“You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés.”
– Ernest Hemmingway
Ahhh…the adventure and discovery of learning about my newly-adopted nation and how it functions – from the everyday (taking a number at the post office) and mundane (small town news and gossip travels like wildfire), to the intricacies of governmental bureaucracy (it took me an entire afternoon and ten forms to deposit money in a bank account). Mastery of a new system takes an adjustment period. How long my learning curve will be is entirely in my hands. My passport may say I am Italian now, but I know this is a legal technicality. I am a stranger learning to live the way people live here and it isn’t always straightforward.
A rosy outlook, tongue-biting and an almost Pollyannaish mind set is how I roll these days. Like muttering about the August sun shining bright and hot – complain if you will, but the sun will continue to beat down on you. My days are about sink or swim, and being educated one mistake at a time. You live, you learn.
by Toni DeBella
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