Under The (Florida) Sun

I’m watching ‘Under the Tuscan Sun”for maybe the 10th time, give or take a couple. I love this movie. It is partially responsible for me wanting to see Italy before I die. iThe story though, reminds me of how I felt when I sold my house up north and moved here, to the small town of Gulfport in Florida.

If you’ve not read the book or seen the movie, Diane Lane stars as Frances, a woman who goes through a heartbreak of a divorce. Her friends give her a free ticket for a tour of Tuscany. The friends are gay, and give her a ticket for a gay tour, assuming she won’t meet anyone on the trip since she is not gay, but will be able to put the past behind her. On one of the the bus trips she finds a 300 year old estate in Tuscany, complete with a a vineyard and apple orchard, and a lot of surprises. She is a writer, unlike me she is a good writer, published. She wrote the book, and it became the movie.

The big house itself was in complete disrepair. My house was not. Mine is a small bungalow, 1/3 the size of my house in Connecticut. And had recently been remodeled to be flipped. She is a gourmet cook. I, sadly, am not. Oh, I can cook, but gourmet? No. Nope. I used to be better than I am now, and hope to get back to cooking much more seriously when I can stand for more than a few minutes.

There is a creepy similarity between us in the critters that we both encountered in our new homes. Hers were spiders, an owl, a snake. Mine have been the giant frigging palmetto bugs that luckily don’t run in packs, but can be found singularly lying on the floor on their backs, looking dead, but often are not. They are terrifying to look at and if they start flying you probably feel the need to run for cover. The second, and worse, critter are the fruit rats, that nest in the palm trees, and come in through the roof, utilizing any small hole they can find. I can relate to the snake, my cat once brought one in the house but that was up north, not here in Florida. When the snake got in her house, she couldn’t find it again, and I had the same issue. The snake in my house went under the couch and was never seen again. A couple of months later, I did find it’s shed skin in a plant that I had by a picture window. But as far as I know, the snake still lives in that house with the new owners.

I just paid someone $225 to go up on the roof and block any holes he found. I have not heard one, or seen one since, so I’m hoping my rat problem has been solved. At least until I cut the palm tree down that they live in on the corner of my house.

I guess one reason I love that movie is because I, like Francesca, as Frances is known in Italy, were both seeking to create a new life when we moved here. She was leaving her divorce behind. I was leaving a lot of bad memories behind… a long, ugly, contentious divorce from a man who turned out to be spiraling into the unknown world of mental illness, a ridiculously bad relationship, that was, as Dan says, the rebound guy. The rebound guy will never be THE guy, and he wasn’t. Neither was Francesca’s. I even waited many years before dating after my divorce, thinking that would keep me from choosing the wrong man. But I did anyway, and I gave it my all. I’m pretty sure she did too.

In the end, I left him behind, and my ex behind, and the house I loved but could not keep if I retired. Now I live in a 900 square ft bungalow where it is warm enough for shorts and flip-flops all the time, save for a few chilly days in the winter. I created a new life, as Francesca did. Made new friends, formed a writers group, and joined a spirit group, hung out with my sister, walked daily by the bay on which Gulfport is located. Up until the virus hit, I went to chair yoga once a week, taught by a close friend and member of the writer’s group. I met Dan, and the ending, if there is one, has yet to be written to that relationship. I stay in the moment with this relationship, without expectations. I try to let it flow down the path of least resistance, and accept whatever that brings. I wake up most days happy to be alone, happy to see the glorious sunrise out my kitchen window, happy to sit on my deck in the warm morning.

Francesca, created the life she dreamed of. I think I’m doing the same. There are two very different stories, but somehow similar.

I still dream of going to Italy before it’s too late. Got to work on my manifestation powers.

Love and light to all.

3 responses to “Under The (Florida) Sun

  1. Though I haven’t read the book, I’ve probably seen Under the Tuscan Sun close to 10 times. It holds a special place in my heart. I discovered the movie about ten years ago, after the divorce and the two stressful rebounds that made me cynical about romance. But I was also learning about manifesting, and started to think, maybe, just maybe there could be someone out there that would be a good fit, so I let myself watch romantic comedies, just for fun. I love so much about the movie that showed the value of friendship and having hope, but enjoying life while single. I love how you’re going with the flow in your relationship. Sending healing thoughts and prayers to you. ❤

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