Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Arrivederci, Italia

This is a post that up until a few months ago, I never thought I'd write.

I've decided to leave Italy. In a month's time, on the 15th of July, I'll be getting on a plane bound for Cardiff, leaving Milan and my Italian life behind.

As I was approaching my 30th birthday earlier this year, I started to take stock of my life. For the past year or so it feels like my life has been on a constant downhill slope. Little things have been chipped away bit by bit; things that used to make me happy, things that used to make me feel that yes, I belonged here too. For a while I tried to ignore it. I've always been a stubborn person, who doesn't give anything up without a fight, so it was difficult for me to accept that it was time to give up. Facebook was full of former classmates and people I went to university with settling down, getting engaged, married, and having children. My two best friends from school were married, my brother was married with a newborn baby, and two of my cousins (one of whom is younger than me) had babies too. I was living alone in a studio flat in the suburbs of Milan, spending evenings marathoning whatever show I was fixated on at the time, getting through mountains (physical and virtual) of books, and drinking too much wine. And I realised, this wasn't where I wanted to be at such a milestone in my life. 

The final straw was the announcement of the date for the Brexit referendum. I still genuinely don't know how it will go next Thursday, but thinking of the worse case scenario - having to wade through the already frustrating Italian bureaucracy (I lost half a day going to a government office to hand in my resignation, and I have a normal full time office job! No word of a lie!) to get permits and visas and who knows what other paperwork - would it be worth it to stay here? My answer was no.

So nearly four months ago I decided that it was time to cut my losses, and start the process of leaving the country. I had to give six months' notice on my flat. Six months! That's the law in Italy, unless your contract states otherwise. So since then I've been living in limbo, waiting for my time here to come to an end. That in itself has been a difficult experience.

I moved out here when I was 22, three months after I graduated with a degree in Italian Studies. In hindsight I realise I was very unprepared and naive, but also extremely brave as it was a much bigger challenge than I realised at the time. My initial plan was to stay here for a year or two, but I've now been here over seven.

I moved here on my own, and I'm leaving on my own.

I've been trying to think of what to write in this post, how to sum up the years that I've spent in such a ridiculous and beautiful country like Italy, but it's impossible. I've done things that I wouldn't have done otherwise, met some wonderful people, but also been disappointed and had my dreams shattered in ways I couldn't have imagined. You need a lot of love for this country to live here, and I just don't have it anymore.

I'd like to thank everyone I've met on this journey who's treated me with kindness, who never treated me like an outsider, and who made me feel welcome. Unfortunately there have been some people who have treated me with such disrespect that their actions will scar with me forever, but the vast majority of Italians I've known have been wonderful, and I can't let a few bad apples affect the opinion I have of them. I've had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the country, and travelling to so many different places. I would like to thank one person in particular for having the patience others didn't have. I'm sorry I couldn't return it.

I'm planning on writing another blog when I get back to my homecountry, so watch this space. But as for the Welshie in Italy, time is almost up.

Thanks for following my adventures,

7 comments: said...

I was wondering where you had been of late! You will always have memories of this adventure and should have no regrets. After 4 years in Rome, we are realizing we miss so much about our own country, flawed as it is. But we are so happy we did this and realize how much we have grown, even as old as we are.

Good on you, Nerys, for taking your life in hand and moving onto the next phase, back home. Brava e in bocca al lupo!

Giannis said...

Nerys I'll be miss you... Sorry for my english in advance but I'm from Greece and I'm not writing often in English. Your blog was a wonderful peace of my world. You had open a new window of how a foreigner see the life in Italy and especialy in Milan. Maybe this is the first comment that I'm writing to you but I'm reading your blog for many many years... I hope you the best and I hope you will find the thing that you are looking for... Please don't forget to give us your new blog address.

One of your uknonwn readers and friend


Laruchka said...

Ah Nerys, I am sorry. Like you I am turning 30 and the referendum is amking me completely re-evaluate everything. I wish you all the best!!! Keep blogging.

Member_D said...

Hi Nerys - sorry to hear that you're leaving Italy although clearly you have your good reasons for doing so. It's been a pleasure to be "friends" albeit virtually. Amazingly I myself will have been here for 30 years in September, and I hope for a good few more years to come! Look forward to hearing your news and views from "the other side". Buona fortuna! - Mark

Rake said...

I can vaguely imagine how you feel like.
I passed through the same door.
It was not easy for me to say enough to Dublin, after 5 years spent there.
People (good and bad ones), memories (as well, good and bad ones), in 2 words life experience. An experience that taught me so much and I would never forget.

But at some stage it was clear I did not belong to Dublin. I see it as an ex girlfriend: I argued with that city, I also loved it my very own way, but it didn't end up in a wedding.

If you're clear you have enough of Italy well, to leave it's the only solution.
Honestly don't think there should be visas requirements even in case of Brexit, but who knows.

If you will go for a spin to Canada, maybe in Vancouver, you know you have a former reader here.

Buona Fortuna.

Sandra said...

Wow, I have love following your blog, which I came across whilst living in Sicily (through Sicily Scene)
I decided my time of living the Italian way of life was up in 2010 Since coming back I have had numerous comments about "how can you give up that way of life"?

Anyway, I love being back in Liverpool, if your heart is not in it, its time to leave.
I wish you all the luck in the world foe the future, you will be fine, believe me I have walked in your shoes :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Nerys,
Best wishes for your return. We've been back in Sydney for the past year after spending 2 years in Italy. It hasn't been difficult to slip back into life 'down under' with family and friends, but we remember our time in Milan with great fondness. Enjoy the last few days as you say farewell.