This particular chapter has been in the forefront of my mind for several days now since at long last the time is approaching to actually live out one of the things I’d written down that I’d be looking forward to once the chemo was over and I’d beaten cancer. If you didn’t read it yet, here’s a shortcut to to the blog with my list from Chapter 13, Do What You Love and The Healing Will Follow: Ali’s List.
So, I’m chatting with my two Amigas, Saysh and Meredith last month on how I want this birthday to be meaningful. The last two pretty much sucked. The one two years ago because that was the day that Dr. H. told me that my cancer had progressed to stage IV. And last year’s was better. I was at my favorite open mic with two of my favorite people so that was cool, but I’d recently been informed (much to my surprise) that I was NOT finished with chemo as I’d expected, that I didn’t hear them right and there was another/third round to go, so I was a bit agitated to say the least. Mostly because I hate looking forward to something only to find out it isn’t really happening anywhere near like I’d hoped. It was going to be the day I announced to the unsuspecting fans and friends at open mic about my cancer story/victory (believe it or not, many didn’t know). That speech was put off to the following spring, but I did get to give it so I’ll stop whining on about it all and get on with the story.
The list…I think I was hoping to go to Isla Mujeres and swim with the whale sharks. I know Saysha is about as far from being a water baby as I am from being a vegan, but I was pretty sure I could convince Meredith to jump in with both feet, so I put it out there all the same. Saysha had several vacation days about to expire, so she came back with “Italy” (we had planned a 3 Amiga’s trip to Italy two years ago, but chemo and finances got in the way). It took a while, but I was won over by viva Italia. Besides, the whale shark season ends September 5th and my birthday isn’t until the 22nd so it really wasn’t meant to be for my birthday. New goal…see the Amalfi coast and get kissed by a smooth talking Italian stallion. Saysha will have the camera ready. I will post it on facebook (why not?). Alas, a snag. Meredith’s passport is expired and she only has a couple vacation days available right now…then she did the kindest thing ever. She gave us her blessing to go on ahead (with the promise that we would neever eeever go to Ireland without her). I have some good friends that moved to Galway and a promise to see them in the summer of 2013 so we’re set.
First we booked our flights. Her out of Seattle and me out of San Diego. Because travel takes a lot out of me I decided to fly out a couple days ahead of her and land in a spa hotel, so that by the time she arrives I’ll have all the kinks worked out and be fresh and ready for our Italian adventure. Then, throughout the following weeks we slowly formed a route and booked the hotels. Naples to Sorrento to Capri to Amalfi to Positano to Naples. I decided I wanted to be on the Isle of Capri, on a small boat and swim in the blue grotto on my birthday. I opted to do it a day earlier, but my super trooper (and incredibly pale) friend insisted on joining me on my water bound excursion. Beach umbrella, check. Dramamine, check. Sunscreen, check. More Sunscreen, check. Barf bag, check check.
Next, I went to my local bookstore and picked up Italian for dummies and an incredibly cheap 3 disk set of “Easy Learning Italian” where people with British accent speak coyly about how different the Italian way of thinking is to ours. I put em all onto a little MP3 player and listen to them when I’m riding my bike or kayaking or paddle boarding or whatever is on the physical rehab menu for the day. And yes, I do looooove living in southern California ;)
My flight leaves on the morning of September 19th. Today is August 29th. The countdown has begun. Last night I took it a step further and watched an Italian film (with subtitles of course) called Bread and Tulips. I remember there being a lot of talk here in the states about when it was released years back, but never saw it. Great story and surprisingly, even though it has only been a couple weeks since I started on my lessons, I actually recognized several words in the film. Mi capisco something…I forgot the word for a little, but you get the drift. I’m going to make sure I do my best to make the most of this momentous trip so I queued up several “if you liked this movie you may like the following Italian films” so I’m good for another dozen nights of entertainment/education. After all, when that handsome Italian asks for his kiss I don’t want to miss the invite ;)
I told a friend the other night that I was sweating over the cost of the trip. “I’m spending pretty much everything I have and not sure what kind of income I’m coming back to. Pretty irresponsible I know (I’m so catholic)”. She put up her arms and said “So what! Isn’t that what your book is about?? Life is short. You of all people should know that and that you should make the most of it now, while you can!”. I looked at her and smiled (omg she is awesome) and shook my head (inside) at how we don’t spend nearly enough time together.
So, there you have it. This is what’s on my mind as of late. I’m so excited and nervous and most of all looking forward to doing something on my list. Yet another affirmation that I beat the mthrfker and that all I went through was not in vain. That I will live a life that is much richer and make so many more leaps than I did before blah blah blah. Holy crap I’m going to Italy~
So? Have you filled out your wish list? Y’know you don’t have to have cancer or any illness for that matter to make the list of things to look forward to. You just need something to write with and something to write on. That, and a little imagination mixed with a belief in the possibilities…