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  • Writer's picturezelda thomas-curti

We all want to move to Italy...

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

So many of us come to Italy and have thought to ourselves, or maybe even emphatically exclaimed it, like my young daughter did when she first came here,"Why don't we live here?"

Listen, I know.

I have been saying I have wanted to move to Italy for years; so much so that my friends were starting to laugh at me, "You always say you are moving there, but you never do!" they would say. But hey, I did it finally: I am writing this from my apartment in Milan. So there! But it wasn't an easy thing to do, trust me.

There has to be a reason to move abroad. Many move because of a job or for family reasons, but my reason was because Italy has always beckoned me, as if I lived here in a previous life, I mean, we all must have - it's so laden in antiquity. There are other factors why one wants to move abroad as well, and for me, it was not only that I loved Italy so much and had quite a connection with it, but also because my city, Minneapolis, had been through quite a lot over the last couple of years. Areas that were once vibrant are still boarded up and shut down due to the riots and the chaos after George Floyd; it looks sad and it hasn't bounced back. And not to get too political, but it just seems like my liberal educated class is being shut down by an utterly angry uneducated mob that will believe anything the pundits of conservative America will tell them, and I am too old and too tired to fight it, nor do I want to spend my energy fighting a media machine of lies and nonsense- it's crazy making. And let's not get started on the gun violence; that is beyond absurd as well. I just thought, there has to be somewhere else to live where I can bring up my young son.

But you cannot just up in move, we all do not have this luxury, but anything can be done if you set your mind to it. You need time to dream, to imagine and ponder what it might be like to move to a foreign country, especially Italy! I would go on google maps and take myself down streets where I wanted to live and check it out and imagine myself there.

When thinking of moving away we often say we are waiting for the perfect time to go, something I was starting to get really good at: "Well I can't move now," I would say, "the kids are still in school, my mother is sick, the dog is sick..." But finally the time does come when there is a possibility. And that's when you need to jump on it. You don't have to go for the rest of your life- you can go on a sabbatical year, and then decide what you want to do. It takes a lot of planning, but it is so worth it. And not in the ways you would think...Yeah the food is amazing and everything is beautiful, but it's what moving away from the familiar does to you that is the most interesting aspect of moving abroad. But yes, the tomatoes, the plums, the wine and the lakes and the mountains fill your senses with so much joy and beauty that you think you have died and gone to heaven- this indeed helps with your resolve to move.

My bravado to move here came when I heard somewhere that if you do one thing a day that scares you you will grow exponentially and expand your perspective. It doesn't have to be a jump-scare kind of "scary thing", it just has to be something you wouldn't ordinarily do, like taking a different way home, for example. These small changes can carve groves into your life that perhaps create a new way of looking at things. I had lived in Minneapolis for 25 years and I literally drove the same route every day to take my kids to school or go to the grocery store or go to the same restaurant and I knew I was going to implode if I didn't radically change what I was doing. Beautiful as it may be, I saw my neighbors going on the same walk around the lake everyday, and I said to myself: this cannot be my life. I can't keep doing this same repetitive route and doing the same monotonous things with half of the year spent inside buried under the snow; I just can't. (Oddly enough I do miss the snow.) In the same resolute way that I decided to come to Italy the first time many years a go- I bit the bullet last spring and said to my family: we are doing it- let's go.

It's a hard decision to make, but beyond being daunting, moving to another country is something else altogether- there are hidden surprises in a moving away from your comfort zone; it shakes everything up: it shakes up your relationships, it shakes up your view of the world and it shakes up your view of yourself. It becomes a time for reflection, and it forces you to look at your own life and what you want it to look like moving forward. It's sometimes brutal, yet beautiful, but I think that getting through it might be the best thing I have ever done.

I cannot speak more highly of this exploring a new frontier and living there for a bit, but without this move I would not have had my eyes opened or had my faith in myself restored. And writing about it here is just one of the ways I am going to go about processing it-- so lucky you all!

I'll tell you how my love affair with Italy began in my next blog entry- stay tuned....

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