I didn't really ever wrap up my time in Italy. But this quote does it well enough:
“But that's the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can't read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can't even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.” Bill Bryson
I spent my last two weeks in Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast and the Isle of Capri. It was incredible. Seeing Rome was at least half the reason I wanted to go to Italy, leaving broke my heart. The more I did in Rome, the more I realized I hadn't done. I genuinely want to live there for at least 6 months.
|This is how I spent most of my time in Rome. |
That and cranking my neck to stare up at all the awesome stuff.
I spent the first week or so back in the US in such a blur of jet-lagged sadness of leaving and joy of returning home that by the time I was clear headed enough to write about my last trip, everything had faded away. Like something that happened to someone else. Or maybe more accurately, a different version of myself. And once I returned, I shed that sense of self I acquired in Italy and resumed where I left my life.
That's not to say I am wholly the same. I feel different on a fundamental level. I now know I am capable of doing what I never dreamed possible. I don't know if it is a "visible" change. But I've now seen a strength and competence in myself that will drive me to continue plunging into new adventures.
Part I: I hope I like Kiwis
If you talked to me about what I was doing after summer for most of June and July, I probably just shrugged my shoulders and generally avoided any kind of answer. As you may have read, I had a job teaching, but for many reasons, it didn't work out. So I felt very lost. I didn't want to teach. I wanted to travel, but I couldn't exactly figure out what I wanted to do.
So I signed up for a few Au Pair (basically being a nanny in a foreign country) websites. I assumed I wouldn't find anything until November at the earliest. Then, just about a week later, I found myself committing to a family who live in a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand for the end of September. It was mind blowingly fast, and I'm still reeling at the prospect of actually leaving fairly soon.
I'm not going to reveal the family's private information to a whole bunch of strangers on the internet, but from what I've read and talked to them about, they seem like a great match for me. The two kids rock climb in national competitions!!
Part II: I Guess I'm Going
|Right there. Where that A is. In Beach Haven.|
One huge thing that traveling (especially planning the travels) has taught me is how well things work out when I am open to them growing naturally. I have been lucky to have the freedom to go where I feel (what my sister calls) "the Wind" taking me.
I spent a lot of time and energy into trying to find a place to live in the Fall in Manhattan. I found a couple of prospects but they kept falling apart. Maybe it was my fault because my heart wasn't in it or maybe it was theirs, but the point is I was trying to force something that just wasn't meant to be.
On the flip side, I put the same amount of time into setting up Au Pair profiles and doing research (I've spent a lot of time in the past few months looking into working holiday visas) and found many, many wonderful opportunities.
Not only did I click with the family and their environment, but apparently, I clicked with New Zealand immigration because they waived my visa application fees and approved it in a matter of days. I spent several days researching flight costs and found that, much to my delight flights were cheapest the week I wanted to leave.
It was like there was a flashing sign in my face. I couldn't ignore it. So now, I am going to New Zealand to be one with the Kiwis.
And all of this, my self revelations in Italy, my soul searching this summer, has taught me something I keep trying and often times failing to put into practice.
It is something I've always thought: what's meant to be will find a way to work out. And I can save myself a lot of trouble and heartache by not trying to force what isn't there.
I'm not saying there aren't things worth fighting or struggling over. That's not how life works. There aren't always or even often an abundance of "signs" telling you what to do, but when I catch myself saying "if I could just make this happen..." or "if he'd just listen to me..." about the same things, I need to just let it go.
I don't know that life always works out for the best, but I believe it always works out how it's supposed to.
So now, I'm about to plunge into a new, exciting, and slightly scary adventure living in New Zealand. I don't know how long I'll be there. I could be there for a month, or a year or anywhere in between. I am just going to take my own advice and see how it works out best.