In January, I was offered a job, at first I turned it down. I was happy with my job, my job was relatively stress free and I never dreaded going into work, I was “happy” enough. There was one big red flag with my job, I worked evenings. Essentially going to work when my kids got home from preschool. Sometimes when I got home at 9:30 they would be awake, sometimes not. I really missed them, I missed so much of them growing up.
The other job was offered to me again in late May, by this point, I had grown tired of not seeing my kids, of spending my days alone since everyone else was at work. I spent way too much time online shopping, overthinking silly things and needed to hear from my therapist that I need to do what is right for me and not worry about the rest. I went back and forth for a month deciding what to do.One major worry I had was telling my old boss that I leaving, because she did nothing wrong, in fact she is a great person and runs a great school. She was always fair and accommodating. Leaving the school is difficult because it is a job I enjoy, but my kids are my number one priority. Seeing them grow up, eating dinner with them, playing with them in the evening, putting them to bed…this is my number one priority. Being with this all the time this summer has proved that to me and reassured me in my decision. Sure it stressful and tiring but they are number one in a mot.
So with a heavy, sad, and a little stressed heart today is the day I must inform my old job I am not going back. I am so sorry to leave them and I hope they find someone new who is a better fit. I dedicate my yoga practice this morning to finding inner peace and I will once I finally let go of this burden of having to quit that’s been hanging over my shoulders.
What is something you did that is right for you that you had to put a lot of thought into making that decision?
I am writing this from a play cafe, one of the few places, maybe the only place that I can find time to write without it being 630 am after yoga (exhausted) or after the kids go to sleep (also exhausted). The kids can run around and safely play and I have a moment to write.
I’ve noticed that I have found myself worrying about things here that don’t have the same limits as they do in Italy (or Switzerland…). I’ve worried constantly that my kids shouldn’t be doing something (like playing on something or joking around in a restaurant) to find that its okay, no one cares or maybe even the restaurant staff says “Don’t worry, they are making me happy”. Or in the supermarket when they are laughing in the cart people stop me to say how nice it is to see such happiness.
Somewhere I’ve developed this “don’t do that! Stop!” Attitude towards my kids and it’s hard to let go. I’ve built up a fear, an anxiety that my kids are misbehaving but maybe they are just really being the little tiny kids that they are? Obviously there are rules for their safety and other but they don’t need such strictness and constant saying of “don’t do this, don’t do that”.
I don’t know what I want in my life, I love the opportunities available for families in the US, all the things kids can do but I don’t like the “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality or the constant fast pace people seem to be in.
But then back to Italy, there can be for kids too, children stay up way too late and seem to be in a constant state of sleep deprivation. I don’t have many friends there because I have very little in common with women there, but I at this stage in my life… I’d rather just hang out with my kids or by myself.
Where are you happy? Are you an introvert extrovert?
My happiness in her happy place:
I’ve been meaning to sit down and write, forever but time escapes me. After the kids go to bed, I am exhausted, but slowly but surely they are getting on a better schedule. I feel like when we come to America I reset them to the typical American schedule, which I love and once we get back to Italy all hell breaks lose. Hopefully this time the schedule will stick, life changes coming but more on that later.
The kids and I have been taking it all in these weeks in the US. This time they are actually big enough to really enjoy stuff and we have been having so much fun doing things together. I am really on getting the kids to experience things and I love seeing them explore everything new.
The kids have also been trying new foods, which I am so happy for. They are very used to eating Italiam style foods, with pasta and rice only. I really want them to try food from other cultures. So far we’ve only tried typical American dishes (chili and sloppy joes) but they went over well.
Besides the kids, I have taken up a love for hot yoga and have been going almost every day, even at 5:15 in the morning because I love it so much. I hope to keep this early morning yoga tradition when we get back to Italy (but there I will definitely be doing it alone through videos…). Just doing it for one week has made me feel so fit.
My little guy:
Night sky at the town fair:
Summer has officially begun for us. I finished my last day of work, my students took their Cambridge exams and the next two weeks are English summer camp, and then finally we’re off to the US!
I really do not like the summer though, it is too hot for me and I hate mosquitoes. I would be much happier in a cold environment year round! Yesterday, the kids moved their play kitchen out on the balcony and entertained themselves for a solid two hours before I brought them in to take a nap (with protesting). Both of them slept for a good 2 hours before we had a snack and headed off to see Toy Story 4 at the theater in town. It was cool enough to walk there. I love the old theater in our town, it has old style seats and smaller screens, but it’s inexpensive and the staff is very friendly. The kids loved the movie.
After the movie we headed to the small playground across the street to play for awhile before heading home. Umberto joined us after work at the playground. While walking home we stopped at the ice cream store to take some ice cream home for dessert. Once we got home the kids went right back to playing with their toy kitchen. They were in bed by 11, which is so late in the US but here its perfectly normal. When you live in a place that doesn’t use much a/c, your days function around when it is coolest. Late evenings are very alive, families are out and about in the evening. Children sleep in later, take late afternoon naps and are more active in the evening. Most kids go to bed around 11.
