Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Troppo is Italian for "too much." This is how I feel every time I am about to leave Italy. I have eaten too much of the amazing, fresh food...the pizza, the pasta, the gelato. I have drank too much of the wine that flows faster and more easily than water, oh sweet delicious wine. Leaving Italy has never been easy for me, usually becoming a messy scene of tears, something comparable to Anchorman's glass case of emotion, however "troppo" makes home a little more appealing. In Italian, I would say "E proprio che io vado via adesso." Which means, it figures that I'm leaving now. Why do I say that? Because Venice is a city of locals. Everyone knows everyone and once you're part of the family people start to do favors for you like you're their own. My last week in Venice I was offered dinner on the house at one restaurant, famous squid ink risotto, bottles of wine, and my favorite favor of all, the "princess" shuttle treatment. I was going to be a few minutes late getting back to our water shuttle and had I missed this particular shuttle I would've had to stay on the main island of Venice for two hours before the next shuttle came. I told this to my shuttle driver friend (Claudio) and he called over the raido to Luca and asked if they could hold the return shuttle for the "principessa." The best part about this was not the fact that they had no problem holding the shuttle for me, or that he called me princess, it was the ten responses I heard over the radio all of whom knew exactly who Claudio meant by "principessa!" Figures that I would be leaving now. Figures.

My last day in Venice was spent at the rooftop pool, then lunch with a new friend at her Venician home (complete with a garden and pet turtle!), more pool time, then some last minute wine shopping, some packing, and off to bed early. It was a strange feeling to wake up the next morning and be emotionally ready to leave Venice...Italy, my heart's love behind. No tears were shed, no feelings of regret, nothing left on my list of things to do, places to see, and presents to buy. I was okay with leaving it behind. Maybe it's because I know that I have a pretty good chance to come back someday. Maybe it's because working in Italy isn't the same as just living in Italy. Yes, I would miss the beautiful Italian language, and the beautiful Italian people. I would miss the pizza that can only be found in Italy and the 1.60 Euro bottles of delicious prosecco, but at the same time, I knew it wouldn't be the last time I would have the chance to delight in the simple pleasures that are Italy. On the way back through Philly's airport I had to note to my coworker that the last time I was in this airport I was a mess. I confessed about the 3 breakdowns before even getting off the plane, the one breakdown as soon as I got to the airport bathroom, the breakdown on the phone with my sister-in-law as I sat in the mist of hundreds of people hurrying through the terminal. I was a lost sad little girl who's overall plan had NOT gone as it should have. I was supposed to find a job and stay in Europe forever, but instead I was jobless, houseless (however, not homeless), broke (both monetarily and emotionally), and so alone in a world speaking much too loudly in rude English. BUT had things gone as I had planned, I wouldn't have moved to STL to make money, thus finding the job I have now, the job of my dreams! Yes, this time the culture shock wasn't quite as brutal. I managed to keep a genuine smile on my face the entire trip back to the good old midwest thanks to the promising outlook of (as corny as it sounds) my future.

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