Day 9, Living as an expatriate in Italy

It’s going to be difficult giving up a lot of things when I move to Italy. I recently left Salem and moved to the Portland area. It was a move I had wanted to make for years because Salem was too far away from the urban delicacies of Portland. Plus, most of the people I know are up in the Portland Metro Area. Now that I’ve been here a few weeks, I’m loving the access to all the things I love–funky neighborhoods, great food, cool restaurants and a vibrant city vibe.

I had planned to return from Europe, get a job and find a place to live. I had it all planned out–I had the industries highlighted that I would pursue and I was actually anticipating the job search. I was sure everything would fall into place. Well, again it’s a matter of…”We make plans and…” What’s the answer, Class?

I haven’t really thought until today about leaving behind the city that I love–those very same funky neighborhoods, great foods, cool restaurants and the city vibe. It’s no secret that I’m a rabid foodie and love trying new restaurants and new foods. I enjoy just sipping a cup of Joe and watching the local freaks walk by. I love people watching and I especially enjoy the architecture in Portland’s neighborhoods.

All that goes away once I leave. It might not seem like much, after all I’m sacrificing all this for Italy. But it goes further than that. It speaks to the loss of the familiar, the comfortable. To be replaced by the somewhat familiar and the uncomfortable. Moving overseas involves not just a new language and a new culture. It involves giving up the little things that sweeten life–that favorite hamburger joint in Hubbard, the constant view of Mt. Hood and the memories of the past.

It is these little things that bring a smile to my face when I recall times with friends or images from my adolescence that serve to create a living bond that continues throughout my life. Those bonds will never be severed totally. However, they will age and become covered with the dust of time, rarely to be cleaned off when those memories re-emerge.

Certainly I will create new memories and new bonds in Italy, if I’m there long enough to do so. And, indeed, I already have the memories of eleven trips to see my family–three Christmases, an Easter, a wedding, a college graduation.These are in my mind. I have the memories of friends accompanying me to the area–introducing them to my family, showing them around the area. I even have memories of acquaintances I’ve made in Ascoli Piceno–having an espresso (the ultimate Italian benediction), singing in a band and sun worshipping along the Adriatic.

So I started the creation process already, without even knowing it. In 1997 I never dreamed I would live in Italy. It wasn’t even on my radar. When that desire finally did emerge as a desire, I figured it wouldn’t happen until I was retired, if it ever happened at all. Now it’s with reach.

All these years I’ve been unwittingly creating memories and establishing a beachhead. The foundation is laid and I need to being construction of the edifice. It will be Italianate in style not reflective of suburban America and heavily perfumed with garlic and marinara sauce as opposed to pinot noir and fresh salmon.

I’ll keep the memories that I have, the internet can help. But I will now have the memories of a new home that will complement those of my old home. Together they will color my perspective with hues that I would never have considered before.



1 thought on “Day 9, Living as an expatriate in Italy

  1. Maybe you should test drive living in Italy for 6 months and see if you are really going to like it, It is a big move and you know if you leave you might be-able to come back Wink Wink !:)

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