Sitting in a chair in the sky…

IMG_1528When I was a kid, getting on a plane and flying somewhere was one of the most exciting things ever. My family and I didn’t do much flying back then, mind you, but we did occasionally return to the States to visit the relatives (grandparents, e.g.) we’d left behind when we moved to Italy (see *Note below for more info). 

I grew out of my childhood enthusiasm for flying by the time I hit my 20s, almost as soon as I realized that, as Louis CK puts it, I was “sitting in a chair in the sky.” I know, I know, I know, statistically it is more dangerous for me to be sitting right here at my desk than to be sitting on a plane…and yes, yes, yes, statistically it is the safest way to travel. I am well aware of all that.IMG_1523 But I think we would all agree that there is something a bit freaky about “sitting in a chair in the sky”…And so I went through a long period during which I was a bit of a nervous, sweating wreck at the slightest sign of turbulence…

Everything changed when I was diagnosed with myeloma (well, with smoldering/inactive myeloma). My fear of flying disappeared. Yep, just like that. How could I be scared of flying when I am carrying around a bunch of lethal cancer cells inside my body?

Myeloma trumps fear of flying any day. 

But not yesterday. 

IMG_2270 IMG_2334Yesterday’s flight between Boston and Munich went fairly smoothly…no problems to report. But then we got on our Munich-Florence flight and…well…mamma mia...

The pilot announced that it was overcast in Florence…but he didn’t mention the high winds that plagued most of our flight (the turbulence varied between “acceptable bumpy” and “bloody effing scary bumpy”)…The strong gusts of wind pushing on the left side of the plane (seriously, you could really feel ‘em pushing the plane to the right) seemed to want to blow us out of the sky as we were descending from the clouds towards Florence. I’ve never felt wind like that, not even when I landed once during a snow storm in Toronto, Canada. Yikes. And so, yes, yesterday I experienced a shadow of my former fear of flying…

And then we landed with a huge BOOOOOM and then a bit of veering and shaking that took everyone’s breath away…IMG_3701

But hey, we landed. 

And Stefano and I are so happy to be with our beloved kitties again. :)

I will rest for the next few dayszzzzzz (I already have plans for a get-together with friends tomorrow, yaaaay), then I’ll take a look at some of the studies that have piled up on my desktop…I really must do something about my poor, dear and verrrrry neglected blog! IMG_2306

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photos, which I took on the island of Nantucket where Stefano and I spent three lovely days between August 12 and August 15. We rented a jeep for a 48-hour period ( = outraaaaaageously expensive, but in the end we were glad we’d done it) and, among other things, drove on Great Point Beach all the way out to the lighthouse, where we spent hours watching and photographing seals, but mostly sea birds — terns, seagulls and sandpipers…also, a cute oystercatcher (= the black and white bird with the long, bright orange beak digging into the sand) and a few ruddy turnstones (gee wiz, WHO comes up with these bird names??? ;-) )…  IMG_3047

Quick memo/bit of advice: always put on sunblock BEFORE getting distracted by the local fauna, not AFTER…Wow, ouch, what a sunburn we both got…

Okay, I have to go get the laundry off the line now, so I’d better get off the computer. Take care, everyone! Ciao! :) IMG_2500

[*Note: I was just a kid — six years old — when my family moved here from Massachusetts, U.S.A. So, while I am a U.S. citizen (and, now that I am married to an Italian citizen, also a permanent resident of Italy), I grew up here in Florence, where I went through the tough but very good Italian public school system, all the way through high school and 1.5 years of university. When Mom and Dad moved back to the U.S. in the early 1980s, I went with them and finished college and then grad school in North America.]