I can. This word is my mantra, and my favorite word in Italian. I wasn't raised to think I could... do much. My father, dear and darling man that he was, worried that my dreams of writing and making art would not feed me. Oh, but he was wrong. As he got older, and began to understand that he himself was a product of generative norms and expectations , he stopped putting those on me. And I only grew to love him more for it.
I've been absent here for a month or so because I am doing all the things I can to make Italy more than a dream. To make it a true home. Thanks to a woman who started as my realtor, and ended up as a wonderful friend, I've been navigating the healthcare system here. I had international insurance that expires today (Dec 31) so it was important that I take all the steps to get my information into the 'system'. Not much can happen without that.
After a lifetime of trying to work through the US healthcare labyrinth that was a nightmare for a single mother of two, working more than one job at times, and trying to manage the ridiculous premiums, I was more than shocked at how simple an otherwise bureaucratic country makes it. They really only want a few things... to know you are a legal resident (check), that you have plans to stay and a residence you pay for (contributing to the economy) and that you have a National Insurance and Tax ID (Codice Fiscale). (check). In the four months since I moved to Bellano, I managed to knock down all those dominoes. My friend then accompanied me to the local office to apply for the Tessera Sanitaria...the health ID card that will allow me to have a doctor, hospital access and medical care in an emergency. We did that, and in the next two weeks the card should arrive in the mail. Next we tried to schedule an appointment for my booster at the local Farmacia, where they are given in Bellano. But despite all the steps i'd taken, I wasn't in the National Health database. So, on more domino to knock down.
We went to Lecco, the 'capital' of the province that Bellano is part of, and they made magic! In one hour I had been entered into the database, met with a doctor who reviewed my proof of my first two shots, and received my "dose terzo". My booster.
At this point, only one big step remains. On March 3, 2022 I will visit the Polizia in Lecco with my Immigration coordinator to sign official documents requesting dual citizenship, be fingerprinted and granted Indefinite leave to remain (until my documents are researched, approved and citizenship granted). That process can take.... well, as long as it takes. But basically, I'm here for good, or as long as I want to stay. Because I CAN!
One of the other reasons I haven't written much here is that winter is upon us, with very short days, lots of darkness, little traffic in the town and not a lot to do other than walk on the lake and miss my kids and family at the holidays. But as a creative, I don't mind the quiet and time to 'nest'.
I am writing, working on book 2 of 'My Grandmothers' Ghosts" and waiting for the publishing doors to reopen after the holidays. I've submitted half a dozen queries that are waiting on responses, and will begin to submit more after the holiday hiatus. I'm painting lots with the hopes of submitting some pieces to a gallery owner I met in the fall - but likely not until spring. And I'm building out an action plan for work I want to continue to do in Social Justice and Anti- Racism. More on that to come.
So... not a lot of funny or fabulous here. But real life. Like you... I clean the flat, do the laundry (sans dryer but I kind of love that), walk down to town to buy groceries, experiment with new recipes, watch movies and tv, zoom with friends in other countries and read, write and reflect. Real life.
It occurred to me that I am happier than I have been since I was knee deep in the beautiful mess of raising kids and building a career that allowed me to help others. Despite how hard it was at times, I really loved making that life work. On my own. Because I could.
My kids, my dear ones and chosen family are all so supportive of this life that has taken me so far away and like all of you we are dreaming of a time when they can visit me safely. I have so much more than I need and all I want to make this life even better is to become more fluent in the local Italian so that I can volunteer and find ways to contribute. So as of next week I'll be adding an extra tutor session each week to help me do that. With Covid, I haven't been able to complete my internship for my Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate, but I have some connections here and will try to do that soon. Of course, I'll have to review most of what I learned, but it's important to me to finish strong.
I am happy because I followed my deepest intuition and took the leap to see if Italy would be the home I thought it would be. I'm happy because I ignored the gentle naysayers (there weren't many, I don't hang out with those folks lol) and even my own inner demons that tried to say it would be too hard, that I was too old to manage it all, or that I'd never be able to make it all work in another language. I'm happy because I have the love and support of chosen friends and family no matter where in the world I live. And I'm happy because as someone once said " She believed she could, so she did". I did. And I'll keep going, making every minute count in this beautiful life.
Perche' posso. Because I can.
Here's to you embracing every possibility, every dream, every yearning. Because you can too.
*Thanks to the fabulous @FrancesCadora, my little diamond necklace she made has my favorite word on the back. The diamond was one of a pair that my dad gave me for my 21st birthday. I'd lost the other one but then Frances and I imagined this piece. BECAUSE WE COULD LOL!<3