Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–the truth

You probably noticed that I changed the heading of this particular season of my blog postings. I felt that “Living as an expatriate…” was somewhat misleading. This title reflects better what is currently occurring as well as what will occur when I’m finally in Italy.

Now, as for “the truth”, that’s something a bit different. I have briefly and somewhat obliquely alluded to a recent break-up with my ex and the emotional devastation wrought by that experience. 

When it comes right down to it, one of the big reasons I want to go to Italy is to get away from him and any ideas that might pop into my head about contacting him. I’ve already been foolish enough to try and talk with him–only to get my hopes ground into the dust. But it was probably for the best.

Going to Italy will help me (I hope) forget. Or at least be so preoccupied that I can heal. Now don’t misunderstand, I’ve wanted to go to Italy for years. Ever since I met my extended biological family. I fell in love with them and with Italy. I feel that I’m at home there. And I really believe that it will be good for me and a great experience. Indulging in my heritage, learning Italian, experiencing another culture, getting to know my family more. That has been the biggest blip on my radar for years.

But this break-up has made me want to go now. I guess one could claim that I’m running. If I am, I believe it’s because I am anxious for my new life to start. As I said above, I want to move on. When I get to Italy I will be preoccupied with so many things that I will be able to better heal rather than have temptation to communicate with him or visit him while I’m in Oregon.

The case could be made that I am not dealing with this break-up in a healthy manner. Is that the case? I don’t know. It’s a matter of opinion. The desire to put a continent between us is my way of dealing with the break-up. Other people have their own way. Some drink. Some become promiscuous. Some pine for the ex. I’m not gonna do that. Although I do admit to doing more than my fair share of pining.

I do, however, see how my efforts are influencing my approach to this move. I want it to happen and happen now, dammit. I’m pushing, pushing. When I should be patient, patient. If I push too hard or in the wrong manner, I could mess this up in more ways than I can count. It is possible to ask God for something and, when He doesn’t respond in our timeline, force the door open only to find out that we needed to wait because we’ve now royally screwed ourselves.

Which path will I take? Well, if the past is any indication, I will push that freaking door open with a bulldozer if I have to because I want what I want and I want it now. The past few years I’ve found myself becoming more patient as I get older. However, I am an American and I’m accustomed to instant gratification. Why doesn’t God understand that? Why doesn’t He follow that concept? Why doesn’t the world cater to me?

This is getting off the point. The truth of the matter is that my feelings for my ex will never go away. He was the first one who ever loved me, took care of me, adored me, lavished onto me. Plus, he was my best friend. Twenty-four years are wiped clean and to suddenly find myself without the smile, voice, shared laughter, the silliness and just being shakes me to my core. There is a hole in my heart shaped like him that no one can fill.

The fear now of never finding that again–especially in a macho, patriarchal society like Italy (and in a small town of 10,000 at that)–crushes my heart.

Perhaps these monkey wrenches that are being thrown at me are to help with the emptiness while I’m in Oregon, to preoccupy me so I don’t dwell so much. And I’ll tell you, even now I’m hoping that he reads this even though he never gets on the internet, has no idea about my website or my blog. And there’s no one to tell him.

Nevertheless, I feel better getting it off my chest. I always say that there’s something about writing things down that gives the sentiments a certain power, a legitimacy. It feels like it can’t be taken back because it’s out there, in the cosmos. Even if I delete it, it’s not impermanent. Someone, somewhere, has read it.

And that feels better.


5 thoughts on “Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–the truth

  1. Of all the things you could be doing right now, taking yourself to Italy is pretty damn excellent. It’s beautiful, it’s exciting, and most importantly it is DIFFERENT.

    I’m sure I don’t know how you’re feeling right now, but I want to tell you that this is the best opportunity to find something you love about yourself.

    After every valley is another peak, and I think your peak is just around the corner. Good luck , stranger!

    • What an uplifting thing to receive from someone I don’t know. I can’t thank you enough for this posting. I was sitting here when your comments arrived, worrying about this decision. You have helped me in my confidence about this journey. I will pay forward your kind response.

  2. I hope you find what you are looking for. I certainly understand the “EX” thing, myself being with someone for 30 years, then driving them away left a HUGE hole in my heart. Don’t know if it will ever be filled again. As a new believer in God, I have been taught not to pray for things to happen. You will always feel let down. I’ve learned to pray for “guidance” from my higher power which I didn’t know what to call, so how about God. Its short! As I pray for guidance each day, things just started happening. Coincidence? I used to think so but not anymore. There IS a power greater than myself.

    Many people thrive on their EGO and self-reliance. True humility is pretty rare these days. I don’t know where I’m going with this but my life has change immensely in the last 6 months. I have AA to thank for that.

    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. I say it everyday.

    Hope to see you before you leave.

    • Chris: Thank you so much for these sentiments. I am especially flattered that you’ve read my blog. It helped to hear you comment on your thirty year relationship. I have a tremendous faith in the Lord and it has grown substantially over the past few years. I guess I’m concerned with this huge leap. It’s a leap of faith, but the odds are stacked against me. I’m going to be dealing with loneliness, my bipolar disorder, the breakup and shaky finances. All big things that I’m tackling all at once. I guess I should cut myself more slack instead of thinking that I should have it all together. I suppose we’ll all find out soon enough if this journey works out.

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