The Right Fit

It's a pithy word, isn't it? 'Fit'. A small and unconvincing word that should not carry the weight that it does. As words get bigger and more hyperbolic it seems even more unlikely that 'fit' should still be relevant and indeed, decisive. It's frustratingly small and smug and irrefutable.

When I was in graduate school I applied to continue my work as a PhD student at the same university. I watched all of my classmates apply and (mostly) get accepted but I waited to hear, I agonized over the wait, I pretended that I wasn't agonizing. Finally, I was told the reason for the wait: no one was quite sure if I was the 'right fit' for the program, and if anyone in my academic department would be the 'right fit' for me. I was an anomaly, in the nicest way possible, of course.

It seemed like the worst and most public excuse, a stall tactic for a world that was silently conspiring against me in the most courteous way possible, an entire discipline breaking up with me by telling me it wasn't me, it was them. I thought that 'fit' was a fiction and an unnecessary prerequisite for a task that I knew I could accomplish.

But damnit if it wasn't the truth. Less than two years later I would leave that university under conditions that might sound heroic if they weren't happening to me and then some additional years after that I would abandon the doctorate altogether. Because it wasn't the right fit.

But think about it, think about that one little word. We've all had that one pair of jeans that fit like a glove (or for that matter, a glove) and that we wore until the threads gave up. And we've all had the opposite, a pair of whatever it was that just never quite worked for us and no matter how nice that thing was it sat in the back of our closet because it just never quite felt right. We know it as soon as we put it on, and no amount of forcing things changes it.

We know when the people that we meet are the right ones for us, and we know when we fit with them. We know when we're forcing ourselves to become something or someone that we're not, and we know when we finally feel like we fit into our own skin. In all of these little and not little ways we work through the initial blisters of our lives and we either gradually or instantly find our fit, and it works for us. Sometimes we need to force it because not every moment will be those perfect jeans that expand with you throughout the season. And then again sometimes no amount of alterations can make a thing right.

As such we've made the choice to conclude our work at Casa Caponetti, where we spent an incredible 20 months working on some of the most challenging projects that we might have imagined, and those we could not have even dreamed of before. We came with the intention of building something extraordinary and we have done so, and we leave behind the best intentions and most heartfelt labour we have ever given. It was a great run, and we are better for having ran it. But it was not the right fit, and that's really the thing. In the end, it's all about the right fit.

But we could not be more grateful for the winds which brought us here to Tuscania and all of the many things that hold us to this town now, a town that has come to mean so much to both of us. We'll be able to work with all of our friends, and have them appear with us here in the adventures that will only multiply as this project that is ViaMedina continues to take its various shapes and curvatures. We've already gotten so much in this past year, and so much that has made this project much more than we could have even imagined. And that's what we'll bring to these pages as we move forward, more of the things that we get to do and be involved with here, and more of the people we get to do it with.

We are going to work with our friend Marco and his family in their restaurant here in Tuscania, Il Terziere di Poggio. They've opened an osteria that works with small farms and producers in the area and where Mark and Marco will work on combining their talents in some of the regional dishes that make this place so fascinating. The future is promising, indeed and Tuscania is a great base camp, as always.

We got to watch our families expand this year: through marriages and we gained a sister in Georgie and a stepmother in Reggie. Our stepsister Hannah welcomed a baby girl into her family, and our cousin Krista gave birth to a little boy. We've had great friends from across space and time pass through Tuscania, and we celebrated Ginger's 16th year free from addiction with one of our best friends, Jason and his niece Madison who, on her first trip abroad was utterly fearless in the face of foods like tripe and heart. We also get to live, on occasion, with Bill and Anna who spend some months here throughout the year and who are perhaps the most generous and kind individuals that we have met in a long time. The list goes on, it is full of names and kindnesses and every bit of it means everything.

We came to Italy with only one conviction between us, only one condition: that we do this together, and that our lives be about building something that we would share and make ours. Too many years in the solitary confinement of kitchens and classrooms had made us both realize how little time we have and how much of that time is often sacrificed to make the smallest moments possible. Frankly, we didn't want to spend our lives surrounded by people that we hadn't chosen. We chose each other and we wanted it to stay that way. We've had the great fortune to see that through and watch our work come together, and it only gets better.

You know, the thing is this. Ultimately we are all trying to navigate between the curses and blessings that fall in front of us and form the uneven pavement upon which we tread in various cycles of confidence and trepidation. We hope for the most pleasant surprises to await us around the next bend as strongly as we quietly bargain for the least harm. The safest passage with the nicest checkpoints along the way; we all dress it up and give it a different filter, but in the end it is this, and this alone.

All of us, we do the best we can and we hope for the best to come from it. And then there's fit, there's you and I and the fullness that comes from us just being together. So let's fix our eyes on that infinite horizon and go always with heads high, and let's see just where it may take us…

Ginger and Mark