Eat, Pray, Love

The day was long and efficient. Organizing three different bundles to pack. One for my road trip cross country, one for what will be staying with me for the next 6 months and another that will be packed into storage. The downstairs was easy. The real work came when I hit my closet upstairs. What shoes do I bring to Italy? What dresses for Dubai? Which handbags would pack well and how am I going to fit all of it in one bag for the train ride through Europe? But somehow it got done.

I had one night left before the chaos of a big move sets in. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Eat, Pray and Love! Not really, but the movie had just opened over the weekend and there was one more person I didn’t get a chance to see for the last time. My sweet cousin, Joy.

Joy and I don’t see each other that much, but we have one common denominator that keeps us in each others rotation, our big Italian family. Both of our Mother’s are half Italian and descend from a generation of 12 siblings. The matriarch from Calabria, Italy and the patriarch from Naples. Joy and I love Italy and are very proud of our heritage. It was only natural that on the eve of my move, we would get together one last time to catch the timely movie Eat, Pray, Love, share some vino and discuss the portion of the itinerary that includes Italy.

When I arrived, I see that she too brought me a gift. All natural caffeinated water for the long arduous drives through the midwest and a travel journal with a matching photo book. She says it’s a “private” journal to keep to show my kids and grandkids. Inside the travel journal, a handwritten prayer. Again, so much thought and so unexpected, it brought me to tears.

I went to bed feeling appreciated, content, loved and excited for the future. I awoke to a different feeling.

The first thing I always do when I wake up is to turn on my phone, boot the computer and check Facebook. It’s my equivalent to most people’s newspaper and coffee. I was sadly delivered the news of Dr. Frank Ryan’s death. I knew him very casually and only socially. It had been years since we crossed paths in person, but only a few weeks since we connected on Facebook. His last post before his fatal car crash told his followers of how after 25 years of looking at the sand dune in Malibu, he finally climbed to the top. He then posted a picture of his dog enjoying the view from above. Only moments after that post, he ran off the road and lost his life.

It’s a reminder of life’s brief passage. It can be taken from us in a flash and without discrimination.

Even though the movers came and occupied my mind briefly, my thoughts were distracted with images of Frank. I tried to wrap my head around it, but the shock still had its hold. He was a really nice guy.

There was one last visitor with one last gift. A longtime girlfriend who had been insistent on organizing my last going away night and insistent on stopping by to hand deliver a gift. Even with Obama in town and right in my neighborhood blocking all passage ways to me, she made every effort and finally made it in the knick of time. We’ve known each other for close to 14 years……and boy, do we have stories to tell! Her gift of a travel journal will be used in conjunction with Joy’s gift. Together, I will collect mementos, pictures, clippings, postcards and menus of my favorite eateries to include in the journals.

Today was officially my last night in LA. By day’s end, I was tired and hungry. I knew exactly what I wanted my last meal to be. I headed to my favorite restaurant for my favorite meal. A Lebanese salad, Kibbeh Nayeh with raw onions and cheese boreg at Alcazar. I ate as if I was going to the electric chair. There’s not much about LA I wish I could take with me, but this restaurant…….I will miss!

As I savored my favorite meal and felt sorrow for the loss of Frank, I am reminded to enjoy each moment, appreciate your breath and thank God for the beauty around you. Do what you love and follow your bliss. You never know when it will be your last opportunity to do so.

Tomorrow will mark the first day for me following my bliss. I will keep with me on my journey the handwritten prayer given to me from my cousin Joy. Today it becomes not only a prayer for my journey abroad, but a prayer for remembering Frank:

Dear God,
Please help me be true to myself.
Remind me that you created me with a purpose in mind.
Help me to live up to what I’m supposed to be rather than what others want me to be.
Please give me the fortitude to stand up for my personal path and to follow it to success.
Let me see obstacles as opportunities.
Please guide me to making the most of my life.


2 Responses to “Eat, Pray, Love”
  1. intuition says:

    Travel safe: Enjoy the beauty around you, smell the air as it changes w/ the different climates, listen to the unique sounds you will hear along your journey, revel in the sumptuous foods that are new to your palate and feel the love and positive energy that is moving you forward on your quest!

  2. Debonhill says:

    Thank you, intuition!

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