A year and a bit in

Last year at the Verona Arena. And yes, I am one of those tourists who uses a parasol when outside for a long time, I’m pale ok?

We’ve been in Italy now for a little over a year and are working through the process of deciding if we stay for a third year, after our initial two is up next April. Tough decisions! And by ‘working through the process’ I mean that we’re not doing that at all. Sometimes it comes up in conversation, then we decide it’s too difficult to decide and we move on. Decision making has never been my strong point. Even when I take time to research and attempt to carefully think things through, I usually disregard everything I’ve learnt and go with my gut.

So, in sum, there probably isn’t any point going through our options, considering my haphazard decision making process. But I’m going to anyway.

Travel | As well as having an opportunity to live in another country and experience a new culture, our primary reason for wanting to move to Italy was for the proximity to the rest of Europe and all these countries. That we can border hop multiple countries in just a few hours is such a foreign concept when you come from New Zealand – a grouping of a few islands surrounded by bucketfuls of water. As well as the European travel that we still want to do, and that could be done from, say, England, there is still so much more of Italy that we want to see: Sicily, Puglia, the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia.. plus return visits to Florence, Rome, Milan, Naples.. Though I know that no matter how much travel we do, the second we leave I’m going to want to come back to see such and such place that we missed.

Language | We probably haven’t done as well with our Italian learning as we should. BUT we are still both trying. Matt duolingos every morning with his breakfast, and I have taken to listening to Michel Thomas on my morning walks along the river (at least I have since yesterday). We’ve started watching movies in Italian (anything with Marcello Mastroianni is our favourite) and I’m slowly working through the occasional book in Italian. We don’t understand anything close to everything, but we do OK.

Small town life | My feelings are undecided with this one. There is something a little terrible about living in a small town, namely the lack of international restaurants, the lack of decent clothing stores, bar variety or even an airport. But it is amazing to walk everywhere, to easily run into friends at a bar (because there are so few bars, not that our friends are so numerous or such large drinkers) and to have no decent clothing stores (I think we buy too much, really, even if it is a bit of a pain to have to train for an hour to reach an H&M).

Work | Ever the conundrum for me is how I earn a living while we are here. I worked for a while for a language school in Verona, but gave it up due to the commute in the end. I’m now a combination of English teacher-babysitter-proofreader, which I am pretty happy with even if it still isn’t quite enough. I’m still working on all of those three but, if anything, this might be the one that sends me back to an English speaking country. But how boring would that be!

If not here then where | Complicating our decision is the lack on one clear alternative. So to decide to leave Italy would also mean deciding where to go next. We could, in theory, start up our Wellington life close to where it was left of, but we’re not ready for that yet. Also in the list of possible new homes is Australia, the UK or somewhere else in Europe. That last one I’m no longer so sure on, the process to get established in Italy was that involved I’m not sure I want to repeat it often or again so soon.

Disestablishment | The opposite of setting ourselves up for our Italian life, the prospect of which is almost enough for Matt to want to stay another year, just to delay it all a little. He thinks ending contracts, closing accounts, shutting down utilities, etc, will be difficult or something. Ahaha.

In a nutshell, these are the topics that are the themes of our ‘stay or go’ discussions or own thoughts. In reality there is nothing keeping us here or anywhere else other than what we want to do, which is a huge luxury that we are lucky to have, but the absence of boundaries is difficult in itself. If only we could tell that we were making the right decision, then decision making would be so much easier.


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