Should I stay or should I go?–thank you, The Clash

Schizophrenia. That’s what I’ve got.

For a couple of weeks I’ve been anticipating my return to America. I’m anxious to get back to a normal life and get a routine going. I’m anxious to work again. Now, however, with only six days to go I find myself wanting to stop the clock. A sadness is buried in my chest.

I’m leaving Italy for good.

I know, I know. I’ll be back to visit again. And I know I said that, after living here, my family won’t seem so far away. The enchantress that is Italia will always be a part of me. But her intoxication is already seeming to slip through my fingers as I pack and tie up loose ends.

No life experience will ever top this. I feel quite confident stating that as fact. How could anything supersede living in Italy near my family? I traveled through Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. I met new family members in Ukraine from researching my next book. What could come close?

I admit to a bit of giddiness about looking for a job. I am armed now with a sense of confidence to take on the world. Something about this whole experience seems to have flushed out of my system a lot of toxic crap that had built up over the years. I’ve had a cleansing.

When I return I know that it will be difficult to find a job initially. The holidays are here and few companies make substantial hiring decisions. Everyone is traveling, celebrating, vacationing. Many companies close up shop for a substantial time. Budgets are being considered for next year.

No matter. I can attend after-hours functions, meet-and-greets, luncheons, anything that will allow me to get my name out in the marketplace. I’ve already got four happy hours planned and two different individuals want to meet for coffee to discuss partnerships and opportunities.

As I perform my due diligence in my search, I am encouraged by what I see occurring in Portland. High tech and internet companies continue to locate offices in my city. The talent pool is deep and wide. There’s a sense of collaboration among the people in Portland. Rather than a cutthroat dog-eat-dog type of competition, people are genuinely interested in helping others find their place. Has Portland turned into Nirvana?

Fortunately, my contact pool is also deep and wide which also lends to my confidence. As I prepare for my departure from Italy and my return to Portland, the dichotomy of sadness over leaving versus excitement over returning knocks me around like a badminton birdie.

It is this anticipation that helps me to steel myself against the clutch in my heart from having to leave. Upon my arrival, I will be hitting the pavement to get settled with issues regarding my car, car insurance, mini storage, cell phone, etc. Thanksgiving is almost here so not much will get done. Nevertheless, I will do as much as is possible to start the fire of my job search and stoke it through into the New Year.

Yeah, when I stop and think about leaving this sensational experience behind, I get melancholic. But this expat life had its season. Now it’s time to go home and enter a new season with a renewed sense of exhilaration, anticipation and exuberance.

I’ve seriously thought “Should I stay or should I go”? But I’ve made the decision.

Six more days, Portland…

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