Reflecting on the “Final” Move

After living in Lucca, Italy for three years, my husband and I will be moving back to the United States. My husband was offered a job in Houston, Texas. We are both excited and nervous about this next stage in our lives.

For the first time in my life, this may not be a temporary settlement. This is a somewhat scary thought for me personally. Previously, I lived in multiple states (Iowa – when I was a baby but I still count it, Wisconsin, Washington DC – technically a district not a state, Missouri, Maryland & Massachusetts); attended academic courses in England, the Balkans – mainly Serbia, & Switzerland; and lived overseas in Italy.

Actually the address I had in Lucca for three years was the longest standing address I resided at since I was seventeen years old. I’ve gotten quite use to this mobile lifestyle. You learn quickly not to collect “things,” as you will have more to eventually pack if you do. I’ve also never had much chance to be bored with my surroundings either.

However, the idea of a long-term settlement means that my husband and I can purchase a house. I am about ten years behind all my friends from school who own homes or have been working toward that for years. Having a home to us isn’t just a next step though but an opportunity to finally have all our belongings in one place. I have boxes I haven’t looked inside of for at least ten years. It’ll be like Christmas morning when my husband and I actually open every box and piece of luggage. It will also be nice to travel some place (yes…traveling will most definitely continue) and have a home to come back to when the trip concludes.

Plus, living a nomadic life has at times been very lonely. I’ve met amazing people everywhere I’ve been, and when it comes time for me to move to my next destination, we always say that we will keep in touch (along with maybe a plan to visit), but most of the time that does not happen. With social media being what it is today, I always expect that it will be so easy to stay in touch and am disappointed when it still does not happen.

I am currently at that stage, right before the move, where I get a bit weepy, as I reminisce on all the memories and moments I’ve experienced in that particular location, but this time it is different. I find myself worried about how I will adjust to normal everyday living in the States. I’ve only been living outside of the USA for three years, but I feel as though I’ve missed so much. Things have changed. American politics has taken an interesting turn, Game of Thrones is the television show of choice for many, and everyone seems to be addicted to Pokemon GO – all this while I’ve been wandering ancient streets and sipping cappuccini. I have faith that I can catch up on all the things I’ve missed, but how do I handle the knowledge that most people will not care about what I have been doing and what they have missed.

I’ve enjoyed a certain motto over the last few years: “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.” Does that mean that when you stop wandering, that is when you are lost? That is how I am feeling.

I know how lucky I have been. I’ve lived an amazing, adventurous life, and I’m only in my thirties. I was recently in a small-ish town in the Ukraine, where I spoke with another American woman who has lived around the world. She told me, “like all places you move to, there is an adjustment period.” She went on to saying that it may take longer this time to adjust, but that I will do just fine. However, she warned me not to lose who I am, being a  “a citizen of the world” as we call it. She stressed to me that I must take what I have learned from my time abroad and use it to strengthen myself both emotionally and intellectually. I hope to do just that. There is no fear. Only hope…

Arrivederci Italia!

The Beginning of a New Adventure

While it makes sense for me to give a bit of a back story as to how I got to be an American living in the beautiful Tuscan city of Lucca, I prefer my first post to just jump right into the here and now.  I’ve been in Italy for two months now, and I have noticed some significant differences in the lifestyle here verses the United States.  This observation is to be known as….

How I Know I Am Living In Italy Not the USA

  1. Every other day seems to be a holiday or festival of some kind
  2. Where you park your bike often brings conflict with your neighbor
  3. You tell time by the church bells instead of clocks
  4. When a woman buys a razor to shave her legs, it also comes with a bikini trimmer attached to it
  5. People look at you funny if you show up to eat dinner before 2030 hours (8:30pm)
  6. Gelato stands are open as late as bars
  7. It is normal to see babies and small children still out with family after 2300 hours (11pm)
  8. While you have a washer for clothes, do not expect a dryer (you will miss having a dryer so so much)
  9. It is not uncommon to see a majority of the population around you smoking including pregnant ladies
  10. Do not plan your shopping trips between the hours of 1300 and 1600 (1-4pm) – most businesses are closed for siesta
  11. Do not expect services like home renovations or internet installation during the month of August – all Italians take vacation during the month of August
  12. Box springs for your bed do not exist
  13. If you hear a loud explosion that sounds like continuous cannon fire, that is just a thunderstorm

It is a whole new world full of interesting every day occurrences and challenges.  I think it might just be the most amazing adventure of my life yet.