All my bags are packed. I’m ready to go…

I bought my bus ticket tonight. <sigh>

It was heart-wrenching. I don’t know why I’m getting so emotional about leaving. I’m trying to remember every little detail, no matter how insignificant. Tonight while lifting weights, an expat from England I befriended, Deborah, asked me if I was sad

“Yes”, I answered.

Everything is making me sad. Eugenio, the owner of my favorite cafe, wants me to stop in and say goodbye before I leave. Faustio, the pizzeria owner, said the same thing. I’m to Skype with my cousin, Sergio, before I go. Tomorrow night I’m taking out my family to celebrate Uncle Luciano’s birthday which occurs two days after I leave. Saying goodbye to them will be really hard.

I’m sitting now in my apartment with my bags all packed. I’m wearing the same clothes over and over again and just washing them. No use having everything unpacked and then rushing at the last minute. I will do probably two more loads of laundry, mostly from my cardio and weightlifting efforts.

The apartment needs to be cleaned, but I will clean it the night before I leave. Bills are up to date. I’m biding my time. The weather is gorgeous–mid-to-high sixties. I’m still doing a bit of sun-worshiping. There isn’t much more that I can do as I wait for my departure.

Tomorrow I’m picking up a rental car. For forty bucks I’ve got a small SUV to truck around the area and wistfully observe everything I can cram into my memory banks.

It’s so stupid. I’m not a teenager lamenting the loss of his first crush. But I feel as though that’s how I’m acting. I’ve determined that there are several reasons for this melancholy.

One is that I just hate saying goodbye. Even to acquaintances that I might never see again, relationships I’ve made in this small town. Let’s face it, when I return to visit Italy, my time will be spent with my family because time will be limited. I treasure relationships and it’s hard to let these acquaintances go, even if they aren’t necessarily deep.

Another reason is that I’m flying without a net again. I’m returning with no job awaiting me–reminiscent of my move to Italy a year ago. But, in considering this fact, I thought back to when I returned to Oregon from Southern California with no job waiting for me. The economy was booming then in Oregon (like it is now) and I found a job quickly (like I’m sure I will this time, too). Nevertheless, the unknown can be a bit scary. Yet, again, this isn’t the first time I’ve blasted into the unknown. And everything has worked out.

I guess the third reason is knowing that my family would like me to stay. They keep questioning me about the lack of work, but they nod knowingly because they understand the economy is wretched here. Yet, I get the impression that they were hoping something would work out. My cousin, Debra, was the most vocal about how I need to remain in Italy no matter what. These sentiments cause my heart to overflow with emotion.

But, as I discussed with my English expat friend, once I get on that bus, I will be thinking only of the future, understanding that this expat experience has come to an end–an end that hasn’t been disappointing. Indeed, it was somewhat expected. Once the bus pulls away from the station and I look back at the apartment I’ve vacated, and as Alba Adriatica fades into the distance, I will shake it off. The future looks bright. I’m coming home.

Hard to stay sad when I see Oregon beckoning in the distance.

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