Kids playing at the playground:
We had a brief cooling off period where temperatures were only reaching the low 30’s (celcius) now we are back into the high 30’s or 40. It’s uncomfortably hot during the afternoon. I got both kids down for a nap in the cool comfort of the bedroom. I don’t care how late they stay up. I’ve assimilated into the Southern European culture of late nights and afternoon napping. It’s necessary when it’s so hot and air conditioning is not something widely used. Even if I go to bed at 12 or 1, I always wake up at 7. If I go to bed at 10, I also wake up at 7, so there is not much difference for me to stay up late or not. Only more coffee the next day.
This is my last week of my “normal” working hours at work before a two week summer camp that I will be working. I’m not not looking forward to doing it, only a bit concerned about how tired I will be, working all day in the sun with kids is exhausting. Its only two weeks though and then we are off to America, finally!
This past weekend we stayed close to home. We only went out Sunday afternoon to try to go to the pool but both that we went were completely full. In the end we went for a drive through the mountains, which was perfect. I forgot to take any pictures but the air was so cool and refreshing. On the way back, we stopped at a nice bar for a snack and coffee. Sunday evening we had a barbecue on my in-laws terrace above our apartment with friends of Umberto. The evening cools down and its bearable to be outside again.
Until tomorrow, namaste.
I’ve been living in Italy for almost 2 years, married to an Italian for four years, together for six. After awhile, some of our cultural differences wear off onto each other. We take in each other’s cultures as our own. Obviously, as I live in his country, I take in more of his culture. I’m not sure Umberto has really taken in truly any American traits but he has accepted things for what they are and doesn’t find things about me odd anymore, such as eating sweet and salty food together.
The longer I live here, the more “Italian” I become.
Living in Switzerland I adapted to the cultural, but as the society was so multi cultural and my friends were other expats, I never truly adapted to assimilated into Swiss life. With Umberto, I’ve learned that each shape of pasta has a certain sauce and you should never put the wrong sauce with the wrong pasta. I’ve learned that “pasta in bianco” (pasta with only oil and parmesan) is for when you’re feeling under the weather, “minestrone” is for when you have the flu, “riso in bianco” when you have a stomachache, beer goes with pizza, not wine…etc. There are so many food rules! I really think they’re on to something though with not having coffee with milk after breakfast time… its now almost repulsive to me to drink a cappuccino in the afternoon.
Another profound characteristic of Italian culture is being ill and how you get ill. The cause of most illnesses is a draft of air, the air conditioning, the change of seasons, the pool, and wind. At first I thought it was all old wives’ tales but now I’m starting to believe there’s some truth in it. Maybe it’s not an entire truth, not the only cause, but these things may not help what it is already there (a virus).
Raffaello was very whiny Sunday morning and complained that his ear hurt. Once I finally got him down for a nap, I measured his temperature and he had a fever. As it was Sunday and it is rare that he is ill, we decided to take him to the ER. His diagnosis was an ear infection. He had no other symptoms, no runny nose, no cold. The doctor said it could have been due to cold drafts of air from the air conditioning or the pool. Maybe she’s right as he really had no other symptoms? Is the draft of air real? I am beginning to question my American thinking.
My little monkey on the mend after getting him from the hospital.
The heat of the summer has hit us full on. Temperatures have been reaching 100F for nearly everyday for a week. After 13 years of living abroad, without a/c, my body has acclimated a bit to the hot temperatures and it doesn’t affect me like it did years ago. You know to not go outside during the heat of the day (unless its the pool), eat cold and light foods, always have cold water in the fridge, eat plenty of fruit (melons are so good now, especially when eaten cold from the fridge…) take a cooler shower (or 2…), etc. Does anyone else get “melon belly”, as I’ve come to think of it as? When you eat too much melon and your tummy is so full (from essentially all the water in the melons).
We beat the heat yesterday by taking the kids to see Pets 2 at the movies. It was Raffaello’s first time and he did so well. He sat in his seat and didn’t make a noise the entire time until it was over and the lights came on and he said “Oh, finished!”. We spent the rest of the evening at the little funfair outside the mall/theater, got quick dinners at the food court (Toastiamo will let you choose your ingredients for a sandwich,so it was my best vegan option… I had a really good avocado, tomato, grilled eggplant, and rucola sandwich).
After dinner the kids literally run through the mall while I managed to pop into a few stores and picked up some much needed shorts and pajamas. These shorts are a size bigger and much needed because I am done trying to be a smaller size by paying too much attention to what I am eating. My body is naturally about 138/140 lbs and I know by having clothes that fit that body comfortably I will ultimately be more comfortable in my own skin.
Have a great Sunday!