Archive for May, 2018

Moving To Italy: Six Months In

Here I am. It’s been half a year. It’s been a very good half a year, might I add. I have been to places I could never have imagined, seen and done things I had no idea about before and learned a lot about myself and about this country. I’ve learned that it is possible to point to a place on a map then decide to go and create a life there – and for it to be an enjoyable process.

From the outside, the decision to come here made no sense. I wasn’t even sure it made sense to me. Everyone I loved was in the UK, the life I had lived for 11 years in London had brought me a lot of joy, being a Londoner made up a significant part of my personality. What made sense, from the outside, was to keep doing the thing that brought me joy – running in London’s parks, having dinner with friends, cycling to work, being lucky enough to have lovely colleagues, working in fabulously interesting historic buildings, exercising at the crack of dawn with my favourite people. It was all fantastic.

But an itch was lingering below the surface and a feeling kept growing, a now-or-never feeling. After a few years of mulling over this idea, I decided to take the plunge and here I am. As soon as I arrived, I had this sense of calm. I was immediately able to call this new place ‘home’. I exhaled deeply. My schedule was alarmingly, yet pleasingly, clear. I had no friends yet so evenings were spent taking a huge step back and winding down from the frenetic pace of London life. It’s something you don’t even realise is happening, until you step off the treadmill and just sit for a minute. It’s really rather nice.

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As I began to put together the building blocks of life here – job, friends, weekend activities, etc – I realised that a little of London will always persist in me. Despite enjoying the slower pace of life here, I created The YesTribe Italia, which fills up at least one full day a week, sometimes more. Sometimes I find myself hurrying from one place to another and think, with satisfaction, that actually, I quite like to be busy. So long as it’s balanced with enough free time to wind down. Thankfully, I seem to have that mix here.

April was a nice month as the weather really perked up so the Sunday walks with The YesTribe lot have been beautiful. On my birthday, we went for a lovely long (and quite challenging) walk along the coast from Camogli to Portofino. It was a haze of blues, aquamarines and greens.

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The next walk was up to a little church in the mountains where there is a Sagra Dei Pansoti, when they make a load of pansoti (like ravioli) and a creamy walnut sauce that you can go and buy then sit outside eating with an unbelievable view of the mountains below and the coastline. So we trekked up into the mountains for about an hour and a half on the promise of pasta, which was was steep and sweaty but totally worth it! Especially when accompanied by red wine and finished off with chocolate.

This month I have also been better at getting out on the bike I brought out here (thanks, Ged, for lending it to me, and to Rod, for getting it down to London!). I have been cycling down to the sea to get used to it and, with more confidence, cycling around town a bit more. Earlier this week, we had a little Yestribe cycle out to a lovely part of town called Nervi and ate pizza. It was a good trip, mainly because of the pizza, if I’m being honest.

My Italian is now improving quicker than before, since I started getting lessons with a teacher. She’s genuinely fabulous and has unlocked two new tenses (the future and the imperfect) so I am now able to tell people what I am doing tomorrow/next month and what I did for a period of time in the past eg ‘while I was eating dinner…’ Prior to this I could only say ‘I ate dinner’ and couldn’t talk about the future at all. Small victories and all that.

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I’ve also been super lucky with nice visitors from the UK, a surprise one being the wonderful Adam, from Project Awesome in London. He left the UK on a bike two years ago and has been on the move since then, cycling around the world at a beautifully chilled out pace. His decisions about where to go next are entirely based on what he feels he wants to do. He doesn’t steam ahead to the next country because he’s on a mission to cycle around the world and will do it at any cost. If he likes a place, he stays. When he feels ready, he moves on. I love it. His surprise visit for a few days was a breath of fresh air and reminded me of what life on the road is like. It made me nostalgic for long-distance human-powered travel. There’s a route in Italy called the Assisi trail, which I’ve got my eye on. I have no idea when I might do it but it’s only a month in total, probably so I might be able to squeeze it in somewhere.

Anyway, here’s to more time spent outside – more cycling, more running, more long walks, more Italy.

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