For whoever thought moving abroad is easy, let me kill your dream: it. is. not. I knew it on beforehand and being here has shown it even more so. It ain’t easy, but I never expected it to be, which helps a lot when the days are not so sunny and bright. Trying to build a new life in a new city, new country and with a new language to master, means basically becoming a pro in screwing up. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Day after day I run into situations that I have always been carefully avoiding in The Netherlands. Just a few of my most recent screw-ups:
- Having a pizza delivered to -what I thought was- my house. Turns out there are so-called ‘blue’ and ‘red’ numbers. The blues are for the regular houses, the red for business. And yes. I live in a ‘red’ number, but of course gave a ‘blue’ number. Did get my pizza. After half an hour. Cold.
- Trying to be nice to the cashier by saying ‘non necesso questa’, pointing at a bag. She went ‘what?!’ and I gave here this ‘don’t you understand Italian’-look. It wasn’t until I walked out of the store, that I realized I had used a non-existing verb.
- Going to a shop to buy a notebook. Determined to only speak Italian. Which I did. However I walked out of the store with the notebook AND a brand new, super-expensive pen that I did not need. Because I understood it was a gift. Until I paid.
I feel like a plain idiot on a daily basis. In Holland I’m kind of smart, I know how to express my feelings, joke around. I can show my knowledge of things and I can curse or pick a fight if necessary. Here I’m starting all over again. It’s like learning to walk again. Which is a VERY humbling experience. It takes great courage to actually go through this process and become successful. And I genuinely admire people who have actually accomplished this. There are days on which I don’t believe I’m ever going to make it and then I can’t wait for it to be Christmas to go home for a bit.
But after that there’s always sunshine, prosecco, a great yoga class, new friends, amazing food and the endless beauty of this city to make up for it. There’s so much art, creativity, wonderful restaurants, shops and bars out here. I’ve already found my favorite wine shop (priorities…), a place where they recognize me if I come there for lunch and a coffee bar next to school to have my daily cappuccino’s. Florence just has this atmosphere of endless possibilities to it. But you don’t get it for free. There’s something out here for everyone who’s willing to go for it. And for those ready to feel like an idiot. At least every now and then.