Samara O'Shea

Archive for March, 2011

Loving and Losing Liz

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Due to sparse Internet, the only piece of news that I got while in Italy was that Elizabeth Taylor died. Twitter broke it to me. I was able to get on for about two minutes, and I saw the hashtag RIP Elizabeth Taylor.

I wasn’t shocked, as it was bound to happen, and I won’t even say I’m sad. I’m happy actually. I love Liz and she lived as full of a life as anyone can hope to. After her acting career ended, she triumphantly took on AIDS as a cause long before it was considered cool to do so. And, of course, she was a woman of letters. She asked to be buried beside the last letter Richard Burton ever wrote her. And a set of letters she wrote to her first fiancé, William D.
Pawley Jr. (who she never ended up marrying), are due to be auctioned off in May. I had no idea she was engaged to before she married first husband, Nicky Hilton. This woman sure did have a love life!

I’m also not sad because Elizabeth is not going anywhere—she will live on as a screen goddess for many years to come. I can’t wait until TCM starts playing all her movies.

In the Italian Details

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

A few more vignettes from my trip.

A gorgeous gramophone

The poem on our menu the first night we ate out


More postcards

A decorative stack of vintage luggage that was in one of the bedrooms at the villa

Me with an insanely large cup of tea

Before I Left

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I began writing for the Yahoo Contributor Network. My first story posted while I was abroad and two more posted today, so I show them to you now. Also, consider writing for the network yourself, if the idea of writing is something you have ever toyed with.

La Dolce Far Ninente

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

This blog was written two days after I arrived in Italy. Alas, the house would only allow us ten minutes of Internet access at the most, so I was never able to post. It’s probably a good thing that the Universe made sure we got off line.

March 24, 2011

La Dolce Far Ninente is Italian for “the sweetness of doing nothing.”

After an eight-hour flight, I touched down in Rome and the whole airplane cabin began applauding. I’m not sure if we were applauding the pilot for a smooth landing or the Roman gods for seeing us there safely, but I participated enthusiastically because I got a kick out of the sporadic clapping. When I went through security, the guard did not stamp my passport. This perturbed me. I was going to request it but feared it would look suspicious. “Why do you want your passport stamped so badly?” Um, because I’m in Italy, and I’d like my passport to reflect that fabulous fact.

Once I had my bag, I readied myself to get on two trains. The first was easy, getting on a shuttle from the airport to Roma Termini (Rome’s central train station). The second, required a little more maneuvering and standing in front of signs long enough to make it obvious that I’m a tourist. I found my track with moments to spare and was off to Orvieto. An hour and half later, Jennifer picked me up and we drove through the Italian countryside.

The villa we’re staying in is in the middle of nowhere. There are no street lights and barely any cars. The silence is striking. It begs your attention. There are no clocks in the house. You have to go out of your way to find out what time it is. If you drive twenty minutes in any direction, you’ll come to a town—small and magically built on a hill at least a thousand years ago.

I’m savoring the space. The space in the house. The space outside the house. The sky at night showing six hundred more stars than I knew existed. The undulating terrain. Usually when I travel, it’s go go go. Go to this museum and this restaurant. Let’s see this show! But here, I’m trying to simply be while enjoying the quiet, the company, and the wind dancing in the fireplace. A few initial photos:

The nearby castle

Tiny town street

Sheep crossing!

The town and the terrain go so well together.

My first authentic Italian pizza

Me and the villa

Right on Time

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Welcome to spring! It showed up on schedule. In the northeast, we had a gorgeous Friday, a slightly cooler but still sunny Saturday, and a Sunday similar to Saturday. The rain waited for Monday, which was very thoughtful of it. This weekend, I bought a vintage vanity. I only paid $10.50 on e-bay for it. It’ll make it’s way into my bedroom at some point. For now, it’s sitting pretty in the living room.


I also received a letter from the mystery traveler. This time he writes from Bamako, Mali.


He asks me what I need to “get in the mood” to write. That’s a great question and one I’m not sure I have a great answer for. I need tea, undoubtedly. I need a good idea. Oh! I need a deadline—even if it’s a self-imposed one. The myster traveler needs “a cup of coffee, a clean desk, a good pen, and paper that’s being asked to be written on.” I’d say these elephants are definitely asking for a little language love.


Finally, I leave for Italy today! As I said, you may or may not hear from me when I’m there. We’ll see what the week has in store. Ciao!

Made My Day

Friday, March 18th, 2011

My cousin Linda just sent me this ad that appeared in the Australia Post. How cool is this?!


An Old Irish Toast

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

. . .written in both English & Gaelic. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head
be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
for a half hour before
the devil knows you’re dead.

Go raibh do ghloine lán go deo.
Go raibh láidir go breá
an dion thar do cheann.
Go raibh tú í Neamh,
leathúair os comhair
a bhfuil a fhíos ag an diabhal
atá tú bás.