Monday, September 7, 2009

A new adventure

Yesterday I moved in with B. And no, it’s not what you’re thinking.

When I arrived in Paris I rented a room in a flatshare from a friend who had recently moved in with her boyfriend. Before I moved in, she had given her room over to a girl named Chloe who would be staying there long term. Chloe was backpacking through Southeast Asia for the summer and came back home on Sunday. I thought about finding my own place but then another idea popped into my head. I could find another flatshare or sublet in Paris OR I could use the move as an opportunity to find a new adventure. Can you guess which path I chose?

In May 2006, the year before I moved to Paris, I went to Italy for the first time. I was there for 2 weeks and I loved every moment and everything about Italy. Taking a wine tasting tour and cooking class in an ancient villa in Tuscany,


floating along the breathtaking canals of Venice, getting lost in the tiny streets of Florence, meeting an expat friend in Pisa for a massive dinner with her Italian in-laws that lasted 4 hours. But when I got to Rome… wow.

I felt completely in my element, it felt like home. It’s that feeling that drives us expats from our native homes, friends and family to live in a foreign place, overlooking the fact that you don’t know a soul, don’t speak the language, can't really know what to expect… simply because something inside compels you and you just HAVE to be there. The last time I got that feeling was when I visited Paris.

I only spent 4 days in Rome and knew I didn’t want to give up on Paris just because I happened to have a fling with another city. So I kept the original plan and moved to Paris—which turned out to be an amazing, wonderful, unforgettable experience (naturally). But in the back of my mind, I knew I had to get to Rome one day. Even if for a short period of time, I had to live there. Experience the food, people, language and culture as a local instead of just a tourist. And on the 27th of September, I’ll finally get my chance to do that. There’s no real plan: I’ll be taking Italian lessons and working on some projects and ideas that will hopefully allow my gypsy nature this sort of independence permanently.

And so, that brings me back to my move to B’s. Originally I thought it would be a great idea. I’d have a free place to stay for 3 weeks before I move to Rome; B’s apartment was practically my second home anyway. But I didn’t realize we’d be struggling with how to manage being “just friends”, imagine throwing “living together” into the mix. Our saving grace is that he works all day and I have a pretty full social life so hopefully our paths won’t cross enough to cause conflict (though it's looking like, in his opinion, that may be the very source of the problem). I’ve already alerted friends that I may be coming to crash on their couch if things get out of control Chez B.

19 comments:

Gigi said...

WOOOT!! So happy to read about yet another adventure of yours as an expat! I know what you mean about that inexplicable attraction you feel in a city. It's difficult for my fam to understand.

So you're hoping/planning to be in Italy permanently?

Stacy said...

Thanks Gigi! I would love to stay for 6 months but I'm playing it by ear. I learned from Paris that you never know what turn your life will take and its better for me to just leave it open. The only thing is one of my best friends is getting married in Mexico during Christmas so I would really like to be there for that, but it just depends on how things go in Italy!

Assen said...

hey Stacy, I've been following your blog for a while. Fun read. We should catch up sometime when you are Italy. I live in Milan but I'm on a short break in DC now (will return in October). Enjoy the rest of your time in Paris and all the best.

Shannon said...

I must get to Rome! I've always wanted to go and stay awhile in Rome and learn Italian, but then I fell in love with Brazil and Portuguese. One day though. Good luck with your new adventure!

American Black Chick in London said...

Wow! I spent 2 weeks travelling around Italy, so I can definitely see the appeal. Best of luck on your Italian adventure Stacy!

Oddly enough (and completely off topic), I'm actually looking at spending the end of October, November and the beginning of December taking French classes in Toulouse!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, "Wow"! You do it, girl! The super bright side is I have found learning italian much easier (and makes more sense) than french! Viva Roma!!!

Em.

Cynthia said...

Best of luck, Stacy!

I'm trying to kickstart something similar but I need to get rid of my house here in the States, first. Soon, I hope. :)

Italy and France are the two main places I want to stay. I will get there one day.

Can't wait to hear more!

Stacy said...

Assen- I will def be visiting Milan at some point this winter so lets def try to meet up when I get there :)

Shannon- thanks! Italy is unreal but Brazil is def on my "must visit" list

ABCL- I hope you DO go to France! Can't wait to see what you decide!

Em- I heard learning Italian is easier, esp after you already have a Latin language under your belt. I'm awful with languages though so we'll see!

Cynthia- once you've decided to go its only a matter of time!

UrbanTravelGirl said...

Ciao, bella -- e benvenuto in Italia!! :-)

Well, it's not like I'm IN Italy at the moment, but I used to live in Firenze and still consider it my "home away from home!" So, SO happy for you going to Rome. After Paris, it's my absolute favorite city on the planet. Good luck to you -- and so glad to hear that you're just going and will take it one day at a time. With your open mind and positive energy, I'm sure fab adventures await! Looking forward to meeting you next time I'm either in Roma or Paris!

Maureen
www.UrbanTravelGirl.com

rhonalala said...

WOW! I have to say this. I love how you take action to your plans, be damned what everyone else says. I wish I was like that (still working on this). The best of luck in good ole Italia! I cannot wait to experience this country alongside with you. Just...wow!

Stacy said...

Thanks Maureen! Any advice you could share about life in Italy would be much appreciated! :)

Thank you Rhonalala!

Anonymous said...

Stacy, you wrote: "I felt completely in my element, it felt like home. It’s that feeling that drives us expats from our native homes, friends and family to live in a foreign place, overlooking the fact that you don’t know a soul, don’t speak the language, can't really know what to expect… simply because something inside compels you and you just HAVE to be there."
Thank GOD for the internet because my family thinks I'm cuckoo. It's nice to see other people who get it. I'm going to expat to Paris in a few years. Career obligations are keeping me in the US but I will get there. And something tells me I'm not coming back lol. I envy that you're actually living your dream in Paris and perhaps Rome. I wish you the best on your journey.

Stacy said...

lol more of us need to speak about it so we're not looked at as the crazy ones :)
Congrats on your upcoming Paris move!

UrbanTravelGirl said...

Ciao, Stacy! I would LOVE to share some firsthand living-in-Italy advice -- as well as some contact info for American expat and Italian friends of mine in Rome. E-mail me at LilMoJenk@aol.com and we'll connect!

Maureen
www.UrbanTravelGirl.com

Anonymous said...

Wow that sounds so fantastic! Btw, did you cut your hair?

Stacy said...

Thanks! And no, I didn't cut my hair... those pics are from my first trip to Italy 3 years ago :)

Maureen-- Great! I'm at a wedding now but will email you soon!

Anonymous said...

Stacy,

you're my inspiration.I long to get away but I just don't know if I have the guts to uproot and move some place alone.At the moment I'm at Law school so I can't but I'd love to do something like what you're doing.How are you funding yourself?

Nola. x

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Stacy, good luck with your move to Rome!!

Stacy said...

Thanks nyc/carribean ragazza! Just arrived yesterday and am apt hunting now. Maybe we can meet for an aperitivo sometime soon-- I would love to pick your brain about the city...

Thank you Nola. Theres no real formula. I actually just save save save-- Inever realized how much I used to shop or how fast Starbucks lattes add up :)