Today marks my two month-iversary in Italy. So much has happened that I still need to update you on, but I felt that today, I should just share a small slice of my life here.
Every single day of a Fulbright is different. I had coffee with Sarah, my wonderful friend and mentor of sorts, who, in response to my declaration that I lacked a schedule and had no idea what I was doing, said “You have a Fulbright then!” In a way, she has to be right. The freedom of the grant is both its charm and its curse: what I do each day is entirely determined by me. That means that if I want to work, I can, and if I don’t, I don’t have to. The only deadlines I face are those I set for myself. Luckily, though, I’m doing a pretty good job of keeping them. I even wrote an article last week. Granted, I likely won’t use it, but I felt good writing again.
Two months in, I find myself sometimes jaded. I don’t mean to say that I take being here for granted, or that I accept it as a given, because I’m aware of it every day. I’m reminded of being in Italy just interacting with my roommates and people on the street, and I’m reminded each and every time something goes even slightly wrong. This week, I finally had a technician come to install internet in my apartment. Of course, he didn’t have the modem with him – the store told him they’d sent it to me already, which they hadn’t. I even managed to go Italian on them, calling to yell. So it’s not that I forget I’m here, it’s that I forget to be excited about it. I get so caught up in trying to create a routine and running away from stressful situations that I forget to be awed by the incredible opportunity I’ve been given.
For that reason, I dedicated today to being happy to be here. I had a magnificent coffee date with Sarah, who was really my first friend here, went shopping at a few antique stores and artisan markets for Christmas gifts, and made a fantastic Italian feast tonight for dinner. It’s as if the world knew today was for being happy, too. The weather was cold enough to nip your nose (a la Jack Frost), my building management put up Christmas decorations, and I got an awesome package from home.
In all, today was a reminder that though I made not have a set schedule, and though things are frustrating (and are frustrating altogether too often), I have a great life in Italy.