My Italian Diary: Home
After a long road of scattered rain, many espresso, and sore muscles, we started to see sure signs of our return. Bright green rolling hills, milk trucks for the parmigiano, scents of lavender — all clear indicators for me that our trip is over, but our journey is really just beginning. We’re home. I’m still unsure of what that means exactly…home. I feel an overwhelming happiness and excitement for my “new life,” but I’m struggling inside that my family is not close by. I wrap my arms tightly around Davide as we take final stretch of asphalt to our home. The sunset kissed the horizon while the dogs across the street were barking vehemently from our unfamiliar scent. Kaki fits perfectly in our new garage. The stairs are perfectly steep, and we smile as we no longer need to climb four stories of them.
Davide opens the door. There reveals our new apartment — a new beginning…a place to get to know one another in a different way, and to grow together. Pristinely painted walls, tall doors leading out to our balcony where Davide has already activated his green thumb, and gorgeous wood furnishings from our stylish landlords. We immediately started rearranging all of the furniture to match our flow. The big red couch, worn and tethered, and with proper Italian coverings has become our lab for brainstorming new designs. This is our third apartment together, and knowing it won’t be our last, we still started making it feel like home.
I know in my mind that he wants to do whatever it takes to make me feel comfortable. We knew that my homesickness was going to hit sooner or later, but something Davide has taught me is to just live in the moment. I value that so much. I’m so conditioned to living in a city where you need to think 10 steps ahead to survive, so having a calming, and supportive energy around me has helped me in more ways than I think I can ever understand.
A week flew by, and I received my first teaching schedule. There were only eight hours for the entire first two weeks. Being so tapped for money, I reached out to the director of the school politely asking for an explanation. In my contract, it was promised a minimum amount of money per month, which those eight hours would certainly not cover. She responded, “have patience.” I lost it. It’s not a matter of “patience,” it’s a matter of my financial stability in this new country. I began my lessons anyhow with no other choice. My students adore me, and I truly enjoy teaching…I just feel limited. I feel limited financially, but also creatively. We had been planning this job, and this life for over 6 months and it feels like it’s all crumbling.
I sat on our big red couch with my face buried tightly in my hands and tears escaping quickly through every curve of my fingers repeatedly whispering, “what have I done?” Davide held me to closely that I could feel his heart aching for me. He feels responsible, like he took me here away from my family. It couldn’t be further from the truth, and I couldn’t bare the idea of him feeling that way. I cleaned myself up, and headed to the park to look for new jobs. We’re still without internet, so the park is our go-to for free connection (irony?). I applied to every chef position, and every video position I could find. I’m not going to let one thing get me down. It’s going to be alright, I know it. This is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life. I’m not going down easily. I’m embarrassed to tell my parents for the ‘I told you so’’s, and questions like, “so when are you coming back?” I call them every day, so I couldn’t hide this for long. To my surprise, they encouraged me to keep looking and reminded me that this is a part of life, but it will get better — I just have to make it better.
Working and interviewing in another language is a whole new beast for me, and I’m honestly scared. But I know I have to put my fears and anxieties behind me not just for me, but for Davide. He’s always here for me to keep me grounded and loved. I swear, I fall in love with him again every day. It’s in these moments where I realise that I feel at home wherever I am as long as he’s there.
Within 48 hours, I received 4 interviews. Maybe they’re curious about what kind of crazy person would move from New York City to San Polo d’Enza, or they’re genuinely impressed with my portfolio. Either way, I’m going to prove to myself that I’m strong and it will get better.