Saturday, 16 July 2011
Me: Part One.
Internet, I don’t think I ever told you just how exactly I ended up with this job in Rome.
Having just spent a week there figuring out where I want to live (centrally, please) and what exactly my job entails (RESPONSIBILITY), it’s been a bit of a reflective process when I’ve had a minute alone. Like, for example, these nine hours worth of minutes that make up the train ride I’m currently on. There was a three-hour alternative, but it cost three times as much. I need those Euros for apperitivi, so it’s just my thoughts and me right now.
Why do they call ‘em chilli if they are actually so hot…?
Ha. Just kidding.
I like to think of this next part of my journey as a twist of fate and a coming together of higher powers than I. Powers with grand plans and big designs, and perhaps also long white beards. In actual fact it was Facebook.
Two years ago, I had a broken heart. And so I said sod it, packed up a bag, and came to Italy for a summer to teach. Well. That isn’t strictly true. I’m skimming over the sleepless nights, comfort eating, vomiting, desperate phone calls and debilitating hysteria because that six years of my life had ended. It wasn’t a simple decision. But just in case my ex reads this, I won’t go there. Let’s pretend I was all onwards and upwards and I never looked back, not even when he got engaged to my best friend from school.
Oh! Who said that!
I nearly didn’t last the training period. Sure, a crash-course in teaching on the Riviera sounded great. BUT. Thing is, I was the only British chick there. There were two British guys- one chap who had forgotten to pack his personality, and a flamboyant PhD student from Nottingham who had bigger fish to fry than little old me- and everybody else was FOREIGN.
I remember my first morning there. It felt like one hundred American cheerleaders were all, “Right, and then, like, totally, and I was like, whatever!” and I thought to myself, I can’t do this. I can’t work with these people all summer and live to tell the tale. I will either slice the wrists of myself or of them, and I won’t even say sorry for it.
Ten months later, I didn’t realise that I would be sat on the porch of my American flatmate’s family home just outside of Detroit, low spring sunshine setting the sky alight in pink flames, the smell of grass in the air, listening to her Poppa say in smooth, dulcet tone, “Most people are nice, you know, given the chance.”
So I fell in love with the bright eyed, enthusiastic charm of my American colleagues that summer, and I think they loved me back. I hope they didn’t just say that so that I would sleep with them on that final night. Then I’d just feel cheap.
I didn’t really realise HOW MUCH I loved them, and their positivity, and their can-do attitude and perky smiles and general AWESOMENESS, though, until I was back at home, about to enter into another year of academia at university. I was waiting for counselling (not the sort where you talk about your feelings. The sort where you figure out if your schedule works out or not. It involves less tissues that way) idly flicking through the program handbook and half-listening to two guys talking shit behind me.
These chaps were your typical undergraduate DICKS. They didn’t want to be in education, where they might actually have to apply themselves, and so they complained about the school. And about the weather. And about the girls they were seeing. And about the sound of the overhead fan. I swear to God these guys were so depressing that I was one more complaint away from asking them if they wanted to borrow my glass of razorblades and fifth of vodka when BOOM. The handbook asked me, “WANT TO SPEND A SEMESTER IN THE USA?”
Errrr, yes please.
So that day I got the forms and hounded the various people involved in the program for their signatures. No wasn’t an option. I was going to America. God help anyone who tried to stop me. Those guys were lucky I got so distracted- I was about to blow, and not in the good way.
Twelve weeks later I was headed for the city Lonely Planet voted the worst in the world. And I couldn’t have been happier. By the time I came home again, I realised what good could come of being single, and of saying yes, and of LIVING instead of just existing.
So I got a tattoo, and began sleeping with strangers. Ha! Just kidding dad. Probably.
(Part two will be posted on Monday. Stay tuned, kids!)
Labels: Italian nomad
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