Thursday, 17 April 2014
One Year in Italy
One whole year. Wow that was fast.
As I reflect on the last 365 days, I have mixed feelings about it all. In some ways we are living the dream we’d wanted for years. And in other ways it’s not quite what I expected that dream to look like. And still in other ways parts are challenging.
Yes, we’re living the dream.
Our city really is the perfect size. It’s a city with a population of 214,000 yet it has this small town feel – especially living in the city center. We attend neighborhood schools and bump into classmates and teachers once in awhile while out and about. I’d forgotten how nice that is since I grew up always seeing someone you knew when you were out. We shop at local small stores and eat at restaurants on our street and within a 5-10 minute walk often. And even though I don’t go nearly enough, the daily market is everything I imagined it would be. This is the life I’d dreamed about and hoped for.
And yet it’s not quite ALL that I expected it would be.
I thought I’d be homeschooling while Nick worked super flexible hours from home. We’d travel often and explore this side of the planet. But we chose Italian schools so our girls learn the language and make local friends. Nick took a position working with an online site where he needs to work a shift from 6am-1pm. There still is some flexibility, but not quite as much. I’m still not a legal resident, so we don’t risk leaving the country in the off chance I might be found out. (We actually would love your prayers for this issue – I hope to write a post about it soon. Our next appointment will be this week or next)
And of course there have been challenges.
The long drawn out process of becoming legal residents is one of them. Nick and the girls finally got settled with all their things last month, and I’m STILL working to finalize my paperwork soon.
Then there are the issues I’ve kept quiet around here on the blog and the social medias. Because sorting through them has needed to be private. I do hope to share more on them now that the storm seems to be settling. There’s been the anxiety – mainly as a result of all the changes and trying to figure out what the heck we’re doing here.
And there’s also been the sorting through my faith. I stepped back in time to a church like my childhood church when I got here and realized I’d changed in that space between and so had some of my beliefs.
But overall, the good outweighs the bad.
Now that we’ve spent the year adjusting, I have hopes that this second year is full of truly living. Stepping into deeper friendships, experiencing the culture more, traveling often (just last week we got our Italian bank account and can purchase a car!).
Living near family has been good for us and the girls. We’ve also welcomed four long term house guests this year – there’s only been a month that we’ve lived alone since February.
We’re being stretched and are growing in so many ways – which I see as a good thing. I don’t think standing still and rejecting change is the way to live.
We said we we’d give ourselves three years of living here before we decide if it’s long term or temporary – and I still stand by that decision. We’re just getting warmed up here experiencing this Italian life – there’s much more to live!