19 Dec 2011

A belated post for the Italy Blogging Roundtable about the incredible gifts that I have received this year.

The Gifts of Life


This month’s Italy Blogging Roundtable was very special (I write in the past because I am late in posting this time..). Not only because it was about “gifts” – and who doesn’t love gifts?! – but also because we asked our blogging friends to contribute to this month’s roundtable and “donate” an original post.

I discovered what I knew already: we have amazing, generous friends, who didn’t hesitate to join in the fun and contributed fabulous posts. You can see the links to all the submissions here, in the comments. I have tried to add all the links that I received.

But, rules are rules, and only a selection of the posts received could be selected for a special mention in this post! And it was so difficult to choose only 5, because I loved all of the contributions! You will find my selection at the end of this post (you can’t ruin the suspense…)!

I meant to write this post well in advance and schedule it to be published on the 14th like the posts of the other ladies. Unfortunately, I only managed to write the three paragraphs above before I went into labor!

The most amazing gift

That’s right. We got the most incredible gift this month: our son Liam. He decided to arrive in a hurry, on December 8. I had always joked about the fact that I was sure he would come on the 8th, which is a holiday… and that’s always bad news in hospitals, because all the most experienced doctors are off, and the younger med students cover all the shifts. And that is exactly what happened!


I went into labor at 6.30 am and at 2.28 pm he was born. There were a few bumps along the road, and everything was a bit more complicated than we had hoped or expected to be, but that makes us appreciate even more the value of being together.

For this reason, when I think of what I should write about “gifts”, I can’t think of any greater present than my family… including the dog!

The second most amazing gift

Time… oh what a distant memory!!! Time to sleep, time to eat, time to answer email and even write this post… Now I truly appreciate every moment I can get for myself!


But then I think that the time I can’t dedicate to myself is time well spent with my beloved ones.

The gift of dreams

Over the past 10 years, I have been working hard to advance in my academic career: a PhD, two post-doc reasearch grants, publications, presentations at national and international conferences, participations in research projects, etc. I have been working as a non-tenured researcher and lecturer in English Linguistics at the University of Pisa since 2004, always with short-term contracts which guaranteed no job security whatsoever.


From tomorrow, I will finally be able to call myself a tenured researcher! I still have a hard time believing that I did really get the job I have been working so hard to get… Many times I have thought that I would be better off giving up on my “dream” and dedicating my time to something else. Now I am happy that I hung on and that my friends and family were so supportive.

The gift of hope

This year has brought me so many beautiful gifts that I am kind of scared of completely rejoicing… Superstitious Italians! 🙂 I have all the fears that new mothers have, all the worries that most people have before starting a new job, all the questions that such big life changes bring about…


But I also have hope. Hope that I can be a good mum and a good scholar. Hope that my family and friends will be on my side and will support my new path. Hope that I will be abe to show them how much I love them and appreciate every little thing they do for me.

The gift of friendship

I need to thank all the friends – both those that I get a chance to meet in person and those whom I only get to meet online – for their wishes, their kind words, their gifts and most importantly their patience! Especially my Italy Blogging Roundtable ladies, Alexandra, Jessica, Melanie and Rebecca, who have allowed me to participate even if I am so late in posting this month!

The gifts I won’t buy…

And an apology… I am afraid this year, we won’t have time to go Christmas shopping. Normally, I love shopping for Christmas presents! I am one of those people who don’t care about the actual monetary value of presents: it’s the objects that matter not their price. Since we always end up spending a lot of money on the gifts we give the younger members of the family, we play a little game with our grown-up family memmbers: we cannot spend more than 5 euros on each other’s presents. And the presents must be chosen carefully for the person they will be given to. They can be handmade, or bought. Finding 5 euro presents is really difficult, more than one would expect! But that’s what makes it so much fun!


I usually go shopping at the Christmas markets in Pisa. There are lots of stalls selling hand-crafted objects, and if you are patient enough, you can easily find the most suitable gift for everybody.

For more expensive presents I love the shops in Corso Italia and most of all… Antichi Vizi. See this post about the best places for Christmas gift shopping in Pisa.

This year, I am afraid we will be handing out hugs, kisses and best wishes for the holidays and the new year!

And now my choice of guest posts for the Italy Blogging Roundtable!

Once again, I would like to thank the people who sent their contributions to this month’s Italy Blogging Roundtable! All the posts were amazing, but I needed to choose 5 so here we go:

Choosing was almost impossible. The quality of the posts was incredible. Please see the comments this post for the full list of the posts! Thanks!

