Review of 2020,

Reviewing the Year 2020

I was thinking to myself… Do I really want to review this past year? Anyone you talk to will more than likely tell you we should declare a “do-over” for this past year. A year that will go down in the record books as changing so many lives. How many years can we actually say this same thing about? One year that comes to my mind quickly is 2011 – when terrorists attacked America. That year, that event is one of those that you will never forget where you were when the horror started.

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So with a bit of reluctance, I take a brief look back at 2020. Reviewing the year 2020 is not an easy one. We had just returned to Arizona from living a year throughout Italy in early December 2019. A year that changed our lives forever.


It was a bit of a transition being away from friends and family for such a great length of time. We got to see only a handful of friends before the word came down about the Coronavirus. I think that is how it went down – it seems so very long ago and the dates are a bit fuzzy. We were also busy going to doctors and having check-ups from being away for a year.

January was also the beginning of the editing process of our manuscript. While living in Italy, Gary and I wrote a travel adventure memoir of our time in Italy, as it transpired. Neither of us ever thought of being an author, but our experiences were happening in front of our eyes, and we wanted to share them with our blog subscribers and friends. Who knew writing the manuscript would have been easier than the editing process?


It was clear to us that we needed to figure out living arrangements for us since we were not leaving for Italy on April 30th as planned. We could have traveled to Italy since were are Italian citizens but, things were so crazy and up in the air with travel bans, we really weren’t sure what to do. Italy was hit hard and we didn’t want to add to the uncertainty.

Gary and I thought perhaps we would spend a year in the States and make this a year to reconnect with our grandchildren since we were away from them for so long. Our oldest daughter, Jacklyn, and her husband purchased a home while we were away – and it had a full RV hook-up. It got us thinking – why not purchase a motorhome that we could also travel around the States? They were thrilled to have us as “neighbors,” and so we became the new owners of a 2020 Jayco Alante.


Our first trip with the motorhome was with Gary’s daughter, Melanie, and her two children. It was a fun time and we obeyed all the social distancing rules. The RV turned out to be a wonderful way to go camping!

What became difficult is to see the various events written in our calendar that we were missing in Italy. Of course, all the events were canceled due to the pandemic. It was sad knowing we were supposed to attend the Giostra della Quintana in Foligno and the Infiorata di Spello.


Our youngest daughter, Ally volunteers at the Human Society and unexpectantly got bitten by one of the dogs, ripping off half of her top lip. She has gone through several surgeries and still has a few more involving cosmetics. She was very lucky as it could have been much worse.

We took a second camping trip with our “new neighbors” aka oldest daughter and family. It was really fun to watch a DVD movie as a family in the outdoor entertainment center of the RV, under the stars enjoying smores. Such great memories.


While staying in Verona in 2019, we met a wonderful couple, Barb and Tom from Kentucky. They invited us to join them and two other couples in Estes Park, Colorado for a week in a beautiful cabin. It was so wonderful to see them again and meet such wonderful people. We had a wonderful time and even taught a pasta cooking class for everyone one night.


We reunited with our long time good friends, Sue and Steve from New York in Page, Arizona. Spending a day on Lake Powell renting a powerboat was a blast. We then traveled to Kanab, Utah, enjoying quality time together.



We were finally able to release our book, Our Italian Journey on Amazon, and have received so many wonderful reviews. There is something special about seeing your words come to life in black and white. With our “baby” published, Gary and I also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.


December brought retina surgery for me with a pucker that developed and distorted my vision in my left eye. Working on the manuscript and blog under these conditions was very difficult and frustrating.

We wish you and your family health and happiness in 2021.

We hope you will consider reading our book and perhaps give it as a gift to someone who loves Italy. When completed, would you consider leaving a review on Amazon? I never knew that reviews were so important until now. We hope you enjoy it and know that our journey is not over yet!

Ilene & Gary Modica,

We hope you enjoyed us reviewing the year 2020. Well, “enjoyed” is probably not the correct word. This post was one of the most difficult we’ve ever written. It was not easy avoiding talking about all the sickness and death this world faced this year. We pray that 2021 will bring some relief and healing to our world.

Happy New Year,

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