Libby and I moved to Modena, Italy three and a half years ago. Because of getting treated for cancer in the US, I was only here for a little over one and a half of those years. As much as Italy drove me crazy when we moved here because I missed China so much, and it pushed me over the brink while I was trying to get diagnosed and left in a panic, what will stick with me forever are the people we met and the experiences we had with them.

It’s always the people that make a place, isn’t it? Like music that defines the times of your life it’s the people who populate a place that make it so special. For someone who was in Modena such a short time I formed deep and lasting relationships with warm and wonderful people who are now friends. I will miss Modena a little bit, but I will really miss the people I met and the friends I made here–Elena & Daire, Elena’s parents Silva and Andrea, Naoual, Line & Jose, Barbara, Serena, Valentina, Paola, Emanuele & Rosa, Anna, Maryam, Philip, and Daria.

A lot of life happened in the short time we were here. Naoual had a daughter. Elena and Daire met, fell in love, had a daughter and were married. Maryam got married. Meihui and Nikko had a son and a daughter. Valentina had a son. Libby and I got married.

The movers are here right now and I’m watching them wrap up the large table and chairs I had made in Shanghai. We had many parties and many meals around that table in Shanghai giving us memories that will last a lifetime. What I realize as I watch each chair being wrapped is how many memories we made over that table here in Modena, memories that, too, will last a lifetime.

I’m ready for our next chapter in Sweden, but it’s a bit harder to close the book on Italy than I thought it would be.

Ciao amici, grazie di cuore per tutto.