Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Never can say goodbye”–thank you, Jackson 5 and Gloria Gaynor

WHEW! That’s all I can say right now.

Alright, I lied. After all, I’m a blogger. I’ve always got something to say, right?

My visa arrived. I am officially and legally leaving for Italy on Wednesday, November 12 for one year. I was confident that the visa would arrive this week. The Italian Consulate practically promised me. And something told me it just might be today. What a relief to find the envelope in the mailbox.

As far as I’m concerned, the waiting has ended. Sure, I’ve got about eight more days. But I don’t have to twiddle my thumbs. And I don’t have to wonder. My answer is here in my hands.

I am a little chagrined to learn of some of the stipulations, though. According to the docs from the Consulate, I can only spend five days in any nation in Schengen countries. As an FYI, the Schengen Area is the area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passports and any other type of border control at their common borders, also referred to as internal borders. It mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The Area is named after the Schengen Agreement. Countries in the Schengen Area have eliminated internal border controls with the other Schengen members, and strengthened external border controls with non-Schengen states. The Schengen area encourages the free movement of goods, information, money and people.

OK, enough school for now. My visa is not terribly clear. Can I only spend five days total in other Schengen nations? Or is it only five days at a time? Can I petition to stay longer? How do they know if I’ve stayed longer since there are no border patrols? Not that I would stay longer in another Schengen nation. I won’t do anything to jeopardize my stay in Europe. I plan on contacting the Consulate for clarification.

So the clock is ticking down. I only have a handful of things to do before I leave–buy euros, speak to State Farm about my auto insurance, decide on whether to allow my attorney to use my car, try to unlock my iPhone 5 and call my health insurance. Other than that, it’s saying goodbye.

And that is not turning out to be as hard as I thought. I really believed I would be a blubbering mess saying goodbye to people. Perhaps I’m growing up. Perhaps I’m not as emotional as I used to be. Perhaps I’m just checked out emotionally.

But it does hurt to say goodbye. It helps that everyone says it with such enthusiasm because they’re all so genuinely happy for me and truly rooting for my success. I know everyone hates to see me go, but this ain’t adolescence. Everyone has a life and, while I am a part of that, possibly an important part, I’m not the central point. Hmm, was I thinking that I’m more important than I am? Naaahh, that couldn’t be it.

It is feeling weird. Today I said goodbye to two of my closest friends from my adolescence. While we don’t see each other as much now because life has gotten in the way, saying that farewell pricked my heart. Two guys who were a part of my life every day for years will now be six thousand miles away.

And even though we don’t see each other that much, it’s the thought that they are there, you know? There’s a comfort factor in having all these foundational aspects of my life available, available for the asking.

Now the foundation will not be there and I will have to build a new one from the ground up. My family will be there and that will be foundational. Still, it’s a little unnerving.

There is still the chance I’ll be back in a year. No one seems to believe that. Everyone is convinced I will be successful and have a new life in Italy. In a way, I feel like I’m being shoved off, but I know that’s not the case. Everyone is so excited for me, and many have expressed envy for this decision. It’s gratifying. No matter what, though, I will always come back. At the very least, for a visit.

I guess my farewells are not exactly permanent. So, really I actually never can say goodbye.





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