If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

29 November 2005

Channeling Neil Diamond

Fair warning: those of you here for the lighthearted sidesplittingly funny stories of life in Italy may just want to skip this here post; it's the rare-and-seldom-seen "introspective" Viaggiatore here tonight. Must be the first snow last night (that or my wood stove is giving off carbon monoxide fumes. You make the call).

So I'm staring down the barrel at the first two solid months here in my new 'home.' The fatigued traveler in me couldn't be more ecstatic. Despite the fact that I still have unsettled visa dramas that are keeping me awake at night, I have officially made it through the first six months that I knew in advance would be travel hell (and it was.) There were stretches of weeks on end sleeping in hotels. Hopping from city to city (both in the US and Europe) on tours and at meetings. Less than two months of actual quality time trying to "live" in my new life here in Italy. Creating a life (not to mention learning a new language, culture) takes work; time and focus that I simply haven't had to give it.

I regret that in some ways. And in others - while I'm completely out of whack, I realize it was probably a blessing in disguise; it kept me from channeling Neil Diamond's "I am, I said" too early. For those of you with better taste in music than I have, here's the gist of it:

"Well I'm New York City born and raised...
But nowadays, I'm lost between two shores.
L.A.'s fine, but it ain't home;
New York's home, but it ain't mine no more

"I am," I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair
"I am," I cried
"I am," said I
And I am lost, and I can't even say why
Leavin' me lonely still.

If I would have had the time to think about it, I probably would have felt this earlier; perhaps when I was weaker of spirit and more susceptible to 'going back' out of fear for what lies 'ahead'. But now, after my last trip 'home,' I know there is only forward. (Memo to Neil Diamond: "not even the chair" is a ridiculous reaching for a rhyme in an otherwise simple song. Leave the line blank next time. Or try "there's no one to care". But the CHAIR?!?!)

I'm characteristically overdramatizing a bit of this; I know. Reading that section back to myself (even with the melody playing in my head), it seems like I should be on some sort of pharmaceuticals. (And I'm worried about Neil Diamond talking to his furniture?)

In a "blinding flash of the obvious," it's just that Italy's fine but it's not yet home -- and DC was home, but it clearly isn't mine anymore. It's not that bad, really; just a 'be careful what you wish for' sensation. I had a few brief days transferring in-and-out of DC on this last trip, and was struck by how the city that I called 'home' for 12 years can feel foreign and odd and cold, and so quickly.

I was lucky to have a chance to connect with a few folks while I was there - the Old Soul and the Neighborhood Vigilante who were kind enough to open the "Inn" for me, though we had all of about 36 minutes of quality time together what with our schedules being so off kilter. Mr. Hospitality, who despite our star-crossed synchronization made it a point to come find me. Had a lunch with Frenchy Fashionista (who looks FAB and is a posterchild for later mommyhood!), a night out with the Unassuming Princess and the SportsFan, and a "life gives you what you need when you need it" chance encounter with the Sensitive Rebel.

I should have thought it through and planned more time. I have loose ends there that are desperately in need of tying up, and in person. But to spend too much time there just yet is to run the danger of slipping "back" in, when my energies need to be focused on carving a "forward".

Having to 'schedule' time with all these folks who I just used to happen upon in my everyday life is a reminder that I don't live that life anymore, and that makes me a little sad; thinking I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have when it was there. And the flip side of that coin is the "new life" which hasn't quite taken shape yet either ... so it is really that strange "lost between two shores" feeling.

When I met the Mom and Danza Sorellina in a hotel lobby in SanFran, DS put it best (to The Mom): "See, I TOLD you she'd look like an Italian". And to all my neighbors here, I'm simply "the American". Sigh. To eventually be comfortable everywhere, I guess first you have to fit in nowhere.


Anonymous Laurie said...

Hang in Viagg! This may be cold comfort, but I've been here 3 years, travel to the states for work approx bi-yearly, and feel so many of the same things you describe. The week or so immediately after the return here is always the ...not worst, but most introspective and possibly melancholy. You've said it so well. But it sounds like you are doing all the right things.....welcome home!

8:18 AM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

Laurie: thanks for the encouragement! It's nice to know that I'm "normal" (first time in a long time I've used THAT word to describe myself?!?) ... I really appreciate the comments; it's nice to know that (even out here in what today feels like the middle of a foggy nowhere) that I'm not alone - sono felice che sei qui!

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

my e mail is lauriesantoliquido@yahoo.it I'm in Torino - write me whenever....ciao ciao!

7:12 PM  
Blogger 2-Hand shakes said...

Love the now!

This is way too introspective for a Chi-town escapee.
Take care

3:40 AM  
Blogger Danza Sorellina said...

AHH, but someone who began as a californian, then to the windy city, and stops befroe DC, you have always made where you are home. Not everyone has the ability or courage to do that:) love ya- DS ---and you did look Italian, I love it!

5:00 AM  

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