relieved to have made it safely with my then 14 year old cat in tow.
me and Will

One of my "friends" in Florence, Edgar
I rallied my energy for the few days that I spent with him, relishing in some sightseeing and hearing about his travels, and then I virtually collapsed. The months leading up to my move had been stressful. I retired from a 26 year career, sold, gave away, put into storage or packed my household for the move, said goodbye to my best friend who was dying from breast cancer and who I knew I would not see in person again, gathered the needed documents for the move to Italy for me and my cats and got on an airplane to start a new life.
Arriving at the end of August, there was a hint of Fall in the air, and excitement, that I didn’t recognize at the time, but now know are the locals returning from summer vacation with news, happiness to see old friends, and ease into some cooler weather. I was so happy to be in Florence and starting my new life, it was like a dream come true, and it was a dream come true!

I can honestly say that at some point of everyday since then, I have had at least a sliver of that same feeling of “pinch me!” am I really living in Florence, Italy?

I wondered before coming if Florence would become just another city to me; a place so familiar that I was jaded to its charms. So far, that hasn’t happened. It is often heightened by my travels and returning “home”. It feels like home, but I still feel so thankful, fortunate, and fulfilled.

I have made new friends, found new interests, found the love of my life, said goodbye to the cat at 18 years old, and finally found contentment with my life. Not that there is nothing else I want to do, see, be or accomplish! But, if I don’t, I could die a happy woman. I could not have said that 5 years ago.
Ponte Vecchio, Firenze, italia


I know and have met so many people who are discontent with their lives, but lack the stamina, courage, or persistence to make the needed changes. Or perhaps they don’t know what the needed changes are. Everyone needs to travel to learn about themselves, other cultures, and other ways of being and living. It is the key to the universe in my opinion. Travel with others and travel alone, but travel. I attribute my happiness to that key factor in my life. Don’t let money or your age be an obstacle to doing it. There are many ways to make it happen.
Find your passion, and change your life if your heart so desires! “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

Happy Anniversary!

14 Comments on “Five Year Anniversary!

  1. Congratulations on this impressive anniversary, Karen! Your sentiments are so right. Travel with others and travel alone, but travel…yes. Looking forward to your next five years!

  2. Awesome post. You describe the feelings so well. It isn’t easy but those who want to make it work, do.

  3. Congratulations & happy anniversary! Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. I enjoy reading your blog daily. Some day I will return to Florence.

  4. Happy Anniversary! Glad you stayed to supply the World with interesting posts.

  5. Happy Anniverssary! I love reading your observations on life in Florence. I too love the post ferragosto buzz. It’s Florence’s small community based gestures that I love so much even though it’s the grand gestures that grab the attention and that make Florence a destination point.,

  6. Congrats Karen! Hope to be in your position in the next few years. How do you say “so jealous” in Italian 🙂

  7. Congratulations Karen! You are to be applauled for having the courage to do what makes you happy.

  8. Congrats Karen! I am so proud of you and find inspiration in all of your posts. I so admire all that you have accomplished. Trying to set myself up for my ” next act” and your blog is so inspiring!

  9. Congratulations, Karen! I have really enjoyed getting to know you from your wonderful blog. It is beautiful and inspirational. Thank you so much!

  10. yay! happy anniversary. we love you and are so very proud of you. xo

  11. Congratulations to you on your five year anniversary of living in Italy and finding happiness. I started reading your blog about 3 years ago when an article about it appeared in, I believe the Boston Globe. I live in the Boston area.

    I am more or less second generation (albeit half) Italian and have never had the opportunity to travel to Italy. I have been all of Asia for business (not that business travel can be compared with travel for pleasure) but the trip to Italy has remained elusive, for now. But I will, however, live vicariously through your posts and plan for the day that I make the trip that I am destined for.

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