Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Dream

God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them.  
~Author Unknown

It was one of the first things that attracted me to him - his love for Italy.

We were sitting in an open marquee at the Parachute Music Festival in the year 2000, chatting easily into the evening about our individual plans for the future, hopes, dreams (he's good like that, he likes to talk about these things). 
I had only met him a couple of times before, this gorgeous 6ft 4" man who used to flat with my brother.

The atmosphere around us seemed electric as I became aware that Mr. So-Flippin-Hot  sitting opposite me, our knees nearly touching, had hopes and dreams similar, if not identical, to my own.
And thus began a beautiful thing, resulting in marriage and three children. 

Over the years our dreams for Italy never changed.
In 2002 we got married on my parent's property in New Zealand.
By the beginning of 2003 we were living in London with the view of working and settling in the UK and thus financing our desire to buy an investment property in Italy. A property that we hoped to eventually, one day, live in.

In September 2004 we signed the ownership papers for our house in Manoppello, Italy.

In March 2005 we took a 'maintenance crew' of friends from London over with us and by July 2005 we were able to rent the house out for short-stay holidays.

It all seemed to happen so quickly. So easily. Almost too easily. The dream had started to become reality. We now owned a property in Italy - the only country in the world where we actually owned a house.
We would holiday there as much as we could, which ended up being about twice a year for a week or two at a time. Every time we visited our home in Italy we would be kicking ourselves for not making more of an effort to learn the language.
We knew we were going to eventually live in Italy for a couple of years at least, but procrastinated about learning Italian properly.

And then came the clincher.
The property we were renting in London and had been living in for nearly 3 years was being sold. The owners are good friends of ours and were being very generous with our rent amount, and yet still we were only just being able to stay afloat financially. With me being a stay at home mamma and down to living off a single income, our finances became a lot 'tighter'. 

When we started to look for properties to rent around the same area everything was well above what we could afford. We had a couple of days of feeling very 'low' about our situation and then the thought dropped into our heads - it seemed at the same time - of moving to Italy for a period while we sort out our finances. Moving to Italy would mean we won't be paying mortgage and rent. Keeping things afloat in London and Italy was starting to become impossible.

And so the move to Italy came about. All our London things were put into storage, a few boxes were couriered to Italy (containing my sewing machine and the boy's toys and books. You know, things we can't live without) and the rest came over with us in 3 suitcases on the plane.

Our dream  of living in Italy was always a "one day" dream and we never knew when that day would be or how it would look. We never thought we would be forced to live in Italy as our only option.

And we never dreamed that it would only be one of us living over here...

How DUMB it is that finances have dictated our decisions and it's resulted in only one of us living in the country of our dreams with our children while the other one brings in the money to keep food on our table {and not just any ol' food. Italian food mind you!}

But I'm still hanging onto that dream of us all living together in Italy. 

This is a stretching time for us, but we both have peace about our decisions. Now that we have children and their needs to consider we realise our decisions affect them also.

God only knows what our futures hold and I'm holding onto Him by my fingernails! (which are unfortunately very short at this present time...)
This is not an ideal situation, I know that.
But I have peace.
And I know it will all work out in the end.

We received a very exciting package of goodies from Austin's parents in New Zealand and enclosed was a wonderful letter from my father-in-law (King Dave). Such encouraging words he had to say: 

"We think you are doing an amazing job, bringing up the boys in a foreign country. You will look back on these months as something very special. A time of bonding and unique opportunities..."

I cannot express how much these words mean to me. They have brought great encouragement to me since I read them - thank you Dave! X

I absolutely agree - I know our time here in Italy is very special and is something we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

This dream - our italian dream - is worth fighting for.

There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.  
~Author Unknown


  1. I love your story! Fun that I met you both in those beginning months before (or after?) your wedding in 2002 :) What an adventure. I admire you SO much. You really ARE doing a wonderful job! And what a lovely father in law (and a king at that!) to write such truthful and life-giving, inspiring words to you. Such a gift. I know what it is to bring up children in a foreign's not easy and sometimes so hard! But I don't know about doing it so often on my own, so...great respect i have :) And may that day you all live there together come sooner than you imagine :) xx

  2. P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY for tomorrow!!!

  3. Tor would like to quit and be a florist
    Gunther does interior design
    Ulf is into mime
    Attila's cupcakes are sublime
    Bruiser knits
    Killer sews
    Fang does little puppet shows
    And Vladimir collects ceramic unicorns! *ding*


  4. Beautiful, honest post Brigitte. I had the words 'His ways are not our ways' come to mind when reading this. Your Italian dream must seem a little different to your current Italian reality but still His hand is on you all and oh what a precious gift it is to have faith and peace that can only come from Him xx Meg

  5. thanks for sharing the beginings of the dream, I had always wondered how it came about for two kiwis to live in Italy.
    And I was at parachute 2000. We could have walked past each other!

  6. Wow, your post brought tears to my eyes (although that may partly be because I'm tired & sick and feeling like crap)! But I was so pleased to read it, especially the part about you having peace with your decisions & situation, becuase only yesterday I commented to Mum that I didn't understand how God's plan for your lives could include you n Austin being apart for such long periods. I know "His ways higher" etc but I also know that family is also big in His plans. I admire you greatly, envy you (in part) and truly hope that He will reveal the bigger picture sooner rather than later.
    Lots n lots of love
    Narnie x

  7. Your honesty and rawness - so evident in this post (thank you, love your writing)... the path for us is often narrow and bumpy, hey?, but the destination is God-given. How often is it that God fulfills our dreams and desires in ways that are completely foreign to us - and the journey along the way is where the stretch happens - and we cling, like you say, with fingernails..... the blessing is in the stretch and our reliance on Him to fill the gap.
    Praying that your journey will turn that corner soon where you'll all be living together in your Italy home. And it will be wonderful.

  8. This is just a stunning, stunning post. I'm both absolutely thrilled and nervous for you, but mostly thrilled. Embrace the adventure and richness that this opportunity brings you. In any language, life is never all good, but my god it sounds good in Italian!?!?! x


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