It’s pretty scary to realize you’ve essentially severed from your old life to embark on a new life. It requires a resolute determination to look forward at the adventures that lie ahead, and not ruminate on all the familiar things (and loved ones) you’ve left behind.
With two weeks to go before our one-way flight from the USA to Italy, we still owned a house in the suburbs and three cars. And suddenly, the house was sold, and the vehicles had either broken down or been sold. Nothing. We essentially owned nothing. [Disclaimer: ok, we did rent a storage unit with the things I absolutely could not part with, which will stay in storage till we know where we’ve landed for good.]
Leaving my family was the hardest. We’re a close-knit family, so how could we leave them? I reminded myself that my daughter was happily married with a full and busy life, and that I would miss her more than she would miss me. But I also needed to do this for me. “This” being obtaining recognition of my Italian citizenship and earning the privilege of moving freely about Europe .
The day of our flight to Italy finally arrived. I thought, ‘there’s still time to cancel the shuttle to the airport and forget this whole thing’. And then I reminded myself, where would we live? We had sold our house and cars.
The shuttle came, tearful goodbyes. And as we drove to the airport, I thought, ‘it’s not too late to tell the driver to turn around.’ Turn around to what? We had nothing left–there was no more ‘home’ to return to.
Waiting at the airport gate, I thought, ‘I could call my daughter to come get us, that we’d changed our minds and wanted to come home.’ But I didn’t call.
And once on the plane, buckling my seat belt, I thought, ‘I still have time to jump up and run down the airplane aisle, demanding to be let off.’ But I didn’t.
While I was pondering my options, the plane was suddenly airborne, and I could only look forward, ready to tackle whatever Life was about to bring us.
There are tons of practical articles about becoming an expat–visas, where to live, how to get bank accounts or health insurance, etc etc. But there’s nothing really to prepare you for the emotional upheaval of leaving everything familiar and the people you hold dear.
And honestly, no matter how much I wanted to move to Italy, and it was all of my own initiative, I still feel sadness about leaving my family.
Am I so sad that I regret my decision to move here and undergo this process? Nope. I missed my daughter went she first went off to kindergarten, but it didn’t stop me from sending her to school. And I missed her when she went off to a college, hundreds of miles away. But it was the right thing to do–for her and her future.
So, now it’s time to do something for me. And while it causes me pain in the short term, I’m holding out for the long-term gain. What makes it more difficult is that I can’t point to a tangible, definite outcome. I can think this, and I can think that, but I don’t know for certain what the future holds. Just like when you graduate from high school or college, you don’t know what twists and turns the future holds–you can only hope. And my husband and I remain hopeful about our future, too.
And while I sit here, typing this, and thinking about learning patience while we’ve exhausted every avenue to move up our all-important Questura appointment, thus far unsuccessfully, my cell phone lights up with a text message that our appointment has been moved to two months earlier! Hope does spring eternal.