Really, I am not complaining. It’s a beautiful 77 degrees out. It could be a spring morning and I could just be any tourist visiting sunny San Diego. But I’m not. I am now an official ex-ex-pat. I have spent a year in Italy and traveling abroad living off the fruits of my lawyers endeavors, making an attempt to find myself, in a country that I really had no real understanding of and probably never will. Because to truly understand Italy, you must be born there. Raised in the dirt of Tuscany or Puglia or Emilia Romana and weened on the waters from the Apennines that flow into the Arno and the Tiber.
I was not. Maybe in a past life? I am an American, through and though. American honey. Spoiled from day one. Raised on lies and truths that only Americans can understand. We are all a product of our environment, and mine was pretty good, but for whatever reason I chose to dream of far away places and escape my American roots. My roots were never very deep to begin with, so escaping for me has always been easy. And now I find myself a completely untethered balloon. Floating from place to place. I have no ties and no real responsibilities to any soul.
My son? He is grown and having his own experiences. My mother? Maybe. She is getting older but her life and my life couldn’t be further apart in terms of wants and needs. My friends? Well, they are scattered all over the world anyhow, and with the invention of the internet I never really miss a beat with them. Would I like to have roots? Of course! I dream of the day that I feel settled in my soul just enough to actually WANT that sweet little house with the white fence and peonies growing along the edges. I long for the day when I meet Mister Right and we build a life together. But now, I am just a balloon.
A balloon who returned to the easiest destination, for what?
Why isn’t there a book for this? Why isn’t there some manual to tell you how to get on with your life after you return from an experience like Italy? How do I live here? How do I find a job? How do I get around? I need a car. I need to have a damn car again! I don’t want a car!! I want to walk. I want to go and have my little coffee, and see my grumpy hotel bell hops and smile and say Buon Giorno! to people who look shocked by such a friendly gesture. I want to be freezing my ass off in my little flat. I want to fight with Shane about the covers and who gets to sleep in the crack of the two beds that are stuck together to create an illusion of a king size bed. I want my little terrazza and my birdie friend.
You see? I am an American. I came back here to get on with my life and now I want what I don’t have.
Today I will go with Petra and we will shop and have a girl day and we will drive around the city trying to find me a place to live. We will go and buy gross “organic” food for the baby, (isn’t food supposed to be organic?!) and be forced to be home by 12 so she can have her nap. We will go to stores like Target and Whole Foods or Trader Joes. We will pass by 100’s of Starbucks. Yesterday we passed by a Starbucks and then ONE block later there was a drive-up Starbucks! This is where I must say WTF?! What am I doing here?!
My only saving grace is knowing that Italy is not going anywhere. She will be there when I return and this time I feel she will be there with a weary look, but hers arms will be slightly parted, ready for that Italian embrace, wondering if I am going to stay this time.
For now I will do this American ‘thing.’ I will try to fit in here again. I will get that degree and get the hell out of dodge! And as for any responsiblities I may be shirking… well they are just going to have to call me selfish while I do my thing.
Shane can enjoy this 77° weather for a few years and lazily bask in the sun and I fret about what my next move is.