Guest post by Ursula Bustamante Seminario
Already several weeks of lockdown here in Italy, yet I don’t want to talk about the pandemic and its consequences, there is enough negativity already to add another horrifying article. I rather take the opportunity to reflect on what these five years in Tuscany have meant for me and perhaps, the positive insights of the lockdown experience.
I was used to comfort, convenience, and a shallow lifestyle, which I can honestly say I was more than ready to leave behind me and embrace a new beginning and an unpredictable story. Without a question, my life before Florence was often restless and anxious ( I don’t longer remember why), but I have a suspicion that the fast-moving time of new technology, discoveries, trends, new news daily really added to my cyclical feelings of overwhelm and restlessness.
Looking back, my impulsive but firm decision to move to Florence is probably the best decision I have ever made for myself. I am a highly sensitive person with a high fascination for beauty and esthetics. Italy is the perfect place for such a person; creatives, for sure. A hopeless romantic, an artist, a writer, a complex being that feels constrained in a hostile modern system.
It’s not surprising that so many ex-pats choose Italy as their new home. So many of us are seeking balance, a greater connection with nature and also, finding moments to slow down and appreciate and enjoy once and for all our lives.
Italy has taught me that to pursue my best self, there is no need for ostentatious or luxurious situations. It is a lot simpler than that. Is about finding and seeking beauty and authenticity. Like when, once in a while, I meet with my good and first friend in town, Allie, and we passed by and slowly admire the majestic Duomo and then walk through a tiny ally to end up having the best panini ever with pecorino cheese, dried tomatoes, and a glass of wonderful Chianti wine. We would talk about life, love, and how crazy and capricious the job market is here in Italy. But in the end, it’s all worth the struggle because we are fulfilled with the overall lifestyle and continuous creative inspiration. Feels like magic, it’s wonderful!
Other simple routines that I have come to love and appreciate as a source of joy are incredibly modest. As going to my town market, with my dog Wayra, for my weekly grocery shopping. I adore handpicking the most colorful and juiciest vegetables, getting my handmade and 100% natural beauty products directly from the producer, purchasing some homemade ragu directly from the farmer,
and finally strolling back home and then cooking a fresh tasty lunch for my husband.
Before moving to Florence, food was not of my interest. I never cared about cooking or finding the best ingredients. I used to eat just to feed myself but not for pleasure. Today, food has truly become a priority and a source of happiness in my life. Cooking, eating, sharing the table with friends and loved ones in endless conversations is a well-established ritual in Italy.
It’s all about the art that connects us. When I take the time to find healthy ingredients free from sugars, chemicals, and over-processed components at a small market, I become connected with the origin of our meal. When my husband and I take the food home to chop and cook, we connect to our creativity and cultivate a moment that’s ours, and that nourishes not only our bodies but also our relationship. When the meal is ready and we share it with our loved ones, we’re connected with them through conversation and sharing.
What I love the most about Italian food is the celebration of simplicity. There is no need for excessive styling and unusual flavors. Instead, it’s all about fresh, local ingredients, traditional cooking, and yet another bottle of delicious Tuscan wine. In a way, there’s nothing special about these things. No secrets, no elaborate routines, no high costs, no great investments. Just more attention on slowing down and making even the most ordinary things in life a bit more special and a bit more beautiful.
Perhaps today that we find ourselves deprived of all our little privileges it’s a good moment to acknowledge and be grateful for how fortunate we truly are and, in the future, give the proper value to the small and ordinary routines, in the end, these small gestures are the essence of our life.
About the Author:
Born in Lima, Peru, and based in Empoli, Ursula works as a graphic designer and stylist.
Find her on:
Facebook Ursula Wanderer Studio