Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“How long”–thank you, Ace

I decided to re-read posts from the five weeks I spent in Southern California back in May-June. Very interesting.

My trip to Southern California was at the behest of a beautiful friend of mine going through a very difficult time. She insisted I stay with her in El Cajon. During that stay, I was able to visit old friends throughout the Southland—Santa Monica, West Covina, Rancho Cucamonga, Orange County. It was great seeing so many people. 

And it was great visiting old neighborhoods and old haunts. So much had changed that it was a little disheartening. Yet so much had stayed the same, mostly my relationships.

I re-read what I had written about conversations with some of my friends. These conversations were before my five week trip to Europe that would end with an offer from my brother to live in one of his apartments in Italy.

In re-reading these postings, I was astounded. I commented about how I was going to just “be”, just let go and let God. I wrote about “balance” and how we make wrong decisions sometimes and then backtrack to make the right ones. The right decisions balance out the wrong decisions. I wrote about how I had needed to visit Southern California again to make sense of those years spent there, bracketed by my life in Oregon.

And I wrote about a good friend of mine who once again spoke of a time when I reached out to him. He is of the conviction that his life wouldn’t be where it is now if I hadn’t done so. His wife concurred that he speaks of this continuously. I found that touching.

Seeing these words written from seven months ago has opened my eyes and will help me on this journey. I don’t know how long I’ll be in Italy. I know the odds are stacked against me. But I also know the odds were stacked against me when I went to Southern California back in May of ’82. The sacrifice is much greater this time around and the potential ramifications much greater, also.

But I guess I am gradually seeing my life as a success in a genre that is different than what we acknowledge. And I think there’s a reason that I am constantly yearning, yearning. As I continue to fumble forward into the future, I will exist in the “now”. I don’t know if there is a real place for me to be at home. Perhaps I’m a vagabond like my brother who has lived all over the world. The only place he really remained for an extended period was Moscow, Russia. And now he’s left there.

There is a path that we all have to lead. That’s a tired cliché, I know. But it’s so true. I think that, in my case, finding my family provided me with a horizon full of possibilities. I’m still pursuing those possibilities. Perhaps I always will.

It has helped to re-read those postings. I find it fascinating to see how things have changed so much in just seven months. I had planned to return from Europe, find a job and a new place to live and take my place back in Oregon society. Instead, my possessions are in storage and I’m living in an apartment in a seaside resort in Italy, forty minutes from my family.


What will the next seven months bring? I don’t know. But I’m encouraged the way balance does occur and that encouragement helps to lessen the fear I sometimes feel. How long will I pursue this horizon of possibilities?

How long?




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