Thursday, 6 December 2012

What a year it has been!

Happy Anniversary! I have just passed the one-year mark of life in Italy, and I appreciate having all my friends and blog readers along for the ride.

I can't quite believe that I've made it past the one-year mark. Not because I didn't think I could survive emotionally, but for financial reasons. However, I'm scrapping together enough to live on - not luxuriously, but well enough - and so why not carry on? I think I'll stay put here in Rome and see what happens next.

Things have actually gone very well. I'm learning Italian, the work with the Italian news agency is always interesting, I've made a few new Italian friends, and been able to spend time with the friends I already had in Italy before I moved here.

I've also published my first novel, and am well into writing a second novel, so all in all, I feel as if I've accomplished a lot.

I'm still not as patient as one needs to be to live a foreign country. Things are done differently in Italy than in Canada and because I don't always understand why or how, I become frustrated too easily and waste a fair amount of time. Fortunately, since I'm under-employed I do have some time to spare.

Rome can be chaotic with too much traffic, too much noise, and too little space. Yet, the city's beauty can be staggering and it can be found everywhere. Fountains in small courtyards, orange trees and rose bushes along sidewalks, random street shrines. The other day, I walked past an elderly man who almost crashed his bicycle because he had let go of the handle bars to make the sign of the cross as he pedaled past a pretty shrine to the Madonna.

Most important of all, I am continuously being reminded of the necessity (for me, anyway) of accepting the fact that I don't know everything that is going to happen to me. This is hard, for I am such a control freak! But it's impossible to know the future, a lesson I'm re-learning all the time. To think I can control everything is a recipe for even more frustration and disaster.

I turn often to the brilliant professor of religious studies, Joesph Campbell, who basically said that in order to live a full life, you have to make your own way. You can't imitate someone else, or try to live a life that others expect of you, or chose a life that you think will be safe. If you try any of these, you will be miserable. However, what this also means is making your own way, and learning to accept uncertainty because you can't tread in someone else's footsteps.

Campbell said it much better:

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”


Trekcapri said...

Happy Anniversary Sandra! Congrats on your first year in Rome. I really enjoyed this post and love the cute story of the guy on the bike almost crashing when he was making the cross passing a shrine. :) I shouldn't find humor in that as he almost crashed, but it is such a great image.

Thanks so much for blogging about your new life in Rome and allowing us to share your experiences right along with you. I look forward to many more stories of your explorations and to your new novel.

Have a wonderful weekend.

sandrac said...

Thanks, Kathy. I shouldn't laugh but I also had to smile at the poor fellow on his bike. I wonder how long he has cycled up this street, past the same shrine?

I hope that you also have a great weekend!

Vicky said...

This is a wonderful post. Hearty congratulations on passing your first anniversary with flying colors! You must continue to live there so we can keep reading your great blog and other types of posts. I have to wonder, though, why you thought you could actually exert control over your life in Italy?? That's the first thing I learned to release way back when I lived in Florence! Anyway, keep up the great work and I hope to see you again someday over there.

sandrac said...

Hi Vicky - thanks! I hope to see you here, too!
You're right that things here often spin way out of control - my inner control freak still wants to run everything, even when I know it's not possible.
I struggle to accept that I cannot plan everything in advance - even what my salary will be next month, or where I'll live 6 months from now. It's a learning experience!

Anonymous said...

Has it been a year already? Well done. I have really enjoyed reading about your your adventures, challenges,and successes. It will be wonderful giggling over them with wine in a few weeks.

sandrac said...

It will be great to see you Jerry! So much to talk about!

Susie L said...

Sandra, I can't believe it has been a year! Bravissima!

Thanks for taking along with you, albeit vicariously.

Annie said...

Happy anniversary! I can't believe it's been a year already - I also can't believe it's December! So glad that things have worked out for you to remain in Roma even longer. I too love the story about the man, bike, and shrine!

Love the Joseph Campbell quote. Beautiful!

sandrac said...

Thanks for joining me, Susie!

Hi Annie, thanks. I must get a photo of the shrine, I think you'll like it. And isn't Joseph Campbell brilliant? I envy his many students who had a chance to study with him.

Liz said...

Hi Sandra, warmest congratulations to you! You've achieved that incredible 12 month mark that must've been tough at times. Don't know how many of us would be brave enough to take the leap as you have, but well done. Look forward to meeting you in a few weeks time when I begin my studies in Rome, maybe for a little italian conversation?(and aperitivo!)
A presto

sandrac said...

Thanks so much, Liz! You must be getting very excited about your time here in Rome - I know you're going to love it. Looking forward to meeting you for some Italian conversation (and definitely an aperitivo!)