I decided not long ago that a return to the homeland would be inevitable at some point. If I were to go back Western Canada would be my best bet, as I’d have a better chance of finding work as a Shiatsu Therapist instead of getting stuck in some office-hell admin job until rigormortus finally set in under those fluorescent lights, or subsequently hanging myself with a phone cord in the bathroom during mid-afternoon coffee break. (Those are SOME options!)
These last couple of weeks I have tried to keep my thoughts organized, be all zen, and give myself time to let it sink in and the fact one day I’d have to re-North American-ize myself, in other words re-accustoming myself to the perils of the civilized world, ironic as that sounds. I pondered my preparation and buying those brass knuckles in the hardware store before (if I were to leave) because you just can’t get them in Canada, while realizing that the freedom and days of an existence sans pepper spray in my handbag, and sleeping with my terrace doors open could soon be finito…
This wasn’t just about dating train-wrecks and my heart-thru-the-moulinex episodes for the past 8 years. Aside from the moral corruption of the general population, exaggerated materialism, and overall bullshit (reality check folks: A designer handbag and shoes does not make me a better person), the poverty repercussions of my bohemian lifestyle plaguing me for the past 2 years has now become intolerable. There is indeed a price for my ‘freedom.’ And I really just miss my Canadian peeps and certain aspects of the civilized world… Pancake brunches on Sundays, cinnamon buns, 24-hour access to everything, extended periods of coffee drinking on cafe sofas, used bookstores, and the fabulous shopping (at reasonable discount prices of course).
But I do love Italy as ironic as it may sound. Despite the bad stuff, ie. the narcissism, douchebaggery, politics, bigotry, and utter disregard for the environment, and our fellow-man, remains the good memories: my small group of dear friends, the wonderful food, the sunshine and sea…
Anyways, I’m not the first expat in recent days to consider abandoning ship. Even my good Italian friends dare to ask: “Why do you stay here? You are a fish out of water, you’d be so much better off in Canada.”
There are moments where the thoughts of departure sadden me (chalk it up to simple nostalgia.) However truth be known: This place is a damn tough go. As Dee, a fellow expat in the midst of a messy divorce put it:
“It’s all that hazy romanticism -Italy will do that to you, but it’s like the abusive husband that beats the shit out of you 30% of the time. Those retired people and the rich that come here with their infinite cash flow – they buy houses, and they stick their heads in the sand. They never speak Italian, for them life is all fresh cut flowers, shopping at Ferragammo and aperatifs in the afternoons… THEIR Italy is not OUR Italy.”
The truth?… my freedom’s price has been no security or savings: I’m single, living in a demographic where I would either have to sell myself into domestic slavery or play the whore to some married asshole. No thanks. I’d prefer to remain “Oliver Twist with furniture and diamonds” or simply just get the hell out of here and find myself a real man where my opinions and independence are not an issue.
But would I actually do it? MOVE?
I thought about my father, being in his 70’s with questionable health, so at least I would be in the same country if there were to be a problem down the road. So I made a plan… Take my time and savour these last moments, depart come spring, then visit friends and family while researching work opportunities and a place to live on Vancouver Island or vicinity.
Oh no, no, Cakes. That is NOT what the universe has planned for you.
The decision has been removed from your hands. It’s been decided.
Time is your enemy…
2 weeks ago my father called me. He has lung cancer. In that moment it happened again: In exactly the same way that I processed the news 3 years ago of my mother’s lung cancer – Most of the details were distorted as if I was listening to the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon. Details aside… this is very bad. My father, a man I respect, who taught me so many things, has been my safety net is leaving me.
I’m giving myself 6 weeks to wrap up…
I am really leaving…
Excuse me, I have to pack my shit now.