Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“Vacation’s all I ever wanted…”–thank you, Go-Go’s

Life here in Italy is becoming more and more normal. My cousin, Sergio, was here for part of the weekend to sign final papers for the sale of his apartment in my building. He was very happy to hear how I’m settling in. I’ve still got my favorite cafe and bar and I have a grocery store that I patronize all the time. I now have my tutor scheduled and I’ve started lifting weights. I take walks and bike rides along the beach. I’m getting a routine down.

I’ve decided I’m going to spend my birthday (January 26) in Sicily. I’ve been wanting to go somewhere and Sicily is very inexpensive. I’ve purchased my flight (only $117 round trip!) and reserved a hotel for four nights. One catch–I have to fly out of Rome which means a 3 hour bus ride from here (and back). Oh well. Flying out of the nearest airport, Ancona, would cost $468. I’m formulating my itineraries for Krakow and Lviv, too. I’m starting to get excited. I’ve spoken to a guy in Lviv from Washington State who has a room to rent out. He’s fluent in English and Ukrainian so he will be of tremendous help. I will be going to Lviv in April and Krakow in March. I have not decided on a place in Krakow yet. But I have found a place that looks good.

My brother’s girlfriend is Ukrainian and she’s from Odessa. She is more than willing to help me find someone in media for a possible interview. My rationale is that, if I can get a blurb in the newspaper, perhaps some distant relative will email me so we can meet and share notes about family history. I also hope to do this in Krakow. It would go a long way in helping me save time and get information from the horse’s mouth, as it were.

I sometimes wonder if this next book will actually work out. My cousin is using her Ancestry.com connection to do some genealogy for me. That will help tremendously. Yet I worry about actually accomplishing anything in Krakow or Lviv. As is usually the case, I’m going by the seat of my pants, kinda recklessly, and assuming that everything will work out. Will anyone be interested in this particular book? It’s going to be different than Lemonade in that it will trace genealogy, people I don’t know and have never met, except for one aunt (my mother’s sister) in British Columbia. My plan is for this book to partner with Lemonade. Because of that, I wonder about how deep the readership pool would be.

I try not to get down and I’m really not down, yet I can’t help but continually wonder if this whole thing is not a charade. Did I misread “opportunity” into “offer” and decide for myself that this move to Italy was fate, God or whatever you want to call it? Reality is gradually seeping in and telling me that perhaps I superimposed my desire over a generous offer from my brother. I know that anything could happen and I know that I’ve still got time but as I’ve been asserting, this is a long shot.

I’m loving it here and will be disappointed if I have to return. I’m anxious for summer because during the summer life in Italy is freaking incredible. It’s very laid back and simple. Of course, I live in a tourist town which means the population will quadruple, all the bars and restaurants will re-open and there will be crowds everywhere. That will kind of suck.

My brother has made comments about my visiting him in Astana, Kazahkstan. His ex is prodding me to come back to Moscow. One of my best buds has a daughter in Vienna and another dear friend has a daughter in Norway. My best friend is coming for possibly two months this summer and wants to visit Spain. I have upwards of ten other people coming to Italy who will, or want to, hook up. So little time to see everything!

Sometimes I think I should just enjoy myself and not worry about anything. What I should really do is continue to try to make this work, but not deny myself the opportunities that are here for me to travel, explore and experience. I’ve created a list of where I want to go besides Ukraine and Poland–Jerusalem, Casablanca, Tunis, Zagreb, Brussels, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, San Marino, Corinth.

I would also dearly love to return to Paris, Prague and Budapest. It’s very inexpensive to travel. If I take Ryanair (the bastard airline that screwed up my flight from Paris to Rome a year ago), I can get to places like Rome or Stockholm for $50. I’ll have to think about that.

Sometimes I think that vacation’s all I ever wanted…



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