I am back. Well, I have actually been back for over a week now, but I spent the first week back drowning in papers to grade, work emails, meetings and piles of laundry. Now, I feel like I am at least treading water. I have no complaints about Italy, but taking a week off a work in the middle of September is not exactly convenient.

But maybe convenience is overrated, right?

I had a wonderful time in Italy. It was so good to be with my sisters- it beats texting, gchatting, and using other forms of technology enhanced communication by far! Parts of out trip felt like a scenes straight out of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants-and if you have no idea what I am talking about, well then you probably don’t have sisters.

Christine lives in a cute, little apartment right by the Ponte Vecchio and even though she had art classes most days, Steph and I were quite content sleeping in, drinking coffee, walking around Florence, sitting in cafes, reading, shopping and oh, eating. We successfully managed to get at least one cappuccino and gelato every day. We spent one day on a bike tour of Tuscany and another few days hiking along the coast in Cinque Terre.

One of my mentors, a wonderfully wise woman who appreciates life in ways I can only dream of, will often ask me to give her a word to describe a recent trip or an event that I attended. It seems a little simplistic at first, but try it. It’s actually unbelievably difficult to try and capture an entire trip or experience in a single word. But for some reason I like the task of trying.

So, when I think about my time in Italy the one word that comes to mind is: growing.

There was a moment one night at dinner where the three of us sat around and shared a bottle of wine and it hit me, wow, we’ve grown up. We had honest conversations about issues that don’t have simplistic Sunday school answers, and we laughed (mostly thanks to Christine’s undeniable gift of story telling) and we even cried a little (well, I did). What’s ironic about sisters is that even in these “grown-up” moments, we still have countless other moments where bickering, arguing and mocking each other are the go-to form of communication. I think part of the challenge for sisters, or maybe for all family for that matter, is learning how to see each other for who we are, not who we were. I think is this is part of the growing process.

In a lot of ways my sisters and I could not be more different. (Although Stephanie and I do look more and more alike every time we’re together, which is odd considering when we were growing up we looked nothing alike.) Stephanie has this beautiful balance of strength and gentleness that draws people to her. She can make the best out of almost any situation; it is almost like positivity flows through her blood. I somehow seemed to have missed out on that genetic trait. Christine has this creative spunk and empathetic spirit that makes her dream big dreams and care deeply about people–and animals for that matter. And she can make me laugh harder than anyone I know.

We decided that we should do an Italy reunion trip every 5 years. I’ll cheers to that!

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