Possibilities

Let me remember that anything is possible. That there is no limit to what I can do here. That really the only thing stopping me is my own fear and self-doubt. Let me not forget this.

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The day to day

Firenze, December 7

Thanksgiving has come and Mom and Alan have returned home. I miss them dearly but it almost feels like another life ago when they were here and I was still acting somewhat of a tourist with them. Yesterday my plane left for Boston without me and yesterday I think I said for the first time, I live here. And that I do. Emails were shot across the Atlantic to all my Edible Boston accounts from the last few years telling them that I was moving on. Step one to becoming official. I’m not sure what step two is but somehow I feel that there is one more important milestone before I say that it’s official. Plane is gone, job is gone. What else do I need? Perhaps it’s just a matter of moving into my new apartment next week that will make me feel that the deal is sealed. Each day I feel that my slate is cleaned a little more and I am ready for a new beginning.
Holiday Celebrations

The days continue to be a jumble of fun wining and dining and walking around the city and crossing off things on my to do list. Tie up job stuff, call T mobile, figure out how to get birth control, import olive oil, send affidavit for green card. It’s a funny thing here, or anywhere new I imagine, getting things done. Each errand or thing that needs accomplishing requires a certain amount of learning. Weighing and pricing produce yourself at the market, understanding who exactly sells envelopes, waiting a full hour and a half for the wash to finish its cycle, figuring out how to order meat in kilos. There is fun in that and when the task is complete there is a sense of victory. Little victories everyday.

Supermercato

Florence is an easy city to move to as an ex-pat. There are so many resources here for us that I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. At this point I wouldn’t give up my small circle of friends for anything. It is there company that make the days pass with pleasure and keep my mind off the sometimes overwhelming things that lie ahead. At the same time though I sometimes stop and wonder, is this too easy? I know for sure my language isn’t progressing as fast as I’d like because I’m surrounded by English speakers and I’m pretty sure that there are cities that feel more authentically Italian. There is a difference between being an ex-pat in Florence and living in Italy. The Canadian woman I am renting this apartment from has lived her fifteen years and has never really been South.  That’s crazy to me. Eventually I would like to get out of this city but for now it feels a bit like home and I like that.

Thanksgiving and Thoughts of Mezzogiorno

Thanksgiving Day. I am feeling a little under the weather sitting in my kind of cold apartment drinking tea and listening to church bells. There is a chill to this city that just seeps deep into your bones. It a humid chill that is tough to shake.

Ostuni, Puglia

These days have been a swirling confusion of day trips with Mom and Alan to the country, mornings spent looking for apartments and/or taking care of the business necessary for moving to a new city, trying to get caught up on school work and sleep, catching up with friend and colleagues, fretting about the plane ticket I need to change and worrying if I will ever find a job. And of course, missing the mezzogiorno. It could be the warmer temperatures that I’m missing, this is likely and it is also true that I am not speaking hardly any Italian up here, what with all the people I know being American, Canadian or Italians who speak fluent English. You could really move to this city and not speak the language and do ok. My most memorable day in Florence so far was in fact one that I spent talking, in Italian, and drinking wine with a man from Basilicata. Thinking of fields of olive trees and the stark white of the med. Walking around this afternoon, after lunch, the streets were full of people, the shops had people in them and life was open for business. It is the pace of the south that so makes me feel whole. I feel this incredible tug down there.

Olive trees in Puglia
Termoli, Molise

There are so many movable pieces to how this thing, this life, this career I want will fall into place. I cannot expect to at all to know how it will all land and I bump up against that, causing myself unnecessary anxiety. Let go. Day by day. BUT, when I read in the newspaper about a conference in Milano about heath and nutrition and the Mediterranean diet, I KNOW that this is what I am here to do. And when I look closer and realize that a few of the speakers are people I know and/or have had contact with along the path so far, I feel that I could be one of these speakers in not so much time.

Nando

I sit in a cold olive press factory on the Molise, Lazio, Campania border. I have been invited here by a man I met just days ago, by chance in a hilltop town near Termoli. He took it upon himself to give the Americans a tour of the olive press that we stumbled upon, and crashed the party. He was the tour guide and he loved that. We exchanged numbers at the end of the afternoon and he invited us to Caserta where his press was to see his operation. We thanked him and said maybe we would stop through.
That night my phone rang over our late lunch and it was Nando. Ciao Angelina! Come Stai? He wanted us to know again that he’d love to have us come by and see him. And so with our plans changing around us anyway, I called him back the next day and said we’d be there in a few hours. Nando would take care of the rest.
And that is how I got here. Simple exchanges through broken Italian between people who just reveled in new experience and new people. We watched the press all day as farmers and their family came by with sometimes truck loads, sometimes just a trunk full of their harvest. Each harvest was weighed and dumped into the press and monitored by the best looking man in Southern Italy I’d seen thus far. Green jump suit and all. Later Nando introduced us to every member of his family, every person that came through to chat and took us to have the best pizza in the zone. Two bottles of wine and three pizzas later I had a new friend and business partner. Nando and I are going to experiment with importing his olive oil to the States. This is what happens when you let go. Note taken.

Something Different

There is something about this trip that feels different. And I’d like to think that it’s not because I’m thinking of staying, Something feels easier. Like there’s more room to find my way and lose my way in the process. The language for one is clicking without as much effort. Maybe I’m just trying less, trusting more.

 

Why is it that I want this? Why do I need this?

I need this because everything is a bit confusing right now and it makes more sense than anything else.

I need this in part because I need things to be hard for a while. I need to have a dream and make it a reality and in the process see what I’m actually made of. I need to be down on my luck a bit and recognize where the blessings come from. I need to push my limits and do something I’ve dreamed of doing for so long. If it doesn’t work then so be it….something will.