For the last few weeks, I’ve been meaning to post several new entries but, seeing as I’m going through what is the most stressful/emotional change in my life so far, I’m cutting myself some slack.
Yes, moving here almost 6 years ago was incredibly difficult. But because I finished up my last quarter of college on December 17th and was on a plane to Italy on the 29th of January, it all seemed to happen pretty fast. Of course it was a very emotional/scary/sad time in my life, saying good-bye to friends and family. Some people thought I was nuts. Even though Fabio and I had been dating for over 3 years, accept for the first few months, we had never spent more than a few weeks at a time together. But I was pretty confident I was making the best decision of my life, and the last 6 years have come to prove that to be true, and I couldn’t be happier that I took that leap of faith and got on that plane.
To think that tomorrow I’ll be getting on a plane, taking another chance, moving back to the place I left those six (what feel like long) years ago is hard to fathom. Plus, this time I’ve got my Italian husband and dog in tow. Yes, it’s true, we’ve had this in the works for about 6 months now and we’ve been slowly preparing for this addio (good-bye) for the last month or so, still, the last few days have been incredibly difficult. The fact that my husband is pretty much the mascot for this little town we live makes this whole leap really hard, but it’s also a testament to who he is, not every one can easily fill a room of 50 people all of whom they can truly call friends. Plus, it’s very hard to leave his dad. Thankfully he’s been our number one cheerleader though all of this, offering unwavering support, without which it would be pretty much impossible to do what we’re doing. He’s a pretty special guy, that’s for sure.
People have assumed that I’m excited to return home, like I’ve been wanting this all along some how. What they don’t understand is that until a year ago I didn’t even consider it to be a possibility. I spent most of my time here assuming I was staying put. I knew, when I moved here and married my husband, that he never had real intentions of ever moving to the US. Therefore, I have come to call this place home. I have found amazing friends and completely fallen in love with this country and it’s people. The last few times I’ve come back to California to visit, I found myself ready to return to Italia by the end. I was ready to come home.
This is not to say I’m not looking forward to seeing my family and friends stateside. It’s now been 16+ months since I last came home for a visit. I have beautiful baby nephew that I’ve been dying to meet who’s sweet little face has been making me melt since the first picture. I’m also really lucky to have a wonderful network of people back home that really love Fabio and are really excited to see us and help get us on our feet, especially my parents (they were always very supportive of me living in Italy, but, let’s face it, they’re also happy to have me back).
I’m sorry to leave what now become la mia italia, and the reason we’re leaving breaks my heart. This country is so full of beautiful things, places, and people that it doesn’t deserve to be in the situation it currently finds itself in. The hard-working Italians I know and love deserve so much more than what they’re facing (the fact that it’s becoming startlingly common not to get paid on time/consistently with no protection/repercussions for the employer is just once example). I know the US is not paradise (living abroad as an expat has a particular affect of how you view your country of birth), I’m very aware of it’s short comings but also what it can offer.
In the end, this move is coming from a desire, by my husband and I, to see if we can take charge of our future and not let our fate be dictated by a crippled labor/political system. We are coming back to work hard to build a more stable life, and being the one who is from the country of destination, I’ve naturally (it’s my personality) taken on the weight of having to find a good job and set up a decent life for us. I’m sure my husband will flourish and find his way easily (we wouldn’t have even considered this I didn’t truly believe that), but I am also not pretending it’s going to be a walk in the park. After countless conversations and sleepless nights, we’ve decided to give it a shot. We’re taking each other by the hand (with our cute little dog) and jumping together into the unknown. I’ve done it before and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Who knows, maybe it won’t be what we’re hoping. Maybe, we’ll flourish, or maybe after a while, we’ll realize that we liked our lives better here (in Italy). We’ve closed no doors in Tuscany, we’re renting our house and left all bank accounts open, so coming back is always a possibility.
All I know is I never imagined moving to Italy in the first place, and I never imagined I’d move back to California, so at this point I don’t have any assumptions of where we will end up! As it said on my Mt. St. Helens poster I had in my room as a kid, “nothing is permanent accept change” (little did I know HOW true that would be). So I’ve decided to let the fear and the ‘what ifs’ go and follow what my husband’s and my instincts tell us.
No matter what, I will always be connected to Italia (obviously, through my husband) but also just my personal connection to this place. Florence was the first place I lived outside of my parents’ house. It’s the city where I feel in love. Italy is the country that my post-college self has grown up in. I’ve learned the language and met the most amazing people here. It’s in my heart, forever, for good. I’m so grateful for all I’ve learned and all the experience it’s given me. I will always love this place, that is one thing, in these days of upheaval and uncertainty, that I am sure of. And I know I won’t be able to stay away for long.