This is turning out to be a summer that I am immensely enjoying – in stark contrast to my previous summers in Sardegna, marked by countless packing and unpacking of bags as I struggled to remain in a positive mood, enough to last three months, in an island where I did not speak the language, and transportation was limited.
Perhaps it is largely because of my recent adoption of a dog that found me on the street. For months, I truly knew I needed one. Despite my best efforts in adopting one from a shelter, it was met with a number of disappointments and not a few times of crying outbursts that lasted through the night.
These days I look forward to waking up in the morning. I do my stretches while I wait for my coffee.I give our adopted cat and dog their morning meals before sitting to enjoy the cool morning and my black Illy or Lavazza coffee. Afterwards, my Maremma-Golden Retriever mix of a dog that I had named Poldo, and I go on our hour-long morning walks to nearby beaches. Aside from helping me get fit, these quiet walks make for great time for reflection, and planning the rest of the day. Or I go on my Duolingo app to achieve my daily goal of 100 XP or more, improving my Italian or learning French. I am having the time of my life.
While I wait for my daughter to wake up and subsequently finish her own morning list, I read and work on the internet. Or I clean the house and do the laundry. My daughter and hew new friend, the daughter of our gardener, go in the morning for an hour and a half of arts, crafts, sports, and games in the garden at the back of the beach bar. My mother-in-law takes them and watches over them while I go to work with the unlimited internet connection in the dive shop. If she has errands of her own to run, I go instead, and I spend all morning swimming, snorkeling, or simply sunbathing on the beach. I am now more determined to improve my health and overall fitness that I also go biking, even just for short distances. I surprised myself by buying myself a Fitbit watch to better track my steps, without having to rely so much on the Samsung Health app on my smartphone. It is not convenient to be taking it around between my armpits all the time just to make the number of steps I take per day more accurate.
I prepare lunches, dinners, and snacks for the entire family. I try to assist at the dive shop by randomly cleaning, or taking over the secretary or boat duties when the staff is short due to day offs, and I delight in the face my husband takes when he sees me being supportive and helpful. I play with the dog in the garden, and brush his fur, more for calming myself than making him look good. This is my very own therapy dog. I do yoga, work on my blog and photo backlogs, or read up articles of interest to me the rest of the day. We look after our little garden with our thyme, salvia, basil, tomatoes, peppers, and other flowering plants. It is my daughter’s duty to do the watering in the afternoons. If we do not go out for dinner at our favorite restaurants, we stay at home and have our family movie night. We watch television in Italian even if they are originally in English so we can improve our language skills. There are various evening activities for the kids and families at the piazzetta – dancing, movies, or theater. We were able to finally take Lia to the Circo Sardo that comes every summer and she participated in some contests and was good enough to bring home a surprise. She got to ride “the smartest donkey in the world” who could add, subtract, multiply, and read. I got to laugh my heart out at the simplicity of childhood and bask in the joy of kids, so easily entertained. I clapped my encouragement as balls fell from the air and hula hoops came down to the floor.
I get to be with family, friends, animals, and nature. I get to enjoy hot days and cool mornings. Clear skies and azure seas. Birds chirping, bees flying, and I even get to be The Champion Fly Swatter in the whole wide world, at least according to my daughter.
Every night I tuck my very happy bronzed daughter in bed, leave her with kisses and 20-second hugs. She gets to sleep with a smile on her beautiful face.
These are good times. It is probably my best summer in Sardegna yet. I have a lot to look forward to in the coming months and I am brimming with excitement. We only have less than a month to go and I am determined to make the most of it.