Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Movin’ on”–thank you, Bad Company

It’s been a long day. I suppose this back pain makes these days seem longer than they are. Last night I found myself returning from my little bistro, walking like Frankenstein. It took me awhile to figure out that two glasses of white wine don’t go well with Vicodin. Even without this realization, I am going to try to wean myself away from the meds. I just don’t like what they are doing to me. I’m a zombie all day long, but it’s about the only way I can function.

Last night my cousin and his wife arrived with bedding and linens. I can now bed down somewhat normally. For the previous three nights I could only find a curtain to cover me when I slept. I had no sheets or blankets. I had pillows, fortunately. But that was it. Does that make me a pioneer man? The weather has been quite warm and sunny with temperatures in the sixties so at least I wasn’t freezing at night.

I am gradually getting things done. The heater is working–a little too well, I might add. I only need it turned on a few minutes before I start roasting. I found out the fridge wasn’t working and lost a quart of milk in the process. Oh well.

Today I was able to get my new phone number. I replaced the SIM card in my iPhone. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I can have two hundred fifty minutes of talk, plus 2 gigs of data and five hundred text messages for only thirty euros (thirty-seven dollars). I will be able to access the internet on my phone and via my commuter through a personal hotspot on my iPhone. At least, that was my understanding. If you hear a huge shriek a month from now when I receive my first bill, you’ll know why. I don’t know what to do with my old SIM card. I will need it for when I return to the U.S because it has my American phone number. Those things are so tiny that they can be easily misplaced.

I was also able to find a physical therapist. Turns out there is one in my building! His office is on the bottom floor. I have an appointment with him tomorrow and I can’t wait. I’m praying to God that he’s able to help alleviate this pain relatively quickly. I’m no stranger to chronic pain, but this level of pain is affecting my ability to function. The meds knock me out or turn me into Frankenstein. If I don’t take them, I’m in agony. What is worse?

However, I did realize something tonight. After I got my new Italian phone number, my back seemed to feel better. I don’t think it could have been the Vicodin as I had taken the pill two hours earlier. Doesn’t Vicodin take effect sooner than that? I don’t really know and haven’t been paying attention. It makes me wonder if perhaps I’m stressing out too much thereby resulting in even greater pain. Could that be it? We all know that I NEVER over-react, right?

After coordinating everything with the phone I decided to look for a place to eat. I have come to the realization that Mondays are not good evenings to find an open restaurant. I only found bars serving coffee and pastries. Eventually, I found a pizzeria just down the street from my apartment. It looked good and had wifi so I figured I’d check it out. Turns out this is the first pizzeria ever opened in Alba Adriatica. It was started sixty-two years ago by the current proprietor’s mother. The owner is a gregarious gentleman whose English is quite good.

He asked me if I was English and I told him that I am American. According to him, he could not hear an American accent; I sounded more English to him. I have to admit that I’ve never been mistaken for an Englishman before. Blimey!

Anyway, I’m glad I found this place. I now have a cafe to frequent, a bistro to frequent and a pizzeria to frequent. As you can see, I’ve got my priorities set right. But I think it’s important to have a place to call your own, something Cheers-esque. Maybe everybody won’t know my name, but I’ll be at home and I’ll be welcomed.

And I was fortunate enough to find a gymnasium today. I went to a small shopping center and poked around. On the second floor I saw people sweating in spandex so I knew I had found a gym. The manager is from England and has lived here for twenty years. Obviously she is fluent in Italian. I will probably join this gym since I need to remain active and start to build strength again, according to my doctor. But even more encouraging is knowing this manager is involved with several expatriate groups in the area.

She knows many people from the U.S., England, Australia, Canada and South Africa. They meet occasionally for various functions. According to her, there’s quite a few expat groups around here. This is just what I was hoping to find, but feared I wouldn’t. I reasoned that an out of the way place like this probably wouldn’t have too many English-speaking expatriates around. Apparently, I was wrong.

By meeting these people I will create a support system beyond my family. It will be good for me to have some English-speaking people around. I figure they can help me negotiate the area, find the best businesses to patronize (barber, etc.) and help me with my Italian.

So, when I look back on everything I did today, I feel quite good. I’ve only been here three days and I naturally expect to have all my Italian ducks in a row immediately. As I was walking around today, trying to get things done, I found myself charging ahead relentlessly. When I realized what I was doing, I immediately slowed down. This is the mentality I’m trying to erase. I want to move more methodically, more deliberately. This is something that I want to become a part of my every day life. I want the relentless charging to slide into the background so I can walk and exist more naturally, in a relaxed manner. I don’t want everything to be a competition, a challenge, something to be accomplished. Not everything needs to be done right now.

I was proud of myself for recognizing this so quickly. Perhaps it’s the atmosphere. Whatever the reason, I’m movin’ on.

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