Ok. The holidays are long gone and we are already almost two months into the new year. Time is speedy which is an indication that I need to stop, take a breath and remind myself to slow down. The moment has come for us to introduce ourselves (now or never). Weeks have gone by since I first said that I would start the communication going as soon as I found a free moment. Those of us living in the real world know that “this moment” never actually arrives on its own. We need to decide to find “it” between, under and around all the other IMPORTANT stuff we have on our lists of things to do- in our case, visiting with family in the States, travelling to Costa Rica, working on books, getting our girls (temporarily). settled in a new school (we homeschooled them for the past year), renewing passports, trying to make healthy meals in the 2 by 2, common kitchen of a family run, Costarican-style hotel, hand-washing socks and underwear (so that we don’t run out of the essentials), making space in no space, finding a second of privacy here and there, having endless “meetings” about our next move while trying not to plan too much…
We are The Bizzocchi Family, the family behind LETTER FROM SANTA – A Green Christmas Tale, and we would like to share more with you. While during the holidays our FB page was about promoting a loving way to celebrate, now we would like to get up-close(r) and more personal. We would like you to be able to get to know us better. As you already know by reading Andrea’s Christmas ebook, we are about being green and having as little impact on the environment as possible. We don’t always succeed, but our philosophy is “one step back, two steps forward”. It is the direction that counts, and while we are not the best at living in an ecological way, we are always working on improvement. What you probably don’t know is that we are also about living lightly (and often in extremely small spaces), continuously challenging ourselves as a family and as individuals, learning to adapt to new, exciting and not always “easy” situations, and aiming towards utmost transparency and respect for each other (as a family unit), others and life in itself.
Here is a bit more about each one of us:
Andrea is the author of the book LETTER FROM SANTA. He is the free spirit, the man with the ideas (and how many he has- good, not so good and every once in a while truly amazing). He is a doer and does not like to procrastinate. He is a man that has a natural ability to inspire and motivate, or as Kelly Corrigan (author of the book Glitter and Glue) puts it, he is the “Glitter” of the family. He loves adventure, spontaneity and change, change, change!
I am the “live in the moment”, “do one thing at a time” type. Although I was much more zen before all the lightness and movement in our life, I aspire every day to keep calm and gain simple wisdom from (extra)ordinary moments. I am as Corrigan puts it, the “Glue”. I satisfy the practical needs of the family (meals, clothes, space, suitcases…), breathe a lot and accept my constant imperfection during early morning yoga, brief anywhere-anytime opportunities to sweat, and rare, short spouts of heavenly silence.
Kenia Nelson is 10 years old. She speaks 3 languages, has changed school 5 times (and has been homeschooled, often on the road, for the past year), is a wiz at problem solving, has been observing everything from plumbers to the details of women’s shoes since she could walk, is extremely mature and maternal, and falls deeply in love with every place she encounters.
Havana (Bianca Jade on her birth certificate) is 7 years old. She speaks two and a half languages (hasn’t perfected Spanish yet), has changed school 5 times (has also been homeschooled for the past year), is crazy adorable, affectionate and very intense. She goes back and forth between being still, silent and pensive and being overactive, silly and on a non-stoppable talking streak. She loves sweets and at the sight of something insanely unhealthy her already huge eyes seem to pop out of her head and say “YES, give me a dozen!”
Now a little history…
Andrea and I met during the summer of 1995 in Sint Marteen, an island in the Caribbean. He had moved there from Italy a few months earlier in search of another adventure and decided to open an Italian, fast food restaurant. I had just graduated from law school in New York, and after a summer of studying for the bar, was sent on vacation by my parents to relax before entering the working world. Our journey together began with instant attraction (of opposites!), a language barrier and Hurricane Luis (Hurricane Luis killed over 500 people and destroyed much of the island). With no money, my school loans and tons of enthusiasm for life, Andrea moved to New York and we started a small distribution business. After two years of working long days and extra jobs at night (Andrea in a pizzeria and I as an assistant to a Personal Trainer), we decided to move back to Andrea’s hometown in Italy. Whereas, the first 8 years in Italy were filled with the launching of several businesses, a variety of carefree “occupations” and quite a bit of travel, the past 12 years can be defined by the terms life changing experiences, personal relationships, voluntary down-sizing and freedom.
Our views on life started to take a change of direction in 2001. At the time, we still had a small franchise of videostores throughout Italy, and I had just started working as a Personal Trainer in a small gym that I set up in our garage. Andrea wrote and published his first book as a reaction to 9/11. He was angry and the “entrepreneur for fun” label no longer fit him. We began to get a first glimpse of what was actually happening in the world. When we found out I was pregnant with Kenia (now 10), we knew that we didn’t want her to grow up in the world that surrounded us at the time. With the intent of relocating, we decided to give birth to her in Costa Rica, a place where she would be able to “simply” grow up. However, when it came time to put our dog India (a rescued pitbull who passed away on Feb 16, 2013 at the age of 16) on the plane, we backed out and decided to put off relocating until she would no longer be with us. In the meantime, we sold off all of our businesses. I continued to work in the gym and Andrea wrote his second book based on a conversation with James Howard Kunstler, author of the book The Long Emergency Letting go of our businesses gave us the opportunity to spend several months a year in Costa Rica. In December of 2007, Havana (Bianca Jade) was born (also in Costa Rica). We were even more convinced that we needed to raise our daughters in a different, more sustainable way and continued “looking” for a place, or rather a community, that felt right to us.
Through the years, our lifestyle has changed quite radically. We freed ourselves of all things that kept us locked to one place, including our house. We have reduced our expenses, reduced waste and the purchase of packaged food, changed our eating habits, and don’t consider what we do to economically sustain ourselves as work. Andrea writes about ecology, sustainability, sobriety and freedom. He also conducts conferences and seminars about these issues. He has published 9 books in Italian and is working on his 10th. I teach exercise and yoga here and there, occasionally organize vegan cooking workshops for children and adults, and do some translation work, along with my job as a full time mom.
While in Italy, we spend much of our time in our RV while travelling to fairs and festivals where we sell books for Andreas’ publishers (natural medicine and cuisine, sustainability, organic agriculture, spirituality, etc.). We barter as often as possible, pick olives in exchange for olive oil during the season, and do many other odd jobs when they come our way. As a result, our girls see many different places and environments and meet tons of interesting people and new friends. We travel and work as a family and notice the positive impact such a lifestyle has on both of them. They are friendly, alert and very easily adaptable. They learn things about people and nature that cannot be taught in a classroom. When one of Kenia’s classmates asked her how she can get to “go on vacation” as much, Kenia answered, “It’s simple. Just tell your parents that they need to get an R.V. and start selling books!
We also spend many months of the year in Costa Rica living the “Pura Vida” and seeing what life has in store for us next while living the moment… the only moment that truly exists.