Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Reality, what a concept”–thank you, Robin Williams

Reality is a curious thing. I’ve always claimed that I want realism. I’m not interested in vagaries or irrelevancies. Yet, I sometimes whore myself for fantasy.

That latter sentence was brought home to me the other day in speaking with an especially special friend of mine. She grew up with my biological brother in B.C. and now lives in Oregon. We went for a two hour walk so we could talk and get caught up before I leave.

Her awareness is keen and her observations are something I covet. She has walked the adoption/biological family path with me from its earliest days and she’s witnessed it all. Our conversations are always enlightening.

Because of her, I am starting to look at this move more realistically. I have to embarrassedly admit that I have been viewing this move with rose colored glasses. I have been convinced that someone will start purchasing my writing and that the monies will be substantial. I have been fantasizing about getting my Italian passport in record time, even though my knowledge of the situation tells me otherwise.

I have been dreaming of traveling all over Europe, writing from whatever city I spontaneously decide to visit while publications fight over my erudition. City names will exotically roll off my tongue in a self-conscious desire to be international–Sofia, Casablanca, Vilnius.

There would be no Berlin, no London, no Copenhagen. No sir. I would choose those cities that are more mysterious which would beget writings that are more mysterious which would beget even more demand for my erudition.

I would park myself in outdoor cafes and rooftop gardens and describe city vibes and colorful vistas in my own unique vernacular. My followers would hang on every word. Clicks, shares and likes, words that formerly meant nothing, would be watched by national publications who would be continually impressed with my readership demographics.

Can you say “denial”?

I like the phrase “Denial is not just a river in Egypt”. Describes me.

I have to be very realistic about this adventure. My friend, who has traveled the world and moved to the U.S. from Canada gave me a huge bite of a reality sandwich. She cautioned me against flying under the radar and staying too long in Italy. She cautioned me about my writings, to take into consideration my family in Italy so I don’t inadvertently say something that might be offensive or insensitive.

From our conversation I came crashing down to earth. And I’m glad I did because as I emerged from the wreckage of my fantasy flight, I came to realize that the odds are stacked against me. The wind is not blowing in my direction.

There’s a very real possibility that I will be back in America in early January, waiting for another ninety days before I return to Italy. I have decided that, if that actually happens, I will go back again in the spring to continue my pursuit. Beyond that, though, I will probably have to place the whole venture on hold. My attempt to get my Italian passport will continue to the best of my abilities. But I will not be able to indefinitely fly back and forth to Europe every ninety days.

And therein lie other issues. When I meet with the Honorary Consul General, will I find options for pursuing my passport? Will I be able to stay longer because I’m pursuing my passport? What will Immigration tell me in Italy as I get the ball rolling? What will an attorney tell me? What will the attorney cost?

I must be very fastidious during this process. I have to remember that Italy isn’t asking for me. I’m asking for Italy. I have to assume that Italy doesn’t want me. Prior to this, I had convinced myself that Italy wants me. I had decided that, once I told my tear-jerking story and provided them with a copy of my book, that the tribunal would fairly fall to their feet in worship of this long-lost Italian son come home. They would beg me to grace their fair nation with my glowing countenance.

Har har.

The reality is that they will probably look at me and yawn.

And while I don’t want to walk this path with a negative attitude, I still have to be prepared for the roadblocks I’m going to face. One of my favorite maxims is “expect the unexpected, but don’t be surprised when the unexpected is not what you expect”. I have to apply that to myself now. I can’t take anything for granted and I can’t assume.

This whole experience is going to be priceless no matter the outcome. I’ll probably learn more in three months than during my four and a half years in college. And, as I keep saying, no matter what happens, at least I did it.


1 thought on “Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Reality, what a concept”–thank you, Robin Williams

  1. Oh,Bob…Italy does want you but Italy wants your money first…that’s what politics are all about. It’s good to go into these decisions with eyes wide open so you don’t find yourself on your ass in an unfamiliar place. That being said don’t lose the dream or desire because that’s what takes you half the way!! You’re Italian family will embrace you and treat you like family once you are there which means you will be welcomed but will also have responsibilities . It will work out ! I agree with your fiend though…keep your mind on what you will be dealing with realistically! I am praying it all works out for you and then Larry and I will come visit and you can be our guide! Chio!

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