Arrivederci Sorrento… and thank you for the time of my life

A hidden beach I found on my run this morning – Regina Giovanna near Sorrento. Stunning.

At the secret beach

(Firstly, apologies the photos arent the right way up! More IT problems but I figured i would put them in sideways rather than not at all… I had heard about this gorgeous little beach near Sorrento so took off this morning at 6.30am to find it, about 20 mins run out of Sorrento.. the photos dont do it justice but it was certainly a beautiful goodbye present from Sorrento)

Since leaving Merrill Lynch back in March, what should have been, or perhaps I’ll say, could have been, a confusing, maybe depressing and potentially demotivating time of my life, has instead been exactly the opposite in every facet. In fact, I don’t remember ever having such clarity on a number of aspects, issues and topics. Each and every day I wake up looking forward to it, particularly since arriving in Sorrento.

At 6:30am in the morning, I find myself giggling at the number of scooter beeps that I get while out on my morning run, and chuckling at the cyclists in the peloton as they just about crash into one another while turning their heads to look back at me as they pedal past and call out ‘EXCELLENT, BEAUTIFUL’ in English with their Italian accents and then give me the thumbs up.

After a quick discussion post breakfast with Annamaria to see if I’ll be home for dinner that night, I then get excited to stop in at my favourite pasticceria on Corso Italia – Rita’s, where not only does the barrister make the very best cappuccino that I’ve ever had, he knows my order senza zucchero and puts a cocoa smiley face on the top of my froth and always bids me buona giornata as I leave.

On my way to school my fruit lady spies me coming down one of the narrow cobbled stone alley ways in the historical centre and has my apple and pear ready to go as I rush past and exchange a euro for my goods, and I like it that she speaks to me in Italian despite me hearing her talk to other tourists all day in English.

At school, most days, I get a thrill out of being able to actually construct sentences and hold a conversation in Italian in present and past tenses. In fact this morning I was happy to meet my favourite teacher, Lucia, near the station on my way to school and be able to grab a quick stand up caffe with her and carry a conversation for the 20 minutes it took us to walk to school.

I love walking through the town as though I’ve lived here for much, much longer than I actually have, and in a funny way getting a bit bugged by the hundreds of tourists who meander along the narrow streets speaking German, English, and French.

It makes me so happy to see an Italian’s face light up when I say I’m learning to speak their language… as though no-one ever came to Sorrento to do such a thing! Especially not a single Australian female travelling da sola (alone).

Come 5pm, people watching is always at its prime and I get excited to suss out a new bar or café, order my glass of vino bianco and have a chat to the waiters who in general smirk at me drinking wine, while all the locals are taking their afternoon coffee shot.

It is comforting to arrive back at the apartment in Parco Verde to a real ‘home’ (as opposed to a hotel room), where Annamaria will be standing in the kitchen and always greets me with a huge smile and energetic ‘Ciao bella!’. While I have complained, well let’s call it commented, on my 2-3 course meal every evening, I actually always look forward to seeing what she has on the menu and hope that one night she will once again cook that magnificent, mouth-watering pasta napolitana but alas, it is always something different. Always.

After dinner I love to get a little dressed up in my jeans and boots, do my hair and makeup and wander around town, usually with ferrero rocher gelato from Primavera Gelateria in hand, and window shop at the fabulous negotzi (shops) on Corso Italia. Or else meet up with some new friends – Erica from New York, Nerissa from London, Irina from Moscow, Pablo from one of the Sorrento beach clubs, Daniele who owns the nightclub, Anne from Helsinki, Joanna and Ton from a little town in Holland, Marcia from Florida, Antonio from the Sorrento Theatre… and many, many more, for a drink or 10 and faccio le ore piccolo! (stay out until 2 or 3am!).

So as I prepare to leave Sorrento, as you can imagine mi sento triste, I feel sad! But the memories I’ve made here will stay with me for life. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the experiences I’ve had have all changed me and my outlook on life. I leave Sorrento completely energised and excited about Rome (tomorrow!), Porto Cervo, Monaco and beyond. If only I could fit a little more Sorrento in my suitcase than a small bottle of Limoncello… but that said, I’m carrying a few extra kilos (at least!), have a fantastic, deep tan and don’t think I’ve ever felt better.

Before I left Sydney, I printed out a poem Badge sent me a couple of months ago so that I could read it over and over again. I had it stuck to my computer screen at home and read it every day, particularly as I was booking my Italian adventure! I’m not sure of the author but I love it and have made it my mantra. Thanks Badgerygarfield.

This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often.If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analysing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.

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