The biggest news today is not what we did in Moscow. However, I will chat about Moscow and get it out of the way.
We pretty much relaxed today. My brother, Tony, had to take his Ferrari in for some work so Barry and I relaxed. I blogged. Barry played Angry Birds. When Tony returned, we visited the military museums near New Moscow City.
I had visited these museums back in 1999. However, once again I was not able to get inside. This time they were open so we paid the admission fee and entered. This particular museum is in Victory Park, an enormous park along a freeway that leads into downtown. There’s a huge plaza that stretches for blocks. The signature piece of this plaza is an obelisk that shows the names of all the cities in Russia that were besieged in WWII. Gardens abound in this plaza. Fountains spout continuously. This site has become a traditional place for newly married couples to have photos taken. On weekends especially, hundreds of gussied-up couples are all about the plaza posing for photos.
Inside the museum we saw hundreds of photos and exhibits from WWII. There were even display cases holding the actual uniforms of Josef Stalin. It was kind of eerie seeing them. Interesting thing about Stalin–he was a shrimpy little guy. Not imposing in stature at all.
The exhibits were first quality. They had the actual signed letters from Germany reflecting Germany’s surrender, Stalin’s personal phone. Just so many items of historical importance. They really emphasize, too, how WWII impacted Russia. Something like 20 million killed.
In one hall there is an enormous dome, to big to get into a photo. In the center was a 30′ high statue of a soldier that reflected Mother Russia as a protector. More than 16000 names were etched into the wall of military personnel who were killed. The room was expansive and took my breath away as I entered.
This museum had workers positioned in every hall to monitor noise. One must speak in only hushed tones because of the reverence they have for the sacrifices made during WWII. It was very gripping and served to remind me of how blessed we have been in America because we have never had to experience on our shores the horror of war–cities devastated, crops ravaged, economy destroyed.
OK, now on to something more important.
It seems that my dream to move to Italy is possibly occurring sooner than I ever expected. After touring the military museums, my brother Tony, Barry and I went for a burger. While we were eating I casually mentioned to Tony that I would like to be notified next time he visits Italy so I could possibly schedule a trip there in order for the two of us to provide DNA samples which would pave the way for getting my Italian passport.
Tony asked, “Why don’t you just move into one of my apartments?”
I was stunned. He’d never offered this before. It took me about five minutes of thinking about it before I said, “OK”. Tony was taken aback. He wasn’t expecting me to answer so quickly. He knows that I’m very cautious and that I over-analyze everything.
But I had decided quite quickly that this was something I needed to do. Everyone who knows me and who’s read my blogs is aware of my intense love for Italy and for my desire to be near my biological family. I have been taking steps towards that goal. And now, all of a sudden, the goal is within reach. A giant step is being taken.
In the past year, and especially the past couple of months, I’ve been contemplating what is next. I took a year off to promote my book and pursue my writing. I went to Southern California for five weeks to promote my book and ponder my next step. I came to Europe for five weeks as a last blast to enjoy a big vacation before heading back to Portland to look for work and re-enter the job market.
All the time, I was praying about my decisions. Where should I go? What should I do? Is this the right thing, God? “This is what I’m doing unless you have something better for me”. I was all prepared to return to Oregon. I was mentally prepping myself for the job search. I was starting to get involved in LinkedIn again and plotting strategy to look for work.
And then, five days before I leave Moscow, this was dropped on my lap. Now, my over-analytical ways normally cause me to consider every possible pitfalls and pratfall. I keep thinking, “Is this God’s plan?” “Is He behind this?” “Is this a coincidence?”
The fact is, I don’t know. I can only move forward with faith and see where it takes me. I sometimes wonder if I should have done this last year when I quit my job. I would probably be further along than I am now. But, coulda, shoulda, woulda, right? I can’t second-guess this past year. It happened the way it happened and I have to make the best of it.
I find myself completely at peace with this decision, just like last year’s decision to quit my job. Once again, I’m stepping out in faith into the unknown. It will be up to me to make things happen and I have no shortage of people cheering me on and willing to help. I already have a ton of ideas for when I get to Italy to push me along in my efforts to create a life there.
And I’ve got so many ideas. I’m probably going to change this blog to focus solely on the experiences of an expatriate moving to Italy and learning how to get by in a foreign country. All the things one doesn’t hear about–dealing with a mechanic, installing internet service, reading food labels. It won’t all be la dolce vita drinking cappuccinos every morning, eating pasta and gazing upon glorious panoramas. No, real life will kick in and there will be problems and frustrations. BUT, after those problems and frustrations will be cappuccinos in the morning, pasta and glorious panoramas.