Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Get ready, ’cause here I come”–thank you, Rare Earth

Christmas is over and New Year’s is still to come. I went around and took photos of Ascoli Piceno, near the Piazza del Popolo for Christmas. That plaza is my favorite place on earth. It is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy and I understand why. I’ve seen a lot of piazzas but very few are as lovely and represent so many architectural types and so much different history.PIAZZA XMAS 2014

The days following Christmas have found me very down. I couldn’t figure out why. Was it the “after Christmas blues”? Was I feeling lonely? Was I missing my parents? I have to admit that I don’t enjoy the holidays anymore. They’re just not the same without my mom and dad. I’ve heard people say that Christmas is for the kids. Well, as I got older, perhaps it was still for me, but I felt it was more for my mom and dad. I loved doing things for them and buying them their favorite gifts.

I was also getting down on myself. Maybe I hadn’t taken my anti-depressants. I can sink like a rock without those things. And if I haven’t eaten (low blood sugar), then I keep heading downward. I found myself going to places I shouldn’t.

I began re-considering why I’m in Italy. I began contemplating why I left Salem and Oregon. I began questioning whether or not this path I’m taking is the right one. Will it be worth it?


I began re-living ugly situations and relationships back home. I became frustrated at some of the ways I was treated by people who supposedly cared about me and then turned their backs. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a thing in my life. It was a completely new paradigm for me. I’m still not sure how to deal with it.

I was going to write this posting as a form of closure for some of the ugliness back home and as a catharsis for the anger and frustration I feel. It was recommended to me by a friend in Orange County who went through something a bit similar. Well, I wrote the posting and it was the longest one I’ve ever written at 2700 words. I let everything out and I was harsh, but it was necessary. I said what needed to be said. Things that I wasn’t allowed to say before. Not everything, but enough. And afterwards, I felt a sense of release and a sense of peace.


I haven’t decided if I’m going to post it. Perhaps in the future. Perhaps never. For right now it remains in my Word file. Just knowing it’s there and available gives me comfort. Besides, if anyone involved read it, would it really make any difference?

And it’s frustrating how something like that can cause a person to go into the dark place. That place where it almost seems as though there is no rescue. Depression becomes so debilitating that it’s actually a struggle to take your meds. That probably sounds odd, but it’s true.

I had begun questioning everything that I’m doing and then trashing it. Why am I in Italy? How is my presence here going to impact my retirement? How much will my Italian passport cost? Will I be able to travel to Ukraine and Poland to research my book? Do I know what I’m doing?


And then other things–frustration with the language, frustration with my limited mobility without a car, back pain, problems (STILL) with my mobile phone carrier, money concerns–will I find work here? Will I find it if I have to return to Oregon?

Depression can destroy a person. For two or three days it devastated me and I was unable to function. I started convincing myself that I needed to return to Oregon and do the “sensible” thing. Go back into HOA management or find some other job. Find a place to live, a new church and spend time with my friends. Hit the Portland restaurant scene. Familiar things

I convinced myself that me attempts at a second book will be all for naught because I only had one book in me and their wasn’t enough talent to keep going. I’d spent all my creative capital on Lemonade. How would I make this next book interesting? Will I be able to find any information on the other side of the family, tie it in to Lemonade and describe life in Austria-Hungary, Poland and Ukraine?


But, after the unpublished posting, I’m better. I will trudge onward. Does it matter how things turn out? I guess. At the very least, I will be returning to Oregon in November. That’s not so bad. I calculated that living in Italy for a year is not a negative. And I’m not planning on a return to Oregon. Just reminding myself that it’s okay if I do. Although, I do confess to a seed planted in my brain telling me that perhaps the expatriate life isn’t for me. That’s what depression does.

And, I’ve only been here seven weeks! I need to learn to cut myself some slack. Besides, I’ve never been the type to do the sensible thing. Sometimes one has to go “off track” and do something that might seem crazy, creative, challenging.

So, the shit that happened to me with people from my past and my church is just that. I think the hardest part is not having an opportunity to stand up for myself. One thing I can’t stand is being vilified without an opportunity to give my side of the story. Another is injustice. Yet another is abuse. Especially against teenage boys. We’ll leave it at that for now.

But that’s life. So I need to get on with it. Between that garbage and the abuse I took from lesser beings at some  of my properties, I was ready to get outta Dodge. If I go back, I’ll be stronger and more confident and less willing to put up with shit from people. I had thought I was already there. Apparently, I wasn’t ready to deal with said shit when trust was betrayed or people were just downright nuckin’ futs.

It’s a new year coming. Yet, I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. My belief has always been that I don’t need something as arbitrary as a New Year’s resolution to do something. If something needs to be done, I’d just do it.

Yet the looming promise of a New Year holds a greater allure for me now in 2014. I feel my new life will blossom. The holidays will be out of the way and I can focus. I’ll keep myself open to whatever God has for me rather than try to fit a square peg into a round hole by forcing my will on everything. Gonna be exciting.

So 2015, get ready ’cause here I come!



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