Merry Christmas 2013

Buon Natale da Italia!

Christmas in Lucca 1

Normally we would send Christmas letters to all friends and family around the holidays. However, when you live in Italy, it is a little harder to do that, so hopefully you all receive our love and blessings through this blog post instead.

2013 has been a year of big changes for us. My husband started off the beginning of the year by accepting a new job position. He is now the Assistant Professor of Statistical Physics with the Laboratory for Analysis of Complex Economic Systems at IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca in Italy. This was a big decision that we discussed constantly during long walks along the Boston Harbor until we came to the conclusion that this was a move that we just couldn’t pass up. We spent the first half of the year preparing for this. While we have become accustomed to moving, it is quite different when you are moving to another country. We are both very happy with this decision.

I was very fortunate to be able to visit with lots of family and friends before moving to Italy. My parents came to Boston for a nice visit in the Spring, which was followed by a vacation with my in-laws. Both my husband and I have been very blessed with wonderful families, and we miss them a lot, especially during the holidays.

My husband is thriving in his new job. At Harvard, he was working on understanding biological networks using simple physics models (well simple for him I guess) and is applying these same ideas to economic systems at IMT. He was invited to give a talk at the Signal Image Technology and Internet Based Systems 2013 Conference in Kyoto, Japan on the “Border Sensitive Centralities in Patent Citation Networks Using Asymmetric Random Walks.” He also recently attended meetings in Paris, France.

Since moving to Lucca, Italy, I continue to work part-time but have also kept busy learning Italian. I took a beginner course at the Lucca Italian School. It was quite intensive, but I enjoyed it. It was a great introduction to Italian and my classmates were the absolute best. My husband and I will occasionally list one or two of our extra bedrooms on Airbnb as well, which is a lot more work than originally expected. I was hoping to be able to say by this point that I am now a permanent resident of Italy, but my paperwork is still being processed. That has been quite the ordeal.

One of the huge positives to making this move to Italy was to have more opportunities to travel and explore places we haven’t been. For those that know us well, we love to travel. Since moving to Italy, we have been to Prague, Malta, Paris, and will be going to Barcelona immediately after Christmas. We have also explored a few places in Italy. You can read more about our travel adventures on my Travel Page.  (

Being in Lucca, Italy has allowed us to start new traditions. My husband and I hosted our first Thanksgiving. We enjoyed it immensely. The food and company was just fantastic, and we hope that we can make this an ongoing tradition during our time here. Christmastime is a bit different here than we are use to. It isn’t as commercialized as it is in the States. There are some outdoor markets, an ice skating rink, and light displays (as shown in the pictures I’ve attached to this blog). The Christmas season really doesn’t begin here until mid-December; whereas in the States, everything is Christmas now before Thanksgiving is over.

As my husband and I look back on 2013, we are very happy with the decisions we have made and look forward to the adventures that we will have in the upcoming years. I think if anyone would have told me 5 years ago that I would be living in Tuscany, I would have laughed and thought that was ridiculous. This seems like a dream, and I am very blessed to be sharing it with my best friend whom I love very much (Yes, husband, I am talking about you). I would like to thank him for being an amazing, patient, and loving husband. Next, I would like to thank a very important individual that I lost this year. My Grandma has been a very important friend and confidante in my life. She supported me and guided me throughout my entire life. I am grateful for every precious moment that we spent together. I think about her all the time and will always love her very much. Last, but not least, a big thank you to our family and friends who have been there for us. We miss you all and wish you a very blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!!!

Christmas in Lucca 2