Counting My Blessings

17 Jun

Sunday is always a good day to reflect on what we have to be thankful for, and this morning an unexpected surprise has me feeling lucky and blessed to be able to do what I do for a living.

I don’t usually get sentimental on the blog. OK, maybe just sometimes when I reflect on how far I’ve come since I moved here six years ago.

Today when I went in to one of the apartments to do some cleaning after a couple of guests from Australia had just left, I found a big bouquet of flowers on the table, and this note in my guest book:

Dear Shelley,

We had a wonderful time in Rome. This apartment was gorgeous–we loved all the little personal touches (being a chocolate lover you won me over immediately with the dark chocolate left on the pillows!). Trastevere is a lovely place–it was great wandering around all the little streets and finding all sorts of shops.

I have been to the Trevi Fountain and tossed a coin because I am definitely returning one day!

All the best for the future and I hope we meet again one day.

Cathy and Steve, Canberra, ACT, Australia


Getting an unexpected bouquet of flowers with a note like that? Blessing.

I am thankful that in my nearly one year managing my apartments, I have been blessed with such lovely guests. I think that people who choose to stay in an apartment are a particular and special group of travelers. Although there are some obvious reasons why one might choose an apartment instead of a hotel (feeling more at home, having a kitchen, lots of room to spread out, etc.), I think what I’ve enjoyed seeing most is the general spirit of most of my guests. Here are people who don’t necessarily consider themselves tourists, but travelers.

And yes, I think there is a real difference.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a tourist, by any means. However, a traveler takes time and makes an effort to truly get to know the place he or she is visiting. To go beyond the sights that only tourists see. To soak up the local culture. To make the most of the opportunities around every corner. Usually once I check my guests in, they make themselves right at home. They’ve spent a lot of time researching where they wanted to stay so they knew what to expect and are sometimes even pleasantly surprised to find things better in person than they imagined from what they saw online. If things are going well, I probably won’t even hear from them again during their stay, unless maybe shortly before they check out just to tell me how much they are loving the neighborhood; chatting with Giancarlo, the waiter at the restaurant downstairs when they come and go; and buying fresh bread or cookies at the corner bakery.

I love guests like this, and it makes me feel blessed to be able to work with them. Of course, I do my part to make sure everything is as good as it can be for a comfortable stay, but I really commend my guests who manage to navigate Rome like locals and make themselves independent from the start…I think they get so much more out of their stay that way.

Life has such unexpected twists and turns, and I never in a million years could have dreamed where I would have eventually ended up. It just goes to show where your heart can lead you when you decide to follow it!

And, while we’re on the topic of blessings, one more to add: last night I had the pleasure of eating dinner with a group of friends at a lovely restaurant on Lago di Bracciano (yes, that one). Catching sunset over the lake? Another blessing!


Buona domenica (Happy Sunday)!


15 Responses to “Counting My Blessings”

  1. Giovanna June 17, 2007 at 2:51 pm #

    What a nice surprise. It’s always the simplest things that people do for us that mean the most. Most people wouldn’t try to fit in a personalized thank you note at the end of their vacation. So I agree with you in seeing this as a wonderful blessing.

  2. Shelley, At Home in Rome June 17, 2007 at 3:43 pm #

    Giovanna: Yes, it was a lovely surprise! I sometimes get spoiled by my guests. I always hope they’ll leave a nice note in the guest book so I can remember their stay.

  3. Rose in Cali June 17, 2007 at 5:06 pm #

    Hmm…I’m already thinking of what I can leave for a thank-you, and I haven’t even gotten there yet! 😉

    It’s always good to count your blessings. I, for one, am grateful that you had a vacancy at the time I will be in Roma! Thank you for this uplifting post to start my Sunday morning.

  4. Cherrye June 17, 2007 at 8:47 pm #

    What a beautiful surprise! I’m glad you did have a buona domenica!

  5. pina June 17, 2007 at 8:58 pm #

    i just wanted to send a comment and let you know how much i enjoy your blog. i go to italy every year and your photos and stories always help me reminisce. i’m off to italy again at the end of july and one of my first stops is going to be in rome for a granita di cafe at tasso d’oro!!!

  6. sandi @ the whistlestop cafe June 17, 2007 at 10:33 pm #

    I promise to leave a sweet note too…
    If I could only fine the time and the tickets! I’m going on Gails Great Escape next year. If we come through Rome I know where I want to stay!
    Bugalu to you~

  7. Delina June 17, 2007 at 11:00 pm #

    That’s a beautiful lake view…And so kind of your guests to leave you flowers!

    BTW, love the new look blog. It might not be so new anymore, but I’ve been off the internet for a while, so I’m catching up 🙂

  8. Sierra June 18, 2007 at 1:10 am #

    Beautiful flowers Shelley. I believe that you get back what you give. You obviously make your guests feel more than guests. Home away from home!
    I hope I’ll be lucky enough to stay in one of your apartments soon.

  9. Carole D. June 18, 2007 at 6:30 am #

    Why didn’t I think of flowers? But, we did leave at 6 in the morning. I hope we didn’t wake you. As I mentioned in the guest book, we felt right at home and enjoyed all the little extra touches you provide. Yes, thanks for the dark chocolates and for taking messages from family members when they couldn’t get hold of us.
    We appreciated your hospitality! Hope to see you again in the future.

  10. jennifer June 18, 2007 at 6:32 am #

    Hi Shelley,
    Thanks for reminding me to count my blessings, too. It’s so easy to forget

  11. cheeky June 18, 2007 at 8:28 am #

    It is good to acknowledge your blessings and take delight in them.

    It’s so obvious from your blog you have this amazing outlook and greet life’s challenges with an “I can do” attitude. I believe this is why you are living in Rome and loving your life there. You will continue to be blessed because you bless others with your gifts.

    Thanks for sharing.


  12. Gracie June 18, 2007 at 9:52 am #

    That’s the reason why when abroad we choose to stay in B&B and try to eat at the family table, to stay in touch with the everyday life of the place we’re visiting! I’m sure you’re a great host!

  13. Isabelle June 18, 2007 at 10:00 am #

    I think your guests are lucky to have found … YOU !
    You’re quite right, it’s important once in while to realize how blessed and happy we are…

  14. nyc/caribbean ragazza June 18, 2007 at 4:28 pm #

    I agree with you there is a difference between a traveler and a tourist.

    How nice of the guests to leave those gorgeous flowers. Just think how much your hospitality contributed to their amazing time in Rome.

  15. MaryLouise June 20, 2007 at 4:07 am #

    Hi Shelley, Reading your blog makes me more excited to come to Roma. I am so glad that we are staying with you. I don’t usually wish my life to move faster..but October can’t come soon enough. Thanks for the great site.
    See you soon..M

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