• Michele

Quarantined? Why Not Take A Sensory Stay-At-Home Vacation

I hope everyone is safe, healthy and doing well during this incredibly trying time. Something like this really was unthinkable just about a month ago, but here we all are across the entire world hunkering down in our homes to stop the spread of this terrible virus.

With all the safety changes, my trip to Texas this past week was postponed. Since I had quite a bit of extra free-time and nowhere to go, yesterday I decided to get a bit creative and experience a sensory vacation in the comforts of my home. And I do have to say, it was relaxing, took my mind off of the craziness surrounding us and I had some fun.

I started the morning with a cup of coffee. But in order to transport me mentally to one of my favorite places in the world, I brewed my Italian coffee in my tiny Moka Pot (or at least I gave it a try) and then ended up using my regular coffee pot. But I savored each sip from my Amalfi Coast mug.

It reminded me of the morning I was sitting outside the bar overlooking the coast in Praiano. The sun beating on my back as I listened to the Italian men and women speaking so quickly that I only caught a couple words here and there. I remember glancing at the foam on top and thinking it looked like a toasted marshmallow.

While drinking coffee I found a new video on one of my favorite YouTube channels, Kyle Flavell. She was making a delicious meatball vegetable soup in Tuscany. Inspiring me, after my coffee I decided to do some made-from-scratch cooking in my Cucina as well. In order to help boost my immune system I also decided on a delicious Italian Meatball and Kale Soup.

The soup which was extremely flavorful only consisted of chicken stock, small Italian meatballs, kale and spinach, onion, shredded carrots, salt, pepper, Italian seasonings and Parmesan cheese. As it simmered on the stove the aromas of basil and parmesan swirled around the house heightening my sense of smell. Spooning the warm soup into my bowl made my mouth water and my tastebuds were not disappointed. The soup was delicious and so very comforting!

After cleaning up from lunch I decided to get really creative and head to my sunporch to paint. Since I knew I'd be staying inside for quite some time I ordered some paints, brushes, canvases and an easel and Friday they were delivered to my home. I didn't have anything specific in mind. I just wanted to be able to create whatever moved in that moment.

On this particular day I went with the sensory vacation idea and envision myself in a European Castle, looking out from a window on the first day of Spring into the garden. Up against the brick wall I saw the beautiful Hydrangea Bush in full bloom. The painting is a bit dark to reflect the struggle between beauty and sadness. Beauty that Spring always delivers, but sadness because of the quarantine not allowing me to go into the garden. So that's why I called this painting "Spring Quarantine in Europe".

It's amazing how downtime can really allow your imagination to run wild. The painting will never be in a gallery, but during the entire time creating this I was totally relaxed and forgot about the chaos in the world for a bit. That makes this painting priceless!

The finished product!

All that painting made me work up an appetite so I decided to try and recreate one of my favorite dishes I had while in Positano. Unfortunately, I did not have shrimp so I made the lemon risotto sans the seafood and it was still zesty and delicious. I even enjoyed a glass of Rose' like I did that day a Chez Black.

The night came to a relaxing end by candlelight. And how appropriate the candle was right next to the small painting I bought from a street artist in Positano. I remember he was incredibly grateful that I would choose a piece he created. He kept repeating "Grazie Bella, Grazie Bella." I guess that's how I would feel if someone wanted to buy the painting I made earlier in the day.

The setting sun on my perfect sensory stay-at-home vacation was not only a reminder that this was a really good day, but that there is hope that this too will pass and then we can travel the world freely once again. As soon as that happens, I'm rescheduling my Texas trip and booking another trip to my favorite country in the entire world, Italy!

Ciao and much love, Michele

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