Our Italian Adventure: Why on Earth Do It?
Updated: Jan 3
How we moved to Italy. Why do it?
PART 22: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps we took.
We are in Puglia until the end of September, then back again in the winter.
Step 1: It is an essential question and is worth exploring. Why move to Italy? Here in California, life is good, life is fine. So why take that leap?
This is a more personal blog post.
Step 2: Background. Decades ago, I was in a relationship with someone who suffered from an addiction. I did everything I could to try to manage the situation; if only I could come up with the right strategy to make them stop, I thought to myself. But I never did, and it was me that was driving me crazy.
Step 3: Focus. Around this time, someone suggested that I go to Alanon, and, for the first time, I heard the distinction between what I can control (my actions, my attitudes) and what I cannot control (someone else's actions and attitudes). This realization was the first step.
Step 4: A big life. I continued to attend meetings and kept hearing the phrase "a big life." People were saying that their life was getting bigger as they turned the focus on themselves instead of trying to control others. They planted a seed that would eventually lead us here to Italy.
Step 5: What I want. At a certain point, I had to ask: what type of life do I want for myself? I eventually left that addictive relationship. But as I settled into a life of work, family, and friendships, I started to ask myself: Is this enough?
Without realizing it, even without the addict, my life had become small.
Step 6: The Why. Moving to Italy was not a spontaneous idea but was the fruit of a process of discernment, by myself and my partner, for about six years now. It all boiled down to the question: what type of life do I/we want? Was the 9-5 job, taking care of the house, going to the gym, and taking little vacations enough? All these are excellent things, but did we want our life to be locked into this routine for decades?
Step 7: Small life and big life. Some are satisfied with a life that appears small. When I visited the neighborhood where I grew up in Sacramento some years ago, I found that a number of my childhood friends lived in the same houses where they grew up. This decision is neither good nor bad; who am I to judge? But I wanted more.
Now we live in southern California (Palm Springs) for half the year and in Puglia for the other half. Somehow, this "fits." Being in Puglia for half the year allows us to experience life as an adventure, develop deep friendships with locals and expats, and expand our understanding of the world. Returning to California during the year gives us pause to reflect on the lessons learned and what we want to experience on our return. Our life feels "big."
Insights: "What type of a life do I want for myself" is a question that returns to me when I need to make decisions. Which path is more fulfilling, and meaningful, gives more serenity, and leads me closer to where I want to be? Which choice will lead me to a bigger life?
Our time living in Italy is finally revealing the answers.
Watch for my book coming around the 1st of the year: "Stories from Puglia: Two Californians in Southern Italy." https://www.bookdepository.com/Stories-from-Puglia-Mark-Tedesco/9781913680640?ref=grid-view&qid=1670181419200&sr=1-2.
More next time.