All good things…
…must come to an end. I’ve been avoiding writing this blog post, waiting until almost the last possible moment to say “Arrividerci, Roma!” Sad as it is for many reasons, we will be leaving Italia on Monday and returning to live in Arizona. These last few weeks have been busy, as you might imagine. We’ve been packing, shipping some boxes home and giving away much of the stuff we’ve accumulated while living here that we don’t need back in the US or can’t get back home. I’ve been able to hang out with my dear friend Suzanne almost every day this past week, each time bringing her another haul of goodies from our flat. My orchids that are starting to grow flower stems, one for the third time, went to live with our friend Riccardo, where they will be happy in his south facing kitchen window. Susan got the majority of the stuff, plants for the villa in Umbria and assorted other goodies for her apartment in Roma. We have had wonderful dinners with friends, evenings with Michael’s boss Maggie and his coworkers, and one last Internations party.
I have very mixed feelings about returning to live in the US. I know that there will be an adjustment period when we return, similar to the adjustment period we went through when we moved here. A bit of culture shock, even though we are returning to a place that we know. It’s difficult to articulate exactly what’s different, but I know we are not the same people who left Arizona 19 months ago. I don’t want to go back to the same life that I left. Returning will be an opportunity to make some changes.
There will be some obvious changes, like we no longer have a home to return to in Phoenix since we sold it this past year. We rented a furnished patio home in a golf community in Scottsdale for 2 months which will give us time to look for a longer term place. Michael will be returning to a new job at his company. I will return to work for my former employer, but will have to start over and I’ve been told that the role of a social worker has changed in the time that I’ve been gone.
In thinking about leaving Roma and returning to Phoenix I made a few lists:
What I will miss about living in Italy: the interesting friends we’ve made who come from all over the world; the wine; the great, fresh food; the amazing architecture of Roma; the plentiful museums; the ease of travel to other European destinations; passing by ancient things all the time; the nearness of the sea; visiting Umbria; getting lost and finding some treasure I didn’t know existed; drinking wine at lunch; long, multi-course meals; my wonderful accupuncturist, Michele; the great dermatologists at Skin Laser; the beautiful churches.
What I won’t miss: the hot, crowded and smelly buses; the hot, crowded and sometimes smelly metro trains; the smell of dog pee everywhere; seeing people in winter coats when it’s 75 degrees outside; graffiti on every surface; walking on loose pavers on the sidewalk outside our flat (that miraculously were fixed in the past 2 days!); the ambulance sirens that sound like bomb raid sirens; waiting for the bus that doesn’t arrive; getting lost all the time; being the navigator in the car and still getting lost.
What I’m looking forward to in going back to the US: driving my car (I’ve refused to drive in Italy); visiting my old cat, who will continue to live in her adopted home with our former neighbors; not getting lost all the time; getting a good haircut (it’s been difficult for me to find someone here I like); getting a great massage that’s affordable (also been hard to find here); seeing friends and family in person and not just on Skype or FaceTime; not being asked all the time for the correct change by shopkeepers; walking in high heels on smooth sidewalks and not on bumpy cobblestone streets; the variety of ethnic food available.
What I’m not looking forward to in going back to the US: the lack of “culture” and museums in Arizona; the sameness of everything; the bland American food; the poor quality of food in the supermarket unless you buy organic or at a farmer’s market; American politics (it’s been easier to avoid it here); the cost and difficulty of traveling to another country.
Hmm…looking at these lists, it looks like a bit of a mixed bag, which I guess isn’t totally surprising. It’s been an adventure of a lifetime, that I’m open to repeating when the next opportunity arises. My appetite for living abroad has been whet now. Where will the next adventure take us?
I’m going to continue to write after we return, to chronicle our transition or repatriation as it’s called. So dear blog friends, please stay tuned…the adventure continues.