Che meraviglia! The flight attendant bends over William and tickles his little chin. She quickly calls her colleague who then bends over Gabriella cooingly. Daniel, two and a half years old, looks at it in amazement. He sits on Aunt Isabella's lap, while my mother bottle feeds Gabriella and I myself William.
They are three months now and indeed… endearing. The exclamations and cries of the two Italian flight attendants will be the first of many expressions of love for our children, because Italians love children.
We are on our way to Italy. Our great adventure is about to begin.
Six weeks ago, Fred left with his own father and my father to make our new home habitable for our young family. Everything is ready for our arrival, so now I am sitting here with my three young children, mother and niece on the plane to join my husband and start our Italian life in Piedmont.
This is how it was fifteen years ago.
Fred and I had been dreaming of a life under the Italian sun for several years. Alternately we had kept each other in balance in recent years: then he wanted to take the step and I stopped things; then again I wanted to go and he was not enthusiastic. But when our oldest son, Daniel, was six months old, we decided to jump in and get serious about looking for a home under the sun. After all, what was the worst that could happen? If it didn't turn out to be as fun as we thought it would, we could always return to The Netherlands, an experience richer.
And it worked out just fine. It was as much fun as we thought it would be. Heavier, more intensive and more frustrating than we thought, but great, inspiring and propulsive. Our life in Italy is a celebration of warmth, nice people, delicious and honest food, good wines and a great view.
We have made the choice to establish the basis of our lives in The Netherlands again after three years. That had to do with the rhythm of life in the hills of Piedmont and the education for our, now, four children. At the end of 2009 we returned to the Netherlands, maintaining our wonderful company in Italy, full of plans for the future and good prospects for our kids.
And now we are working our fifteenth season, of which the last two were a real challenge. Never before had we been placed before crisis management and had to go far beyond our comfort zone to save what could be saved. Yet we are still just as enthusiastic about Italy, tourism and our guests as we were in the first year. It is our passion and we are not satisfied until our guests have had the best holiday ever. For this we have come up with new offers next year, because as an entrepreneur you should never stand still and always have to improve yourself. We have grown from three accommodations in the first year to seven accommodations in 2018. Nevertheless, we have chosen to continue with five accommodations (which will be six accommodations in two years) and that balance is completely right for us.
The step we have taken has helped us to live a wonderful life on our own terms, living the best of both worlds: Italy and The Netherlands. We are grateful for that, but without a little guts and just 'jumping' if necessary, it would not have worked. It is a lot of arrangements to coordinate the school diaries and our seasonal calendar every year, but it works and we are happy with that.
After fifteen years of successful business abroad, we are happy to share our knowledge and now also help fortune seekers who are about to try their luck abroad. After all, you don't have to reinvent the wheel.
And next year? Then we just start again with giving our guests a wonderful stay. The bookings are (fortunately) already flowing in and with the new range of itineraries, we are convinced that we will make it a success again.
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