Italy Blogging Roundtable

italy travel blog roundtableThis is the seventh post in a monthly series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Here you can find the posts of the other bloggers who participate in the roundtable. Our topic this month was “gifts“:

Alexandra (Arttrav) – Top 5 Christmas gift ideas from Renaissance Florence

Jessica (Why Go Italy) – Italy Roundtable: 8 of My Favorite Italy Gifts

Melanie (Italofile) – Give the Gift of Italian Culture

Rebecca (Brigolante) – The Blogging Gift


  1. Congratulations on the beautiful baby Gloria. And well done on the job – you certainly deserve it!! Have a Merry Christmas with your family.

    • Thank you Pauline!

  2. Carol and Kathy

    Gloria and Marcel,

    We are very happy for you. Liam is the ultimate gift and a beautiful little guy. We’re sure he will come to see his being part of you a special gift, too.

    We both remember very fondly the Sept/Oct 2009 time we spent in the Pisa Apt. and the memories are even nicer when we think of the two of you. And, now you are 3!

    We are lucky enough have a Liam in our family, too. Today is our nephew’s 14 month birthday, and he is a delight.

    All the very best to you and have a Merry Christmas and a 2012 filled with much happiness. Congratulations to you on your new professional position.

    Kathy and Carol from NYC

    • Hi Carol and Kathy,

      how nice of you to still think of us! Our most heartfelt wishes to you and your families too!

  3. Heartfelt congratulations Gloria, but especially for baby Liam: he is so so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your photos of the new “man” in your life. Hugs and kisses. Donna & family.

    • Thank you Donna! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  4. Cindy Ruth

    Liam is so previous! Thank you for showing us a photo of him. Congratulations again to you and Marcel and Merry Christmas to your family.

    • Thank you Cindy! Merry Christmas to you too!

  5. Ohhh Gloria congratulations on your beautiful son, what wonderful news and the best ever reason for being late for anything. And just before Christmas so an even more special gift. I wanted to thank you for selecting my post, and funnily enough it’s also about the joy and love bought by family. It seems like yesterday that our first little boy was born, they really do grow so fast!

    I hope you all have a magical first Christmas with Liam, ciao lisa

    • Thank you Lisa, a wonderful Christmas to you and your family too!

  6. Gloria,
    your baby is the best gift you could receive. It’s really a magic Christmas for you: Liam and the “lavoro fisso”, your new-old job… a baby is a job too…but mine is 3 months and now he sleeps all the night long. you’ll have fun, you’ll discover old things with new eyes…i wish you all the best with your family. and hope to meet you soon. thank you so much for adding my post to your list.

    • Grazie a te Silvia!!!

  7. Hi Gloria,

    I came here via Lisa from Renovating Italy. What a gorgeous gift you have had…a baby!

    Congratulations and all the best to your new family.

    I love how you now appreciate your time – its a juggling act being a Mum!


  8. He is the most beautiful baby. So lovely. And congratulations, Glo, you deserve every single thing that is coming your way — tenure, motherhood, the whole package. Congratulations. May 2012 be a continuation of the wonderful events of this year for you and Marcel and Liam.

    • Thank you Diana! You are too sweet! I hope you can meet Liam in person next year!

  9. Enjoy that sweet face and all he will bring!

  10. AUGURI TO YOU ALL! He is just gorgeous (and looks like you!)…Mxx

    • Thank you Megan!

  11. What a marvellous place you created for the love of home. I am planning my next year’s trip and found here when Google “from Pisa to Florence”. Your words, the travel guide and others about the life in Tuscany, like melodies playing around me. What a pity that I don’t have enough time to visit this place, and I even don’t get a driver license now… I hope one day, maybe in 2013, I could come back again with a certificate paper for the driving and 7 days or long to stay at your lovely country house. It sounds quite long time from today but I will make a wish and see it happens.
    Best wishes to your family, especially to Liam.

    • Thank you for your kind words Yuliang! We would love to have you as our guests!

  12. Steve & Kirsten

    Gloria! What a baby!! Who would have thought that someone who looks SO much like Marcel could be so cute!

    It’s going to be much harder for you to come to Canada now so Kirsten and I might have to head to your part of the world for a visit – we’re longing for a bit of Tuscany!

    Actually, we only saw your blog because we were searching around our old Italy bookmarked websites…we’re missing your country and of course you and Marcel and Liam. By the way, Liam and I share a birthday, just 41 years apart.

    Your friends, Steve and Kirsten.

    • Ciao! What a surprise! We are actually planning a three-week trip to Canada for the summer… We are ambitious! You know that you are always welcome here, so whenever you have dates inmind, let us know!

      • Steve & Kirsten

        That’s great – looking forward to getting together with you guys! Happy New Year and congrats on the job – good news on all fronts.


  1. […] The Gifts of LifeGloria's Italy Roundtable post was a bit late thanks to her best gift of the year – the birth of her son! […]

  2. […] At Home in Tuscany – The Gifts of Life […]

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