Well, I certainly opened a can of worms. Conventional wisdom states that there are three topics one should never discuss–politics, sex and religion. Well, I’m not terribly conventional. Never have been. So, I decided to speak my mind.
The response I received was not what I expected. Since most of the people I know are Christians (mainly what one would consider fundamentalist Christians), I was waiting for hordes to show up at the gate with torches and pitchforks.
Instead, I received an avalanche of support. The support came from people in the know, who’ve been where I’ve been and who used their experience to further their walk with God. Rather than turn their backs on God, they realized that God is not responsible for the behavior of people.
That’s really all I have to say on the issue. To continue would be to beat, what is for me, a dead horse.
Instead, it’s time to get back to important things–pursuing the expatriate life in Italy.
The second book is plodding along. I have to admit that I cannot wait to get to Lviv and Krakow. I might just watch the weather in these places to see if I can visit sooner. As it is, I’m planning April for Lviv and May for Krakow. I will return to Italy in late May to host two good friends from Oregon.
I do have a fear that I will find next to no information on my family in these areas. And I wonder how much relevant information I can find. My maternal grandfather was born in Lviv in 1878. I doubt there will be anyone who remembers him. But if I can find distant family members who can give me information on ancestors, I can incorporate that info.
My maternal grandmother was born in Krakow in 1889 so I’m facing the same thing with her. Once my mother’s family immigrated to Canada, that was about it. My aunt remained in contact with her beloved aunt who is obviously deceased now. She also remained in contact with family members living under the strains of communism. She faithfully sent them care packages every month. I might have to fill in some of the blanks myself with stories I’ve been told and historical information.
The next few weeks are going to be relatively full. I’ve started visiting local towns to take photos and start writing about them. Whether or not anything is accepted, will remain to be seen. I know that penetrating the travel writing industry is hard.
I’ve joined a health club and that will go a long way in keeping me occupied at night and helping with my back issues. Too, I can start working on my strength, something my doctor strongly urged me to do. Lifting weights and doing cardio always makes me feel good. The club was closed today so I took a long walk. It’s been a beautiful night and I found myself working up a sweat. It’s not cold and there’s no wind. We’ve been fortunate because the weather suddenly turned beautiful with 50’s temperatures and sunny days. As a matter of fact, yesterday I visited the community of Giulianova, about ten minutes north of here. Some of the photos from that afternoon jaunt are included on this posting.
Tomorrow I will be pursuing my Permesso di Soggiorno. I’ve filled out as much as I can of these documents. Supposedly, there’s supposed to be someone at the main post office who can help. I seriously doubt that. The video I watched mentioned this. English-speakers are in short supply around here.
I am also visiting the English language school this week. It’s two blocks from my apartment and I’m interesting to see if there’s anyone who can tutor me in Italian. Perhaps there’s something I might be able to do there, too.
And I’m working on a new website. I will be incorporating my blog and my main website onto one site. I will also have a website for photographs that I will provide to the general public. It will be full of Italy photos and available to anyone who needs or wants pictures of Italy. Sure there will be main sites, but there will be photos that accent Italy. I feel it’s best to have my social media consolidated.
I think I came to a decision today, though. I relatively minor one. I’m going to look into traveling on the weekends. Life in southern Italy is such that everyone is resting on the weekend. Everything is open sporadically which makes work even harder. I think I’m going to research cheap flights to places like Athens and Jerusalem. If I’m going to embrace the la dolce vita lifestyle, why am I working like a fiend?? Why not do a bit of traveling?
After all, I look like an idiot sitting in cafes tapping away on my laptop for hours on end. Plus, it gets expensive. I cannot expect these generous cafe owners to host me without spending some money in their cafes. They have to survive. Fortunately, an espresso or latte macchiato is only about $1.50. Drool-inducing pastries are about the same. That means more espressos, more pastries. I KNOW what you’re thinking…
Why am I working like a fiend? I guess the answer falls into a remark I made to my brother. I feel like I only have a limited amount of time so I want to get as much accomplished as possible. But, if I only end up spending a year here, then haven’t I also squandered the opportunity of a lifetime to visit Athens, Cairo, Jerusalem or Casablanca?
I guess as with anything, it’s balance. I mean, if I really can’t do anything on the weekends, why not visit Dubrovnik? Why not browbeat my brother into meeting me in Marseilles? My brother’s ex is encouraging me to come back to Moscow. That would be great, but I wonder about trying to get another visa for Russia. I, an American expatriate living in Italy. Do I contact the Russian consulate in Italy or America? If I go, everything should be pretty cheap. Vodka anyone? Caviar anyone? How about a Putin voodoo doll?
Of course, why not save money and visit Sicily ? Or the heel of Italy? Everyone raves about Sicily. And do I need to travel more? After all, I’m already planning on being in Ukraine and Poland. My best friend is planning on spending the summer with me and he’s made noises about Spain–I could follow him there, assuming he doesn’t get sick of me and bludgeon me to death.
So, life is gradually entering its own level of normalcy. The holidays are over and I can hit the ground running with all these new opportunities and responsibilities facing me. It will help to keep me focused rather than allow my mind to wander as it’s prone to do.
After the tsunami I created two days ago, I’m fine now. I’m done and looking forward. No more living in the past.