I cannot believe I have been back in the States for over a month. My time has flown by, as I spent these last few weeks working for a good friend while she was on maternity leave. It seems like we were waiting, waiting, waiting for the baby to arrive and then BOOM- now he is three weeks old and I am leaving. It has been so great to see her every day and watch her become a mom. Seeing the baby every day has also been amazing- they change so much! I spent a lot of time (not nearly enough, but a lot compared to zero) biking with my friend’s husband. His patience and willingness to teach me has been invaluable. When I am a star triathlete I will be sure to shout him out from the podium 😉 First I need to quit being scared of the downhills. And the stupid click in shoes!! This past month has also been filled with so many other awesome events. I traveled to Del Mar for the wedding of one of my closest college friends. The highlight of that weekend for me was the wedding morning run with the bride and another friend from college… what a fun way to catch up and get ready for the craziness of the evening. Being stationed in southeastern PA has its advantages. The first being that it it closer to, I don’t know, EVERYONE, compared to Italy. Closer than Florida for many of my friends for sure. One dear friend from vet school came to visit on her way up North. My aunt and uncle drove up to see me while they were in DC. We caught up over lunch and then toured my friend’s mushroom farm. Learning about the process of mushroom farming was really interesting and potentially had too much chemistry for me to understand. The portabellas were delicious, though. And if you were wondering, they are kept in the dark and fed… Compost 🙂 My mom threw a surprise bridal shower for my sister and I got to be there. AWESOME. Her wedding is in Sarasota at the end of the month and will be beautiful. The shower was complete with pig themed cupcakes… my sister’s favorite animal. I spent a weekend with one of my best friends from vet school and his fiancee. I got to spend quality time with two of my roommates from college, which is so hard when everybody is a working professional. Amazing to be hanging out and realizing that we each achieved our career dreams- veterinarian, dentist, and marine biologist. I am convinced the partying led us down the right path 🙂 A high school friend also came up to visit… She works for the State Department so has been abroad for most of the last few years. Seeing her was like stepping back into a pair of comfortable old shoes… lots to catch up up but felt just right. And I got to visit with another close friend from vet school with her second baby… her first was born during school and man, knowing that he is 7 years old will age you!! An important realization occurred to me during my tenure in PA. I love and miss being a veterinarian. Sometimes it can be hard to see through the details of a job or a situation, but when it comes down to it, I love the horses, the medicine, many clients, and the freedom of driving around all day visiting different farms. This realization has led me to start my own business as a relief veterinarian for equine practices. Who knows where it may lead, but it is a good focus for me for the time being. Lastly, I realized that Italy is home now. This is perhaps the most vital piece of the pie. I miss my friends there and no matter how tough it can be some days, that is where my life is. I resolve to try a little harder to work through the rough times, because I have wonderful friends and a great support system there… thank you to the ones who have made it feel like home. I am also certain that this is a real feeling and not just because I miss my poor pets!! Well, that is it for now. Just a little reflection before I head to DC tomorrow to celebrate the wedding of a wonderful, funny, and compassionate friend from Maryland. Buonanotte 🙂 .