I had a wonderful life in the United States. I had recently graduated from college, was working a full-time job at an awesome company, had the best friends possible, and was living in a world-class city. Not to mention, I was blessed to be born into financial security that allowed me to start accumulating wealth immediately if I so chose. So, why move?
In a word, unfulfillment.
While life in Boston (and the United States in general) was good, it was not great. And to be honest, I’m not content with “good enough”. We get one life, so why waste it feeling “meh”?
Not to say that I was miserable in America (although some close to me would disagree), but there was so much to be desired. For starters, I had an awfully hard time making friends that I could really relate to and whose company I genuinely enjoyed. I know that sounds snobbish AF, but it’s just the truth. Anywhere I went – bars, clubs, vacations, restaurants, etc. – I felt like an outcast. Why don’t these people think the way I do? Why is getting shitfaced the highlight of their lives? Why does nobody want to leave their comfort zones?
I had only been to Europe once before for a relatively brief stint, a semester-long study abroad. I’ll be up front and say that I don’t know much about art history, politics, classic literature, and other topics that make a person “cultured.” Nevertheless, I have a great appreciation for these things, in addition to a great appreciation for doing mindless activities like smoking pot or laying on the beach. In other words, I believe in balance.
Why then was it so hard for me to find friends (male or female) who were also looking to strike the same balance? I felt like I was constantly surrounded by extremes – people who were so intensely motivated to get their career going and make money that they ignored everyone/thing around them; people who believed that college debauchery was the best way to live and who were not open to the idea of becoming mature adults; people so smart and worldly but lacked any social skills whatsoever. WHERE ARE MY PEOPLE?!?
It’s a bit ironic to describe myself as feeling like a foreigner in my own country of origin, but that’s truly how I felt. “Things” were going well in my life, but with the exception of a few people and instances, I could not get truly excited about anything – at age TWENTY TWO. This huge discrepancy between the social life that I wanted and the social life that I had was a large push factor that would lead me to leave a world superpower for a country latent with organized crime, a poor economy, amongst a host of other problems.
To condense all the bull I just rambled about above, I had a hard time making friends in the United States. And it’s been that way for as long as I can remember…from kindergarten and onward.
Oh yeah, and then there’s this guy….
Upon studying abroad in 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting an exceptional human being with whom I now share an apartment in Milan. I never wanted to study abroad for the sake of meeting men. Naturally I liked to scout out potential hookup candidates when I was single, but never in my life have I actively searched for a boyfriend.
But as the corny saying goes, things happen when you least expect them. After two tiring years of long-distance dating, I decided to take the plunge and move. Il mio fidanzato, Alessandro, had found a stable work opportunity in Milan after bouncing around from job to job for years, mostly for reasons out of his control. I, on the other hand, was fresh out of school with no long-term commitments or plans of any kind. My only “plan” was to find “real” work within the year and to do everything in my power to meet people who exhilarated me. Additionally, Alessandro’s English skills are strong, but probably not strong enough to perform job duties entirely in English in the United States.
That being said, it made significantly more sense for me to come to Italy rather than for him to come the United States if we wanted to continue our relationship (or rather, start dating like normal people who see each other on a regular basis instead of once every quarter). With only a few basic logistics to work out, I truly had nothing to lose.
Iv’e been living in Milano for a little less than a month, but I’m already loving it.
Every weekday I take a quick metro ride to an Italian language institute where I’m in a classroom with other foreign beginners for 4 hours attempting to parlare Italiano. In the afternoons, I work remotely as a content marketing specialist for Repsly. On the weekends, I travel, sight-see, eat out, shop, visit museums, go to the club, or do anything else I’m compelled to that day.
Other reasons I love Milan? Public transportation is cheap and fast; delicious food is too easily accessible; trendy clothing is dirt cheap; the city itself is beautiful and clean. Really, there is nothing not to like. On an even more positive note, I get to see my boyfriend every single day, which is a completely new phenomenon for me. It actually gives me a sort of inner peace, as if a huge void in my life has finally been filled.
I began this post by bitching about my lack of friends. After being here for three weeks, I have found…wait for it…A FRIEND! By the way, her last job was at Salvatore Ferragamo, so needless to say, we get along.
I’ll be returning to USA in December when my visa expires, at which time I’ll reevaluate my life and hopefully have reached a decision about what to do for work and where to live in 2017. Stay tuned for more of my thoughts at large…and feel free to share yours with me! Ciao tutti.